Leaders must choose their words carefully

Protests have broken out in major cities in the United States a day after Mr Donald Trump emerged from a divisive and caustic presidential election with a historic and stunning victory ("Widespread anti-Trump protests amid calls for unity"; Nov 11).

The heart of the issue for the protesters is not so much policies but personality.

They wonder how someone who is considered xenophobic and homophobic could be the president of the most powerful country in the world, let alone lead it by good example.

Between charisma, competence and character, which should take precedence?

Former US general Norman Schwarzkopf Jr once said: "Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy."

It remains to be seen whether Mr Trump can deliver all the goods he promised the people in his election campaign.

One leadership lesson we can learn from the US presidential election is that words do matter and they carry dire consequences.

Words can inspire great deeds or incite violence. Hence, wisdom dictates that we choose our words carefully.

Singapore's leaders lead by serving. They take their "calling" seriously and live by a code of conduct. In our multiracial, multicultural and multilingual society, they seek to be very careful and not play fast and loose with their words.

Their word is their bond, and they will move heaven and earth to deliver what they promised.

In this area, Singaporeans should be proud of our Government.

Johnson Lim Teng Kok