In modern times in Britain, we have the simmering rivalry between the Milliband brothers, David and Ed after Gordon Brown's departure from the Labour Party's leadership. And Rupert Murdoch's brood had their problems too.
Even the mighty Royal Family was not exempt. Because Edward VIII - who reigned for just one year in 1936 - decided to give up the British throne for the love of his American paramour Mrs Wallis Simpson, the duty and responsibility of the Monarch fell upon his reluctant brother George (who became King George VI, 1936 - 1952). From childhood, George VI suffered a chronic stammer and public speech was an ordeal for him. His wife Queen Elizabeth (the mother of the present Queen), was unable to forgive her brother-in-law ...... for what she regarded as a betrayal of the Royal Family. She blamed him for her husband's early death - George VI died at 57, his brother who was a year older died at 78.
Today, we bear witness to the very public falling out between two brothers (and a sister), scions of the venerable Lee Kuan Yew family/dynasty, all holders of the much vaunted President Scholarship, high-flyer graduates from one of the most pukka universities in the world (just like their mater and pater), top ranking players (just like their wives) in the first-world city state of Singapore - that Utopia in the economic backwater of Southeast Asia. They are squabbling like alley cats over the old family home - and the money and power that are linked to the old homestead.
It's not so much a tragedy as a farce.
We in Malaysia have been regaled by stories of the PM's 'financial shenanigans', his wife's handbags and eye-boggling diamonds in both the local and global Press.
Now squeaky-clean and self-righteous Singapore is giving us a soap opera worthy of another manga-style comic book hero, as a sequel to the Manga comic book: The LKY Story - Lee Kuan Yew: The Man Who Shaped a Nation.
According to Bunsho Kajiya, managing director of Shogakukan Asia " The manga format is often used because even youth and children find it appealing to read and there is a general understanding that manga format works on a global scale to attract many potential readers."
Say no More!
But I cannot avoid harbouring a feeling of deja vu, that this scenario has happened before in Singapore's history.
Now I remember this history textbook in Singapore.
In it , Singapore schoolchildren are taught the history of their island Republic, of being small fish surrounded by many Malay fish. This book notes
Let me continue this with a quote from an earlier posting - to illustrate what happens when legacy and siblings and power begin to disintegrate.
See : https://anaksihamid.blogspot.my/2013/02/stamford-bob-and-dave.html
"Raffles employed the old trick of manipulating factional rivalry and playing the kingmaker to ensure Singapura belongs to the British and to challenge the Dutch threat to Britain's lucrative opium trade between China and British India.
He installed Tengku Hussein who was exiled in Riau by his brother the Sultan of Johor as the Sultan of Johor! All this was done with the collaboration of the man who was the head of the Malay settlement located at the mouth of the Singapore River when Raffles first landed in Singapore.
Stamford Raffles did not discover Singapore. And he did not sign a treaty with the actual Sultan of Singapura - he installed a puppet, an interloper.
1 February 1819 - Tungku Long (Hussein) was smuggled in from Riau and Raffles offered to recognise Hussein as the Sultan of Johor (just as Robert Clive did in installing Mir Jafar as the Nawab of Bengal) thereby legitimising the British right to set up a trading post (mind you, just a trading post) in the treaty of 6 February 1819.
In the treaty, Hussein was claimed to be 'the lawful sovereign of the whole of territories extending from Lingga and Johore to Mount Muar.' The Brits left no stones unturned!"
Well, I thought I might enhance some of the material in that school textbook which simply recorded this......
..... and an illustration of an exotic native warrior.
And so, boys and girls - here are some final thoughts.
|From "Elegy written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray, 1716-1771|
2. "The old trick of manufacturing factional rivalry and playing kingmaker" - it's a dangerous device that is being manipulated in both Singapore and Malaysia.
3. Among the Malays, there are a growing number of Tungku Longs and Temenggong Abdul Rahmans who are willing to sell their fellow-Malays down the drain, knowingly or unknowingly - in the name of progress, religion, democracy, liberalism, human rights and profit.
What wee gave, we have;
What wee spent, wee had;
What wee kept, wee lost.
(Epitaph on Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon (d, 1419) and his wife at Tiverton)
Jest for fun. My favourite song in the late 80s and a beautifully light advertisement
for all stricken brothers. Cheers mate!