I read about Mr George Yeo’s appointment as Chancellor of Nalanda University in India and I can’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment. He seems to be more welcomed by others outside his own country. They have taken on board his extensive military, economic, political and diplomatic experience. Like the Swiss-based World Economic Forum, like the Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics, like the Vatican in Rome.

Here, in Singapore, his Aljunied residents didn’t want him. Okay, maybe, that’s too simplistic. They wanted his opponents, the Workers’ Party, in Parliament more than they wanted him in Parliament, or to continue as Singapore’s Foreign Minister.

I think about this because I am wondering if the next GE will be the same: appetite for opposition in Parliament outweighing the need to have a good strong person who can hold up Singapore….

I think George Yeo is an exceptional man. I don’t think WP’s Low Thia Kiang can do what he has done like hold portfolios such as health, information and the arts or trade and industry.

I like Mr Low’s earthiness. But there are plenty of earthy people – and very few exceptional ones. I can’t see anyone else in the Cabinet, besides the Prime Minister, who can expound on a vision for Singapore. I see a lot of grey men who are very good at the nuts and bolts but probably not up to framing the big picture that will excite anyone. George Yeo did and would still be able to do so, but he couldn’t carry the ground he was in charge of.

So Aljunied residents have got their opposition – and a financially-suspect town council. As for Parliament, we all have some kind of (limited) engagement in Parliament.
Was this worth the price of a good man?

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