Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Famous Experiment

The remarkable case of a Lieutenant Colonel in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) being sentenced to 5 months’ jail  for having commercial sex with an under aged online hooker is not about the $500 he paid for the 17-year-old's short-time engagement. SAF officers are well paid, very well paid. Instead of bearing arms under the hot sun so that the citizenry can sleep in peace at night, he was lolling in the pleasurable embrace of a teenager. Someone else must have been relegated the less pleasant task of defending the nation.

As a hands-on Minister of Defence, Goh Keng Swee was always concerned that the defence establishment from headquarters should always avoid institutional complacency and maintain operational readiness - to leap into battle, not the welcoming arms of an obliging female. Goh conducted an experiment, to test his hypothesis that "anyone could slip chunks of statistics from the National Estimates into an army document and, and no one would notice", by issuing a general circular which was in essence a lengthy quote about the Great Flood from the book of Genesis. The response from the rank and file of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the armed forces is telling:
Most recipients were perplexed, to say the least - but in a comical bid to conceal their ignorance, they either forwarded the circular to their subordinates, with the words, 'For your necessary action', or 'Noted and filed'. Since the passage had mentioned floods, the Army officers sent it to the Navy officers 'for action'. The more imaginative officers interpreted the extract as instructions to send two representatives from each company to assemble forty days later, as the document mentioned the following lines, 'You shall bring two of every sort into the ark' and 'The rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights'. Only one officer... had the common sense to ask in exasperation, 'What on earth is this circular all about, and who sent it?'
(Tan Siok Sun, "Goh Keng Swee: A Portrait", page 147)

Lim Siong Guan recalled how none of the commanders raised questions on the General Staff Orders containing the story of Noah's Ark. Goh replied that the commanders either were not reading the orders or did not care for them.

The unfolding tragedy is that the lone officer who did ask a question probably did not make it higher up the ranks. It's the other lot that are parachuted into comfortable appointments with government linked companies. The guys likely to be running the transportation companies, shipping lines, government investment houses and holding office in the cabinet. It must be tough to focus on soldiering when the "retirement package" is more lucrative. Goh was prescient about the creep of complacency, but unfortunately for us, nothing can be done about it.


  1. It is surely not complacency among the elites that will ruin us. It is the mandarinate that will. When things go wrong they will not admit their mistakes because doing so will ruin their boast that they are the very best( and well rewarded). They will provide cover for each other because any form of betrayal will ruin the careers of the others. The biblical "who will cast the first stone?"No one pays the price of their cock-ups. Take the Temasek investment in the Australian ABC Learning, $350 million was being lost in this hopeless venture and yet another $150 was put in barely 3-4months before its inevitable bankruptcy. Did any head roll?

    1. Too shameful to admit being conned by financial crooks.They are the talents with their eyes wide open, but their brains kosong.

  2. Come on
    The soldier boys are just enjoying
    the peaceful time.
    If they go to war, they will not be paying
    for their funs, they will romance with young
    girls at the war front without paying and
    may even silence them after that.

    What to expect of soldiers?

    1. Chee liou bee (waste our rice grains)

    2. Hey asshole --- I'm a soldier and I'm terribly insulted. What a let down that in times of war I need to put my life on the line for assholes like you.

  3. Easier to go with the flow as the one when who said so. An unorthodox will not succeed unless you belong to the elite class.An idiotic elite stands a better chance.

  4. "...Easier to go with the flow as the one when who said so. An unorthodox will not succeed unless you belong to the elite class.An idiotic elite stands a better chance."

    Yes. I worked for a GLC and once I suggested a new way of doing things. The idea was squashed at the roots... citing the manufacturer's way as being sufficient. But it was designed for another culture and did not fit into ours.

    Alas, after 9 months, the idea was implemented... but claimed by the senior as his... so much for "staff suggestions". Since then, I remain silent but vote with my feet.

  5. Who is the "shadow" Defence Minister that the WP would like to be nominated...CSM..What does he think of this....Aiyoh..no comment or keep quiet.

  6. I agree SAF officers are very well paid. You just have to look at the cars they are driving. It used to be Toyota and Honda but these days, you tend to see Benz, BM and Audi. Talk about high COE. But then, their remuneration is pegged to civil service which also means all civil servants are well paid as well. We should know by now high pay delivers conformation and compliance rather then talent. A O-level officer recalled how he did well in the SAF - just ensure everything looks "swee swee".

    1. Starting from the old man, that is how loyalty is bought with the use of public money. No need for corruption. No wonder they can do wonders with so many injustices.

  7. Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

    SAF Scholar
    They made me an offer I could not refuse.

    I don’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. If PAP tell me that the chicken crossed the road, that is good enough for me.

    Now at the left of the screen, you clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

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  9. Anonymous Anonymous said...


    ASK ME:
    November 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm (Quote)
    A Finnish Lady Told me in Finland Ministers and ordinary folks the pay between them is very very small.People serves in govt because they love the country not money

    Rating: +43 (from 43 votes)

    1. But Singapore is not a country.
      Singapore is an industrial park just like the Suzhou Industrial Park.

      Singaporeans are not citizens.
      We are just guest workers who have overstayed our welcome.
      By their actions, it is clear the landlord wants to evict the Singaporeans.
      So who is this landlord?

  10. Methinks the barn owl is the 6th-eye spy sent from our neighbor lah. No wonder we deserve those cyber attacks. The birds and graffiti writings are on the wall lah...that's the kind of foolish experiments our scholars are playing fire with. Now they do all that fire-fighting...with our tax payers money. And in the end, we get cyber-watched and harrassed by their new laws to protect more of their asses, not the citizens.

    Letting go of illusion makes one wiser than seeking the truth.

  11. The Lieutenant Colonel must be trying to show Aware that not all soldiers are "misogynists". He loves women, all of them, even the young ones! Doesn't he deserve a medal from Aware for being a "philogynist", after all they also got the women hating song "Purple Light" banned from the SAF? Make love, don't make war!

  12. My response would have been as follow:


    1) If your message is in plain text, then I suspect you must be Noah.

    2) If your message is encrypted, then I am afraid I don't have the key and don't know WTF you are talking about.

    Yours respectfully,
    LCP Kee Chiu.