• George Yeo
    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Singapore. Guest Columnist of BeyondSG. He is on Facebook. Readers are welcome to join his Facebook network at
  • Harold Fock
    Entrepreneur (Chief Editor of BeyondSG). Deputy CEO/CFO of a listed technology company in Asia and CEO of Foundation Capital Pte Ltd, a hedge fund based in Singapore.
My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 09/2006

« Sergiev Posad | Main | G20 Meeting »

March 30, 2009


Cambridge – Last Friday, Minister of Foreign Affairs George Yeo visited Cambridge University in conjunction with its 800th Anniversary. During the visit, he discussed the state of the world and the global economic crisis with Singaporean students. “No one is sure where the bottom is or how long this crisis will last, “ he said. “In the meantime, tens of thousands of companies will go bankrupt and tens of millions of people will lose their jobs. What started as a financial crisis has become a full-blown economic crisis. For many countries, worsening economic conditions will lead to political crisis.”

Thoroughly enjoyed. One bone to pick: I disagree with: "Only by being sceptical can we be objective, can we see ourselves critically and learn from others." One should not be skeptical but open minded. Skepticism is the major block against knowledge and wisdom since it implies already knowing. Think what man "knew" 500 years ago. They wise man knows how much he doesn't know.


How does skepticism imply already knowing? If anything, it would imply the opposite. Skepticism of ourselves is a very humble notion; it is the act of admiting that we may not be 100% correct, and thus require more confirmation before going confidently ahead.

These are great thoughts. One bone to pick. I find the comment: "the Chinese have no wish to convert non-Chinese into Chinese-ness. In contrast, the US as a young country, believing its own conception to be novel and exceptional, wants everyone to be American."

I doubt both statements. Firstly, much of Americanism today is not by design, but just by the superior quality of American media, content and technology. If Japan's miniturization, Quality culture and even Anime` and manga are becoming popular, it is for the same reason... or for that matter, India's Bollywood. I would doubt if America started out saying it wants everyone to be American.

On the flip side, China's stance on many issues is not yet known. If the experience of Tibet is to be taken as a(bad) example, China does want the world to look like it.

The comments to this entry are closed.