Mar 12, 2007

US Soldier States the Bleeding Obvious

An article from TODAY.
US soldier takes potshots at SAF
Mindef responds to criticism over inexperienced scholars, soft soldiers, status of Malays

Monday • March 12, 2007

Loh Chee Kong

ARE Singapore's top military commanders too young and inexperienced?

Are they fast-tracked to the upper echelons because of their scholar credentials, while more experienced non-scholars or "farmers" — as they have been unceremoniously labelled — toil in vain?

Are soldiers here soft because of the emphasis on safety during training at the expense of realism?

And do officers lack professionalism and commitment because mandatory retirement at 45 means many see their time in uniform "as a stepping stone" to a second career in politics or business.

These questions, and several others, are the subject of a critique of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) published in United States-based journal Armed Forces & Society. The quarterly circulates some 2000 copies worldwide.
I can't help laughing. It's so funny, the way these questions are being asked - as if everyone didn't already know the answers.

Regarding Question 4, I was just accosted by an ex-SAF major two months ago who wanted to sell me insurance. I ended up giving him some advice on how to structure his own investments.

The article, which has made its rounds in Singapore and created a stir among the uniformed ranks, was written by an American soldier Sean Walsh, who was stationed at the United States Embassy in Singapore for several weeks in 2004, during his summer break from the US Military Academy.

In the article, The Roar of the Lion City, the writer also claimed that women have been held back from holding high posts in the SAF, and that there is a policy to keep Malays out of sensitive areas.

Despite his criticism of the SAF, Mr Walsh, who graduated from the US Army Ranger School, concluded his article by saying "there can be no doubt that the SAF is the most competent, well-equipped and best trained force in the whole of South-east Asia" — a claim the SAF itself has not made.

He also admitted that the SAF was "more than capable" of defending Singapore's borders, conducting peacekeeping missions and dealing with asymmetric threats in the wake of 911. It possessed a "world-class" special operations force which would not require outside assistance, he noted.

So, why the paradoxical praise and criticism of the SAF?

Umm, because the angmo was being fair, reasonable and truthful?

But once again, let's not get confused. The man wasn't actually saying anything new. For many years, Jane's Defence has consistently held the view that the SAF is the top military force in South-east Asia.

I wonder if this is even surprising. Singapore is the richest country in South-east Asia; it spends the most money on defence, and it is the only country with conscription.

(Malaysia doesn't count. They started only in December 2003, and only called up 85,000 youths, out of the roughly 450,000 youths born in 1986).

Mr Walsh, who is deployed in Germany, could not be contacted, but in his article he pointed to the age of SAF's top commanders — such as Brigadier-General Desmond Quek, who was 39 when he was promoted to the post of Army Chief — and concluded that "youth naturally corresponds to inexperience" and this "casts obvious doubts on their ability to lead in a conflict against battle-hardened troops".

However, responding to queries from Today, Col Benedict Lim, director of public affairs at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), said: "The SAF does not seek out wars but will not flinch from putting its soldiers into harm's way to fulfil its primary mission of protecting the vital interests of our country."

He also pointed out that the SAF carries out about 70 exercises annually with other countries' armed forces, some of which have considerable combat experience, and has been praised for its professionalism. The SAF has also carried out humanitarian missions, for example during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Defence analyst Dr Alvin Chew told Today that the debate centred on Singapore's defence policy, which is based on diplomacy and deterrence. As such, the relative youthfulness of SAF officers, who are groomed in building bilateral or multi-lateral relationships with foreign militaries, was not a major drawback.

Watch the next few valiant attempts to defend the status quo:
Also, given that fighting a war is not the Republic's most pressing concern, defence analyst Dr Bernard Loo said that early retirement meant that the SAF's best and brightest could be deployed for "broader or higher national purposes — whether it is in running the economy, or running the Government".

Where the SAF's best and brightest will no doubt do a great job, since they have highly relevant experience. After all, operating a submarine is exactly the same as managing a bank or running a statutory board.


I skip to the next interesting part, about the Malays in the military.
Perhaps the most controversial claim by the US soldier was that "official discrimination against the Malay population remains an open secret" and those of the race are "systematically kept out" of sensitive areas.

I don't see why this is a "controversial" claim. It isn't even an "open secret" - it's not a secret at all. If I recall correctly, years ago, Lee Kuan Yew himself had publicly spoken about this matter; I'll try to dig that up. The rationale is that there are concerns about where the allegiance of Malay SAF men would lie, in the event of any conflict with our Muslim neighbours.

Whether you agree or disagree with the policy, is a different question from whether the policy exists. I think it is quite clear that the policy exists (or had existed). However, the extent and degree to which it has been implemented may have changed. During my time, it was rather obvious that a disproportionately high percentage of Malays were sent to the Singapore Civil Defence Force, and not to the SAF at all.

Notice that Col Lim, as quoted below, also refers to "the challenges of building ethnic and religious harmony in Singapore" and says that "integration in the SAF would proceed in tandem with nation-building".
Mr Walsh claims that this has two major consequences: It "limits the involvement of the ethnic group most inclined to join the military" and it feeds the "perception of a second-class status among Malays, a fact which terrorist recruiters have taken advantage of before, and they may do so again" — referring to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members arrested in Singapore for plotting terrorist attacks.

Addressing this charge, Col Lim said: "The writer's prescription for ethnic integration in the SAF seriously underestimates the challenges of building ethnic and religious harmony in Singapore.

"Singapore has made much progress in ethnic and religious integration. Singapore does not gloss over the fact that there is yet more to be done and addresses these challenges directly and openly."

Stressing that integration in the SAF would proceed in tandem with nation-building, Col Lim added that there are a good number of Malay SAF officers, some with higher degrees, whose studies were sponsored by the SAF, and whether a Malay SAF officer makes it to a higher appointment depends solely on merit.

In fact, Malay officers have risen through the ranks and held senior appointments.

"We have Malay pilots, commandos and air defence personnel. Those who have shown the potential to take on higher appointments in the SAF are given every opportunity to do so. Malay officers in the SAF hold key appointments such as Commanding Officer," said Col Lim.

"In fact, the proportion of eligible Malays selected for specialist and officer training is similar to the proportion for eligible non-Malays."

Personally, I have always felt that the discrimination issue is not such a big deal. The simple reason is that the Singapore Armed Forces is a conscript army. The vast majority of people in the SAF are not there by choice. They are forced to be there.

Most NSmen just want to serve their time and get out, in the least painful way possible. If the colour of your skin excludes you from the "siong" (tough) vocations in the SAF, then this is not necessarily a bad thing. Personally (and I stress that this is my personal view), if I were Malay, I would be quite pleased if there were an official policy that kept me out of places like Hendon Camp, or Guards or Singapore Combat Engineers.

