Saturday, November 23, 2013

An Encouragement Note To Nicole Seah

The following is a note I have written to Nicole Seah after reading her article post "Ground Zero" on her personal Facebook.

Dear Nicole,

You may find it ironic or even feel that I am just being "sarcastic" but I have to congratulate you of crossing the most critical point of your life. Contrary to what you and many other people think, I think 2013 is the best year you could ever have in your life.

From what I have read from your post “Ground Zero”, 2013 is the year that provides the most important opportunity of metamorphosis for you, both in terms of personal as well as political development.

Although I hardly write to you about anything but in private, I have raised the concerns of your early political fame. Especially when you are blown out of the sky by the initial political fame gained with so many people flattering you, there lies the very danger of a devastating fall and destruction by the overinflated ego.

There is a Chinese saying, “少年得志大不幸,literally means that most of those who have early fame or success in life, will probably end up with misfortune later. Right after GE2011, I actually felt guilty for transforming you into a “famous young Star” by urging you to stand for elections in Marine Parade which will inevitably put you into this dangerous path of “early fame”. As I watched over the days, months and years of how you have set your feet onto the sweet coated poisons of flattery and ego trips, I felt even worse. When I was persuading you to stand for elections in Marine Parade GRC, I have told you that you will definitely become famous or even a star, due to Tin PL factor of contrast and comparison. However, somehow I have left out the most important part of the potential danger lying ahead after becoming famous.

I didn’t write to you earlier because I know, there and then, you will not be able take criticisms constructively when what you heard most, was flattery. Pride and prejudice have become the biggest hindrance of your life. Anybody at your age if put into your shoes, would inevitably become so.

When I witnessed how you tripped and fell along the way with the various blunders you made publicly in forums, talks or in private, I thought to myself, all the efforts would be a waste after all. One will fall the hardest after he or she has climbed to the highest of the ego ladder. This is a historical lesson I learnt; the most effective way of destroying your opponents is to fan their ego to the highest and then after, give them the hardest blow to make them fall the hardest. They will never be able to stand up again to fight you. Strength comes not from your physical construct, but rather, from your mind and soul. Once your mind is destroyed by the fall from the ego ladder, no matter how strong you are in physical terms, you will lose the will to fight again.

When I read what you have written in this article “Ground Zero”, I feel so glad and happy for you. You have finally gone through the most difficult phase of this process of transition. Not many people can overcome this transition, a ruthless metamorphosis that will strip you of mind and soul. Some have even perished, taken their own lives for they cannot take the humiliation that comes from the fall from the ego ladder.

Thus, I have to congratulate you for making it through such enlightening process. However, I still hope that you can reconstruct your mind and soul to continue the political path which you have chosen to walk, with more wisdom and patience. Intelligence alone is not enough for one to walk the difficult, risky and uncertain path of opposition politics. You need wisdom, tact, patience, learning, hard work, team play and building, apart from charisma and stardom, to sustain and be successful in opposition politics. 

When you and other ex-RP people joined NSP and perform well in GE2011, I was extremely happy. However, I am utterly disappointed on how you guys run the campaign and later, demonstrate the impatience to take over the leadership of the party. I have no problem to hand over the SG at all but I guess it is the wrong thing to do after all.

Let me explain why I think you and others who are new to NSP are extremely politically naive and amateurish when you guys tried to take over the party. And why I decided to let Hazel become SG and allowing my membership lapsed as well.

Politics is not just about Stardom or Fame, not even about “talents”, be it “scholars” or whatever it means. It is about numbers and people management. Apparently, all of you have underestimated the strength of the “veterans” or “original members” of NSP. All you have focused is about what you want but nothing about the feelings or other people’s thinking or perception.

When I first join NSP way back in 2007, I didn’t even want to hold any position in CEC, although I was co-opted into it. But I still spent lots of effort and time to help Law Sin Ling, the then SG of NSP in various work; discussion of press releases, editorial of North Star, ground work as selling North Star etc. I wasn’t interested in taking up the SG post even after Law left. Not even when the veterans persuaded me to take over. The reason is simple: I was simply not ready to take up the SG because I have yet to gain confidence of the members. It will take time for anyone who wants to lead a whole group of people who are mostly older than you, to understand them better and find out more about each and every one of them. Else, any rush into such leadership position will be suicidal.

