The stomach must be big enough to accommodate a ship

I fully support the views expressed by Dr Toh Kin Woon, the Gerakan State Exco Member of Penang in his statement to Malaysiakini yesterday, regarding the importance of the right to dissent and the right to freedom of speech.

Dr Toh was commenting on the “growing trend towards stifling dissent”.

I also wish to recall the speech given by Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nasrin, some time back in April this year.

In a keynote address on “Prospects and Challenges for Nation-building”, the respected and learned Raja Nasrin expounded 7 steps for National building:

Step 1. A sense of belonging and a common destiny, binding Malaysians of all races, religions and origins together in a common purpose.

Step 2.  Don’t just wish away problems, as nation-building is premised on the fact that there are differences in society.

Step 3.  Nation-building required accommodation and compromise.

Step 4.  Avoid enforced solutions, as coercion or threats of violence would nullify nation-building. Nation-building required society to be open, tolerant and forward-looking

Step 5. Inclusiveness, to enable the various sectors of society to be productively engaged. Malaysians need to guard against all forms of extremism, chauvinism, racism and isolationism.

Step 6.  Political, social and economic incentives should exist to reward good behaviour and penalise bad.

Step 7.  The greatest challenge to nation-building was balancing the need for change with that of continuity, particularly in facing globalisation.

We should really listen to the advice given by the wise prince.

Nation building depends on the ability to accomodate differences of opinion and  tolerate dissenting views.

There is an old Chinese saying ” A Minister ‘s stomach must be big enough to accomodate a ship”. Of course, this is a figure of speech, but this ancient wisdom  teaches us  that leaders must be big enough and magnanimous enough to accomodate differences and tolerate dissent.

That is what leadership is about. That is what nobility is about.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. siew_wah
    Jul 25, 2007 @ 16:21:41

    It’s indeed pathetic to learn that the current government administration are fearful of the spread of truth disseminated in blogs for all to see. When will they learn the suppression of truth may not prevail when votes are cast in the ballot box!


  2. wits0
    Jul 25, 2007 @ 20:32:08

    Reading the points so wisely suggested, UMNO Youth will have to be consigned to the trash, where it belongs, can for it stood for none of these things but has always been a cancerous growth in Malaysian society.


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