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Living in Asia for the last 8 years I have been able to observe my home country (the United States) from a very different view.  Not just being 13,000 miles away - but seeing the change in perceptions from the fastest growing region in the world and how the US relevancy has diminished slowly but surely.

In reading the local paper in Singapore today I came to a realization the US has simply become another random country to the global citizenry.

Here is a quote from an article covering a speech by Mr Lee Kuan Yew to local university students in Singapore.  Mr Lee was the first Prime Minister of Singapore who led the country for three decades and is credited with much of the success in growing the country from a fishing village on an island off of Malaysia to today's global commerce center.

"Citing how a national divide has seen "constant bickering" between political camps in the West, such as the United States, France and Germany, the former Minister Mentor and current senior adviser to the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation said the Republic will become "just like another ordinary country with the same problems" should a similar situation develop here."

Emphasis is mine - but it is interesting that a country like Singapore - which is basically the size of a large US city - would not want to become "...like another ordinary country.." of which the United States is one.

After the fold - comments on the concept of the meritocratic system in Singapore in comparison to some of the potential presidential candidates currently on the US scene and how I see this pointing to clear differences in the Dems vs Repubs.

Below is a comment that got me thinking about the issues facing the US as we consider the upcoming elections.

"Mr Lee, .... stressed that the meritocratic system that Singapore has always subscribed to ... has to stay.

He said: "So my worry about the future is whether we'll have the same national solidarity, the same desire to increase educational levels and increase performance, and having the best people in the best jobs or holding the most important jobs. Once we veer away from that meritocratic system, our performance will drop."

Ok - you can debate meritocracy but the basic concept is sound.  You should want the best people in the most important jobs.   You should want your leaders to be the best and brightest.  You should want your country led by people smarter than you - rather than those with whom you could have a beer or swap stories about being on academic probation or the D's you got in Econ 101.

So you can see where I am going with this - here is my very basic view of politics in the US and changes in voters views.

Democrats - focus on the concept of meritocracy - we want the smartest guy in class - the one busting the curve for the rest of us - to take that important job.  We see the benefit of intelligence in solving the kinds of issue an entire nation faces.

Republicans - focus on the concept of idiocy - 'the average Joe", the guy you want to have a beer with, the common man who just uses common sense.  Everyone can relate right - you balance your checkbook so how much harder can it be to just balance the budget of the largest economy in the world?  Plus - the guy has nice hair!  Darn intellectual elitists - Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!

So - how do we solve this?  How do we get the best people in the best jobs and retake our rightful place as leaders of the free world?

Your guess is as good as mine.  From afar - I don't see it happening in 2012.  From afar - a tiny nation smaller than NYC is already looking elsewhere.......

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Comment Preferences

  •  Problem is That Our System Creates a Disastrous (0+ / 0-)

    mainstream information environment, and it goes down to the core foundations of our system and our constructions of rights.

    There's no way for mainstream majorities to be informed as the framers insisted their system requires, not even close. Only some elites and current events enthusiasts can fight through the propaganda garbage our press are Constitutionally protected to bury us under, and find out reasonably well what's going on.

    I don't think anybody's got much of a clue how to turn this around, how to create an information environment that the people of a global superpower democracy need to self govern in the best interests of themselves and humanity.

    Almost all of us still think the system's the best, but all of us and our institutions are all failing it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:45:14 AM PDT

    •  The issue of information (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JDsg

      This is a good point - the ability to inform and educate in a smaller environment is easier.

      The evolution of social media gives us hope - the leverage of this communication allows for viral messages to the masses and has proven capable of driving change on a massive scale elsewhere in the world.

  •  The issue of information distribution... (0+ / 0-)

    ...is an important one, as noted above.  Certainly we here in S'pore benefit from having a variety of news sources that are more responsible in their presentation of news than the American media.

    However, I think another key factor is the quality of the Singaporean educational system, which seems to churn out a much larger high-information populace than the American system.  The American educational system, along with the media there, seems to produce a large number of people who can only handle low-information levels.  Not that we don't have our own low-information voters in S'pore, but they don't seem to be as high a percentage as they are in the US.  It is easier, I think, to mold the notion of meritocracy in Singapore.  At the primary school where my wife works, there is one of those sets of signs that primary schools love to put up, emphasizing the values that the school teaches to its students.  Top left of the six values for my wife's school is "We must uphold meritocracy and incorruptibility."  There is enough evidence to show that, yes, meritocracy does indeed work in S'pore and that striving to be among the elite will bring the rewards that the average Singaporean desires.  (And certainly S'porean parents buy into that notion for the sake of their children.)

    But even if this attitude were to be transplanted into the American educational system, I don't see where this could be used to transform American attitudes anytime soon.  Two or three decades may even be too short a time frame.

    (BTW, I've been here in Asia slightly longer than you, Exasperated.  One year in South Korea and my ninth anniversary here in S'pore early next month.)

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:31:27 AM PDT

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