Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The rule of Law

Was watching 易中天品三国 yesterday at a friend's house and one part was especially striking to me. It was about Zhuge Liang and the rule of Law.

In that particular episode, Prof. Yi mentioned that Zhuge Liang was an admirer of the Qin State's policy of implementing the feudal laws. By implementing the feudal law, the State of Qin achieved rapid economic and social growth, gradually becoming the State which unified China. Zhuge Liang was trying to emulate that.

Implementing feudal law as Prof. Yi explained has its advantages that are important for a poor country:
- The enforcement of harsh punishments ensures that corruption is kept at a minumum
- Harsh laws ensures that citizens will not revolt and work hard
- In due course it leads to a sustainable and expanding economy

Feudal law does have its disadvantages, however. They are:
- Loss of individual identity
- In due course it will stifle creativity
- The harsh laws make livelihoods hard for the commoners

In the State of Shu's case, being the smallest country of the 3 Kingdoms and bearing the constant threat of being overwhelmed by numbers in an invasion by the State of Wei, the commoners were subjected to additional taxes (both grain and coin I believe) to fund a well prepared standing army.

From statistics, Shu's population was 940,000 then, with a standing army of 104,000 and Officals totalling 40,000. This means that 1 soldier/offical is supported by only 6.52 citizens.

In addition, Prof. Yi had explained that the Northern Expeditions were necessary because it was needed to clam internal unrest - specifically the Home Grown talents from revolting.

Thus he established the dire straits that both the State of Shu and its people were constantly in; which partially was why it was the first State to get wiped out.

Apply it to our local context, and strangely it seem to fit in so well.

1. Singapore pride's itself on having a strict set of laws
2. Singapore strongly emphasises on National Defense
3. Singapore has a large array of Officals and positions.
We have many institutions of Government, including but not limited to: the President, Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Elected Parliamentary Members, the Non Elected Parliamentary Menbers, the Statutory Boards, the Judicary, the Town Councils, the CDCs, MINDEF and maybe even more Organisations that I never heard of. In short the Government is the main source of employment, and it is supported directly by the blood of the people.

4. Singapore prides itself on achieving stellar reports on many international business reports/ magazines for many years.
Nuff said that this is actually one way to shut up your critics and expose on your own value.

I only hope that the we will not suffer the same fate as the State of Shu did. May we last as long as Britannia ruled the waves.

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