Lincoln and his politics of inclusiveness

One of the greatest American presidents, if not the greatest, Abraham Lincoln, set a gold standard in team building. We all know Lincoln was the person who emancipated the slaves, and he went to war- the American CIvil War- to unite the country again after the COnfederates split from the North . But few of us know that he had a cabinet made up of all his rivals.

By all measures, this was a great man. He received little formal education but yet he learned many things on his own, and he never ceased to learn..

His presidentail rivals were actually better educated, more experienced and better known..

He set a unique leadership style in which he included all his main rivals in his presidentail team, and he manged this team so well that the team won the war and saved the UNion.

Asked why he included in his teams all his main rivals in the presidentail election, he answered simply yet full of logic: “Look, these are the strongest and most able men in the country. The country is in peril. I need them by my side.”

This is real statesmanship. There is a book, titled “A Team of rivals”,  in which you can read about all these of Lincoln. 
 Looking at our country, do we have this type of leadereship, both in BN as well as in PR? Can both be inclusive of each other and form a strong government to rule the country? NOt possible.. I have often stressed that we must not be too partisan in politics, and many people laughed at me and said I am too idealistic  and naive. History has shown that Lincoln had formed one such non partisan team to fight the war.

In fact, looking at the country now, with the economy in trouble waters, and racial polarisation getting more extreme, and corruption and abuse of power worse, we are in dire need of a strong govenrment to deal with the ills we are facing.. But this is impossible at the moment, simply because we do not have any one great enough that we can call a statesman.

How pathetic… How worrying…

27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Disgusted
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 18:31:14

    There is no Lincoln in Malaysian politics and never has been one in the decades of leadership except many many older generation of Malaysians remembering the first prime minister TAR.

    But party politics here is what Henry Adams has aptly described as, “which at best is but the madness of many for the gain of a few.”

    Under the Bodohwi era, it was “practical politics consisting in ignoring facts.”

    Currently, politics as a practice, whatever its leaders is just a systematic organization of hatreds.

    Not too late to realize now that this nation is shaped by a ruling party leadership without ideals and without greatness.

    And UMNO’s greatest political achievement is almost perfected to a science of how who gets what, when and why.

    It has never been an arena of morals but an arena of interests, self-vested interests.

    Like Charles de Gaulle also described political hypocrites, “in order to become the masters, they poses as servants.” Well, we see them all the time ONLY at by-elections and ONCE every 4 to 5 years during general elections.

    Yes, plenty of them who deliberately make waves and then making you think they are the only ones who can save the ship.

    Let’s see. But there is no Lincoln here.

    Only political power and this power to the ruling leadership is like a woman they want to stay in bed forever.



  2. annoyed
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 21:06:52

    Lim Guan Eng tried to do that by inviting capable man from BN to help out in his administration in Penang, but this was seen as something ‘fishy’ in the eyes of Umno and its goons. Those willing to play a part were deemed as betrayer.

    With their kind of mentality, Umno & the rest in BN, and BN & PR are like oil and water, how to mix and be inclusive? With the old horse around, lagi teruk.


  3. pilocarpine
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 22:37:11

    fishy or not, LGE shouldn’t even care about what everyone is saying, as long as he is working for the people.. he must do it for the people, he must choose the best person to help serve the people.

    old horse or new horse… it doesn’t matter, as long it is a good horse.

    no doubt, the following comments will be pessimistically, or rather realistically opposed to the idea of existence of a Malaysian Lincoln…

    if he (the malaysian lincoln) doesn’t exist, pls don’t just speak up, do something!!!


  4. annoyed
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 22:57:44

    “old horse or new horse… it doesn’t matter, as long it is a good horse.”

    This horse is just disgusting, not a good horse.

    Who is your horse? pilocarpine


  5. Disgusted
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 23:06:34

    Lincoln might be good during his times but I doubt Lincoln can function well in modern times. The political landscape changes after generations come to pass.

    Back home, look at the cobwebs, how do you communicate with spiders? Cobwebs can be extremely irritating, sticky and seems out of touch with a clean environment.

    What if the Rais spider threatens you with his cobweb? Should we in the internet environment continue to use the caveman’s mode of communicating: using smoke signals?

    Should we listen to the old radio and idiot box switch to the official channel, listening to it spinning lies and half-truths. Yes, spiders are good in spinning and spinning, its ass never get tired.

    And what information, communication and what type of culture are younger generation going after? What can the old spider offer, moving us back to the caves?