Also, remember this - SAF officers have 10 extra years of reservist duties! I'd rather not, thank you very much.


Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

The post is open for discussion. However, due to certain inherent sensitivities in the topic, I may delete certain comments if I think they cross the line. Apologies in advance, I'll be exercising my own discretion & judgment.

Ned Stark said...

Apparently MOE runs schools the way MINDEF runs the army. examples seem to suggest it is so.

Anonymous said...

There is this saying in Chinese that fine calibre do not become soldier by choice> There is no logic in this assertion but it is much wisdom> Military commanders manage by orders (power by decree) Political> social and economic leaderships lead by intellects< expertise (professionalism) and INTEGRITY. Fighters need sparrings to gain experience< I suspect that is one reason why the US went and goes around looking for some weaker nations to train and practised their armed forces> Professionalism and armed forces leaderships aside< the SAF is the most lethal force (granted) but alas for what? To help out whence others fight wars? To assist in others natural disasters(not a bad thing per se) AND to quell any internal unrests(neccessary so)

Anonymous said...

Putting aside professionalism in military exercises, anyone knows what's the SAF's win-loss records in those games?

Serendipity said...

Somewhat as an aside.

Malaysia does not count, I think, as Malaysian friend say, the whole exercise is marketed as:

"The rationale for National Service was to bond the youth of Malaysia together and create a Malaysian nation, as the problem of racial polarisation was found to pervade educational institutions in Malaysia."


Anonymous said...

borning leh, read this alredi in the SAF magazine. Mr wang you are like an echo ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Anonymous said...

I would be quite impressed with the SAF, if comments like Mr Wang's were actually permitted to appear in any official SAF magazine.

Care to share, Anon March 12, 2007 11:06 AM?

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to hear what Malay Singaporeans have to say on this topic ...

Anonymous said...

the SAF Pioneer magazine is the most amazing publication tt u can find. It far surpass the benchmark set by the Straits Times even. Every page, u can't help but read wonderful news abt our nation's defence. it amazes me how their writers and editors can stomach their own words. if these ppl crossover to the straits times, rejoice, for we'll get a 1st class national papers, hands down.


Anonymous said...

hey mr wang, why is your font size getting Bigger and BIGGER? Makes it hard to read..

As for your article, nothing new really. But still juicy haha.

Anonymous said...

losoh lah. Read, heard and yap about this so much my mouth sian la. Can or cannot come up with something newer? Tolong lah, I pia ler

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Hi there:

You don't have to read my blog if you're not interested. There are many other blogs discussing many other topics. You can try using or to help you find your way to those other blogs.

I'm quite aware that I can't possibly cater to all sorts of readers' tastes, and I never intended to.

Anonymous said...

hey the guys in spore may oredi know this, but i doubt their female counterparts really do. in any case, it is good to know how angmoh countries think of us, and to know that they know...

Anonymous said...

to anon 11.41am, perhaps ur 'something newer' revolves around ur shopping trips; how u manage to scrimp tt 50cents savings in one of those sales.

this issue is real guys. some may just sidestep the issue, choose to ignore, plant their heads in the holeground. and it takes a foreigner to highlight this to us. goodness.

rather than lament abt this being 'old' news, why not go the crux of the issue, and zero in on the contents of tt article.

Anonymous said...

What isn't bleeding obvious is that any publicity is good publicity in this case. Whether SAF is a competent or wayang force is not the point. The point is to propagate justification of the continual enslavement of Sgian males to National Slavery.

Anonymous said...

tolong! tolong ni! if not singlish, NS. If not that MRT. Then gostan back to singlish, NS and MRT lagi mati leh. Tolong, tolong, tolong. Wah pai lu leh. Tolong!

Anonymous said...

Don't insult the TODAY newspaper like that. It's good that they publish this article at all. I bet you won't see ST doing the same.

TODAY is not perfect but they do try to supply more critical & intelligent articles (compared to ST).

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

LOL. I think he was trying to insult me, not TODAY.

Or maybe he was?? I dunno. I searched my blog using the words "MRT" and "Singlish" - zero hits, I've not written anything on those topics so far.

Maybe the poor guy is mixing me up with some other blogger(s).

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, please dont take this the wrong way, but I too feel the same as "anon." This subject SAF bashing stuff is really quite a worn and well travelled road. Just my POV. I am sorry if I came across of brash or rude, but my I seriously hope you will consider it as constructive fb, as I am a regular visitor here.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that a malay would happily be in CD or SPF since they can book out and not suffer the mosquitoe bites, having more free time at home, playing football and guitar, singing merrily along with their friends.

However, it would be interesting to see key positions being held by a malay, since sg is surrounded by muslims which can improve our relationships with our neighbours.

But i guess there are still limitations.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Yah, no problem. Basically I comment on latest articles from the media, so if the media are having a slow week, then my blog has a slow week as well.

I actually think that this article is quite important, though. The issues, though old, still remain, and there are a couple of subtle new points creeping into the discourse, which weren't there before.

For example, the exclusion of Malays from sensitive military positions has previously been justified on the basis that there are concerns about where their allegiance would lie if there were an armed conflict with our Muslim neighbours.

However the interesting new point being raised now is that this policy feeds the "perception of a second-class status among Malays, a fact which terrorist recruiters have taken advantage of before, and they may do so again" —

in other words, the argument is that such a policy raises the chances that the likes of Jemaah Islamiyah members will be able to successfully recruit Malay Singaporeans.

The other interesting point to me is that the value of our SAF scholar-generals is being measured on what, to me, is a new sort of criterion -

their ability to build bilateral or multi-lateral relationships with foreign militaries.

I hadn't heard that before, actually.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

And seriously, people who find my blog uninteresting should go away and find other blogs to read. I think that there are plenty of other good blogs out there.

In the near future, I will write more about this. I want to encourage greater exploration of the local blogosphere, instead of so many people constantly hanging around my blog. One reason is that soon I may have to cut back heavily or even stop blogging altogether ... I will soon be changing jobs and I expect this new job to be more lucrative but also much more time-consuming - not sure how much time I will have for bloggin.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the font for this post is enormous. Any chance to fix it? It's actually really hard to read with only 4 words a line.

I don't think this issue is done to death. I always enjoy a topic about Singapore with someone's commentary and viewpoint associated.

Anonymous said...

how would u know amatu? are u a malay chap in the 1st place? unlike u, some of us, regardless the race, value principle more than convenience.

how would u feel if u r sidelined and kept out of certain posts, cuz of ur skin color. and we are talking about the system here. how would u feel if you experienced tt 1st hand, and u see that repeating to ur son's NS experience too.

it's pointless and damn, definitely not interesting to see how a malay feels regarding this. it's the same as asking 'why not come in' when u erect a wall in front of him.

