|Jupiter Aerobatic Team - ambassador in the sky|
The strongest words to date on the fracas kicked up by Teo Chee Hean et al came from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). Speaking through his spokesman on foreign affairs, the message was stark and devoid of rhetoric: Singapore risks overreacting on warship issue.
Indonesia's Defence Ministry confirmed on Sunday the chain of dominoes started tumbling when Second Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing cancelled a scheduled meeting with their Deputy Defence Minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin. Slighted, Sjafrie decided to give the air show a miss.
In a demonstration of unity, Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) commander General Moeldoko, Army Chief Budiman and Air Force Chief Ida Bagus Putu Dunia also decided not to attend, although they were not uninvited. "If my men cannot go, and the commander of the TNI goes, it's not good. So no TNI officer will attend the Singapore Airshow," General Moeldoko made clear his stand in the Indonesian parliament. The Indonesian Air Force's Jupiter Aerobatic team will still take to the skies, "But we are ready to withdraw if we are not given time to do so."
General Moeldoko has also cancelled a lecture he was supposed to deliver at a Singapore university. Putting his military foot down firmly, Moeldoko said their navy would not rename the ship, "It's up to them to raise the issue but when it comes to sovereignty, there's no way."
Chan Chun Sing had spent two years in Jakarta as Singapore's Army Attache, but if he made any friends at all, none of them raised their hands in support ("keechiu"). Not too long ago he plagiarised Winston Churchill's speech to wage war on our citizenry. Now he takes cowardly cover in a mountain of weasel words, "I suggest we interact boldly, dialogue openly, network assiduously and train together professionally." Right, like the best way to open a dialogue is to cancel a scheduled meeting.