    Well, I must remember to buy a can of Shelltox at the super market to rid of spiders and the cobweb. Damn the spiders, too many around.



  6. klm
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 23:47:29

    Good question. Do we have a Statesman? The BN political system had degenerated into Fagan’s School Of Thief. (Fagan was the old thief who ran a school to train to pick pockets in the story of Oliver Twist). It developed and trained several generations of thieving politicians.

    How can we get a Statesman? Thief yes. Statesman, no.


  7. clearwater
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 07:43:17

    Change the current system and its accompanying corrupt culture and you may have a chance of a home bred Lincoln appearing. Otherwise, no way, Jose. This rotten system will stifle all the best talent to enable its own perpetuation. That is why we vote for change. A hope that better things may come to pass notwithstanding the risks of failure, or the high chance of exchanging one rotten regime for another. One hope for Malaysia.


  8. Nick
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 09:40:25

    When you assumed the No.1 position in any company, the first thing you need to do is to select your kitchen cabinet members. You can’t have all new people, you need to retain and even promote from within home-grown talents. Age does not really matter. But ability, attitudes, intelligence, smartness, Univ and Prof qualifications will count. You need battlers and frontliners as well as backroom generals. You need team-players not disrupters and lone rangers. The closest I have seen this in practice is the Selangor MB Khalid and LGE. Najib doesn’t posesses any of these qualities. Obama has it. See how he shook hands and make up with Hugo Chavez? A mark of a wily politician and statesman.


  9. annoyed
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 10:25:47


    True. I missed out MB Khalid. Umno & BN politicians are mostly graduated from BTN.


  10. klm
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 10:46:00

    On a Statesman that is not. I hear from friends that KTK is the topic of the kopi tiam in Penang. The drift of the talks is that he should not have taken the post of Minister of KPI and Unity for two reasons:

    1. this is a non-consequential post
    2. It is below the stature of the president of Gerakan, given his experience and status of former CM of Penang

    He has lost whatever respect of the ordinary people for him and he has burnt whatever goodwill that is left in Penang for him.

    This is a serious mistake for him. He has no more leg to stand in Penang.


  11. Justin Choo
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 12:03:07


    “This is a serious mistake for him. He has no more leg to stand in Penang.”

    That is precisely why he stooped that low to accept the longkang minister post. This fellow has no integrity left even for himself.

    Very sorry for him!! Good-bye.


  12. klm
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 12:33:11

    I was thinking of what makes a Statesman. Some one once said :

    “A politician thinks about the next elections – the stateman thinks about the next generations.”

    I think this description is brilliant.

    Some descriptors are:

    – vision to see beyond tomorrow
    – courage to go against convention
    – anxiety to produce a certain moral character in his fellow citizens (Aristotle)
    – leadership that brings people together
    – A spirit of caring for others
    – A compassion for his fellow citizens
    – A drive to achieve his vision


  13. kittykat46
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 12:40:15

    Abraham Lincoln was my childhood hero. Still is.

    But the situation in the United States was far more dire than anything we face today.There was a Civil War on. Team A wasn’t just trading insults with Team B. They were trading artillery shells and bullets. Those we chose to remain on Team A (the Union) agreed to put aside their political differences for the duration of the war. It worked partly because everyone who dealt with Lincoln, whether they agreed with him or not, had a sense of his tremendous bedrock of Integrity. He wasn’t called “Honest Abe” for nothing.
    So many political rivals were willing to trust him to lead the nation through the war.

    Back to Malaysia’s context. Many have called for both the Government and Opposition to work together in the face of the global economic crisis. The big problem is a lack of trust.

    From my own personal viewpoint. Do I trust Najib enough to stop critically dissecting the government’s actions ? As far as I’m concerned, he would just use any truce from PR’s side to engineer an attack on the Opposition.

    I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. That’s the honest truth.

    No, we do not have an “Honest Abe”. God knows, we need one.


  14. klm
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 12:52:50

    Badawi could have been the statesman except he lacked the courage to act, no leadership and no ability to drive his agenda.

    Similarly, KTK could be the statesman, but same problem as Badawi.

    These two have some basic decency but no capability. So sad.


  15. annoyed
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 12:56:15

    Why Rev.Jesse Jackson wants to have anything to do with M? I am puzzled.

    Building a Culture of Peace and Development in a Globalized World’ with this racist? Cannot be.


