Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mao and Others

Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Mao Zedong, the man who established the People's Republic of China in 1949 and was once known in the country as the "great leader" and the "great helmsman".

According to reports, there was no celebration in China to commemorate the event. Instead, reports highlighted Mao-backed movements like the Great Leap Forward -- a disastrous attempt at speedy industrialization -- and the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution that led to tens of millions of deaths.

Will future generations remember some of the statesmen of Asean countries? Or will they fade away like Mao?

The legacy of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years, hinges partly on his current fight with chosen successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew is still an overly dominant political figure although he stepped down in 1990 after 31 years in office.

In Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra has lost some of his political clout ever since he struck the controversial deal to sell his flagship Shin Corporation to Singapore's government investment arm Temasek Holdings this year.

In Indonesia, former strongman Suharto left office ignominously in 1998 following massive street protests that ended his three-decade dictatorship.

Future generations will probably have mixed feelings about some of the Asean leaders. But they can take comfort in the fact that they did not purge millions of their fellow citizens.


harry said...

im more benevolent than mao the dictator. haha

ccp said...

i think mao lives on. the party still controls everything. your thesis is wrong.

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