Transcending Dualism In Public Administration


Ancient Taoists realised that contradictions were creations of the human mind. When Yin appears, so does Yang. In modern Western thought, notions stemming from the Hegelian dialectic are the closest thing to this old wisdom. These were traditions meant to point to the endless divisiveness of dualistic thought, which in public administration and politics causes more problems than it solves.

THE OLD GREEK philosophy has a famous law, the law of non-contradiction, which says, a thing cannot be its opposite in the same time-space continuum. In plain English, this is what we call “Either/ Or” thinking, or in plainer English, a durian cannot be at the same time a mangosteen.

While many of us may not know this law by name, we are often its faithful adherents. This is more so for politicians. Politics today, especially in Malaysia, has become painfully partisan. You are either in Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, you are either a United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Muslim or a Malaysia’s Islamic Party (PAS) Muslim, you are either with us or against us.

To read the rest of the article and to access our e-Archive, subscribe to us for RM150 a year.

Related Articles

Sep 2016

Three Historical Markets of George Town

Prangin Market, Chowrasta Market and Campbell Street Market have been the hubs of trade on the island for over a century.

Apr 2015

Does Malaysia’s animation industry have a future?

Ch'ng Chin Chin explores Malaysia's animation industry by talking to the experts.

Jul 2013

Electoral system – options beyond First-Past-The-Post

Exploring the variety of electoral systems currently used around the world.

Feb 2011

Freeing education from politics

Education in Malaysia has been politicised for far too long.