Sunday, November 8, 2009

10 things to know about Blue on Blue

1. The shortest Blue on Blue post garnered the most number of responses - mainly from MINDEF/SAF personnel who know Darius Lim. I'm keeping the offline remarks offline, but I wish you could see what was said.

2. I left the 90 cents paper on 30 April 2008 to join the Sentosa IR. I have since published 13 commentaries in the 90 cents newspaper. Each carried the tagline stating clearly I was the "former Defence Correspondent". One commentary was quoted by DPM Teo Chee Hean at a closed-door MINDEF briefing, so I hear. One commentary was reprinted by Air Force News in full. One Army SSSO quoted another commentary at a briefing for his PSOs, so I hear. The RSN noted in its post event debrief that the commentary on the MGBs beat all other articles combined, so I hear.

Do you get PIONEER magazine? Please check out my commentary in the January 2009 issue, pages 22-23. The credit line reads:"David Boey was a writer with PIONEER during his National Service days. The former Straits Times journalist has been reporting and writing on the Singapore Armed Forces for the past 16 years."

Just so you know, PIONEER is published by PAFF.

3. My last engagement with PAFF was on Wednesday 26 August 2009. This was one year, three months and 26 days into my new job. I attended a briefing on the Terrex ICV by COMD 9DIV/CIO at the Murai Urban Training Facility. 9 DIV/INF was an excellent host.

4. The follow-on to this was the media preview on Monday 31 August 2009 at Pasir Laba Camp. My access to this event was withdrawn on the morning of the event. I emphasize: on the morning of the event. So much for "See you on Monday".

Please see point 2 for the number of engagements I had with the SAF after leaving the 90 cents paper. Each resulted in a commentary. The engagements include one trip to the United States to witness the F-15SG roll-out, one 2D/1N live-firing exercise with the RSN, one flight aboard 127 SQN's Chinook, one ride on a Terrex with COMD 9 DIV and his weapon staff officers.

This is the video I shot of the Terrex demo.

5. On 26 Aug 09, a MINDEF rep pulled me aside (the Terrex Project team, STK and DSTA representatives and 90 cents reporter saw this) for a "four eye meeting" after the Terrex demo. He informed me that so-and-so was upset about two things. These were:
a) My "threat" to write about the Forum Page letter on my blog
b) My comparison between AIC and PAFF on

6. I responded by stating:
a) At the time, I had not even started a blog. I said I would do so if no reply was forthcoming because Singaporeans needed to know. The blog went live shortly after the AOH incident the following Monday (31 Aug 09).
b) AIC vs PAFF. I stand by those comments. They were crafted as a stimulus for the directorate to improve.

7. A militarynut commented about conflict resolution. This is one of the forthcoming Blue on Blue topics. Please wait for it.

8. Blue on Blue is not about an irascible ex-journalist who gets into a hissy fit because access to an SAF event was denied. The mindset exhibited by PAFF today will, in my honest opinion, set MINDEF/SAF up for trouble because the bullying culture burns bridges and erodes people's confidence with the defence establishment. Singaporean households may tolerate such crap because they have weathered training deaths for the past four decades. Our foreign talent families won't. Think about that.

9. Compare for example the reassuring statements made by US defense officials after the Fort Hood tragedy to get to the bottom of things with the wall of silence after the Land Rover death. The Fort Hood tragedy is being investigated by US authorities, yet this has not stopped US defense officials from issuing words of comfort and pledges to leave no stone unturned. Such statements mean alot to NOKs.
As 2LT Daryl Loh's father put it so succinctly, news of training deaths hits the hearts of families who lost their loved ones in previous accidents. These families were given a solemn pledge that the system would improve. Has it, really?

10. PAFF's punitive mindset makes this outfit by far the worst I have ever encountered since the first DPA was appointed. If this is how they treat someone who has said good things about the SAF, ask yourself how they would treat the Singaporean who is a single mother/father, or heartlander, or student who raises a point about a matter of public concern, or how they might treat you.
They may call themselves a Public Affairs Directorate but putting fresh paint on a collapsing house won't change anything.

You are all Thinking Soldiers. I have faith that the vast majority of you would be able to sense what's going on.

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