Many of us would have heard the most famous quote of US president John F Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. He said it against a backdrop of a divided country – when partisanism was at its peak. Kennedy himself won the presidency with the smallest margin ever at that point in time. His inaugural speech and the now would-famous line, helped cemented his reputation on both sides of the divide.
Fastforward 50 years, and we are at a very similar turning point. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how the country should be run. And noone else’s opinion matters.
Such is the power of mass media, that many of us bought the talks of politicians lock, stock and barrel. Despite being brought up to view issues from multiple perspectives, many of us chose to believe when we were told. Once we have established our affiliations, we seem to have lost all our intelligence and allowed our actions and thoughts to be dictated by our emotions.
Not too long ago, cinemas were required to play the national anthem in conjuction with the annual National Day, I was there to watch, and many not only refused to stand, but was making fun of the anthem. The racial polarisation was clear.
There is nothing wrong of course, with hav ing strong opinions on how things are run. As entrepreneurs, we are accustomed to forming opinions and making decisions. However, when these strong opinions begin to affect our ability to see the big picture, then we are putting a lot of things at risk.
WHAT YOUR COUNTRY DID FOR YOU
Many entrepreneurs achieved success without much support from the government. Indeed, many of these same entrepreneurs pray that the government stay outside of business. But least we forget, without a strong government, we will not have achieved the economic growth and stability that has allowed for our businesses to grow and prosper.
While we may think there’s a better way to govern the country, or better people to do so; we cannot enforce such thoughts upon others who do not share the same opinions.
It is not easy to find fault. Unpaved roads are only dangerous when we drive recklessly. Higher electricity costs will bite more when we have been taking them for granted. There are indeed easy solutions to most things. When we find fault in everything the present government does, from its legitimacy to every policy introduced – we are ultimately putting our very own businesses at risk. It’s self-sabotage of the highest order.
If we treasure the harmony that has held this country together, then we need to constantly ask what ourselves are doing to promote that same harmony. So, while we continue to challenge the actions of the present government, ask ourselves what we have done for this country.