  16. klm
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 13:20:17

    Annoyed monk (oops sorry, I cannot tahan)

    Jesse Jackson probable has no clue who is Dr. M.
    An American don’t usually see beyond his/her nose.

    Somebody arranged the forum and he got paid a fee to speak. And this is a free world.


  17. annoyed
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 14:50:20

    Frustrated klm,

    I know how frustrated you are. So am I.

    Do we need to wait in patiently till GE 13? No one is in Umno, BeEnd & privileged is deemed ‘respectable’.


  18. pohwatchdog
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 20:05:11

    We need to look at the bright side for a better and vibrabt Malaysia. What we want in our leaders that can put the people first, performance now? Are we really that pessimistic that Malaysia cannot produce stateman in this present generation?

    What we need is political stability, racial harmony, economic prosperity, education opportunities,
    crime free society, vibrabt city life and healthy society? Malaysia have all the substance we have. We need to move forward. Alas what we have here is too much politicking. We need an proactive civil service that performance and implemented the programmes for the benefit of the people.

    We don’t have to look far and the unit start with our family. As each and everyone of us contribute toward our nation well being, Malaysia will have a brighter and better place for us. We need to create a culture that have ethic and moral values


  19. Disgusted
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 21:30:55


    The “old recorder” is back with the stale tune and broken lyrics.

    Yes, we certainly have a “bright side” and a “vibrant” Malaysia. The record speaks for itself, let me put in the lyrics:

    (1) Unlicensed motrists on the road endangering other drivers (2005, there were 160,000 including motorcyclists, though the numbers should be higher now);

    (2) Accidents: Every six minutes, one person is hospitalized due to road accidents (based on 82,304 admissions due to road accidents in 2003). Rates should be higher due to more vehicles.

    (3) Drug addiction: Up to 2004, one per cent of Malaysian population were found to be drug addicts (registered ones). Greatest concern involve teenagers and young adults (as young as 13 years old). Out of every one case reported, 4 others remain undetected. Average daily detected about 60 nationwide.

    (4) Snatch Thieves: Year 2000 (14,480 cases); Year 2003 (15,798 cases); Year 2004 (8,489 first 8 months); Year 2005 (7,909 cases in first 8 months); Year 2008-April 2009 (????)

    General crime rates including violent crimes on the rise. Commercial crimes (white collar) alos on the increase.

    Takes only 3 minutes for professional thieves to steal new vehicles: stolen luxury vehicles on the rise, every Taman-taman affected. Average 8 vehicles stolen every hour (Star Sept 4, 2005)

    (5) Three-quarters of urban Malaysians live behind greater security than a front door. Guard-gated residence community is now a norm and not only in wealthy areas.

    (6) Illegal Workers: Topped 3 million (unofficial figures). In 2005 report, more than 5 million foreigners entered in 2004 stayed on, majority illegals. In 2005, net outflow RM5.4 billion remitted back to home countries of workers. Extinct illnesses re-introduced by foreign workers back to Malaysia including TB. Women “tourists” working as prostitutes also on the rise.

    (7) Domestic violence Year 2000 to 2004 totaled more than 14,000), Child abandonment and abuse and rape on the rise. (2008-2009 ????)

    (8) Mental problems and Suicide: 20% Malaysian population having mental problems or disorfers (NST May 2004 by Health Ministry). Between January and April in 2005, some 1,700 suicide cases and average 2,555 lives lost every year due to suicides. Only 85 psychiatrists and 27 hospitals nationwide assisting mental cases.

    (9) AIDS: 19 new cases reported daily and infection rate increasing by 500 per cent between 1999 and 2003 among Malaysian women (Former AIDS Council resident Marina Mahathir said in 2004). Current increase???

    Not mentioning heart diseases/attacks, diabetes, dengue etc, taking toll on Malaysians. Tuberculosis, thanks to foreign workers, costs 15,057 cases with 942 deaths in 2000 and 16,000 new cases every year (NST April 2005).

    (10) Impotence (Men): Estimated 2.2 million Malaysian men suffering from erectile dysfunction).

    (11) EPF dividends payout: From 1983 to 1987 the dividend was 8.7%. Year 1995 to 1966 was 7.5 and 7.7%. Sliding down in year 2000 to 6.0%, scrap bottom to 4.25% in 2002 and hit rock bottom now. Rate now: ?? (slightly above 3%)

    (12) Brain=drain: Everybody knows about this.

