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The camera flashes. The cacophony of voices abuzz and thunderous clapping and as he stepped onto the stage and into the line of vision of reporters, ministers, leaders and even students hailing from the various countries of the Equatorial Union, the podium.


It was a sight that he was familiar with-Only that this time, the stage was bigger and ironically less accomodating of any mistakes he might so happen to make, something which he was going to make sure that won't be occurring at any point in his time as the most powerful man in the Union. He had came a long way; From being just a simple businessman with making money and doing what he wanted with it in mind to climbing the creaky leader of politics. With every step he took, Phillip Chew Sze Yuan seemed to draw strength from unknown depths and couldn't look any more confident than he knew he already was.


Of course, he beheld no script on the podium, as he had known there would be none anyway. His aides had made sure of that. Without even batting an eyelid, he spoke, the voice amplified with every syllable spoken to the microphone.


"Leaders, reporters, advisers of the nations, students; Good people of the Union," He paused, as though waiting for someone to remind him of anyone he had excluded in addressing. "It is with the greatest honour that I can stand here, before this great multitude in front of me-Or at least, before you people in front of the billions of television screens and radio sets-" It elicited some laughs, to which he responded with a mild smile. "for which I will assume office of the Leader of the Equatorial Union as of today."


Thunderous clapping ruled the seemingly endless auditorium in which his speech was being held-and in his own home country of Singapore, no less. Displaying a mild expression of pleasure, thanksgiving and yet withholding himself from displaying more, he waited for the noise to die down before continuing. "This is indeed a great day for me, but more than that, I hope to make this a new era for the Union, and a new dawn for the people."


Any hushed whispers were silenced with the bold sentence, and perhaps even one or two seasoned politicians present looked slightly intrigued. "It certainly isn't an understatement to say that our proud nation is, and will continue to be the wealthiest in the world. We have the power and the knowledge to bend the world economy to our will if we like."


"But what of it? What would we achieve if we are but mere rulers of the marketplace? What real power do we have, and what protection can we garner with but just the Stock Exchange and international banks originating from us?" He gesticulated, as though truly asking the crowd for answers that they could not yet seek. "What of the people we have who still live in utter poverty, unable to even afford a decent meal every day? Are we so pompously occupied with our own dreams and our own welfare that we have all turned blind to the terrible gulf of the income gap? So much for the prosperity promised to them as we turned into the richest nation on Earth."


The crowd was silent now. Some intimidated, some perhaps fuming and others truly contemplating the meaning of his words, but all Phillip needed to know was that they were listening, hanging on to his every word, either to strike him down or to glorify him. "No, my good people; I'm not criticising our economic development and neither am I putting it down. What I'm trying to bring across is that instead of simply adding more salt to an already heavily flavoured steak, why not turn our attention towards the bowl of soup, or even the plate of vegetables? We cannot have too much of one good thing; Just as it is for our worldly bodies which need a balanced diet, our nation simply has to pit the energy and resources and pay more attention to the other aspects or our imbalanced society. " He took a sip of water from the bottle next to him and was pleased to find the audience still enraptured. It was his night, and he was the star of the show. There was no stopping him now, not even the nagging fear that some politicians would eventually and inevitably issue statements of opposition regarding his hopes for the nation.


"We have to take care of three types of people: The elderly, the needy and the poor. As any person with common sense would know, they have needs greater than ours, for none of them would ever wish for being in a situation they are presently in now. Indeed, it would seem to be 'easier said than done'. Skepticism is all part and parcel of the rebuilding and development of our nation into a better one."


As we all know, the Equatorial Union's economic strength is literally unmatched by any other in the world. It is thus inevitable that there will be green eyes looking towards the Southeastern regions of Asia. What is the use of Free Trade Agreements and peace treaties if the human heart simply yearns for more?" His expression became deadly serious and the newly appointed leader took on a more severe tone to emphasize his own point. "Eventually, conflict and war WILL come to us, my good people, and with our current army consisting of no more than 20% regulars, we will have a serious problem on our hands in the future."


Therefore, my good people, I beseech you to hear this: Our country needs great change, and there is no better time than to begin now, where our economic power is truly at its peak. Of course, that would have to mean corruption has to disappear for a little while...Say, several decades or so?" The final sentence broke the tense atmosphere as laughter was heard briefly, before it was drowned out by applause loud enough to bring the ceilings down.


Phillip took another sip of his water. It's all going according to plan... He smiled and glanced specifically at the few leaders suspected of corruption, signaling to them that the next part of his speech would have them as his unidentified co-stars. Without any disturbances, His place as a leader would soon be cemented and he would have practically full control of what he wanted to be changed.


It's just a matter of time... He thought and began the next part of his speech.

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