China celebrated 100 years of liberation from dynastic rule this month , on the 10th of October.
100 years ago, on the tenth of October, The Qing Dynasty was overthrown. Tongmenhui, a anti-Qing anti-dynastic organisation with Dr. Sun Yat Sun at the helms, organised a number of uprising prior to the double ten date; and a number of allied organisations also organised uprising on their own. Unfortunately, all failed.
In 1911, a few months before the actual successful uprising in WuChang, Tongmenhui organised an uprising in Guangzhou, under the leadership of Huang Xin, a man I regarded with the same respect as Dr Sun. Unfortunately, that uprising failed and 72 martyrs were killed ( actually more than 100 were killed). They were buried in Huang Hua Kang. (“I had the fortune to read one of the letters written by one of the martyr , Lin Jue Min, to his wife just prior to his last journey to take part in the uprising, and I was moved to tears. That was in my high school days.)
Many uprising failed, but it really rocked Qing government and awakened the people of CHina to be their own boss, to helm their own destiny. Many people in CHina then joined Tongmenhui as secret members, and these included many in the Qing army , many officials and students.
Following the failure of GuangZHou uprising, another uprising which was actually not planned by Tongmenhui, but rather by the new army personnel based in Wuchang, became successful, and they took over the city of Wuchang. The uprising was a catalyst for many other similar ones which occurred all over China, and the revolutionaries joined forces together. Dr Sun, who at that time was in US, came back to CHina, and was sworn in as the Provisional President of the Republic of CHina.
At that time, Qing still had a relatively strong army, BeiYang Army under Yuan Shi Kai, compared to the armies of the revolutionaries.
Yuan could have beaten the revolutionaries in Hankou, but after capturing Hanyang , he stopped.
Negotiation took place and Yuan hinted through intermediaries that he could force the QIng Emperor to abdicate, but he would only do so, if he was made the president
Dr Sun, a selfless person by all counts, did not hesitate, and he offered to resign to anyone who could force the Qing to abdicate , so as to avoid a full-scale civil war.
Comrades within Tongmenhui were all against him relinquishing his presidency to someone who was as cunning and as untrustworthy as Yuan.
But Dr Sun famously said that in order for democracy to flower in China, to take roots in CHina, they needed to establish a system first, and it was not important who should be the president.
In his view, as long as the dynastic rule could be ended, and a civilian could be made president and head of the country, ,then even by giving the post to Yuan, it would be the first step of a journey of no return. Once that happened , he believed that the people of China would never want to go back to dynasty rule again. Since half of china was still under Qing, he would not mind to let Yuan be president, as long as the dynasty rule can be ended and a new precedence be set.
Once the system is established, even if Yuan decided to be Emperor again, it would be impossible for that to happen. True enough, Yuan did try to declare himself as emperor later on, but as soon as he announced it, people from all over China expressed opposition and provinces after provinces declared autonomy . Yuan had to abandon his emperor dream, but in the end, he died a unhappy death, when war was threatened against him.
That was the importance of setting precedence and showing people that even someone without the mandate of heaven or not the son of heaven can be head of a country.
History is for us to learn. The lesson here is that for the people here to be the real Boss, we must establish a system where there are 2 more or less equal choices. When one side is no good, we kick that side out through exercising our votes, and invite the other side in. When the other side is no good, we kick them out and re-invite the previous side to come back. Once a side is in opposition, they would have undergone self improvement and self cleansing, and emerge a better and trimmer party.
That is the way to establish a culture of accountability, transparency and clean government. If one side is corrupt when in power, they can be sure that they would be voted out. By competing each others for people’s support, a government would become cleaner, more accountable and transparent.
Like what Dr Sun has said, in order to do that, to have a system of 2 parties vying for our support, we must establish the system first, and there must be a precedence of another side coming to power. Dr Sun knew Yuan was a devil, but he relinquish his post to Yuan, in order to establish a precedent , and set the path for a system to take root. It was about letting a concept be shown to be achievable- the concept of a nondynastic rule, after more than 2000 years of feudalism.
Similarly, to want to have a 2 party system in Malaysia is not about supporting BN or PR; it is about the future of Malaysia. It is not about Anwar or Najib; it is about our own children. It is about a future where our children can really be their own Boss.
To do that, we must have a 2 party system, and let the power that be know that people no longer need to be GRATEful to the leaders, since the leaders are elected representatives of the people to manage the affairs of the country FOR THE PEOPLE..