What Worked Well, What Didn’t – in Singapore, India and the World!
Within a few hours from now, we will have consigned 2015 to the annals of history, ushering in 2016. The New Year will continue to see technology and big data drive change even as the customer will reinforce his say and sway over business.
Reflecting on the year we are leaving behind there are a few things that come to mind.
On the personal front, I chose to give up my entrepreneurial foray, Smart Island (www.smartisland.com) and take up a position with Genesys.
- SG50 – 2015 marked the golden jubilee of this island nation and the year-long celebrations draw to a close today.
Not many will have credited this little Red Dot on the map with a shimmering future when it became an independent nation on August 9, 1965.
But founding prime minister late Lee Kuan Yew dreamt big and transformed the country into an economic powerhouse that the world listens to.
The Golden Jubilee was time for us to sing hosannas for the young republic’s spectacular growth across all sectors – industry, education, technology, health and lifestyle.
The SG50 celebrations also had a tinge of sadness with the nation missing Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away on March 23, 2015, at age 91.
Like him or hate him, a grateful and undivided Singapore will unhesitatingly acknowledge that but for Lee Kuan Yew’s stern, visionary leadership it will not have emerged as an affluent and peaceful First-World country.
- Pakistan Visit
Indians hoped Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take the country into a new era of prosperity, boosting economic growth through manufacturing.
He managed to sway people with a goodwill visit to Pakistan on Christmas Day. That is seen as an impromptu visit to wish Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday and attend his grand-daughter’s wedding. That was a nice gesture although nothing dramatic can be expected from it.
No resolution to the Kashmir issue can be realized unless both sides are prepared for compromises and for redrawing the boundaries. I don’t think either of them is prepared for it.
- Push for Majoritarianism, Theocracy
The push for majoritarianism and theocracy from his party and its sympathisers is putting in the spokes for his well-publicised schemes such as Make in India.
With hardly any originality in his campaigns, Mr Modi has largely been aping China to achieve progress.
- Corruption under BJP
Mr Modi won because the earlier Congress government had committed suicide with its corrupt ways, goofing up even with the organisation of the Commonwealth Games. But Mr Modi has been unable to rein in corruption with even charges against key members of his Cabinet – Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Mrs Swaraj is closely linked to fugitive Lalit Modi who fled India to evade being booked under money laundering charges. She colluded with the British government to help Lalit Modi get travel documents to have fun in other countries in what is described as “India’s scandal of the year.”
- Intolerant, NOT Incredible, India
An intolerant India with a regressive climate, where people are being killed for eating meat, and minority communities face harassment has emerged. Fortunately for the country, the Intelligentsia reacted with horror, surrendering the prestigious awards they had won over the years in protest.
However, instead of showing concern over the development, the Government only scoffed at the intellectuals.
- Lack of Ministerial Talent
While the Government hates the intelligentsia, Mr Modi has begun to realize how intellectually impoverished his Cabinet is.
This talent shortfall was covered widely worldwide through reports in today’s editions of local and international newspapers.
There is such a serious dearth of talent in his party that the Minister who holds the Education portfolio has hardly had any meaningful education. In fact, Education ranks very low among Mr Modi’s priorities.
Mr Modi and the BJP have mostly been indulging in a politics of vendetta, targeting the Nehru family, doing all they can to bring discredit to India’s first Prime Minister.
All Mr Modi has achieved is traversing the world to fulfil personal ambitions and get political even when he is on foreign soil, attacking the Congress and hardly behaving like a Statesman or as Prime Minister of a country with the world’s second largest population.
He visited Singapore too where the venue presented a temple-like environment.
- RSS Spreads its Tentacles
Under Mr Modi’s Prime Ministership, the RSS, a Hindu hardline group, has spread its tentacles to 39 countries using Non-Resident Indians as its support base. I have seen how NRIs are completely enamoured of Mr Modi, imagining that only he can save India!
Whether they merely promote the Hindu agenda worldwide or emerge as a militant outfit with a global presence remains to be seen.
Terror from Islamic radicals assumed alarming proportions with attacks across the world – from Paris, France to Pakistan.
This came about (and persists) amid the face of compassion from Europe and the rest of the Western world, taking in millions of refugees from the Islamic world affected by terrorism.
Western inclusiveness has failed to arrest the rise of radicals in their midst. A U.S. couple with a Pakistani and Saudi connection, killed 14 people in a California attack in the final month of 2015.
G Joslin Vethakumar