Anyone who tries to push you to take over such leadership position prematurely will definitely have ulterior motives or hidden agendas. It is actually a DEATH TRAP because once you take up that position, most probably you will not able to perform well because you lack the basic understanding of each individual in the party, least their full support, trust and confidence. Positions aren’t there for good showing only. They come with great responsibility and you will be putting your own credibility to great risk if you do not have the right conditions to excel.

Thus, it was only after Ken Sun stepped down and knowing the GE was near, I took up the post of SG. However, it is not without obstacle. There will always be others who want to be difficult and try to undermine your authority or position. There was one veteran who wanted to contest for the SG post. I told everyone, including him, right before the CEC elections that if he could find two congress members to propose and second him to contest for the SG post, I would decline nomination and let him be SG. He could only get one member to nominate him but no other to second him. The rest is history.

The point I want to show through my own experience, is that never underestimate the people around you. In politics, you cannot cherry pick but have to work with people whom you may not like at all. This is what team work is all about. As long as they are not there to destroy or sabotage the whole platform, you will have to play ball as a team player with them.

But when I saw how impatient the whole lot of you was rushing into demanding leadership positions, especially the SG post, I could only laugh at such naivety. I could have contested against Hazel and by now you should realize, most probably Hazel won’t win if there was a contest between us. (see afternote) But I didn’t. I empathized with your group’s plight, especially Tony and Hazel who have hopped from WP to RP and last (hopefully), NSP. They felt helpless of such “party hopping” because they felt that the main problem was that they do not have absolute control of their destiny via controlling the party platform. Furthermore, most likely if Hazel didn’t become SG there and then, your whole group would most likely leave NSP. Your group will become “political nomads”, so to speak. It will be a lose-lose situation for everyone of us. Even if I won the SG post, the whole party would still lose because we would lose the whole bunch of good, though politically inexperienced people.

However, I also foresaw that Hazel and the rest will not succeed basically because she won’t be able to commit the kinds of time and efforts demanded from a SG. Furthermore, taking up such position prematurely without even first knowing the whole party well inside out, will definitely handicapped her effectiveness as SG. Running a party of ALL volunteers is MORE demanding than running a company. This is because for a commercial entity, you can just hire and fire but not for a political party of volunteers. You will have to spend triple effort in managing PEOPLE, human beings who have different egos and characteristics.

This is the reason why I have to let my membership lapse because of these predictions, I do not want to be made the scapegoat for being blamed for Hazel’s failure. True enough, from extraordinary long time in publishing the first issue of North Star right after GE2011, to lack of leadership on the ground work front and such, my predictions came true. It is just a matter of time before she fell from that position.

I have spent so much writing on these because I want to let you know, it will do you no good to be impatient in taking up political positions in NSP CEC when you cannot commit that level of efforts and time needed to be effective. Most important of all, you will need to spend more time to understand everyone in the party, not restricting to CEC members only. Else, even if you managed to get whatever position you aimed for, you will find yourself stonewalled and frustrated at all the time.

The other point which you have raised in your article Ground Zero, is that you realize you are not expert in everything. The truth is, if you want to be a politician, even just as an opposition MP, you will have to know almost everything with certain depth, though not to the expert level. It is good that you have such realization and you are still young. You could still put effort in learning more policy matters; enrich yourself with the learning of Economics, statistics or even sociology and technology etc. This is an ever learning path for politicians.

Last but not least, I do have confidence and hope in you to progress into an even more potent political force after this great year of 2013. I always remind myself: one learns nothing from being blown out of the sky by ego fanning but only from setbacks and failures in life, one will get valuable lessons to prepare for the future. 
All the BEST to you in your future political battles.

Goh Meng Seng

Afternote: Well, even if Hazel managed to win in a contest against me during that CEC elections, she would lose even more. She would be seen as an ambitious. anxious maverick who ousted the SG whom agreed to take them into NSP. She would be seen in the same light of those backstabbers. How could she actually "win" anything via such process? Such contest will do her no good at all. Thus, the only way to resolve such lose-lose situation, was for me to step aside willingly for her to take over the SG post because she would not stand down from the contest as she has been misled into such situation. All poisons are disguised with lots of good intentions and flattery in politics. Only amateurs fail to see through such plots. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Nicole said that she committed serious mistake with her lobby with TJS?