Jimmy Mun said...

Aiyah, ST and Today are just taking turns playing the good cop/bad cop routine. Ultimately, they answer to the same masters and have the same objective: nation building, whatever that means.

Did you know that Singapore has a larger active troop size (60,000) compared to Australia (53,000) or Finland (37,000), a nation with both a larger population and conscription?

Given that parts of Australia is in the general geographical vicinity, given the size of Australia, their "sheriff" duties in South Pacific, their commitment in the "war on terror", either the Australian military is excessively small, or the Singapore one, excessively large. If you count in our highly activated "reservist" force, the numbers swell to over 350,000.

Most developed nations require conscription because they have some labour intensive task that needs manpower, be it controlling the occupied terroritories like Israel, manning the ceasefire line between the Koreas, or defending frontline outpost islands like Kinmen and Mazu for Taiwan. Absent such clear "frontlines" with an enemy state, most nations like Switzerland or Finland has a much much shorter period of full-time conscription. Seriously, do you need two whole years to train a foot-soldier? At some point the foot-soldier is idling in camp just to be "fair" to the officers who need longer training. Since Singaporean males are subject to such a harsh rule for "fairness", it is no surprise that we are obsessed with "fairness" of our losses, both in terms of direct financial losses and opportunity costs compared to the foreign talents.

Singapore seems to be the only developed nation that maintains conscription to train, train, train fulltime, and then spend another ten years, training, training, training. Not in Singapore either. A good proportion of time, the Singaporean troops are not even in Singapore.

Since Thailand doesnt welcome us any more, and training in Taiwan could get us caught in a awkward position with China, why dont we just close both bases? Save money, no need GST hike. We can concentrate more training in Brunei, where we are more than welcome, or in Australia, where most Singaporean men will end up migrating anyway.

Clearly, our defence force is excessive if our objective is just to defend a tiny island. When our political leaders are equipped with a stick this large, can they be trusted to speak softly in diplomacy?

Lastly, the lack of a real military training for Mr Wang is clearly a loss for him. For the few Malays donning green, they are the genuine warriors. Ever heard of Malays going into field training while fasting from food AND water? As the yankee says, the Malays will probably love serving in the military more than a typical Chinese, and excel at it.

Ned Stark said...


you forgot, singapore also got strategic islands to protect, like Pulau Tekong:P

Anyway no matter the era, the SAF should always be a topic for discussion. This is because the SAF has a large impact on the lives of many singaporeans, in some instances the state mandated duties have caused problems for locals with regards to jobs. Furthermore, 10.6 billion dollars is being pumped into the defence budget. Thus it is an issue of public concern and should be debated again and again so people do not forget.

Anonymous said...

Mr WSS: u're just one unpatriotic sod who has no place in S'pore. And frankly, u won't fit in elsewhere either, bcos no country likes a long whining smart alek, with mostly negative stuff to say-- most of the time.

Anonymous said...

I still remember during my NS day, our neighbour tried to stur up the racism issue and even threaten to invade. It caused a big "sweat-out" among the top levels of SAF. All units stepped up alert. I had 6 men under me, 4 were malays. I did a one to one talk to each of them, not a single one give me a doubt that I can't rely on them. One of them even surprised me by saying,"you think we stupid enough to believe them(our neighbour), this is our home, I will fight them".

There is no doubt that they are good fighters, and I am honoured to be training with them. Frankly speaking, I would fight with them rather than with some "A"-levels who still looking for downgrade even he was already a storeman.

Well, fasting while in out-field is something that I would discourage given the harsh enviroment. Although some still presist. Thats what make a good soldier, isn't it.

In fact, the racial tension is caused by the gov because they failed to see our brother-in-arms as a true singaporean, and fail to treat them equally(see my quiz).

But I still see NS a must for SG.

Here comes quiz of the day: which vocation doesn't have Malay?

hint: none of the 3 that the col. mentioned.

to the anon who are trying to discredit mr wang: Stop wasting our money...

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

What's wrong with my font size? It looks normal on my screen ...

Can give more details of what you're seeing?

louist said...

Just one note. Although Malay NSFs may (or may not) appreciate being kept out of the SAF, there are Malay regulars (or those who would like to be, but decide not to) who are affected by any racial policies they may (or may not) be. For example, my BMT OC was Malay, and he had some doubts about how far and fast he would rise, despite being a uni grad.

louist said...

Mr Wang>> On Firefox, the font size appears about 2 sizes bigger than it does on IE. I don't really know why (not a coder myself), but that's probably the problem most ppl are referring to.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Oh I see, thanks. Is it only this post, or are the earlier posts looking strange as well?

Unknown said...

A few observations.

There is overly robust defence about the quality of the troops & commanders given that they are young & in-experienced. Fact is experience counts, check out the various movies, documentaries about World War 2 and such will tell you that.

A major turning point of the naval war in the Pacific Theatre is due to the Japanese lossing a boatload of their experience pilots in the Battle of Midway. Example 2, one of the contributing factors of the fall of the German army was because their losses in experience troops could not be made up by the green troops joining in during the later part of the war.

My point is it is ok to acknowledge that our troops are young and not have REAL LIFE experience, so to counter that we train extensively and (hopefully) well. Everyone knows Singapore has not gotten into a major armed conflict since independence. Does training take the place of experience? NO but trained troops will favour much better than a group of guys slapped together armed with weapons they can barely properly use.

As for the officers using the army as a stepping stone, well just look at how well our various organisations/ministries are run by retired generals. There is a reason for folks to first get a Class 3 license before proceeding on to getting a Class 4 license; you must have the relevant experience.

As for ethnic bias I leave it to the individual to look at it objectively. My main concern is differences in ideology NOT so much of ethnic differences.

Women in the armed forces, well this can be a big debate on it's own. I strongly believe that women can play a role; there are many examples in World War 2. The British were using women in planning/operations room. Check out the movie Longest Day for example. The key is to maximise the strengths of the gender and individual. Don't think SAF is quite there yet.

Lastly the hardware. Well, think Singapore is pretty beefed up with the latest toys, purchased or self developed. The SAF could have gone further but it had to weighed in the sensitivity of our neighbours. Would be dumb not to.

As for us not looking for a fight, well the best strategy to win a battle/war is to do it in such a way that not a single man is being used. Wars/conflicts are the worst ways to solve problems, wouldn't you say? But I go with the principle of "I'll not start a fight but I will demand well finish one!" :-)

Unknown said...