    (13) Environment and eco-system deterioration: Robbing forest logs (illegal logging activities), river pollution caused by agro-pesticides, rubbish and human settlements alarmingly on increase. Water catchment reserve areas dwindling due to hill-slope residential development (human greed).

    The list goes on and on. Quality of living : downhill, cost inflation up. Corruption: worsened. Local authorities (under BN governance): abuse of power and wastage of public funds (so many examples). Under Bodohwi’s tenure, more illustrated cases.

    So, what type of “bright, healthy and all the crap” you are talking about, Mr Poll Watch?



  20. cilipadi
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 22:57:42


    From the eyes of an outsider like me, I can see Malaysia better than many Malaysians. This pohwatchdog is one of them. But, a biscuit crumb is awarded to him for wanting a harmonious and prosperous Malaysia and that he has toned down of comments. Not like last time. Maybe due to eating cilipadi. 🙂

    I can see his acceptance in PR’s concept that multiracial is the way to go. Not Umno / BeEnd racist mentality. How to be harmonious and prosperous if still adopt to racist mentality? Nevertheless, let me describe to you how I see Malaysia “Corridors of Power”, or COP in short.

    To me, Malaysia COP is like a pack of cards used in gambling (usually 52 cards). The cards are all very old and tainted with sweat, dirt, saliva or even blood. So, however one shuffles the cards, the line-up of COP will still remain more or less the same. You can engage famous croupiers and gamblers to shuffle this pack of cards, from Jokers to Aces, Jacks to Kings, with all kinds of shapes in red and black, those in COP will still be the same.

    These cards are tainted to the extent of one can read who they are without looking at the faces, just from the back of each cards. Why tainted to such an extent? Some of them even have the wishful thinking that these cards can be cleansed. The sole reason for such taints is still rest on MORALITY.

    The easiest, speediest and most effective way to get rid of these cards is to throw away this pack of cards, with new pack of cards.

    monk, you so intelligent, you should know who consist of this new pack of cards. These new cards maybe tainted over time, its all depend on the standard of MORALITY they going to benchmark. No point stating facts to the kind of people like pohwatchdog, they don’t like to think. You must use this gambling cards way to illustrate, then they can absorb better. I hope so they can.

    Anyone cannot absorb what I commented, go makan cilipadi.

    siapa makan cili, dia rasa pedas


  21. Meng
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 23:59:10

    Ambulance driver made Director of T’gganu GLC and primary school teachers also as Directors in a subsidiary company and a state owned hospital.

    See we got the best brain to run the GLCs.

    What a joke??


  22. klm
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 09:53:18

    Sorry. This is on the side.

    Monk and Dr. Hsu or anybody.

    I cannot get good reliable data on Malaysian poverty. I am after some reliable data for Malaysia hardcore poor in general and especially hard core poor Chinese

    Can you help?



  23. Dr Hsu
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 10:24:58

    will try,but i do not have much resources except the net to back me up. Sometimes i do go to the library. In Malaysia, we do not have a good digital library where we can sources books and journals .


  24. Disgusted
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 10:43:46


    Very well explained with clarity. TQ. See, I am not so intelligent after all. Well, said, a pack of cards. I’ll eat cilipadi today.


    Get in touch with CPI, Center Policy Initiatives headed by Prof Lim Teck Ghee, Search the net for the blog of this NGO, basically zero-ing onto economics and social initiatives.

    Digital Library has some documents on poverty (historical studies). I believe INSAP-think tank (MCA) has some recent figures though it’s a Gestapo body, everything “hush-hush” (secret and confi).

    ISIS, I am sure has got it, closer to the ruling-powers. ASLI, also got some recent past figures (via seminars and forums) on poverty.

    Anyway, when the new emperor announced “Performance Now” we thought, all the ministries should inform the citizenry on the “status” of the country. Among the importance of vital statistics should be poverty and crime rates.

    But I guess, it’s just talk only. Not “Important Now”.

    Just Cilipadi said so clearly, we need to change the “deck of tainted, dirty cards”. The old one? We should dump it in 2012 or a year later. Sooner the better.



  25. Disgusted
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 10:53:13


    I can send (email) Dr Hsu, handphone of Prof Lim Teck Ghee and you get it from with Dr Hsu/

    I am sure he has the latest figures.



  26. klm
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 11:09:23

    Monk. Thanks. Dr. Hsu. You have my email, I presume.


  27. annoyed
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 11:24:11

    I like this “Pack of cards” or “Deck of cards”.


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