Winning with Honour is a fascinating work as the authors transfer the rules of morality and ethics to the history of Singapore. This book can be interesting for many people because its chapters describe the rules and recommendations that apply to both the individual and organisations. However, Winning with Honour has brought many questions and doubts to me since, despite the truthfulness and correctness of the facts, the authors do not comprehensively consider some issues.
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The first essential and practical feature of the book is its convenient structure, which shows that the authors care about the reader. The book is structured in such a way that the main theses of the right pages are located on the left pages, and this helped me a lot to focus on the main points and reduce the reading time. Besides, the authors themselves note that a person can read only those chapters that talk about the philosophy of honour or only about the history of Singapore. I find this feature of the structure beneficial since it helped me not to waste time on issues that I already know but only to gain new knowledge.
I find that the book is entertaining and instructive in general since, on its basis, people can form a united and harmonious society in which order, law, and economic prosperity flourish. As a confirmation of this thesis, the authors cite Singapore. I also found statements and conclusions similar to the rules of world religions. In general, this fact is understandable to me since the whole purpose of all religions is to create a perfect society under a particular set of rules and symbols. Nevertheless, I like that the authors do not single out any of them, and this fact can be noted in thoughts about the Golden Rule quoted from the lines of four religious teachings.
However, some recommendations and facts proposed in the book raise my questions. For example, I do not quite understand the use of the Maslow pyramid to show honour as the highest need for a person (S. Lim & J. Lim, 2016). The pyramid of basic needs implies that a person goes to the next level when he or she meets the needs of the previous one.
Consequently, honouring is only appropriate if a person has at least satisfied the basic needs, which in the poor economic conditions of some developing countries may not be possible for all of its inhabitants. On the other hand, the authors speak of values as the basis for the development and existence of society, and honour as one of them is possible under any economic conditions. Therefore, I understand the idea of honour as one of the highest human needs, but it seems to me that the Maslow pyramid is not appropriate here.
Moreover, Lim’s statement about the rights and management style of the leader seems to me not unambiguous. The authors note, “Leaders cannot avoid making the moral judgement as to what would be good for the people because they have to ‘create the future and not simply follow what people want today” (S. Lim & J. Lim, 2016, p. 60). It seems to me that this fact is a justification of authoritarianism and even the usurpation of power, which can lead to negative consequences for the population. The moral judgements of people can be very different, as the practice of ethnic, religious, and political genocides in many countries of the world show. However, if one takes as a basis the fact that the leader also honours the opinions of all people and considers their differences, then negative situations should not arise.
Furthermore, I thought that although all the ideas proposed by S. Lim and J. Lim are suitable for building a society, they are challenging to implement. As I noted earlier, the idea of honouring and respecting other people is the basis of many world religions, but people’s emotions and needs often push them to break any rules. For example, the authors note that any person needs to honour conflicts and fight honestly (S. Lim & J. Lim, 2016).
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Undoubtedly, these rules are useful as they would facilitate the search for truth and avoid hurting people’s feelings. However, I understand that I, as well as many others, need a lot of patience and calm to argue honestly. I doubt that many people choose the right time and place for a fight as it usually arises because of emotions. Consequently, all recommendations and rules are useful, but adherence to them by every person on the planet is utopian.
Another point for me is a section on the history of Singapore and how the authors associate the progress and success of the state with honour. I had an impression in the process of reading the history of Singapore that the state owes its success only to the fact that people in any relations have honoured each other, and this has been the reason for their rapid development. I do not deny this fact since the combined efforts of the people and the government are a necessity for growth, and today the culture of Singaporeans is primarily based on this philosophy.
However, the authors almost do not mention coercive measures that eliminated corruption, destruction and created a unified culture. For example, Singapore justice has used the death penalty, and it also extends to foreigners who violate the law, confiscation of property, long-term imprisonment, and significant fines even for minor violations, such as throwing garbage (Han, 2018). These measures create order in the country, along with honouring culture.
However, despite all the points that were obscure or ambiguous for me, I found a lot of useful information for myself. One of the most exciting parts is thinking about the future. The authors discuss how robots will affect society and how humans need to adapt to these conditions. I support the idea that people need to honour progress and not forget about morality because today, technologies are superior to some human capabilities and can be used to harm others. Therefore, people should always remember the feelings and needs of all inhabitants of the planet, so that life in the society of the future will be safe.
The idea of a person honouring his or her body, soul, and spirit is also very close to me since I believe that this respect is the basis for creating any relationship. Respect for oneself is the basis for building relationships, families, and especially the education of children as parents transfer their worldview to the child and teach him or her how to interact in society. I also believe that relationships in the family and organisation can also be summarised by the fact that people should respect each other as intelligent and independent person and take care of his or her needs. However, I like that the authors examine in detail every aspect of human interaction by fully covering the topic.
In conclusion, the book Winning with Honour is useful for a general understanding of the philosophy of honour for establishing interactions with people, but at some points, it remained incomprehensible to me. I want to clarify some ideas of the authors to understand their cultural concepts more accurately. However, in general, I find the book logical, well-structured, and useful for understanding the worldview and culture of Singaporeans, which contributed to their rapid economic development.
Lim, S.G. & Lim, J.H. Winning with honour: In relationships, family, organisations, leadership, and life. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.
Han, K. (2018). What Trump Is Learning From Singapore — and Vice Versa. The New York Times. Web.