Thursday, May 10, 2012

Singapore Armed Forces versus cynics and critics in the halcyon days of peace

1 December 2022 update: My first novel, Pukul Habis: Total Wipeout, a fictional story of war in Malaysia and Singapore, was released on Amazon in November 2022. Available from Amazon sites that serve your location. "Look Inside" function on some sites shows sample pages.



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Not everyone will love thy neighbour.

Love 'em or hate 'em, it does not matter for Singapore's citizen soldiers. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is bound by oath to defend Singapore all the same.

SAF warfighters can choose their targets but not whom they choose to defend. From a tactical standpoint, it is impractical for Singaporean soldiers deployed for action to single out individuals, property or grid squares of Singaporean real estate they will hand over to the aggressor(s) willingly without a fight.

The sad truth about people like Melvyn Tan, who defaulted his full-time National Service and turned his back on Singapore to build his career in London, and Zheng Huiting, who became a social pariah after she made a remark discrediting Singaporean soldiers, is that they may have the last laugh as they still enjoy the protection and services provided by the SAF and Home Team.

If and when they are in town and are in peril, the SAF will not turn its back on such people.

When the SAF swung into action in March 1991 to rescue passengers and crew aboard the hijacked Singapore Airlines Flight SQ117, Special Operations Force commandos made it a priority to rescue every friendly soul aboard the airliner regardless of their political affiliations, feelings towards the SAF or level of commitment to defence (C2D). Even the most fervent and acid-tongue critic of the SAF would have been saved from harm by the SAF during Operation Thunderbolt.

The mission to evacuate Singaporeans from embattled Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in 1997 during Operation Crimson Angel also made no distinction between the level of support for C2D. A Singapore passport was all that was needed for Singaporeans to book a seat aboard the stream of Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130s sent for the non-combatant evacuation operation that flew them home.

Singapore Army warfighters tasked to form a contact tracing cell during the SARS crisis in 2003 performed their duties professionally and diligently without caring a hoot whether or not Singaporeans appreciated their efforts. The soldiers, many of whom were full-time National Servicemen trained as intelligence specialists, planned, conceptualised and implemented a process to trace people who were thought to have come into contact with carriers of the deadly SARS virus. The NSFs did so without the benefit of any template and got better at the no-notice, no rehearsal task as the life-saving operation unfolded.

Despite all this, Singaporeans are all too quick to bitch about, abuse and criticise the national defence apparatus that has been the silent sentinel responsible for the Lion City's security, survival and success. We have made an art of heaping scorn and ridicule on anything SAF-related, happily exerting brain cells to come up with the most witty or sarcastic retort to official statements or policies while exposing a child-like naivette about political undercurrents that swirl around our island nation.

We do not seem to care that the joint Malaysian-Indonesian airdrop during the Malindo Darsasa 3AB war games, done within sight of Woodlands on National Day in 1991, was the kind of madhouse political brinkmanship that would be replayed time and again if not for the SAF's readiness for operations.

Scores of SAF regulars, NSmen and NSFs who stood on guard during Indonesia's amphibious landing exercises on Pasir Panjang on Bintan island in the 1980s knew the true meaning of siege mentality that Singaporeans love to sneer at. Live ordnance hung from RSAF warplanes with pilots at immediate readiness for takeoff as the SAF tracked Indonesian amphibs to see if they made landfall in their own territory or steamed further on within striking distance of Singapore's coastline.

No one appears to be bothered that interceptions of sand and granite barges in sea lanes around Singapore could have presaged interceptions of vital supplies, if not for the SAF's air and naval forces that kept potential aggressors from provoking Autostrike.

The tenor of critics is directly proportional to the amount of pluck commentators get from dishing out their anti-establishment tripe from the (supposed) anonymity of Internet pseudonyms. When corrected, many slink away quietly and surrender the argument, brittle egos intact as they never had the conviction to put their name to the arguments in the first place.

Many would bitch and do so with alacrity and colourful language, but few would dare stand up and take responsibility for their points of view or for the consequences of a certain course of action.

Our society's complacency, fortified by more than four decades of deceptive peace, has made the job of defending the Lion City all the more challenging as the SAF fights to explain its relevance with no immediate conventional threat on the horizon.

In halcyon days of peace, our biggest enemy is our own complacency.


Anonymous said...

Before concluding, I would like to further research on whether incidents such as 1991's Malindo Darsasa were completely asymmetric or unreciprocated, militarily or politically. It is good to know these things.

Ties have gotten better since the era, for reasons we all know that stem from an uptick in our likeability and not just from the deterrent might of the SAF.

Anonymous said...

On Melvyn Tan on Company,
There are always going to be bad eggs in every society who would beat the system and later cry for compassion. As a fellow Singaporean, as long as the issue of NS is consistant for everyone as well as its consequences, I am personally fine with it.

On Malindo Darsasa & thereafter,
Yes ties may have gotten better..
BUT it does not mean ties will continue to remain warm in the future.. indefinitely...
between countries, it is permanent interests and never permanent friends (i cant remember offhand who said this)

Anonymous said...

From time to time Singaporeans need to be reminded of this. As Anon 12:44 said ties are improving and we don't mention things that are potentially detrimental to rouse up emotions, but nevertheless... the strategic balance are quite constant till now but will change with the introduction of China. There is Singapore and there are Chinese Malaysians and Chinese Indonesians. The equations get complex with the rise of China. The best thing that happened in 1965 was the separation. Adhering to the principle of not saying to much into the open, the final analysis is that at the end of the day, we Singaporeans can only rely on ourselves, Singaporean Malay, Singaporean Chinese, Singaporean Indian and Singaporean Eurasian. There are only 3 million of us. Not many.

Anonymous said...

i must add to my 9:41, Singaporean Chinese ARE Singaporeans. We are NOT China Chinese. I want to stop here but feel compel to also mention that how about the feelings of Malaysian Chinese and Indonesian Chinese (of more relevance and importance would be Malaysian Chinese as they make up a greater proportion of the Malaysian population as compared to the Indonesian Chinese)? Impending identity crisis? What i want to add also is that you know, i think Dr Mahathir did the right thing with the bumi policy. Who will take care of the Malays if not the Malaysian gov? Who in this world is a Malay? Nobody except the Malays! But as a result of this policy, they neglected their non bumi citizens.

Anonymous said...

