Monday, March 8, 2010

Two views of Ops Crimson Angel'97

Singapore's largest air evacuation operation, codenamed Crimson Angel, made front page news in July 1997.

Denied an opportunity to accompany the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) as the Non Combatant Evacuation Operation unfolded, the Singaporean media had to be content with photographing the returning C-130s at Paya Lebar Air Base. That was the only photo opportunity that the Singaporean media was granted. If not for the headline and caption, one could be forgiven for thinking the picture was taken after a aircraft joyride at an Air Force Open House.

Almost a week later, a picture published by the International Herald Tribune (IHT) caught the eye of Singapore's future prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. It captured Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers in action in Phnom Penh.

He said that "this single photograph spoke volumes for the professionalism and reputation of the SAF".

"It did more to improve the SAF's image than any advertising campaign," said Mr Lee.

If Singaporean photo journalists had been given the opportunity to photograph Ops Crimson Angel in-theatre, I am sure the Singaporean media would have showcased just what they are capable of doing when the shackles come off.


goat89 said...

Just the same for our troops in A-stan. It seems we are afraid to send in our own civvie journalists to war zones. We spam pics and vids on training exercises (interestingly enough, I believe we have more pics and vids of the Commando+HIMARS exercise in the US then Exercise Cobra Gold?). Why? NATO's Press Corps and the Kiwis interviewed them 4 about 4 mins, those vids are like Gold to me now. :S

HaveAHacks said...

Good one.

Don't forget that part of the problem is that the government only looks up to foreign journalists. Local journalists are just supposed to shut up and print what they are told to print.

Ben Choong said...

to build up on what goat89 mentioned, just recently cyberpioneer's Flickr stream posted a series of photos from A'stan, some of them from all the way back in '07 with our first deployment to Bamiyan.

Why weren't they published earlier? I suspect it has to do with the recent youtube vid on cyberpioneertv's youtube channel, and I applaud them for doing so (launching pics with the latest vid on our contributions to A'stan) but the vid was out last thurs and the pics last night...surely this time lag can be closed right? :) I know I'll feel proud when I eventually see pics of Col Miranda helming CTF-151 or the WLR teams in Oruzgan, but I know I'll feel better when there's a constant stream of pictures of them coming up, as they are deployed :)