Stand and deliver is the normal practice, but does it always have to be so? By Kannan Chandran
In an era of discussion and dialogue, leaders don’t have to stand up and thump their chests to show they are able to lead. The shift from brawn to brain has been taking place for generations.
Additionally, as part of an aging society it’s to be expected that human fraility will make its presence felt. As it did when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wavered before fainting during the National Day rally.
Fortunately there were enough hands on deck to steady the leader before he returned to complete his speech. And it’s good to know there was nothing more sinister in the episode. For that short while though, as the cameras moved away from the podium, uncertainty prevailed. It had been a long evening of speeches and standing. But is there a need to stand through proceedings?
A comfortable armchair would make for a nice setting and would be less stressful for the PM and the viewer who will now be reading his body language as well as between the lines of his upcoming speeches.
Understandably, there has been a tradition to stand and deliver. And while the mind wills it, the flesh can be quite wilful in how it disobeys.
In the tribal context, the battle-ready leader was the one to follow. Today, society prefers the leader who displays an understanding of society and has a firm handle on the nation’s tiller.
And you can achieve that sitting down.