Last Friday, on the eve of the award of the Nobel Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, Kishore Mahbubani, a former Singaporean career diplomat and now dean of public practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, spoke at a shipping and offshore conference in Singapore. He had this to say about the Nobel Committee’s picks for the peace prize:
"We all respect the Nobel Peace Prize. Most winners deserve the prizes they get. Nobel Prizes by and large reflect the western world view. The winners in Asia are never leaders who brought great change. The man that did more good than anyone was Deng Xiaoping. When he came to power 800 million people were living on less than one dollar a day. Thirty years later on after the results of his reforms, 200 million lived on less than one dollar a day. Six hundred million people were lifted out of poverty.
Will he ever get a Nobel Peace Prize? Never. Because of the western world view that the prize must be given to dissidents in Asia. Aung San Suu Kyii (Although she deserves it) The former leader of Korea. What has Obama brought? Where is the peace in Iraq? In Afghanistan? How can you give him a Nobel Peace Prize? He is a wonderful guy but he has achieved nothing. Deng Xiaoping saved 600 million people and he will never get a Nobel Peace Prize. That's why it is important to step outside the western world view."
For the record, Muhammad Yunus, the inventor of microcredit, and his Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006. Kim Dae-jung, the president of South Korea from 1998 to 2003, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.