Deng Xiaping ‘s political Wisdom

Kishore Mahbubani on discussing the position of China in respect of taking world leadership, seems to think that China for the next decades will not take the lead top seat in the affairs of the globe. He quotes the wisdom of Deng Xiaping and thinks that China has still have much grounds to cover in its internal matters to want to spare its energy to dominate world affairs.

Lessons from Mr. Deng Xiaping, who had a lot of political wisdom for his successors to follow. Much of it is captured in the famous 28 characters that Deng used:

1. Lengjing guancha- observe and analyse (developments) calmly;

2. Chenzhuo yingfu- deal (with changes) patiently and confidently;

3. Wenzbu zhenjiao- secure (our own) position;

4. Taoguang yanghui- conceal (our) capabilities and avoid the limelight;

5. Shanyu shouzhou- be good at keeping a low profile;

6. Juebu dangtou- never become a leader;

7.yousuo zuowei- strive to make achievements.

I fancy very much the lessons from Deng in world politics. They could well apply to each individual in our respective sphere of business. I like this sense of humility, discretion and conscious will to keep a low profile- which is very much a Hakka temperament I would like to believe. I could see my Grandfather using these same words.

Our tainted western education would contradict point 5,- be good at keeping a low profile, as we tend to think that we have to be recognised for our worth. When dealing with Chinese businesses in my dates in the Fareast, I could sense the marked difference between a Cantonese or Shanghainese influenced business where boasting on the past successes  and a show of power were more important that striving diligently to make achievements with humility.

I recalled the grand welcome my boss and I had by a Hong Kong firm to start discussing cooperation in the 70’s . We were received in a hired Rolls Royce and transported to a posh hotel and entertained lavishly.  It was a show  of the prosperity that the said firm was enjoying and the power, influence  and capacity they commanded. Two days later, realizing  that we were still undecided to sign in on their terms, they flatly terminated the talks and did not even show us how to hail a taxi to get our hotel.


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