Mr Wang >> Only this current post. The earlier ones look fine.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

A helpful little bird just sent me the full essay by Sean Walsh. A little excerpt:

"After being awarded a scholarship, scholar officers are commissioned four months ahead of their peers amd miss the second half of their professional military training during OCS. Although they make up some of this training during their academic summers, they are still very inexperienced compared to their peers who have spent four years in operational service. Despite this vast difference in experience, scholar officers still will be promoted to captain one year after graduation at approximately the same time as their nonscholar peers. This program results in scholar officers being promoted far faster than their nonscholarship peers, despite the fact that they have considerably less operational experience .... The SAF uses a system in which officers have a currently estimated potential to determine how far an officer can go and terminal rank during his or her career. For the most part, this CEP is formed during OCS based on the officer's cadet performance and educational background .... An officer's CEP spells out his or her career path for assignments, education opportunities, promotion and attendance at military schools. The result of this system is that officers are selected and groomed for even the most senior leadership positions in the SAF based on little more than on how they performed as a cadet during OCS and the strength of their high school transcript."


Oh sorry, sorry, there I go again, repeating what everyone already knows.

Anonymous said...

I think some of us read too much into negative viewpoints. To call MrWang unpatriotic just because he criticizes different institutions in Singapore sounds familiar - almost like saying Democrats are unpatriotic by voting against going into Iraq.

The positive liberal criticizes policies and systems not because they are big whiners, but because they see room for improvement.

At the very least, imho, MrWang is writing something that isn't far-fetched and ridiculous. Even if he is overtly partisan or anti-establishment, do take the positives from here - that there is value to criticism.

In addition, constructive criticism here is difficult/pointless - I am highly doubtful that opinions on the ground are frequently implemented by sensitive institutions such as the defense force.

Anonymous said...

mr wang, here is an anectodal illustration of the kind of Warrior Officers class soldiers the SAF seemed to be producing.

When I was studying in the UK, albeit many years ago, there was an SAF scholar and a British Army officer, who took time off to study for a degree. Both of whom were my classmates.

The SAF Scholar completed his study and thereafter, as far as I can recall, attained the rank of Captain immediately afer he returned to SAF. I think he had not even held a command in a platoon, let alone a combat assignment.

My British class mates, was a Lieutenant when he came to study. Before that he came to study, I think he had already, served two tours in Northern Ireland, and fought in Desert Storm. After graduation, he remained a Lieutenant.

I continued contact with my British classmate and, my understanding was that he went on to serve in Bosnia and Kosova. He eventually retired as a Major after that. At the time when he retired, he was about 45. On this it seemed, that the British Army was much tougher bunch, when compared to the SAF.

I lost touch with the SAF scholar so I don't know how he progressed. I could only guess from my other encounters. In my last job, I was asked to interview an ex-scholar (so he claimed) and a battalion commander of let's say an elite infantry unit (so he claimed). One of the strange thing, I found was that he managed during his service, he managed to obtained four degrees. I found it strange that he could have found time to be studying and that he was only 35 when he attained the rank of Major.

Admittedly, what I have presented is highly anectodal and may not be represenative of the state of the SAF. But if it was true, then what kind of Warriors is the SAF grooming?

Anonymous said...

I remember s'thing @ White Horses are being singled out to prevent preferrential treatment.

This is true professionalism.

Anonymous said...

Tell us the bit about soldiers being soft because of the emphasis on safety during training at the expense of realism.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang is wrong. Malays are not excluded from sensitive positions\units. Its the *religious belief* and *sexual preference*.

Soldiers these days are definitely soft compared to those trained by the *unpopular folks from mid-east*. No contest.

NoName Ninja

Anonymous said...

It's amusing to see some patriotic dogs get rubbed the wrong way just because Mr Wang posted this article on his blog and added in his opinions.

Please! As a conscript myself, I know people just go through the motions, infamously a.k.a SERVE AND FUCK OFF. They see no value in defending a shitty island, but went through the motions anyway, lest you get court martialed. Do the minimum, go through the motions, keep yourself safe and in one piece and fuck off.

NSFs are nothing but errand boys and 'do dirty work' pawns for career advancement for the regulars. Did I also mention a Bangla/PRC labourer earns more than the common SAF conscript grunt?

The point is, Singapore spends way too much money and effort on defense than necessary. It's no longer 'erring on the side of caution', more like outright paranoia and extravagance. Singapore is not the 'Israel of the East', neither is it surrounded by 'hostile Muslim neighbours' - at least they won't be hostile if tact is used in foreign diplomacy.

And the Malay issue... no shit Sherlock? I had a stint at Mindef, not a single Malay soul there, except perhaps for the occasional visitor from other camps or outside civilians doing despatch delivery. Malays are not allowed to have a high clearance, even a senior Malay officer.

Bottomline: SAF is a terrible place, unlike what the glowy reports from the Straits Times and Pioneer Magazine try to put across to the one who didn't know any better, especially the female non-conscripts and foreigners.

And it doesn't matter how hard or soft the training is: I will not wear the uniform should war break out. I will not be cannon fodder for the regime. Case in point: LKY only trusts Gurkhas to guard his residence. And LKy is the very same person who worked for the Japanese invaders during WW2. Lim Bo Seng would have turned in his grave. Ah the irony.

This comment may be deleted, but I don't care, because I got it off my chest, it is all true and none of the politically correct nonsense covers it.

Anonymous said...

One of the problem with many so-called Singaporean journalist, when they read comments written by Angmor, their mind switch to simplist conclusion, either they are praising or critising us. They really don't appreciate the subtleties it which Angmors, especially Brits and Americans, when they use words.

For example, on polite British society, a Brit who do not understand something, don't necessary say "I don't understand what you are saying." He/She might say, "Ahh, interesting point, let's re-examinine it again."

If we refer back to the to Today's article. Let's examine the point raised by the so-called journalist. Here is an extract.

Despite his criticism of the SAF, Mr Walsh, who graduated from the US Army Ranger School, concluded his article by saying "there can be no doubt that the SAF is the most competent, well-equipped and best trained force in the whole of South-east Asia" — a claim the SAF itself has not made.

The journalist than parahrase, supposedly other quotes from he source, which may or may not be misinterpreted. But in essence, he took the statement in earlier paragraph to attribute as praising the SAF.

Now read carefully what the journalists quoted. The words used were "competent", "well-equiped" and "best trained". The source did not appear to say, the SAF was potent, a "highly effective combatant", nor did it say it was comparable to more experience forces.

The source is clearly using highly objective terms, not necessarily indicative of praise. A "competent" SAF could only mean the force is able to work to Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) smoothly under exercise conditions but whether it can do so under fighting (not necessary wartime conditions), cannot be gleamed from the word. A "best trained" could just as well mean the force has been drilled in SOP. A "well equiped" force is one with all the tools that would be expected of a modern force (whether these tools are effective in fighting scenario is another matter altogether). All of these words does not add up to a potent or effective "combatant".

Compared to our neighbours, the statement all adds up to facts that's all. It neither praises nor criticise the SAF.