I applaud your courage in condemning Melvyn Tan who not only got off with a slap on the wrist, but is also officially celebrated by newspaper articles heralding his performance at a public event.

I am disgusted not only by his actions but also by his treatment by officialdom.

Anonymous said...

What Zheng Huiting did is a thousand times less malicious than what this woman did. The cyber sleuth brigade say her name is Stephanie.

"A woman apparently took a photo of an SAF Warrant Officer on the MRT and posted it on her facebook page.

"She asked: 'Can someone enlighten me?? Wear SAF uniform can sit down in crowded train de meh??'

"The woman may have expected the soldier to give up the seat to her. Yet it is not clear if she had any special need or disability.

"She followed up with the comments: "'I thought can only sit when the train is empty, but if crowded u have to give up the seat??" Ask le, cannot de leh..'

"Her post was forwarded to a local facebook page where it generated over 64 comments within an hour."

Ricky Soh said...

Yeah...Its good to know that the SAF was ready to confront intimidation from our neighbours. This does not undermine the need to reduce a 2 year NS commitment to 1 year.

Sean Wee said...

If you have the courage to comment, put your name up yo?

Anonymous said...

Is there any good for Singaporean male to waste 2 prime year of their lives

Anonymous said...

What about our generals?? They do the "all for one, one for all", "duty, honour, country" speech all the time, and very handsomely paid too...
Yet they have this tendency to change from a green to a white uniform and immediately... presto... they start to talk about punishing opposition wards. I wonder how they can face the soldiers they once "lead".

How about our president's son. His "service" is interesting to say the least.

Its no surprise that there is some resentment out there among some who question why (and who) should they serve.

Anonymous said...

screw NS and Singapore. dafug is there to fight for? how many Singaporeans actually have any love for this stupid country? stand up for Singapore my ass.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:57AM displays a degree of self centerdness that is beyond comical. LOL LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

If I had my way, I'd put the likes of Zheng Huiting, Stephanie Tng and Melvyn Tan on a one way trip to Moghadishu or Kandahar, just to see how quickly they start begging to be saved.

Anonymous said...

If the Sg government chooses to hush hush incidents like malindo darshasa, it cannot blame people for not appreciating these things. Difficult balance to strike but too much of such 'need to know' conduct will not help in our total defence efforts. Even what is taught at national education classes in reservist ICTs is pretty run of the mill. You get more buy in from the nsmen and the people if you can share more. Start with nsmen commanders first. Much more be done at this level, even.

Mikhail said...

4:50PM Anon: Since when was it a practice of the Singapore government or any government in the world to publicize their souring/strained relationship with 2 directing neighbouring countries?

David: Thanks for the article, it was a good reminder although I don't forsee many heads turning the way you hoped this article might.

Anonymous said...

This comment on Stephanie on Hardwarezone sums it up:

This GCP highlighted a deep lack of empathy by non-NS public for NS.

Instead of being respected and recognised for our sacrifice, we're exploited by gahman to do cheap labour or kena threatened with charge. And when the gahman treats its NS personnel that way, it's no wonder why public have such negative opinion of NS people as well, and so we're look down on by GCPS and FTs who don't need to serve NS.

This is the reason why I'll never appear in public wearing army uniform. It's just disgraceful, no different from wearing corrective work order uniform for littering.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous May 12, 9:22 AM Who the fuck are you to call me self centered? What the fuck do you know about me? Fuck you. I curse your children so they may be sacrificed as prostitutes in other countries. Let's see who's selfless then. Fucktard.

Anonymous said...

Mikhail: Anon 4:50PM has a point, he is not suggesting full publicity, but I think NSFs and NSmen deserve to know a lot more on the strategic big picture in the region, especially commanders. Things like Malindo Darsasa and the Bintan landings, I daresay the majority of NSF and NSmen, even officers, have never heard of them. The siege mentality is "sneered at" for good reason, when no threat is immediately known, and far more "besieged" countries like South Korea and Taiwan have shorter service or are doing away with conscription.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous May 13, 2012 2:25 PM Do you even know why do we have NS? Because Singapore is a damn small country, with around 4 million people. Compare Singapore to another countries (ie U.S, China, North Korea). We have NS for many reasons. To make other countries or entities think twice before attacking us. For the security of our country. To never rely on other countries for military assistance unless necessary. To be prepared for any threats thrown at us.

I know there are people who hate NS. But do you have anything to fight for? Do you want to see your loved ones suffer the same fate as the ones in WWII? Do you really think that bad things are not going to happen in your life or mine?

Are you a Singaporean? If so, are you proud of being one? If so, pat yourself on the back.

Anonymous said...

As much as these events proved how quick our SAF is to be able to react to surrounding threats, there is no need to publicly remind our citizens on incidents such as Malindo Darsasa 3AB parajump during our National Day, because ties between Indonesia and Singapore are now better than those days. So, no need to bring up such incidents to harm bilateral relationship.

Anonymous said...

As others have highlighted, commanders (officers and specialists) could receive such learning under closed-door setting. It doesn't have to be a public rah-rah announcement. That would be needlessly provocative and mindlessly patriotic. We don't have to be put into the same league as how the PRC oils its propaganda machinery don't we?

Second, I find it hard to believe that we (Singapore) have not committed, either deliberately or inadvertently, similar acts of perceived provocation to our neighbors. I believe it's useful and important to balance the above sobering accounts with ones that I just hypothesize might have taken place.

Last, I hope we will also be mindful that the defense establishment (military and its industrial complex) has a mind and an agenda of its own. To believe our defense establishment is *only* an extension of government and policy is to kid ourselves.

Don't you agree, Mr. Boey?


Hermit said...

Firstly, let me say that I have served my NSF as well as Reservist Trg (13 year cycle) and although I did not enjoy it, I am proud to have served my country well.

My grouse is the unnecessary bravado by SAF talk that breeds ill-will, instead of building good relations with our neighbours.

I am also concerned that there is an overspending of our resource due to paranoia that is breeding in the minds of top SAF men.

Lastly, one question that remains unanswered is, what do we have that is so valuable that others want to invade us for?

SAF is no IDF and S'pore is no Israel. Let's not kid ourselves and let not SAF kid themselves.

Here's my full detailed reply to your main post:

Supporters of SAF's paranoia, what do we have that others want to invade us for?

David Boey said...

Hi Eric and others,
Re: Defence relations. If our bilats are so fragile assorted blog postings are all it takes to destabilise ties, then we are indeed in big trouble.

