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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Mavericks and the elite 

Koh Buck Song has a commentary in The Straits Times today on mavericks.

In the commentary, he says: “Ideally, the maverick would be seen playing the role of a ‘wise duke’, who has the guts to speak truth and advise the ruler and enlighten the people to avoid errors.”

This leads him to ask the question: “Can mavericks be part of the elite?”

To which I would ask: Why not, if they are talented? After all, in his speech on the elite at the NUS Society Lecture, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that “there will always be some who do not fit the mould for an academic education, but have other valuable talents and life skills” and “doors must always be open to those who have taken alternative routes to success”.

Huichieh of From a Singapore Angle discusses the elite in some detail in “"Elite"...what's in a word?”.

Apparently plenty, if the post is anything to go by. Responding to some negative sentiments towards the word “elite”, he basically argues that the elite is a necessary part of society, as surely as leaders need followers, and that it is no use getting too hung up over the word. Read the post for the details.

He is quite correct, in my opinion, although the fact remains that the word “elite” is too closely associated with the exclusivity and privileges of elitism and just doesn't go down well with many people.

The King must have the right to rule, but his subjects don’t have to like it. Especially if they’re mavericks.

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