Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Grave Matter Of Defence

The true badge of citizenship
In the hustle and bustle of the election rallies, there are many precious gems of truth that surface and are worthy of consideration for the betterment of the future generation. For instance the SDP suggestion that ministerial pay be indexed to median income levels, a variation of the proposal Workers' Party mooted in the 2006 election. Low Thia Khiang highlighted something closer to our hearts, in the midst of his speech at the Moulmein-Kallang GRC (Open Field Kallang Ave) rally. There's no verbatim record, but the following partial transcript should suffice. It comes just after the part about Lee Kuan Yew "jumping up and down" (definitely a figure of speech) over the Aljunied GRC ground sentiments:

"But I think he has to watch his Tanjong Pagar GRC team mate, Chan Chun Sing, carefully. Mr Chan's response to a query on his view of a PAP candidate not serving National Service is this:
And I quote, "For me I don't just ask where he comes from, more importantly, I ask where you are going. In the past you have not been a citizen you may not have contributed to doing NS or maybe different walks or different sector of society."

I am surprised by his remark, when someone brought this to my attention. Is he saying that National Service is not important? That it does not matter whether one serves National Service? I do not feel right that the PAP should field a foreign talent who just became a new citizen without serving National Service as a candidate.

And he is now trying to seek your mandate to represent the people in parliament.

Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean once said this in parliament about National Service defaulters.
I quote: "Besides the fact that they are talented, and they contribute to Singapore does not detract from the fact that they are defaulted on their NS duty. Everyone, regardless of talent, must play their part in our national defence." Unquote.

Mr Chan Chun Sing was the chief of army before he left the service to become a candidate.  How can the former chief of army publicly say something contradictory to the Minister of Defence?

I propose that we consider amending the constitution for the qualification of male candidates for election to reject those who have not served National Service.

This is only fair to us, who have all done National Service. Including myself. Including Chen Show Mao."


  1. You are playing with words,

    His statement is neutral as he is saying there
    are different areas of service, where does he imply that NS is not important.

    Frankly, should we impute than following your logic that once a person serves NS that they are flawless.

  2. ajohor: no, it's a matter of coherent message; PAP says, "Look at the track record," so we should look to see how much that person has done for SG. Chen has spent more time as a Singaporean; when people see his overseas success, I'm sure he is a great advertisement for Singapore overseas. But when someone who hasn't served NS and has only been an SG citizen for 2 years plus suddenly wants to represent me, that's different. Nothing about flawlessness is mentioned or implied.

  3. If you are with the same camp, double standard is acceptable.

    Uniquely Singapore!

  4. Trebuchet

    I am just following your logic in your article which can be implied as follows since you wish to imply as per his.

    As long as the opposition candidate has done NS and it does not matter his records.
    I would be willing to vote him in.

    It is just the other side of the coin, of single wedge issues.

    To lay your thoughts to rest, I find the WP team to be excellent and the NSP side.
    Not all ministers are worth their weight in gold.

    It is right to demand accountability, however, your article to me is politiking on semantics which the same game can be played at the other end.

  5. Err, your "true badge" of NS picture is showing an Indo soldier with FN FAL rifle leh...

    Anyway, many of PAP's so-called bestest new citizen candidates only became citizens in the last 2 years, i.e. during 2008 and 2009. That's when elections preparation started for the PAP. Coincidence?

    Remember that civil servants started their refresher training for GE way back in mid-2009. So the top mgmt in PAP must have been psycho-ing various people and inviting them for tea sessions during 2008/09. Obviously this included quite a number of PRs and PAP must have been trying to convince them to convert to citizen and become PAP candidate. At least 2 of the PAP new candidates were formerly M'sian and they only become citizen in 2008/09.

    Another major factor for taking up SG citizenship for non-malay M'sians is that the ruling BN suffered badly in the 2008 M'sian elections. The main chinese party in the BN coalition, MCA, lost badly and it appeared that non-malays were being sidelined or seen as becoming impotent in the M'sian political scene.

    This is noted by another well known blogger:-

    Unlike other political parties in democratic countries around the world, the PAP is seen and acknowledged as a "blue chip company" in S'pore. Serving PAP in a high-level position is like working for brand-name MNCs like Apple, Google, Goldman Sachs, LVMH etc --- it boosts your resume and your earning power. Many PAP people do what they do precisely becoz they treat it as professional development and monetary opportunity. It's just like if suddenly a world-renown MNC were to headhunt you, wine & dine and dangle a guaranteed job offer for $20K a month basic pay plus bonuses plus expat accommodation plus car etc, with the only condition being that you have to convert citizenship to say Australian or Canadian. Would you take the offer? I think many will.

  6. Has it ever occurred to the average Sporean that the 2 year national service is not as important as it is made out to be? NS is an effective tool to politically condition the minds of young men.

    The incumbent party's willingness to excuse first generation PRs and younger well educated new citizens from doing 2 NS is proof of this. The point is not to insist that the PRs and young new citizens do NS but to reduce the 2 year NS requirement to a year or even less.

  7. to ajohor,
    you accused the writer of playing with words when analysing Chan Chun Seng's statement, quote"
    "For me I don't just ask where he comes from, more importantly, I ask where you are going. In the past you have not been a citizen you may not have contributed to doing NS or maybe different walks or different sector of society."

    How can the writer be playing with words. did you not see that in fact the writer points implicitly to word "more importantly" whicn Mr CCS's used? The writer concludes logically that based on CCS quote, NS would be "less important" . These words come from CCS mouth, they are not pluck from the air.

    The text of CCS speech may be summarised as follows, "it is not important if your serve NS or whatever, i only look at your future, your potential".

    If this is so, WHY DOES PAP keep asking the background of Chen Mao Sheng etc etc.?
    If this is so, WHY do we even need singaporeans to serve in parliament. We could higher Mr Obama and pay him the money that's all.

    It is absolute rubbish to say that the selection process for parlimment-grade material Office Holder, does not require the screening of the historical background of a person-- how can CCS make such a statement?

    NS is the cornerstone of Singaporean loyalty. A person who arguably escape NS and become Citizen after the age limit for NS is clearly not fit to be a Minister because his motives are questionable. At the first sign of trouble of this country he will run back to his native country.
    NS is important. I think all parliamentarians who ar able bodied MUST go through what the average singapore person go through. It is a shame that an ex army general can make such absurd statements. How can singapore fight a war with this kind of leadership. We have wasted and we are continuing to waste billions of dollars on the SAF.


  8. Zero

    Just read my earlier post.
    If you wish to be of the school that anybody will do as long as they serve NS, fine irrespective of what they do for a living.


  9. I understand that our military defence companies are not allowed to hire non-citizens. Even sub-contractor staff dealing with them need to be citizens and require clearance from them. Such is the strict standards, I was told.

    But running as a politcal candidate to be elected as a MP (and possibly a potential Minister), they are prepared to accept a foreigner who has not only never completed NS but only became a new citizen during the last 2~3 years, what kind of standards is that now ?

    And yet our ex-Army chief say he is not interested to ask where he is coming from ?
    What if he is some foreign spy ? Why this ex-Army chief has a human head filled with pig brains is it ?

  10. All NSmen. Please do not vote for candidates who never serve NS!