The value of learning about past lessons goes beyond scare-mongering. It reinforces the message that good bilateral relations we enjoy today took hard work and determination to achieve. It wasn't happenstance.

If such lessons were taught in an academic framework, visiting officers could share their point of view over the same issue. Their perspective would add value to understanding the atmospherics in this part of the world so we treasure strong and stable friendships.

Aside to Barrie. You made this comment on your blog: "Unfortunately, that post did nothing to address the issue I highlighted, but instead, appears to be confirming what I have been saying all along, ie SAF's overspending is due to its paranoia."

This blog did nothing to address the issue you highlighted (unfortunately) as the post you refer to wasn't written in response to, or with your post in mind.

Had you emailed me to ask if we could swap ideas on this matter, I would have been happy to consider because the ensuing discussion would have been interesting and we could have debated over coffee/meal before going on to craft our respective standpoints for our blogs.

Best regards,


Hermit said...

Posted by D. Boey:
>>Aside to Barrie...This blog did nothing to address the issue you highlighted (unfortunately) as the post you refer to wasn't written in response to, or with your post in mind.

OK, noted.

As for the good relations between our neighbours and us, I feel that it is the result of many actions in other ministries, stat boards and even among civilian groups and parties, other than SAF.

If at all, it is the SAF that has been the thorn in the relationship. No thanks to its secret but not so secret policies of harbouring Islamophobia against Muslims not only in the North and South, but also Muslims from our very own homeland.

I am not contesting the need for defence. My point is that all this overspending can be diverted to other areas. And the reason for the overspending takes root from the paranoia that we will be attacked and savaged by our neighbours.

Never mind that we have about nothing worthwhile to be invaded for in the first place.

That aside, this scare mongering that the Bogey Man is about to get us is the trademark of every war mongering nation. Be it US, Israel and even Nazi Germ.

The idea is to create a sense of conflict, so that citizens will unquestioningly support the mad, mad expenditure (and even unnecessary wars) of the military.

offline said...

I have little choice but agree with your post.
This little red dot pretty much survived well against terrorism, riots. You are able to walk out with little to worry late at night. At most, you are worried about being late for work due to train failure. No one get shot in school, deadly riot and badly corrupted system that demand bribe for every government application.

We don't have much resources, no oil, no gold. So what is there to be paranoia about.
But this poor little red dot has all to lose and will lose land-space, sovereignty and perhaps homes just tomorrow. We have sea space and airspace that extend and stretch to into the South China Sea. Out of our Navy patrol vessel's area of operations, pirates are awaiting. That is why my Gmarket or Amazon shipment aboard successfully reached my Singapore address.
Why is our neighbour so nice to us? I have just read news about how bigger country attempt acts against smaller one. It is often that how a larger country threaten to take over a small island.
How can we not be paranoia when our doors are few km of waters or a 10mins drive away? How to defend a corn farm without fence? Other than being friendly with all the neighbour, there is also a need to have a fierce security that threaten to shoot those who invade.
How much to pay?
Chicken Rice at Junction 8 Food Junction cost $3.50 and a similar one at Food Republic in Suntec City is definitely marked differently. Is that overpriced? The content is somehow similar. The difference is the culture, location, service and whatsoever you can name it. So Singapore is Food Junction, Food Republic or Chatter box?

David Boey said...

Dear Barrie,
Thank you for your measured response at 2:36 PM.

re: The allusion that having a Bogey Man puts us in the league of war mongering nations.

How many wars have we hankered for since our forced independence in 1965? None. In fact, we have gone out of our way to work with our neighbours with a Prosper Thy Neighbour policy while previous administrations have tried a Beggar Thy Neighbour policy using coercion.

Even if we had war mongering ambitions, how long do you think an NS-based armed forces like ours can sustain itself in combat without causing a catastrophic economic collapse?

re: Israel. She had to fight for her survival from the time she declared independence. This is a security conundrum that cannot be answered even with a thousand blog entries.

Email me if you would like to continue this discussion offline and in private.

We both agree on the need for national defence - the difference being in degree - but your views are nonetheless valuable to read about and I thank you for writing the post on your blog.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Hi David,

I am a Malaysian and was based in Kluang in 1991. I typically enjoy reading your entries as they provide a unique insight into Singapore's perception of regional defence issues.

In relation to your "madhouse political brinkmanship" remark, for context, the following are some points on the 1991 Malindo Darsasa exercise:

1) The actual jump involved less than 500 men taken from elements within Malaysian and Indonesian paratroop battalions. The exercise was not a secret as it was a scheduled bi-annual exercise between Malaysia and Indonesia.

2) The Malaysian paratroop formation at that point in time was less than 4 years old - having been formed from 3 converted infantry battalions in 1988. In 1991 - the formation was still in the process of developing its operational doctrines and was not declared as fully operation at the brigade level.

3) During this formation stage it trained with various airborne forces from the world including Indonesia - which had longer experience in airborne operations through it KOSTRAD LINUD battalions.

4) The choice of location is unfortunate but it was driven by logistics - LZ was nearest to the point from which Indonesian Hercs deployed out of Java could make landfall. It was also the most southernly point in Peninsula Malaysia that can be reached by Malaysian Hercs to fly out of Subang (even then it is still a very short flight). Additionally, there was also an opportunity to use a non airport LZ in the form of a newly cultivated pineapple plantation - the reality is that, in peninsula Malaysia, other than airports, there are very limited places that can be used as an LZ.

5) There was also another para jump near the same site during the same period but that was conducted with the French paratroops and did not elicit the same response from Singapore.

6) Other than the units involved in the exercise, there were no unusual activity involving other Malaysian or Indonesian forces. Malaysia's small armoured formation (few battalions of mainly wheeled APCs and light tanks) were at their home bases situated along the northern, eastern and southern approaches to KL and were nowhere near Singapore. Same goes for indonesian Marines and amphibious vessels - all at their bases in Java.

7) As the communist insurgency officially ended in 1988, In 1991, the Malaysian Army was primarily a counterinsurgency force with very limited conventional warfare capability. Its artillery was made of short range 105 howitzers suitable for jungle warfare in hilly and mountainous terrain - limited numbers of 155 was on order at that point in time. For anti tank capability it only had the Carl Gustav and no missiles. Same goes for air defence, a few battalion of Bofors AA guns and no missiles as well (Starburst came later).

