Thought of the Day – The Great Asian Political Idealist

Today is the Birthday of a Great Politician of Asia in 20th Century, Dr Sun Yat Sen.

In remembrance of this Great man, I shall dedicate my Thought of the Day to talk about his greatness.

Many people would have mistaken the source of greatness in Dr Sun. Rightfully, he is credited for bringing the fall of Imperial rule in China, although in actual fact, the success of 1911 mutiny and revolution wasn’t part of his deliberate efforts at all.

It was his inspiration, undaunted effort in advocating the topple of the Imperial Qing Dynasty that gained him great respect among his contemporary revolutionists.

However, his greatness in politics didn’t stop at that. He wasn’t exactly the top politicians in politicking and in fact, he had failed in his politicking efforts when he conceded his position to Yuan Shi Kai who tried to reinstate Imperial rule to modern China again.

His main contribution to the world, especially to the Asian political arena, lies in his political ideology of Separation of Five Powers and the Three Principles.

The concept of Separation of Five Powers is especially profound and herein lies the main difference he had against the Western Democratic ideology.

Although he was against the Imperial rule in China but he recognized the strength of the political administration which was installed and implemented by the Imperialists. This is a five thousand years legacy of Chinese wisdom in political management. He recognized that throughout history, China had always been the country which possessed the most sophisticated and advanced political management system as compared to their contemporaries. Many foreign states wanted to emulate its complex political administration and in fact, its neighbors were greatly influenced by its system. These include Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

The scholar system which Chinese dynasties had implemented throughout history ensured basic competency of the control and management of the country regardless of who was the Emperor. Even when the Emperor was just a 10 yea old kid, the scholar system would ensure basic competence in the running of the Empire.

The Chinese dynasties also valued the importance of Checks and Balances. There would always be periodic Audit checks carried on various local governance by Special Envoys empowered by the Emperors themselves.

In the inner court, they Emperor would appoint special officials empowered with the Power of Impeachment. They were allowed to speak up their mind and criticize court officials and even against Emperors without any dire consequences.

The most important institution of the scholar system was the Board of Examination. The Chief examiner would make sure the selection process for the brightest scholars from the country was done properly.

These selected students would then be fielded into the respective departments of the Empire administration.

The Western countries didn’t have such complex system of political administration until much later in the 18th or early 19th century. The idea Checks Andy Balances was actually first implemented in the Chinese dynasties as far back as 4000 years ago!

Thus even Dr Sun was heavily influenced by the western ideology of democracy, he realized that China itself had a much superior system of political administration.

However, the most common problem faced by past dynasties was the corruption of powers via full concentration of powers by One or few court officials, other than the Emperor himself.

Thus, he had raised the importance of the Separation of Five Powers, instead of the Three powers advocated by the Western world. Other than the Three powers of Executive, Judiciary and Legislation, he added two more powers that were inherently the most critical for superior political administration….. Power of Impeachment and Examination.

The Power of Impeachment is equivalent to the modern days Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau and Audit General. The Power of Examination was catered towards the important Board of Examination which was the gate keeper of selection and appointment of scholars to civil service positions. Basically it refers to the power of selecting, appointing and promoting those who work for the government. These two are the critical powers for clean, effective, efficient and competent government.

The contribution of Dr Sun in raising the significance of these two powers should not be underestimated. Many of the problems we are still facing right now, even in 21st century, is how incompetency creeps into the political management of countries when the Power of Impeachment is lacking coupled with cronyism infestation when the Power of Selection and Appointment is totally corrupted.

This is the reason why my comrades and I decided to form People’s Power Party using Dr Sun’s profound ideology of Separation of Five Powers as the pillars of our Core Value.

PPP will strive to pass on the legacy of Dr Sun’s greatest political ideology which will always be relevant to good governance in all centuries ahead.

Goh Meng Seng