However, if the article had been written to suggest that the US Armed forces should learn from the SAF and pointed out the failing of the US forces vis-a-vis the SAF, then there is case of saying that the article was indeed praising.

It is worth noting that the Journal was written primarily for the ears of the American Forces. So why should the Today be so worked up about it?

Anonymous said...

A more meaningful war around our immediate region should or preferably be an economic, social, ideological competition. A conventional war with a country like Singapore simply makes no sense to anyone. What can the victor gain for taking over this resourceless dot? On the other hand if Singapores" supposed enemies make their country very attractive and comfortable to live in and make Singaporeans their FTs and investors and ultimately citizens, they would have won the war hands down

Gerald said...

Mr Wang,

Any chance you can email me a copy of that article? I'd really like to read it first hand. My email is sgpatriot[at] Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, if I were you, I will simply ignore those earlier comments claiming your blog is "boring", etc. I guess that this is an expected consequence when your work diminishes the ability of PAP to mislead the masses.

Anyway, it is important to put on record the original article (in its entirety) that first reported Lee Kuan Yew's controversial speech.


19 September 1999
The Straits Times

Reality is race bonds exist - SM.

THE community self-help group approach works the best for Singapore, given the realities today, said Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The reality is that while Singapore has made progress in integrating the different races, certain emotional bonds are instinctive and cannot be removed overnight.

"When a Malay leader goes down to a Malay parent and says 'Look, you've got to do something about your child's mathematics... we're running these evening classes so that you can catch up', I think the response will be different if a Chinese community leader were to do that," he said.

There would be "automatic bristling" and the Malay parent would say, "Why do you think I am that weak?"

"Because the realities are such, we have found that these community-based self-help organisations work best because the motivation is there, the empathy is there, the trust is there." Asked by a polytechnic student if Singapore could overcome this and become a nation, Mr Lee said: "Yes, I think so, over a long period of time and selectively. We must not make an error.

"If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religious and who has family ties in Malaysia in charge of a machine gun unit, that's a very tricky business.

"We've got to know his background. I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I didn't think that, and I think even if today the Prime Minister doesn't think carefully about this, we could have a tragedy."

"So, these are problems which, as poly students, you're colour-blind to, but when you face life in reality, it's a different proposition."

Mr Lee said Singaporeans must continue to build social cohesion, and accept and trust one another. It is easy to acknowledge others, he said. "But to trust each other, say 'Will you look after my child while I'm away", that's a different level of confidence.

"We must eventually be able to feel as one united people," said Mr Lee in a speech at the Singapore 21 forum, in which he spoke on future challenges for Singapore in the knowledge-based economy.

The society must aim at more socialising between the different groups, whether in private or at community activities.

Progress will depend on how comfortable the young feel about one another.

"The more they socialise, the stronger the mosaic of our national cohesion," he said.

He noted that some letter-writers to The Straits Times had taken issue with community-based self-help organisations and asked why there was not a single statutory board for all races.

"That's a rational, idealistic approach but we've tried it, it doesn't work," he said.

He also noted that race riots occurred here only 30 years ago.

Anonymous said...

To anon, March 12, 2007 2:08 PM,

Obviously i dont. I subscribed to ST and have not read any articles regarding the general consensus of the sg malay community about SAF.

Frankly speaking, i dont think i know the real malay culture well either because i dont see any inter-racial interactions in the neighbourhood.

Anonymous said...

LKY: "We've got to know his background. I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I didn't think that, and I think even if today the Prime Minister doesn't think carefully about this, we could have a tragedy."

Tragedy? The real tragedy is when politicians start wars and people has to die for their actions. By then it is already too late to matter about one's race or not.

Anonymous said...

It's also important to see how ST journalists tries to subtly distort the quotation from Lee Kuan Yew two years later (original speech was in 1999).

---- start of article (in its entirety)

12 February 2001
The Straits Times

Malay leaders to meet SM on March 2.

THE closed-door dialogue on Malay issues between Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and community leaders scheduled for today has been postponed to March 2. The postponement will allow more people to take part in the discussion at Parliament House, said sources yesterday. Those who turn up on the new date will have a better understanding of issues such as the community's position here, national integration and the role of Malays in the Singapore Armed Forces, they added. The dialogue's organisers - Majlis Pusat, the umbrella body for 40 Malay-Muslim cultural groups, and the Association of Muslim Professionals - had expected about 60 participants, including Malay-Muslim MPs, professionals and individuals, to attend today's session. Participants have been informed about the postponement, said Mr Zulkifli Mohammed, Majlis Pusat president. The group called for the dialogue following Mr Lee's remarks on Malays in the SAF at a Singapore 21 forum in Tanjong Pagar in 1999. He said, in response to a question on instinctive emotional ethnic bonds, that it would be a very tricky business for the SAF to put a Malay officer, who was very religious and who had family ties in Malaysia, in charge of a machine-gun unit. 'We've got to know his background,' said Mr Lee, who also noted later that checks must be carried out before any person, even an ethnic Chinese, could be appointed to any sensitive job.

---- end of article

The last sentence suggests that LKY had also said in the same speech that "checks must be carried out before any person, even an ethnic Chinese, could be appointed to any sensitive job".

This was not in the original ST article, or any of the numerous subsequent articles (in 1999) that had tried to "clarify" LKY's view. I might be wrong, but I checked through all the ST's archive, and find that this claim started only two years after LKY made that speech!

Are ST journalists blatant liars??

palmist said...

o no, I suspect men in white are over running this blog adding a light touch to this article which encourage 'cynicism' and 'despondency'. Undoing the great rebuttal ST has done.

I am not even sure if mr wang should engage people who are only interested in diatribe instead of 'contructive criticism' here. They are just partisan players ;)

Anonymous said...

Sean Walsh is described in Today's article as "an American soldier", "the writer", "Mr Walsh", and as "graduated from the US Army Ranger School".

Given that this is an academic piece, it seems strange that Today's journalist (Loh Chee Kong) omitted to mention the academic background of the writer, and the fact that he is an U.S. army officer.


From the United States-based journal Armed Forces & Society:

"Sean P. Walsh is a 2005 graduate of the United States Military Academy, where he earned a BS in comparative politics and East Asian studies. In the summer of 2004, he was placed on temporary duty to the United States Embassy to the Republic of Singapore. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course and the United States Army Ranger School. His research interests include comparative military systems, ethnicity, and gender in the armed forces and security challenges in Asia. He is currently assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment,Vilseck, Germany. Address for correspondence: Sean P. Walsh, 609 North Settlers Ct.,Warrington, PA, 18976; e-mail:"

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Pioneer Magazine. When I used to get my subscription of it, I used the plastic bag to collect rubbish and throw. I used the reverse of the address slip as rough paper for my children. I collected dog poo with the fine pages of the magazine. They are really good, they don't stain your hands. Sometimes, when we have fried black pepper prawns (with shells), those pages were wonderful, the gravy does not leak onto the table. As for the rest of the unused pages, we try to sell them away. The karung guni man said either we give them to him free or we pay him to throw them away. Well, no choice - have to give away.