8) Also worth noting, in 1991, Malaysian airforce was one of the weakest in the region relying primarily on the F5Es and Skyhawks. It had not ordered the MIG29s or the F18s. Others in the region (including Singapore) were already inducting F-16s. For the exercise, all the Hercs flew unescorted.

Anonymous said...


Though I appreciate the alarm the exercise raised in Singapore, to use it as an example of it being surrounded by hostile neighbours is a bit overdone. There is also a danger if this incidence is not explained in its proper context, it could give rise to a perception in future Singaporeans that it justifiable for Singapore to exercise its first strike capability on its neighbours.

Conversely, this incident should be used by Singaporeans to reflect on the impact of its own military operations on its neighbours. It has to be mindful that its forces are already concentrated hence there is very little warning for its neigbours should it choose to strike first. Additionally, its army has armoured, heliborne and amphibous capabilities far in excess of the land threats it faces.

While its neighbours can appreciate Singapore's investments into its airforce or navy, its investment into its army is seen as provocative.

Malaysia, being its nearest land neighbour, since the separation has never kept a sizeable force in Johor - it only has an infantry brigade base there with only a single infantry battalion that is actually based at the border.

Malaysia would rather spend its limited defence resources to invest into its airforce and navy to face real threats originating from the north and east rather than spending it on its army to counterbalance Singapore's military posture.

Hermit said...

David, it has to be admitted that SAF's philosophy is very close to US/Israel's - ie talk big, act big, act tough, act righteous.

I admit that various Sg ministries and agencies (both govt and non-govt) have worked hard to foster peaceful ties with our neighbours. Too bad SAF seems to be the institution that keeps sabo-ing the process.

As for Israel's fight for survival, that's history of the last century. Today, it is an oppressive state, usurping Palestinian Land.

In any case, the IDF is just a paper tiger. It only shows its muscle to a weak Palestinian people. But when it comes to the real deal, like Iran, it expects its godfather, US, to do the job for them.

Funny how I sense some Sporeans always admire Israel as if they want to be part of the IDF.

Here are some articles I wrote about Israel's supposed military strength, which is nothing more than a paper tiger.

This one is about how Israel killed civilians on the civvy Turkish flotilla that was supplying aid to Gazans in international waters. Yet, when Iran sent two warships in the region, Israel scoots off like a beaten dog. And Iran is known to have supplied arms to Syria, Lebanon and Hezbollah! - Israel's cowardice exposed again

This one is about the Israel-Hezbollah war n 2006, where 15% of IDF's tanks were obliterated in Lebanon. Their pride, the prized Merkava, was no match to the guerilla tactics in Lebanon. Israel pulled out unilaterally, an indication it could not take the loss. Israel NEVER retreats from a winning position. Never. - Fallacy of the Mean Israeli Defence Force - Part 2

Anyway, thanks for inviting me to have a pte email discussion. But then again, no thanks. That is not my cup of tea.

I prefer to discuss publicly bcos my personal objective is to give the public an alternative view to the many fallacies and lies that the mainstream media and govts of the world have been propagating.

The argument that Spore is under constant threat of invasion from our neighbours is one of them. What do we have that is so attractive, that is makes it worth their while to invade?

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank our Malaysian participant for his contribution. These revelations are a first for me and surely many others in our countries. I am very thankful for this information that we do well to have and look forward to more in the future.

If anyone is interested, I have checked several of his factual claims and have found them to be correct, specifically:

The maximum reach of C-130s based out of Java does does tie in with the stated range figures from Lockheed.

The in service dates of weapons platforms (F-18s, MiG-29s, rocket and 155mm artillery of various types) given are correct.

The status of Malaysia's army as just beginning a reorganisation from a counter-insurgency to a conventional force, and just establishing paratroop units, are correct.

His account of the disposition of Malaysia's forces continue to hold true. Malaysia's navy and air force are stationed almost exclusively north of Kuala Lumpur. The sole exception is an army aviation base at Kluang, dating from the British era. Likewise, the strongest army units garrison at Malaysia's strategic crossroads at Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.

PS you may be interested to read about the history of your former garrison.

Anonymous said...

Having read yours and Barrie's blogs, here's my little contribution.
Barrie seems to think that Singapore face no danger cos' we have nothing of value, and attacking us is a war crime which potential aggressors won't risk committing. I find that kinda naive.
Firstly, since when has the fear of war crimes deter aggressors against a victim that cannot defend themselves?
Geopolitics has always been about influence, about bending other sovereign nations to one's wills. It need not be physical occupation of lands as history of vassal states have shown. Just have to do as i say or risk the treat of economic or material starvation which the weaker state has no ability to resist.
Let's not forget that there is also the burden of history. We WERE once part of malaya/malaysia, and there are quarters that continue to see us as an illegitimate country, much in the same manner China continues to see Taiwan, and Arabs see Israel.
The fact that we have nary anything of value works against us rather than for. When we cry to the international community for help, the speed at which, or even the hope of, help arriving depends very much on what we have that is valuable for them to risk their own citizens lives.

David Boey said...

Hi Anonymous from Malaysia at 11:40PM 14 May,
What about the timing of the airdrop on S'pore's National Day?

Best regards,


Hermit said...

Anon @ May 15 1.45am

You still haven't told readers the reason why others would invade us. What is the motive? To land on S'pore island to have a picnic?

If you think you can't answer what resource we have that is so valuable to have us invaded, then tell readers what is the geopolitical strategic reason.

Do we have a large shoreline that serves as a strategic platform, say oil distribution like Yemen? US is eyeing Yemen because it can distribute oil without having to pass the choke points. I wrote about that here - Toner Cartridge Bomb (Hoax?)

Are we at the crossroads of an oil distribution route like Afghanistan? Again US wants to control Afghanistan so badly bcos it serves as an oil route from Caspian to India/Pakistan. I wrote about that too -
911 10th Annivesary: Remembering the Lies (Part 1)

So pls, cut your fear mongering stuff and tell readers the reason. If not a resource reason, a geo political reason. What is it?

As for China-Taiwan, they have been at each others' throats since early last Century. No invasion. Actually proves my point rather than yours.

As for Arab-Israel scenario, exactly who is threatening who? Isn't it Israel that is occupying Palestinian Land?

If at all Israel is the aggressor, censured many times by UN but vetoed by US. What similarity do we have with Israel?

