Thursday, 2 June 2011

Less George, Less Yin for the PAP – Part 1 (From the view points of Yin and Yang)

Less George, Less Yin for the PAP – Part 1
(From the view points of Yin and Yang)

I wanted to write about George Yeo ever since I noticed his liking of Laozi, Red Chamber, Three Kingdoms and the Art of War in his facebook.  It seems to me he is a person who posses and moves along “Yin” principles and uses negative/creative thinking in problem solving in his daily life, a contrast to majority of the PAP (People’s Action Party) leaders.

Mr. Shanmugan, the new foreign minister, described George as a unique person and even irreplaceable. He said, "George is a polymath, a uniquely gifted individual of a type who comes along once in several generations. Interested in history, culture, a thinker, a true renaissance man. I can go on. But perhaps all that needs to be said is: He is irreplaceable," (Yahoo! News)

No more a minister, George continues to show interest in the Nalanda project. As asked in an interview, he reaffirmed his strong commitment to the project and will visit Bihar at a later time. Nalanda (Bihar, India) is the ancient Buddhist seat of learning that predates Oxford University by several hundred years.

Politics, Culture and Yin-Yang

Is a cultured man necessary a “Yin” guy? Not necessary.  Confucius and Mengzi and other Confucianism followers are usually considered promoters of Yang – creative principle and other scholars in particular, philosophical Daoism like Laozi and Zhuangzi are considered promoters of Yin – receptive principle.

Now, you may guess in the PAP leadership, who is Yang and who is Yin and why the missing of George Yeo will create even more imbalance to the Yin-Yang principles in the Cabinet.

And as what Mr. Shanmugan said George was irreplaceable, so the damage to the PAP new Cabinet must be very serious and PM Lee has to make decisive decision to bring back the Yin-Yang balance and LISTENING is the way to do it.

Book of changes and Yin-Yang

So, what is Yin and what is Yang? Yang is creative (active, aggressive) principle and Yin is receptive (inactive, passive) principle. (

Here we are talking about Chinese philosophy and the Book of Changes.  (Yi Jing or I-Ching). Not so much on the religion Daoism or the fortune teller aspects of Yi Jing.

In one paragraph, Yi Jing (易经) is a collection of accumulated life experiences civilizationof Chinese people prior to the Zhou (周)Dynasty. It began its written form at the beginning of Zhou and before the written form; it used symbols as below to describe the relationship between Heaven, Man and Earth. Confucius wrote the explanation of Yi Jing and it is called Yi Zhuan (易传) and after that the interpretation and analysis of Yi Jing and Yin Zhuan become a filed of study (Yi Xue 易学) until now.

There are only 2 symbols: Yin (- -) and Yang (_). It then developed into 8 Gua (trigrams) and with the combinations of 2 trigrams; it developed into 64 Gua (hexagrams).    

Yin and Yang, everyone has it and uses it everyday

To give a simple example, you take out a coin or a dollar note, the front is Yang and the back is Yin. Every man and woman is playing Yin and Yang role throughout the day. A female CEO is acting Yang role when in office. However, when she returns home, she is a mother and she is playing a Yin role. On other hand, a junior male staff working under a female CEO, he is playing a Yin role in office and when reaches home, he is a father and becomes a Yang force.  

So, Yin or Yang depends on your position, sex, timing, location, environment, relationship, comparison …etc. 

It is very difficult for a person to be purely Yin (total receptive, passive) or Yang (total creative or active). Usually, you have both, but with more Yin than Yang or Yang than Yin. And that affects the outcome as in the case of Tin vs. Nicole.

Tin vs. Nicole. Who has more Yin and Yang?

When both Tin Pei Ling and Nicole Seah stood for election in GE2011, both of them were acting the Yang role.  However, when they return to their respective offices, they are back to Yin role as both are not at the management level. During the campaign, we noticed that Nicole was listening and even crying when she learned about the sad story of a lady – a reaction of Yin.  While Tin reacted quite differently, especially over the internet, and showed her Yang force.  Perhaps, her resignation from Ernst & Young and wanting to spend more time with the residents of MacPherson can show and reflect her Yin force.

