Friday, March 18, 2011

Of Mice And Men

On Saturday 12 March 2011, one day after northeast Japan was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, officers from the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) contingent of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (codenamed Operation Lionheart) flew off on Flight SQ 12 to help with the rescue work.

SCDF said the five search specialists and five search dogs, led by Search Platoon Commander Major Tan Loo Ping, departed Japan on Wednesday morning 16 March. Minister of State for Home Affairs and Education Masagos Zulkifli, SCDF Commissioner Peter Lim and Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Mr Yoichi Suzuki were on site to receive the returning team on Thursday. Major Tan and three of the officers in the team for Japan were also part of the 55-man search and rescue team dispatched earlier to Christchurch, New Zealand, from 23 February to 6 March. In view of the shorter stint, perhaps the Japan junket should be renamed Operation Pussycat.

While thousands of people have been evacuated due to high risks of radiation near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a small group of 180 workers are staying on at the risk of their lives to prevent a major meltdown. The group of nearly 200 technicians, reportedly labeled the Fukushima 50 because they work in shifts of 50, are likely being exposed to massive amounts of radiation. Monitoring at the Fukushima Daiichi site has recorded radiation as high as 400 millisieverts an hour -- a level known to be a risk to human health. These are modern day Kamikaze heroes, men and women willing to die for their nation. These are times that separate men from mice.


  1. LOL a great piece!

    So did our 4days-only USAR actually made it to Fukushima or are they just trying to "look useful and helpful" with 5+5 rescue heroes wannabe?
    I am curious what expertise they have in treating/solving a nuclear problem.

    If SG has a similar outbreak, (1) foreigners will flee (2)Retirees/aged will not have the health to volunteer (3) young/abled will ask "what for?" And that pretty much left the (4) death-sentenced prisoners a chance to redeem their freedom. Oh but wait, we dont have prisoners left..they have all been sent to the gallows already.


    The search & rescue have now moved to relieve & rebuild. The bigger question is - Would you put your own people's lives in further danger unnecessarily? Would you rather be a men to your country and mice to others? The loyalty of foreign vs local talents comes into consideration.
    Is hard to expect people to die for a country if you imagine that country was a perpetrator of a war/rape just not too long ago. OR are we BIG enough to say we should help each other no matter their race, religion or nationality as long as they are a fellow human? This is the test of humanity and mankind. One can only wish that if we treat others the right way, the same will be accorded to them.

  3. According to ST account, the SCDF team spent one day in Tokyo before moving on to Soma city in the Fuskushima prefecture on Sunday. They flew back to Tokyo on Tuesday, meaning they were on site for barely 2 days. The Minister responsible for this foolhardy trip should have the expenses deducted from his performance allowance. But then. they're probably using this PR wayang to beef up the CV of the officers involved, in case they stand as candidates for future elections. The brigadier-generals lined up for this coming GE were featured in the Acheh exercise.

  4. Singaporeans shld be tankful tat our minister and garmenment love their citizens so much tat they din wan the sin contingent to be harmed by any radiation. We shld be proud to hav such loving leeders.