Like I said, I can't understand why some Sporeans idolize Israel so much. Even more than their own Singapore.

You posted:
>>The fact that we have nary anything of value works against us rather than for.

That's the fear and scare mongering I have been telling you about!

Spore is about the only country that has about nothing, be it resource or geo-political reason to be invaded, yet scream at the top of its voice that Martians and Aliens from Planet Krypton will land here, bcos we have loads of the rare substance Kryptonite under our soil.

Get real.

So? What is of value to others that we be invaded? If not resource, name the geo political reason you imply exists.

What is that geo-political reason, since you imply it exists.

Still waiting for an answer after many decades.


David, the timing of the landing? Yep, it was in 1991, looooong since Spore had been taunting them that they were the enemies, since 1960s.

Come to think of it, if they had hostile intention, why wait nearly 30 years?

What about the timing again?

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

In relation to your query on timing - Malaysian field exercises are always driven by availability of commercial agricultural land. What that means is that the timing would always be in between planting cycles (for short cycle crops) or at the end of its productivity (mature palm oil plantation that is due for replanting). This is to avoid the military from having to pay a high compensation amount for damaged crops.

Nonetheless the timing was insensitive and it could have been moved abit. But do note that Malaysia and Indonesia also have their indepence day later in August and the same troops could also be needed for the respective countries celebrations.

Happy to revert to any further queries after office hours!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be Oil or Gold. It's geopolitics and historical baggage. Sovereign states need a defensive posture without which, you are easy game for local (in the form of internal security threat), regional (aka neighbours) and global (for this last category SG cannot go it alone so its good to form security framework with friendly nations and even with our neighbours. Building military ties improves understanding between neighbours). Its posturing. The hope is that the potential aggressor is sophisticated enough to do their own calculations taking our force strength into consideration thereby at the end of the day, we do not need to go to war.

Hermit said...

So what is the historical political baggage that is the motivating factor that would trigger Msia/Indon to attack us? Care to expand your thoughts?

I am sure you are aware that when SAF talks about "the enemy who will attack us", it is not just talking in generic terms. It is talking about the scary (shiver, shiver) populous number of Muslims North, South, up, down, right, left, centre etc, etc, etc... all around us.

The above paranoia is propagated by many ministers and top SAF men when they cite their Islamophobic rants against not only to the Muslims around us, but also against our very own Sg Muslims.

Hence, SAF's policies of not having any Muslim personnel in the various sensitive areas.

So, since you claim historical baggage, let me ask you again.

What is it in the historical baggage between us and Msia/Indon that motivates them to attack us.

I will give you my reply after you address the above.

Anonymous said...

Don't have to be all out Military invasion. Countries uses foreign policy tools (Military option is one of them) for obvious self interest. For example, when a political party faces internal crisis they may deflect the people's attention away from their domestic problems by directing it outward, in an attempt to rouse nationalistic fervour. SAF is not really so powerful, but still better than not having some form of defensive posture. Also, it brings an added dimension to the negotiating table. Bringing in religion also adds to the intricacies of foreign policy calculation. Sometimes i marvel at Chile, they have no standing army, just a lot of wine yard :-)) so fortunate. Maybe one day, Singapore can become like a Chile, then no more NS for us guys.

Anonymous said...

Let's entertain a foreign policy thought experiment: During the Suharto regime crisis, i can imagine if there were no SAF, in order to save the regime, the incumbent can deflect attention away from themselves by claiming that all these poverty/inequality problems stem from the Chinese in Indonesia and ... Singapore! The aftermath may not just be the isolated street mob of Chinese in the indonesian capital alone, who can say they will not mount a military campaign against SG? Its all political motive, but the regime can also make use of religion to rouse the fervour of the heartland to garner support for the limited military action against a rich infidel neighbour. Maybe? You can say Suharto and LKY ah-ka-ji (in hokkian) but the former need to ensure the survival of his loyalist and may not have full control of his military man and other self interest group in his country.

Hermit said...

Anon @ 2.19pm

Are you not just repeating and confirming what I said? You are simply repeating the paranoia!

It is all about ifs, buts, maybe, could be, might be, what if, etc. Are these not just imagination of the mind? They didn't happen, did it?

All said, the crux of the main issue is still not addressed, that is, what is the motivating factor for them to invade us?

In any war or conflict, there is an issue that triggers it. Here is a list which shows what the conflicts are.

China - Taiwan ... unification

China - Philippines ... oil/gas

US - Afghan ... oil pipeline distribution from Caspian to South Asia

US - Iraq ... oil

US - Iran ... oil

Israel - Palestine ... land rights

Israel - Lebanon/Syria ... land rights, and Israel eyeing Litani River (yes, it is Israel and not its neigbours who are thinking of usurping lands of others)

Singapore - Msia/Indon ... ???

So? What is the issue? What is the motivating factor that would trigger conflict such that they will invade us?

I am totally flummoxed that the SAF and PAP ministers, after decades of ranting we would be invaded by the Northerners and Southerners, never told us why.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barrie,

I find that you precept of because we have nothing of value to others and hence we don't need an armed forces flaw.

The utility of force is not purely for the conduct of war and I would refer to Clauswitz it's an instrument of policy just as war is an extension of policy and the last resort.

The true value of our armed forces is not in its ability to fight a war but really in its ability to project deterrence and this is a point often lost by the people. It is our ability to hold what is of value to the other side at risk that would prevent them from becoming belligerent and most importantly to grant us policy space. You also blatantly ignore the fact that armed conflict does not mean having to occupy Singapore or to rob it anyway.

Imagine if negotiations for water with Malaysia fails and threaten to take our PUB facilities in Johor by force, or Indonesia blockade us without landing a single troop on our soil. I spoke with a Indonesian official a few months back and he was joking about how it was be so easy to choke of Singapore and build up Batam.

SAF is there to make sure that so such thing can happen. It is to put us on the negotiating table on an equal footing.

Similarly, our contributions to disaster relief such as Operation Flying Eagle are important pieces of defence relation engagement and without a good capabilities buildup, these would not be possible.

The irony is that we can always place our trust on economic interdependence and all these concepts to keep the peace. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true because we may not be as valued and important as you alluded to. So it doesn't hurt others just to drop bombs to hurt us bad. (Note, not invade us) By then, the sufferers are us. Sure there is international reprisals for the countries doing that but history tells us it can be forgotten but by then our scars are permanent.

