Principles beat personalities

Edited and Burmanized, without even requested permissions from the “Principles beat personalities” by Dean Johns in MKini

I don’t really blame all those people who feel enraged by the apparent in action by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD. It is a blessing in disguise: a timely lesson in the fact that we can count on nobody to save us but ourselves.

Or, in other words, that people win political freedom by fighting for their personal principles, not from following cult-figures, political populists or other all-too-fallible personalities.
As tempting as it may be to sit back and wait to be led sheep-like to a political promised land by some self-styled saviour, messiah, hero, leader or even an elected prime minister, president, emperor, Caesar or Feuhrer, such passive hopes of succour and salvation are as false as they’re feeble.

History is rich in examples of the fact that, given sufficient time and authority, a great many heroes turn into zeroes, saviours into enslavers, charismatic leaders into catastrophic misleaders, icons into nothing but cons, and personalities into poisonalities.

Human nature being what it is, power, whether it springs from talent, popularity, wealth, fame or Mao Tse Tung’s proverbial barrel of a gun, really does corrupt. And absolute power corrupts not only absolutely, but, as exemplified by the endless rule of the Communist Party in China, the Kim dynasty in North Korea and the military regime in Myanmar (Note: I changed), also obsoletely.

And in the fight against such absolute, obsolete obscenities in North Africa and the Middle East, one of the most hopeful aspects to me of the Arab Spring has been and remains the fact that the people at large, not individual demagogues, have led the charge.

Hence my admiration for the burgeoning Anybody But Military movement in Myanmar, based as it is on the peoples’ common desire to be rid of an obsolete, absolutely corrupt and outright criminal government, not in support of some party or person, but on principle.

ABMM (ANYTHING BUT Myanmar Military) should be started to signal a growing popular awareness in Myanmar that personalities, on whichever side of the political divide, are both changeable and temporary, whereas principles like truth, justice and equality of opportunity for all are immutable, indisputable and eternal.

Thus evolutionary and even revolutionary figures as inspirational as they may be for as long as they managed to retain their principles, became irrelevant the moment their messages of hope start to sound suspiciously like personally-interested or even regime-inspired and paid hype.

But as disappointed, disenchanted and even enraged as we former fans and sycophants may feel at our favourites’ falls from grace, let’s at least give them due credit for the two priceless gifts they’ve given us: sorely-needed encouragement back when we needed it most, and now the impetus to realise that we’re no longer dependent on their leadership by example.

Purpose served

Similarly, if on a far larger scale and at infinitely greater personal cost, I believe that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has served her purpose.

Even if Myanmar Military Government manages by hook or crook to permanently thwart our dream of someday seeing her as prime minister, and whether or not you believe he deserves this come-uppance, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  has done more than anyone else to fatally damage the regime’s credibility.

And now it’s up to every Myanmars to be sufficiently inspired and emboldened by these shining examples, however tarnished they now may be or possibly have yet to become, to stand up as leaders rather than just followers; as fighters for their principles rather than passive supporters of public figures.

Or, if you prefer, as proud members of and loud advocates for Myanmar’s principled, non-partisan and above all personality- and personage-free movement for freedom, fairness, honesty and justice for all – ABMM.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia’, ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’, ‘Missing Malaysia’ and ‘1Malaysia.con’.

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3 Responses to “Principles beat personalities”

  1. Alan Kok Says:

    Dr Koko Gyi,

    Nice read written by the Australian Dean Johns, but still
    it’s subjective, sticking to the writer’s view ONLY. Off hands
    I found RPK the fugitive now marooned in UK and sometimes Bangkok is not a reliable person, he changes direction frequently, following the trade winds, depending on new occurence or transitional events that have not come to an end. Worst still as a political writer for his media web, he still relishes his days as a royalty. I mean he’s pro-royalty like any other ordinary melayu. He can’t be realistic and progressive as a modern person. I think he should go back to Iraq, Afghanistan or any trouble mid-eastern nations where justice lacks (He was there in Iraq before). On the other hand I think he was too comfortable to enjoy the limelight focussed on him.
    Congrats Doc, Now HSBC advertised in your blog. Happy making money!

    Your friend with different opinion,

    • drkokogyi Says:

      Dear Friend,
      I agree with you. If we think from RPK’s side, he need to earn money for his survival. We all could hate and blame him but if someone offer MORE THAN ENOUGH money there R alot of people willing to sell anything.
      But I never advertize, it is from WP. They R making money from my postings and viewers but still REQUESTING me to pay to “upgrade”.
      TQ friend.

  2. drkokogyi Says:

    My Dear Friend Mr Alan Kok,
    In the fairytales we used to like, the frog was turned into a prince. But now we are amused to see the prince turns into a ‘frog’.

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