Politically and democratically, the word “CRITICS” implies the sense of strong support in the political involvement and commitment. “Critics” improves the performance of the political leadership and it doesn’t mean to stop support.
USA the father of the modern democratic country sees “critics” as the tips for national development as raised by Marvin Olsaky that, “USA builds up her power through four fundamental principles: raw material, skillful labors, the right management, and basic critics”.
In contrast, in Cambodian context, most people think that when one is criticized, one feels politically or personally offensive and lose support and just turn away without consideration.
History has proved in most countries about the danger of a nation where a leader failed to appreciate, “the Law of Critics.” This failure is hindered by some of the cases as follow:
The Bad Inner Circle : The inner circle refers to those who are advisors, family, and friends of a leader. This means a leader is a good leader but he unfortunately is surrounded by a group of bad people. They can be sycophant people, an opportunist or a spy. In this environment, a leader is strongly and negatively influenced by this group for their personal interests and pressure the leader’s decision-making ineffective as John C. Maxwell says, “A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him”. And those who want to advise, criticize, and reform the government will meet the dead end result, as Mo Zi, a Chinese philosopher said, “When a leader is surrounded with praises and flatteries and insulted against good counsels, then the country is in danger. And those who give advice are viewed as the sweet wells become sooner dry and the elegant trees are oftener felled. The tortoises that are more responsive are often burned and the snakes that show more magic power are more sacrificed.”
The Good Inner Circle : This means that the inner circle is composed of good people but a leader himself is bad. Then, the surrounding will be silenced for fear of risking position, self-interests, and life, in advising a leader is just like betting one’s life, like the case of Emperor Philips III in the Byzantine Empire when he kept refusing Badas’ advice, Emperor’s uncle, to get rid of Basilius, the Emperor’s friend, who rumored to betray him. However, Badas was beheaded for his daring advice and thereafter the Emperor Philips was killed by Basilius.
In the case of our country, most of our leaders have failed to appreciate “the Law of Critics”, because he is most of the times surounded by bad inner circle who just become the inactive and “YES-MAN”, which undermine our country’s stability, peace, unity, independence, development, and strength for centuries. Yet, those bad inner circle become so effective sycophants and opportunists which politically modeled and motivated by the culture of motherism (meh niyum) and self-interests. On the other hand, traditionally, most of our leaders also prefer to be praised to critics and this culture does influence the negative political involvement of the closest and the die-hard supporters as well as the whole citizens.”
We, as the new generation of Cambodia, should uphold this principle of “the Law of Critics” which not only today but is praised by thousand years ago in the Greek philosophy thinkers because it gives us light, strength, and resources for national development, justice, consent, and solidarity.
25 February 2008
“Pleasant words are adorned, direct words are real, bitter words are medicine, sweet words cause disease.” Shang Yang, a Prime Minister of Wei Kingdom ( China ) and a political philosopher.
“Good bows may be hard to draw, but they can reach great heights and pierce deeply. Good horse may be hard to ride on, but they can carry heavy burdens and make long journeys. Real talents may be hard to command, but they can be trusted to be envoys to the court of emperor and meet the nobility.” Mo Zi, Chinese philosopher.