W_Chow said...

Most of Walsh's conclusions are in line with Tim Huxley's in the latter's book Defending the Lion City, so it's really old wine in slightly newer bottles.

I'm actually surprised that Walsh did not highlight the growing gap and discontent between Scholars and Farmers in the SAF - unless TODAY consciously ignored that?

Anonymous said...

Awww, Jimmy, why compare Singapore’s active troop size with Australia or Finland? Why not consider instead our active troop size (60,000) alongside that of Malaysia (110,000) or Indonesia (316,000)? Heck, I don’t like it either, but unless there’s a practical way to pay, house, and motivate 320,000 FT mercenaries to even out the numbers, we’re stuck with the job. (By the way, counting Finland’s 485,000 reserve troops, their total strength exceeds ours. For those who are interested, here’s a Wikipedia reference of where we stand in the world.)

Back to Mr Wang’s topic (more or less).

I was astounded when I first learned about the CEP system and how our civil service utilises it. Fresh out of school, one’s entire career path is mapped out based on one’s grades and other criteria. One will continue to advance at the prescribed (predetermined) rate till one reaches one’s (predetermined) maximum potential, provided one does not screw up. If this sounds crazy, the real clinch is, one cannot possibly exceed the potential grade (or rank) that was worked out at the time of recruitment, no matter how one might grow and demonstrates one’s abilities in the course of one’s career.

I can’t imagine how this sort of environment encourages anyone to excel much beyond what is normally required. One simply does not get extra points for trying. Perhaps, in the spirit of trying to do some good, one could take risks: push the envelope occasionally, experiment with creative new ideas, challenge conventional thinking. However, it is clearly in one’s pragmatic best interests to limit these inclinations. Without a steady supply of better than usual luck, I would expect that one would be out of the game rather earlier than one’s peers.

And then we hear the MIW wonder out aloud how to encourage more out-of-the-box thinking. Sheesh.

A quick Google produced Mr Walsh’s essay here. From the abstract:

This article contends that in meeting these challenges, Singapore has reduced the effectiveness and professionalism of its military significantly by unwisely preventing Malay participation systematically in key areas of the armed forces, by limiting the positions women can hold in the military, and by using a promotion system that is based more on education and scholarships than on proven competence.

It is not surprising at all that Today neatly sidestepped the key argument. The implications are far wider, and quite simply, alarming, if one is inclined to suspect that those who thrive and succeed in an environment governed by a CEP-type system are not necessarily those who have most ably demonstrated their competence in what they do.

simplesandra said...

early retirement meant that the SAF's best and brightest could be deployed for "broader or higher national purposes — whether it is in running the economy, or running the Government

Not to mention that they bring their army culture into the economy and government too. Those who've worked in stat boards and govt agencies will attest to the "my way or the highway" attitude the top brass in some of these organisations adopt.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang. I'm an avid reader of your blog, never commented before though always preferred to stay in the sidelines and read. I think it'll be interesting for you to know several things surrounding this Walsh article. It was first published quite some time back, to the tune of 3 years ago or perhaps even more, when NS was still 2 and a half years. And this article was being circulated to the SAF top brass months before it hit the papers, for them to ready themselves and prepare answers.

if you have read the full article, it really makes you wonder whether or not Singapore would be up the the task of defending our island nation when push comes to shove, and whether or not it really is a system of elites for the elites, by the elites.

don't stop blogging!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang, I hope blogging has become your passion and a call for your way to fight the injustices to the common Singapore. So if you can't stop.

Now back to the issue. SAF as a conventional defence force is a waste of money for Singapore a little red dote. My take is that the most SAF can delay the inenvitable of overun by the enemy is in a matter of weeks if not months.

Defense should be in arms of Singapore, be it weapons readily available or freedom. If the enemy dare to come in I bet they can't survive any form of rule with the hit and run killing tactic and killing off their soldiers one by one all over Singapore.

Singapore is not for the elites and forigners. They would be gone.

Anonymous said...

early retirement meant that the SAF's best and brightest could be deployed for "broader or higher national purposes — whether it is in running the economy, or running the Government

Ahh, I see. Keep the best and the brightest in the army for too long, and they might actually start to develop some independent thinking. These guys control the weapons! Dangerous!

Move them up quickly, move them out quickly, guarantee the best an even brighter second career in an MIW-affiliated organisation, and maybe even a chance to join the ranks of the MIW itself.

Never let a clever general get old enough to be in a position realize his ambitions his own way.

Topspin Thamby said...

To whoever this concerns:

The blogosphere is a valuable resource. It is an alternative site for a public sphere that is largely absent in Singapore. Did it ever strike you that public discourse - sine qua non for democracy,is very much like the state talking to itself thru its own media?

And so you have this resource but what do you do? You criticize pple trying to facilitate intelligent discourse. This issue may be well-worn for you or it may have no relevance for you whatsoever. But in case you haven't noticed, you're not the only one living in this country.

The only times pple like you perk up your ears and take an interest is when there seem to be financial ramifications for you personally. You need to realize that there are substantive issues with no economic yardstick that are nevertheless impt for the quality of life in SG.

e.g Do you know how electoral boundaries are set? Probably not. You'd rather just express incredulity and complain when you suddenly find Serangoon in the same district as Marine Parade wouldn't you?. Also, do you not feel like a moron for voting the same pple into power election after election and then complaining abt how they screw you over after the elections.

Do you why you keep doing this? Bcos you're ignorant abt the issues. And you're ignorant abt the issues bcos you refuse to engage anyone in public discussion. Your reflex is to go straight for the critic rather than to try and engage the critique in a rational manner. In fact, you're the real whiner.

Ultimately, in a democracy you always get the govt you deserve. But I bet you knew that and I'm probably just repeating.

J D TOH said...

I don't see anything wrong with your posts, MWSS. In fact, I rather enjoy your way of dissecting much of the nonsense that's fed to the public. Someone once told me when I was a bit younger - always look with a critical eye. MWSS, I dare say your critical THIRD eye has been opened wide hehe.

Re the font size, have you just changed to a 22" monitor that you have to make your fonts so big now :-D

Jimmy Mun said...

stark: If we ever strike oil in Pulau Tekong, maybe it will then be worth dying for.

anonymous 2.11am, Australia is at the other end of Indonesia. With all their natural resources, including potential offshore oilfield disputes, if Australia is not afraid, and the sheer length of the Australian coastline, if Australia is not afraid, why should we? Notice that Australia doesnt even have a meaningfully large reserve force.

