In the movie classic "Top Gun", hot shot Maverick is given a dressing down for endangering a US$40 million fighter jet, "Son, your ego's writing cheques your body can't cash".
He's not yet 86, but every time Foreign Minister George Yeo makes unsolicited comments about China's policies and how it should be engaged, one is reminded of the ant who was staring up the rear of an elephant, with the intention of rape. This time he has gone too far, and become a greater security threat to our country than all the jihadist wannabes put together.
Washington Post reported the shot fired across the bow by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the Asean Regional Forum in Hanoi, during an unpleasant exchange between Yang and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton:
"When he returned, he gave a rambling 30-minute response in which he accused the United States of plotting against China, seemed to poke fun of Vietnam's socialist credentials and apparently threatened Singapore, according to US and Asian officials in the room. 'China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's just a fact,' he said, staring directly at Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo, according to several participants at the meeting."
MFA quickly issued a statement, claiming, "..Minister Yeo did not see Minister's Yang's words or glance as threatening to Singapore." Just how did he qualify for the Foreign Minister job anyway? Maybe he needs to attend one of those SPUR (Skills Programme For Upgrading And Resilience) courses on body language and nuances of the spoken word. The last time Yeo goofed up badly was during a meeting at the UN's General Assembly in 2004, when he provoked Taiwan's Foreign Minister Chen Tan-sun into describing Singapore as "the size of a piece of snot". Mr Chen said of Yeo's speech, "It was nothing but an effort to embrace China's 'balls', forgive me using such a word". Talk about being wedged between a rock and a very hard place.
In July Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met with business leaders and politicians in Houston and was asked why Singapore allocates $11.5 billion for defence, the highest budget among all the ministries. Lee told the gathering Singapore spends on defence "in order to feel safe", "We're very small. Your Mayor said we're the size of the city of Houston. But I think we're smaller than the city of Houston". He might also add that his cabinet ministers have very big mouths.