I end with this latin quote. "Si vis pacem, para bellum" If you want peace, prepare for war.

Hermit said...

Anon posted:
>>I find that you precept of because we have nothing of value to others and hence we don't need an armed forces flaw.

You misquote me. I never said we don't need an armed forces. I said we are OVER SPENDING our defence budget. I also said that this is due to the paranoia embedded in the minds of top SAF men.

As for your dropping bombs and "non-invasion", the same principle applies.

What is the motivating factor to do that?

To flatten us so that they can call us Little Flat Dot?

Cutting off water supply is a war crime. Once again, note the paranoia propagated that they would do it.

If they truly want to cut Spore out, they'd go for control of air/sea space, quoting 'war on terror'. That way any vessel entering or exiting Spore, be it through air or sea, would have to face cumbersome procedures. Our economy would be stagnated if not regress.

They have not done it even when legally they could - proving that they are much more friendly to us than you make them out to be.

Note that the rest of your article again is more about ifs, buts, maybes and of course, more paranoia.

So, want to tell readers what is the motivating factor to have us bombed?

Anonymous said...

This debate has gone on long enough.

An armed forces is central to our country's security but is not the be all and end all. It gives any country a means to offer a graduated response to the full spectrum of contingencies, provocations and threats in being. A sufficiently armed armed forces permits survival while threats are manageable and hostile foreign governments come and go.

However, there is little you can do if Indonesia decides to turn up the political hostility over decades and degrade the economy and defence budget, to the point that its qualitatively inferior but numerically superior armed forces stand an even chance. No share of GDP into the defence budget or 15 year duration of NS will save your country. Therefore no military defence is invincible and an excessive commitment to the defence budget is in vain.

As for Malaysia, why would they want to wipe out a neighbour that will never have designs on them but will stand perpetual watch with them against Indonesia?

If anyone has a more insightful view of the landscape, please feel free to post it.

Anonymous said...

A friend related his experience when he went to apply for a Malaysian citizenship a couple of years back. He is a SG malay, bought a house in M'sia and there was the intention to set up a business and employ M'sians. His application was rejected and you know what the officer told him when he asked for the reason?

"why migrate to M'sia?! Stay in SG! Dilute their Chinese population!"

SG and M'sia are NOT at war. We must never. But the moment you become weak, it is all the more tempting to just whack you for political convenience (for domestic consumption).

Why the school bully always pick on the nerdy skinny bespectacled asthmatic kid during recess when he feels like punching somebody and not pick on the kid who represent his school in rugby?

sometimes, whacking people no need motivation or reason. Just opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Get real. Malaysians have been protesting against corruption and Bumiputra policies for years... and most of them are Malay, because they don't benefit from the Malay privileges. Chinese have only just started demonstrating.

I'm sorry to tell you, I think you got your story through multiple layers of dumb housewives' gossip.

Most Malaysians wouldn't believe their government if it said the sky is blue. If the government went to war, everyone would know it is to enrich cronies and clamp down on freedom. They'll be out on the streets.

Anonymous said...


The Malaysian immigration officer was just being nice lah. He was giving face to your friend so that he does not feel too bad about the rejection. Our government pict is very different from Singapore. We do not encourage immigration into the country - being an Sg Malay makes no difference. It is not a reflection of hostile intention.

With regards to whacking Singapore for domestic consumption - we are in the midst of one of the most intense pre election period where the current government could lose more seats. I have not seen a single politician from both sides of the divide mentioning Singapore in any hostile context whatsoever.

But having said that, i can also see very worrying jingoistic statements coming from Indonesian media, politicians and officials on various issues against Malaysia over the last few years (more so near election times) that I sometimes wonder would they do the same if our armed forces was as strong as Singapore.

Hermit said...

Again, as usual, the same old Q that has never been answered remains unanswered.

What is the motivation for Msia/Indon to attack us?

Instead, more fear mongering is perpetuated to fuel the paranoia.

As for the idea that Msia wants Indon to be checked by us, again I simply don't understand why some Sporeans are so Israeli-like. Isn't that a Zionist type of idea? That they hope Saudi and the Arabs would align with Israel bcos they believe the Arabs prefer the Israelis to the Iranians?

That same sense of haughtiness that they are looked up to for security, embedded in the Zionists, is also present in some Sporeans too, no?

Have to repeat the fact how some Sporeans adore and worship Israel (and Zionist ideology) more than Sg. Time to question these people's loyalty?

So, for the last time, what is the motivation for Msia/Indon to attack us?

Somehow I don't believe it would be answered. It never has for the last few decades. No reason to believe it will be now.

David Boey said...

Hi Anon at 2:04PM 15 May'12,

"Sometimes i marvel at Chile, they have no standing army, just a lot of wine yard :-)) so fortunate. Maybe one day, Singapore can become like a Chile, then no more NS for us guys."

You must be joking? Chile? The South American nation whose army's parades look similar to those of the WW2 German Army?

You mean Costa Rica?

Best regards,


David Boey said...

To the Malaysian based in Kluang:
Flag signal "K".

Email me pse.

Anonymous said...

David, my mistake, it is costa rica, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Why would neighbours want to attack Singapore?

Possible reasons:
1) Jealousy? There could be a day when neighbours feel their economies choking and conveniently blame it on the pariah adik having taken advantage of the neighbours. Therefore destroy the pariah adik to 'right the wrong' and restore an 'equitable' share of the economic pie.

2) A populist megalomaniac comes to power and for no well thought out reason decides to make a meal of the neighbouring pariah adik. Bullies and madmen aren't known for being reasonable, logical, analytical intellectuals.

3) Indonesia may invade Malaysia (territorial dispute, oil/gas dispute?) and some of the battles inadvertently spills over to the little red dot, that's when you get an 'attack'

Is this scare mongering?
If one is a 'buck ends with me' leader responsible for the lives and property of a whole nation, I won't consider preparing for all possibilities (even far fetched ones) to be scare mongering.

Pre-WW2, if Roosevelt were to warn the American public of American soil coming under enemy attack, wouldn't that be scare mongering by your logic? Yet the far-fetched did happen.

When a threat becomes obvious, it is then too late to find an immediate boost to military power. It is better to now be stronger (so called overspending), be a deterrence and make neighbours think twice.


Anonymous said...


only with a good armed forces, singapore can allow its foreign affairs dudes to carry out their job effectively..
else, the foreign affairs people would not be listened to by others... and we will be walked all over!