Finland shares a long border, and used to be part of Russia with her million strong army equipped with superpower military hardware. If Finland shares Singaporean paranoia, they would be enlisting women, children and old folks to "match" the threat.

As much as I have reservations about the lack of experience of our top brass, our lavish spending on military hardware compared to our neighbours is in military parlance, a "force multiplier". There is little question that our military is an overkill if deterrence is all we seek. However, if our leaders seek to act like a gangster and "regime change" anybody who looks at us funny, then I can understand why we need a force this overwhelmingly large.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Mun,

Don't you think it might be a tad more difficult to perform a naval blockade, territorial grab, or airstrike on Australia?...?!?

simplesandra said...

jimmy mun wrote: "If Finland shares Singaporean paranoia, they would be enlisting women, children and old folks to "match" the threat."

Fortunately, Finland has perfected the art of, ahem, "Finlandization"--a diplomatic artform which Singapore perpetually struggles with. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Indonesian plantation tycoons simply need to raze their forests a bit more and the resulting haze will choke Singapore to death.

In the first place a harmless tiny nation that needs to arm itself to its teeth has basically failed in its foreign relations with its neighbours.

simplesandra said...

anon wrote: "Mr WSS: u're just one unpatriotic sod who has no place in S'pore."

So you'd rather Singaporeans be apathic towards things in our own country?

The reason why Singapore survived the turbulent times in the past (when our neighbours were a lot more unfriendly, mind you) is because Singaporeans stuck together as a whole. And the govt stuck with the people.

Look at Singapore today. Despite our talk of "Total Defence", national unity is falling apart, with recent "FT" policies and the widening social gaps contributing much to the breakdown.

There's even disgruntlement at national service/reservist by guys who are starting to feel disadvantaged (or worse, discrimniated) when it comes to their careers.

And all our ministers and MPs do is hiphop at Chingay and chide locals for whining and not facing up to the "brutal truth" of globalisation.

All this, while Islamic awakening takes root in Indonesia (for good or bad) and nationalism brims in Thailand.

It's hardly surprising that our neighbours see us as weak, and are taking the opportunity to kick Singapore right in the teeth.

You can come up with a huge defence budget, but money can't buy mental toughness and unity--which is far greater deterrent than the most sophisticated arsenal in the world.

Anonymous said...

Try standing next to a bloody marine and you know the difference.

They feed on beef - steak.
Our officers suck cock for sperm.

Even I am stronger. I was DB 3 times. I got myself mother-fucking shaved 3 times, got that!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

I dunno why some readers are saying that the font size of this post looks extra large. It looks normal-sized on my screen. Anyway I just tried to tweak the formatting again .... let me know if it looks ok now.

Anonymous said...

However, it would be interesting to see key positions being held by a malay, since sg is surrounded by muslims which can improve our relationships with our neighbours.

The Chief of Army or the current military junta Chief of Thailand is a Muslim. I do not see how that changes the minds of Muslims in Southern Thailand wanting to separate out from Thailand. Nor Malaysia and Indonesia being any more friendly to Thailand as opposed to Thaksin's time.

Anonymous said...

Indonesian plantation tycoons simply need to raze their forests a bit more and the resulting haze will choke Singapore to death.

Alternatively, they can send 3 sampan loads of poor farmers (refugees?) to Singapore every 5 min. We will sink within 3 months.

6.5 million population!

Jimmy Mun said...

Mr Ko,

like I said above, Australia see herself as the "sheriff" of the South Pacific islands, and, as in the case of unrest in Solomon Islands, Australian troops and police will come storming in with guns blazing. Add to that their troops committed to the "war on terror", peacekeeping in East Timor etc. Furthermore, Australians have shown that they can be very committed in wars far from home, like at Gallipoli in WW1 and defending Singapore in WW2. But they still seem happy with having a smaller military than Singapore.

And what good is 300,000 conscript foot solidiers in breaking a naval blockade or defending an airstrike? Isnt this why we have the finest air force and navy, of which both are mainly staffed by career soldiers?

The emphasis should be on quality, not quantity. Anyway, I am not advocating abolishment of NS. All I am saying is that we can cut NSF to 1 year for the majority of the foot-soldiers without compromising our defence readiness a single bit. Officers may need a longer time, but the freed up funds can be used to amply reward them, and if the Hen Minister can be trusted, everybody will still be clamouring for a place in OCS to enhance their popularity in the job market.

Anonymous said...

Moving away from the racial aspect, I will like to focus on the defence policy and the defence budget. Walsh commented that "SAF is the most competent, well-equipped and best trained force in the whole of South-east Asia" and defence analyst Dr Bernard Loo said that "fighting a war is not the Republic's most pressing concern". Then why are we spending a huge one-third of our budget on Defence expenditure on hardware and manpower at the expense of other social and infrastructure spending? Is one-third just right or too much. Let's see.

Let me share extracts from one source ( on 2005/2006 Military Spending as % of GDP by countries:
World’saverage 2.0% Israel 9.0% *
Qatar/Saudi Arabia 10.0% *
Iraq 7.5% *
Kuwait/Syria 5.9% *
Turkey 5.3% *
USA 4.1% *
Pakistan 4.5% *
China 4.3* Iran 3.3% *
Other Middle Eastern 3.1% - 4.9%* South Kore 3.0% *
India 2.7% *
Taiwan 2.4% *
UK/France 2.4% / 2.6% *
Germany 1.5% *
Switzerland 1.0%
Holland 1.1% - 1.6%
Eastern European
Countries 1.7%- 2.6% Scandinavian 1.5% - 2.0%

Phillipines/Thailand 1.1 / 1.8 %
Malaysia/Vietnam 2.03 / 2.5 %
Indonesia 3.0%

* Countries in armed conflict hotspots or with high war risks

Any volunteer to analyse the above data and share your conclusions? I think the answer is quite obvious.
Hell why the press and the MPs in Budget debate don't tell us all this. In the post budget forum, the 2nd Minister of Defence said that he could confidently get approval to increase defence spending to 6% of GDP if need to. 1.1% increase - That's another S$2 billion or more. Who pays? and at the expense of what other budgets?

Anonymous said...

A question of loyalty: the Malays in Singapore

NEARLY 13 years ago, then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew triggered a debate about Malay loyalty with televised comments he made before a university audience (December 1986). Lee stated that the government had taken two opinion polls prior to and following the visit of Israeli President Chiam Herzog (November 1986) to the republic.

The poll found that the number of Malay respondents who were not against the visit fell sharply from one poll to the next, while the proportion of non-Malays who did not oppose the visit rose marginally.

