Monday, January 19, 2009


What would you think if you put me in charge of an undertaking and allotted me tens of millions to spend to ensure that I ‘succeed’ at the task, but I end up failing miserably? What would be your reaction if this did not only happen once, but twice in a matter of five months? After I failed miserably the first time, we pretended our failure was just because we were not expected to succeed anyway! Ahh! Fantastic…this actually turned out to be quite a convenient way of looking at the situation, no?

Then circumstances were such that we had to compete with this opponent all over again. Sigh…Adoi!!! What man! But what to do? But we thought - never mind la; we have lots of money…we out-spent our competitor and made sure we succeeded this time. After all, we are “stronger,” we have more “clout,” we have “home field advantage,” we have all the necessary backing of the “behind the scene” people who will be supervising this competition. No sweat one! This goat is cooked! Right?

This time around, we again out-spent them and even tried some other…let’s just say ‘unique’ tactics, la. Yes, you can say they’re unique, la. I personally spent countless hours trying to ensure we succeeded; I had no desire to be humiliated again. Because I will soon be the tuan besar and calling all the shots, I wanted to make sure I looked impressive with a convincing win this time.

But what if after the first embarrassing thrashing by the opponent, and after all these ‘unique’ strategies and our other advantages noted above, the outcome again was a debacle for us?

What if afterwards, I said something like, “this is a setback for usla!

Why you or anybody want to make such a big deal about it! Okay la, we lost, but it’s not so bad as you think. Even if we spent tens of millions to try to succeed, it’s only a setback! No big deal.

Would you be convinced that this defeat is just a setback – and be alright about my performance? Would you be alright about both of my embarrassing debacles? Hmmm…. I wonder – I really wonder.

Now, here are some additional twists to this episode.

One of my allies comes out to say I’m not to blame. Well, you must think I like what this ally had to say because he doesn’t think it’s my fault, right? What? Whose fault is it then, if not mine? Never mind, la….let’s just not bother, can?

Another ally comes along and says all those involved in this debacle “should shoulder the responsibility for the defeat together and stop pointing fingers at others.”

Yet another ally did seem to think this debacle “reflects the urgent need…to carry out further reforms.” I’m not sure if this means these allies agrees with me that what happened was only a "setback.” I can’t really tell la.

But another person from our camp was a bit more blunt about it: “Either [we have] not heard the call for fundamental change or [we are] unable to respond to it,” he said. He also said, “We are in uncharted waters with no one at the wheel.” It sure seemed he was a bit more direct about blaming me, don’t you think?

Oh, well. But I’m sure you agree with me that this is just not a referendum on me or my competence, right?

I’m sure if we had to compete with our opponents all over again tomorrow, you would put me in charge, right?

G. Krishnan