Anonymous said...

Done as requested.


Anonymous said...

A very valid point indeed.

Ped O. Goh

Anonymous said...


"If they truly want to cut Spore out, they'd go for control of air/sea space, quoting 'war on terror'. That way any vessel entering or exiting Spore, be it through air or sea, would have to face cumbersome procedures. Our economy would be stagnated if not regress.

They have not done it even when legally they could - proving that they are much more friendly to us than you make them out to be."

actually they cannot do it legally. go read UNCLOS.

UNCLOS says:
Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters. "Innocent passage" is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not "prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security" of the coastal state.

Anonymous said...

Barrie, you are preoccupied with transplanting the zionist-islamic conflict into this discussion. Potential conflict will be political and religion is a proxy to galvanised the masses against the target. Only the simple minded really think they are fighting for their respective gods. Credible defence posture serves as deterance against adventurist regime whether present or future. Your approach doesn't lend to an open minded discussion. Good night to you n thank you david for this blog. Regards.

Hermit said...

On UNCLOS. Who says anything about not giving free passage?

Free passage would be granted. Only thing is that it is subjected to thorough checks in the name of "war on terror". What is so illegal about that?

That would certainly slow down the free flowing route into and out of Spore, wouldn't it?

Strange that you quote UNCLOS. Didn't Israel (which is the idol of quite a few here) transgress that when they hijacked the Flotilla in international waters?

What UNCLOS talking you? It doesn't work anyway.

Anonymous said...


I do not fully agree with your comments in this blog post so far... not that the points are invalid, but more that i feel there is a need to consider a larger array of issues.

For the interest of discussion, I would like to hear your views on both the following.

1) What in your view is not over spending?70% of the current budget? 50%? 90%?? or maybe another way to put it is how much is enough (in terms of abilities instead of $$)

2) How do you reconcile the non-war stuff that SAF does that allows Singapore to be a contributing member to the international community? (they require money too)


Hermit said...

Take a look at this webpage -
List of countries by military expenditures

Hit the F3 key then type Singapore. Take a look at how much is spent in % GDP. Then compare it with Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and note how much each spent on defence as % GDP.

Then hit the warmongering nations like United States and Israel.

Get the picture?

Save for the rich oil nations, why the heck do we need to spend as if we are going to war?

Anonymous said...

This goes to show that malaysia political/social dynamics is evolving. This younger generation of malaysian chinese is different from their parents. They identified themselves as malaysian and are proud to do so. This development augurs well for malaysia. It is a shame that the malaysian gov fail to do right by their citizens, bumi and non bumi. Otherwise malaysia is a very blessed land.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I shd have expanded on my comment despite having the same thought. It is just not easy nowadays to receive malaysian prship or citizenship even if one is a malay. Ditto to my reply to 6:38.

Anonymous said...

@ barrie,

if singapore is as big as russia with a population of china, i can spend 10 dollar on defence, and nobody will dare look me down.

unfortunately,my country is dot on the world map.

how much defence spending is sufficient? that depends on how much the govt feel you are worth spending on.

Anonymous said...

During a conference many years ago, I had a chance to ask an indonesian colonel if indonesia feels unhappy over singapore's high defence expenditure.

he said no, because he understand that singapore being so small needs to feel safe among its much bigger neighbour, from another POV, indonesia actually feels that singapore high defence spending is a form of respect to TNI.

i ask him, if singapore reduce our defence expenditure by a large margin, would indonesia be happier?

he replied NO! he explained that for singapore to reduce defence spending by a large margin, will indicate to indonesia that either singapore leaders have gone stupid or your govt think that TNI are run by idiots.

Anonymous said...

Indonesia is not stupid. They want us to keep spending on defence instead of our economy because at least they can have a chance to eat into the economic pie. At the same time they know Singapore won't be the first to attack because it will also be the last. I think Singapore is the stupid one falling into their trap.

Anonymous said...

Defence spending is part of govt spending that directly contribute to the national economy through ripple effect as well.

in singapore's case, we are not spending beyond our means, we still enjoy a healthy budget surplus in most years.

Anonymous said...

Singapore spending on defence is for the sake of our people and our children.

we have no intention to invade indonesia, but we must always be ready to defend our home against all aggressors.

even though our country is small, even if our chances of victory is non-existant. i believe that singaporeans still have pride and would rather go down fighting to our last breath for our family.

and as we risk our lives for our family, will our family not sent us to the frontline with the best equipment money can buy?

how much is our father, brother, sons and daughters lives worth to us, are those serving in the military not our family members?

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen, let's get back to the issue proper - *over* spending on defence. NOT spending on defence.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:41 AM:

The best equipment money can buy is counter productive if it spurs potential enemies to do the same. And you cannot blame them for doing so. In a war, it will mean more destructive potential unleashed on Singapore. Tremendous destruction that even our own best equipment cannot protect the homeland from.

Introduction of new defence capabilities must be moderated over time. A healthy advantage in equipment is better than a temporary overwhelming advantage, because time and again, others will match up. And in war, the major part of advantage comes from training and a foundation in education which we already have. Victory in war has been and always will be about enlightened thinking.

Singapore used to have equipment on par with our neighbour's, they would buy and we would match and operationalize the weapons better than they could. In the past decade we have adopted a practice of outstripping them with many new capabilities and they have been gamely playing catch up. That might be overspending and not in the best interest of our nation.

Anonymous said...

firstly, singapore is not on par with our neighbour in terms of size, resources and population.

thus we need to spend alot on defence to "balance" the imbalance between us and whoever might wants to threaten us now or in the future.

to seek parity in defence spending between us and our neighbour, without first looking at the circumstances singapore is facing is not really a good idea, in my opinion.

Secondly, defining "over" spending on defence, is like telling a patient in a hospital, that he or she need to die so that the hospital can keep spending within its budget.

while you are safe, spending any amount on security is always too much.

when you find yourself on the wrong end of a gun barrel, no cost is too high to pay.

Anonymous said...

Lets be honest.

We cannot and never will be able to change the way how our neighbour or others afar sees us from time to time.

the only thing we can do, is to take our national defence seriously everyday.

for me, each day of peace, is defence spending worth every cent.

the thinker said...

it's almost laughable to see people continue to do exactly the same that was condemned as stupid and ignorant in the article. cursing and swearing without any evidential support and hiding behind a pseudonym.