Lee interpreted this to mean that "in certain circumstances, the Malay Singaporeans react with the emphasis on Malay/Muslim rather than Singaporean.

An article in the Far Eastern Economic Review Asia 1998 Yearbook (pg 222f) says, "To Lee this came down to a question of loyalty : "Are we sure that in a moment of crisis, when the heat is on, we are all together heart to heart? I hope so. But we ought to have a fallback position and quickly fill up all the missing hearts if some go missing."

The same article says, "In February 1987, Lee's son commented further on the status of the Malays in an open forum on why Malays do not hold sensitive positions in the armed forces. Explaining that there are no Malay fighter pilots, for example, because their religion might conflict with their duty to Singapore, he provoked a backlash of criticism from the Muslim community in addition to Singapore's Muslim neighbours."

The article goes on to say, "these statements represented some of the most frank public commentaries ever made by Singapore's political leaders on the role of the Malays, which continues to stir emotions among the Malay community."

As recently as September 18, Mr Lee, speaking at a Singapore 21 forum said, the reality is that while Singapore has made progress in integrating the different races, certain emotional bonds are instinctive and cannot be removed overnight. (Straits Times September 19, 1999)

Asked by a polytechnic student if Singapore could overcome this and become a nation, Mr Lee said: "Yes, I think so, over a long period of time and selectively. We must not make an error.

"If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religious and who has family ties in Malaysia in charge of a machine gun unit, that's a very tricky business.

"We've got to know his background. I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I didn't think that, and I think even if today the Prime Minister doesn't think carefully about this, we could have a tragedy."

"So, these are problems which, as poly students, you're colour-blind to, but when you face life in reality, it's a different proposition."

Reports in the Singapore media this year refuting Indonesian Presidents Habibie's remarks in February that Singapore was racist because Malays could not become military officers only stated that there are Malay officers in the armed forces.

The reports made no reference to the documented remarks (above) of the two Lees regarding Malay loyalty.

The reports also did not state:

* 1. if Malays hold sensitive positions in the armed forces;
* 2. if any Malay officers in the Singapore air force are fighter pilots; and
* 3. if the Lees have changed their expressed position regarding loyalty of the Malays.

While meritocracy is still maintained in the island and the Singapore armed forces appoints and promotes Malays, there is no evidence that Malay Singaporeans hold sensitive positions in the Singapore armed forces.

Death_SG said...

Singaporeans are pushed to work like slaves for "the country" for "the economy". Our welfare, compromised because we need to spend money on the defence of our "country". Our NSmen pushed to compete with international foreign talent who have advantage over the 2 years and subsquent reservist training, because of "our country's economy".

Let's wake up and ask ourselves this: The things Singaporeans are doing for our country, are they proportionate to the things our country Singapore is doing for us? The country belongs to the people, and we the people expect our country to return the work and sweat and blood we put in. And it's not put in for the sake of our million paid dollar ministers.

Anonymous said...

Hey You ungrateful lots out there! Huge sum of money is spent to protect you from harms way instead of increasing Civil Servants" Pays to make them competitive with the Private Sector and you are making so much noise!

Anonymous said...

Hey grateful lot, guess who pays for all that? The ungrateful lots who have to pay GST...=P

He said, in response to a question on instinctive emotional ethnic bonds, that it would be a very tricky business for the SAF to put a Malay officer, who was very religious and who had family ties in Malaysia, in charge of a machine-gun unit. 'We've got to know his background

Wow... Imagine that, Malay Officer, religious and with family ties cannot. But Malaysian Chinese, relgious and with family ties still can hor. How'd people expect Malays to be loyal if you keep treating them like traitors and prefering them over foreigners? No wonder JI can recruit people, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, then again, Bangladeshi workers can go in and out of MINDEF to do repair work, but erm, a Muslim serviceman with many years of experience has to fill in this and that form and go through checks.


Anonymous said...

the fact that qns myself if whether the huge spending on defense is = more defense?

in fact as a singaporean, i found its sg is totally vulnerable. what kind of defense are we building?

Anonymous said...

Awww, those pathetic bored whiners. Old news you say? Not for me. I was never in the army and Mr Wang's posts that are related to the SAF have indeed been eye-openers for me.

My take is that those ninjas have run out of tactics to douse a brightly burning flame. So they resort to mundane personal attacks.

Cheap trick really. Now, isn't that an old trick?

Anonymous said...

It's about time our regular officers and generals start acting like real soldiers. Why can't we have a company strength of regular soldiers, from the rifleman to the section leader right up to the commanding officer. Better still, have one of our BGs lead it.

Then attach this company or perhaps one platoon to one of the US units seeing action in Irag. The US would be most receptive. Real action, dealing with real enemies, real bullets. No amount of training in Pasir Laba will beat this kind of training.

And if they come back from Iraq in one piece, I'll honestly take off my hat to them.

Anonymous said...

"You don't have to read my blog if you're not interested."

I thought ppl aren't supposed to say things like "if you're not happy, leave"?

Anonymous said...

But this isn't about emigration. You've mistaken the context.

Anonymous said...

To know whether people think a blog post is interesting, all you have to do is look at the number of comments that a post attracts.

This post hasn't just attracted a large number of comments, but many substantive comments making good points. I'm also quite impressed with the posters who cited stats, figures, past media articles etc to support their points.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, deep down in my heart I was thinking and I hope that this articule will not dis-credit the time and effort our NS men and reservist has poured in to this National Obligation.

And what I seriously think is that the leader should understand that we cannot predict what will happen tomorrow. Whether if there is another terrorist attack or invasion, we cannot foresee all these. By being available for our nation in the time of crisis is already the biggest contribution the country should expect of us.

Ask yourself seriously, how many able-bodies would really stay and fight if you know death is inevitable.

simplesandra said...

anon wrote: "Ask yourself seriously, how many able-bodies would really stay and fight if you know death is inevitable. "

I know it sounds cliched, but people will if it's something worth dying for, especially a higher ideal. The question though is, is there? :-)

Anonymous said...

anon @ March 14, 2007 9:11 PM

AFAIK, there are already such companies in existence.

by the way. I have to say i liked the beetle bailey picture

J D TOH said...

I took the liberty of taking a screenshot of your blog so you can see how your fonts look like on my laptop.

I think some of your fonts on the right might be a little big.

le radical galoisien said...

No, the article does not discredit the effort. That's why the US soldier affirms

But you know what? I'm finding the US military increasingly more attractive to join than the Singapore military, not because it's easier, but because they treat their members as more than just figures and expendable numbers.

Plus, the soldier wasn't taking potshots at the SAF: it was quite an objective analysis. Obviously the government is too stupid to realise what the soldier's true criticisms were. "Soldier takes potshots at SAF" is a very neutral title indeed.