When I first read this article by Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, I thought it was a rather badly written article. I still do.
What is (un)surprising is that the Straits Times finds such bad writing worthy of publication.
Incidentally, The Economist recently panned Mahbubani’s latest book, the grand-sounding “The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World”. Unfortunately, The Economist had this to say about the book [emphasis mine]:
But he provides few reasons to believe that the world will now follow his prescriptions—such as an overhaul of the United Nations—desirable though many of them may be. It hardly helps that Mr Mahbubani can be sloppy with facts. In arguing that it was Asian “engagement” as opposed to Western sanctions that produced reform in Myanmar, for example, he keeps Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest a year longer than the Burmese authorities did. He is also guilty of argument by non sequitur. He suggests that allegations of American torture invalidate American reservations about academic freedom in Singapore. And he can be cavalier with evidence. The claim that China’s government began to worry about its environment only after warnings from the United Nations Development Programme is attributed to a sole, anonymous “Chinese policymaker”.
Much of the book reads as a continuation of disparate arguments Mr Mahbubani has made over many years in his fulminations against the shortcomings of Western political leadership. The theme of “convergence” and his optimistic take on it are not enough to turn a disjointed flotilla of a book into an ocean-liner. [Economist]
I was going to write a rebuttal to his Straits Times article but then I thought, why bother with a pretentious article which doesn’t really say anything worthwhile.
Instead, I point you to two articles by New Nation – that website which promises “50% real news”.
‘I’d have failed Kishore Mahbubani’s essay’
Kishore Mahbubani is the most intelligent man in the Milky Way
Kishore wants you to respond to his article and – get this – the Straits Times will “pick 10 readers to get tickets to a dialogue between Kishore Mahbubani and National University of Singapore law faculty dean Simon Chesterman on Mr Mahbubani’s latest book.”
Well, good luck to you.
The article in question: Continue reading “Kishore”