@barrie, you mentioned that if they wanted to cut singapore out, they would go for control of air/sea space. take a look at the map and ask yourself why both malaysia and indonesia wants pedra branca so badly? In the light of current disputed islands in the world, did any of you honestly think they would bring the matter up to the world court if they had any inkling that a direct conflict would not lead to a direct loss, or a substantial compromise to their current military strength, leaving them in danger of attack by indonesia?

the world is not as pretty as you think. you assume that we don't get attacked because we are likable? weak but likable characters in primary school or secondary schools all end up bullied, what makes you think we are any different?

people who are sitting around "talking paper army" claim that we are likable and don't need army, but insist on us highlighting the historical tensions between us and our neighbours. if only you knew just within the last 5 years, how close we went to war with our "friends" in 2 separate occasions.

taiwan population: 29 million. 1 year NS
singapore population: 6 million (long shot estimate), 2 years NS.

that would effectively give taiwan an estimated 2.5 times our effective army strength.

the thinker said...

on a comparison with just our neighbours' navy with us. if anyone thinks we are overspending, let this be put into perspective: just patrol vessels alone, indonesia has 31 ships, and malaysia has 25. in comparison, we have 12, and our full navy strength is 32.

Anonymous said...

Still more fear spreading and the main issue "Why they want to attack us" is not answered.

Anonymous said...

"the thinker" :

Firstly, only two comments cited being likeable in any form- the first comment and Barrie.

Secondly, neither said we can depend on being likeable for our security. The first commenter said ties, not security, have improved with our likeabilty. This is true.

Barrie talked about fear-mongering and a lot of things going on in the Middle East. To the extent that the fear-mongering is conscious policy, it is true.

I don't see anyone naively saying being likeable will keep us safe.

Anonymous said...

one man's rubbish is another man's treasure.

a man throws aways a porcelin bowl, while another man paid a hundred million at the auction to own the same bowl.

just because you cant see the true value of singapore, doesnt mean that everyone (especially the agressor) cant see it too.

at the very least, to the mundane us, singapore is where our home and family is. how much is your family worth?

Anonymous said...

all you people very funny, got the entire argument upside down still didnt realise.

the purpose of defence spending is to deter the enemy, to convince the enemy not to play play with us.

what good would it does to convince ourselves if the enemy dont believe we are spending sufficiently on a credible defence?

at the end of the day, its not singaporeans that must be convinced, its the enemy we need to convince, so they wont invade us.

or does anyone here believe that singaporeans are going to invade singapore?

Anonymous said...

Fear mongering continues. Still no answer to why they want to attack us.

Anonymous said...

Fear mongering? can you see the future?

well, if you are GOD and can give all singaporean a peace guarantee backed with an army of angels.

please send down your angels to defend us, and all will gladly ask our govt to stop spending on defence.

but... alas, you are not the almightly one.

so i must humbly rely on SAF for now and in the future, better safe then sorry.

MY said...

Why does Malaysia/Indonesia/anyone want to invade Singapore? Why did Imperial Japan make Singapore its prime objective during their 1941 offensive?

But aren't Malaysia/Indonesia/insert-country's-name our friends now? In 1935 Britain was very good friends with Imperial Japan, in fact the Royal Navy taught the Imperial Navy everything it knew about aircraft carriers and how to use them. Anyone want to remind us what happened in the waters off Kuantan on Dec 10 1941?

Jason said...

Looking at Barrie's blog, I'm not sure he intends the best for Singapore at all... Deriding Singapore as Sinkapore? That is, perhaps, his true motive. To many, our failure is their wish. To coerce us, first they have to rid Singapore of SAF. And with the SAF being a citizen army, where else do you strike first? Beware the anonymity behind blogs... Claimed Singaporeans, perhaps even actual Singaporeans, may not have Singapore's interests at heart.

pedogoh said...

Fully agreed.

Anonymous said...

the thinker May 19, 2012 5:19 PM: Why compare the number of patrol vessels? Malaysia and Indon PV do not have a single guided weapon. At least ours have torpedoes and variable depth sonar. Don't forget our "retired" Harpoon-armed missile gun boats are still sitting in port. And how sad are the MY and Indo air forces?

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Fuck Singapore!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a smart man and politics and stuff don't really bother me. But allow me to share some words my Warrent Officer OC shared with me during SISPEC, which inspired me till this day (not mentioning names in case he gets into trouble for saying this).
"Why are you here? To serve the nation? For honor and glory? Fuck you! You think i give a fuck about the ministers or the goverment? No. Let me tell you why you're here gentlemen. You must learn how to defend yourself and your loved ones. Because if anything happens, at least you know you can do something about it and not cry and wet your pants. And since you have no choice, you better fucking deal with it and make full use of your time."

Anonymous said...

Why did we educate so many Singaporeans but they remain SO obtuse with regards to why we need a strong defense -

We may not have any natural resources but we have alot of unnatural resources today aka money.

If you cant protect it, people will take it. DUH.

Take your land, take your money, take your home, take your belongings, take your dignity, take your identity, take your freedom and erase your existence.

For those who say this wont happen, just leave your house door open wide wide, post a public invitation to enjoy, go on a holiday for a week and see what happens when you return.

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Shigure said...

Just came across this blog. Have to say Anonymous's analysis is as objective as it can get, while Barrie's seem to be a tad too rhetorical and lacking the substance of argument to counterpoint the OP's or Anon's comments.

Dan said...

Really quite amazed that this comments thread is still alive after like 6 years! Reading back at the arguments presented but all the RATIONAL commentators gives me the feeling that I'm looking back at an issue from the future, if you get my drift.

Nonetheless, I still think that the issues being discussed at relevant and even more so in today's fragile security situation in the region. Everybody is so on-edge and one wrong step in any realm of international relations (military, economics and trade etc..) would result in very serious consequences.

Responding to naysayers who don't believe that Singapore has anything that a foreign aggressor wants, I say to you, we don't even need to go that far. As a people, as a nation, our right to self-governance and self-determination is a sacred right that we must defend at all cost. Having a strong military is an enabler for us to have that right.

Pedra Branca has been ruled as a Singaporean territory. An invasion of that island by any foreign force is an act of war. If Singapore does not have the means to safeguard her territories from foreign invaders, and simply acquiesce to that island being invaded, then before you know it, the invaders will be on our shores. A repeat of horrific events 73 years ago.