Kishore Mahbubani: What are Asian values?
Kishore Mahbubani was appointed Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on 16 August 2004 after having served 33 years in the Singapore Foreign Service (with postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, Washington DC and twice as Ambassador to the UN, during which he also served as President of the Security Council). He was the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry from 1993-1998.
He is the author of Can Asians Think? published in Singapore, Canada, US, Mexico, India and People’s Republic of China and of Beyond The Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World. His new book entitled The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Gobal Power to the East was published in New York in February 2008. He was also listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines in September 2005.
Kishore Mahbubani: Well the Asian values debate, unfortunately is the most mistitled, that mostly badly mistitled debate in the world, because the Asian values debate came about at the end of the Cold War, because there was an Asian reaction to western triumphalism. I mean I was there. I went to Europe. I went to America and that was I mean, the western intellectuals where just plain cocky. Their attitude towards the rest of the world was “hey! the cold war is ended. The west has won. Now you the rest of the world, you have only one road of history. You all have to become cultural clones of the west” and that’s what the Asians rejected. They said “No, we will not become cultural or political clones of the west” and it was that reaction that was named the Asian values debate. It’s not that the Asians disagree about the values of democracy, or the values of human rights, or we disagreed about the way the west said it should be implemented and history, by the way, has vindicated what the Asians said, because the societies that tried to go overnight, like Yugoslavia, it was a disaster. Thousands of people died, because of this experiment in democracy, that was imposed in Yugoslavia. Take Rwanda. 800,000 people died, because you tried to converted democracy without paying attention to the underlying ethnic fabric down there. These things you got to change carefully, and in that sense that Asian approache say “hey! Let’s do this carefully and deliberately, I think that approach has been vindicated. Now of course, as you know no westerner advocates immediate democracy as in the way that they used to in 1990 - 1995.
Recorded on: 2/28/08
Mahbubani says Asians have rejected the West as a cultural ideal.
What do the inventions of the future look like?
- Flying cars and robot butlers could be the next paradigm shift in our tech appetite for change.
- Death and consensus reality might soon become obsolete.
A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.
- Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.