Yin is more welcome

Both Tin and Nicole seems strong in character (you need that if you are standing for election) and have more Yang elements as reported in the media. Why is it Nicole is more welcome than Tin throughout GE2011 until now?

The great difference is Nicole shows her Yin elements more often than Tin. It may also be that she has more Yin than Yang as compared to Tin. Or she shows more of her Yin side than that of Tin. People like Nicole’s Yin shows of caring of the sick, poor and old. She also connects well with the young voters. Listening is a key composition of Yin. And Nicole is positioning her listening role. (So do the PAP after the election). 

Personally, I have reservation about Tin’s declaration that she is not expected to have baby this year.  Why not? Motherhood is a true reflection of Yin and pregnancy will lead to more understanding of problems faced by the married women with children.  She can use the opportunity to gain back voters.      

Why WP won Aljunied GRC while George is play Yin role

By the analysis of Tin vs. Nicole, George led PAP team should win the Aljunied GRC as he is playing the Yin role. 
While the WP team led by Low Thia Khiang is projected as a Yang force and wanting to kill a tiger. 

Here we have to consider how an individual and a team work and the outside environment.  No one will have doubt that George will win if he stands in a SMC or even other GRCs. In the case of Tin v Nicole, Nicole will have high chance to win if it is a SMC contest.

However, GRC is a team work. WP team has a better Yin-Yang balance while PAP team has more Yin than Yang.  Perhaps with the exception of Cynthia, the rest of the PAP team is mainly Yin elements.

When you are fighting for survival, making a breakthrough, the team with Yang force or better Yin-Yang balance will win. 
In addition, the outside environment (the expectation of Singaporeans) raised the battle level to a national level rather than a local issue.

Typical example of Yang in GE2011


Aljunied has five years to 'repent' if it chooses WP: MM

Speaking at PAP's Radin Mas branch on Saturday, Singapore's founding father said the PAP will not lose in this election, as the only hot-seat is Aljunied.

But he said, "If Aljunied decides to go that way, well Aljunied has five years to live and repent." (

Typical example of Yin in GE2011


PM Lee: I'm sorry for our mistakes

"If we didn't get it right, I'm sorry. But we will try better the next time."
It was an apology that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saw fit to repeat twice on Tuesday during the People's Action Party (PAP) first lunchtime rally at Boat Quay next to UOB Plaza. (

After seeing these two typical examples and the rest is history.  It tells the power of Yin which is usually associated to the people and Yang is more related to ruler and management. But without the support of Yin (people), how can Yang perform?

A Cabinet of Yang principled ministers. Is it a danger?

So in a cabinet, if all the ministers want to act aggressive like Yang forces, then the decision making will tend to be lack of Yin considerations.

This is why George is considered important balancing force (in addition to his seniority and experience) in the Cabinet as he can contribute and provide Yin elements and principles to the Cabinet.  This is why the vacuum left by George is so big that forces the PAP government to listen attentively, willing to make U-turn and even willing to cut their pay package.

What are Yang principled policies that need change?

This is what PM Lee said in his swearing-in ceremony speech:

“At the same time, it is clear that Singaporeans do have significant concerns over both the substance of Government policies and the way they are implemented. There are anxieties over specific areas such as housing, healthcare and immigration. Many groups want the Government to be more responsive to their difficulties and predicaments – retirees, single parents, the middle class and young adults, even students.

So, we are expecting changes in the GDP growth model with the support of foreign talent policy; the HDB flats; and the hospital and medical care.   

Howeverit is difficult to change a person or an environment that in the past 50 years keep on emphasizing Yang principles like, money, perfect scores, A team, go to JB for sick and old, media restriction, ISA, productivity, etc. 

At the moment, “wait and see” is the answer.  

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