Falsehoods and false lessons from ST forum letters

Don’t be taken in by the falsehoods of Mr Chew Kok Liang

I refer to the 20 Oct 2014 Straits Times online letter “Don’t underestimate female soldiers” by Mr Chew Kok Liang.

Why is Mr Chew resorting to using a Malaysian military officer’s encounter with communists as an example of Singapore’s confrontation with communists? Why can’t Mr Chew use an example of a Singapore military officer’s encounter with communists instead?

Mr Chew can’t because there is no such example. Singapore had already separated from Malaysia by the time our military was set up by Mr Goh Keng Swee with the help of the Israelis. So Malaysia’s fight against communists couldn’t have been our fight against communists.

Singapore’s communists had long been defeated by our Special Branch resulting in their retreat into the jungles of Malaya.

Mr Chew was thus wrong to equate the Malaysian military intelligence officer’s encounter with female communists in the jungles of Malaysia as being the example of Singapore’s confrontation with the Communist Party of Malaya.

False lessons from Hong Kong

I refer to the 20 Oct 2014 Straits Times online letter “Lessons to learn from Hong Kong” by Mr Geoffrey Kung.

Mr Kung’s lessons to learn from Hong Kong’s democratic movement are false ones. Hong Kong isn’t the only one that never had any votes under the British; Singapore too never had votes under the British prior to the Japanese Occupation. But that didn’t stop Singapore pioneers from similarly demonstrating and agitating for more voting rights that culminated in Singapore achieving full internal self government in 1959. Many of our demonstrations, like the Hong Kong ones today, were similarly student led.

The correct lesson therefore is that the Hong Kong people have every right to fight for their freedom just as Singapore pioneers had every right to fight for theirs. If Singaporeans feel indebted to the fighting spirit of Singapore pioneers who fought and won full internal self government for us then we of all people should be the first and the foremost to acknowledge and appreciate the similar fighting spirit and self-sacrifices of Hong Kong demonstrators today.

Singapore must be careful not to fall prey to false tales of people like Mr Kung who has betrayed Singapore’s pioneers and forgotten their sacrifices for us. The short term disturbances of Hong Kong can only be for its long term greater good.

Mr Kung must not conveniently assume that the louder group represents the minority. During our recent National Day, the silent majority finally ‘spoke up’ by collectively choosing not to fly the Singapore flag. Just because the silent majority has few spokespersons doesn’t mean they are therefore the minority.

While we must look outward to learn from others, we mustn’t look through tinted glasses and end up learning the wrong lessons. We must also look behind to remind ourselves of lessons from our own history that still has relevance and application today.

STforum online, Don’t underestimate female soldiers, 20 Oct 2014

AS THE Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps opens its doors to women, the debate over their military potential begins anew (“Flexi-terms for SAF Volunteer Corps”; last Monday).

When Singapore confronted the Communist Party of Malaya, it had to deal with female communists.

They were mainly Chinese and physically smaller and weaker than their male counterparts.

But what they lacked in strength, they made up for in dedication and ability.

I knew a Malaysian military intelligence officer who fought the communists. Part of his duties was to turn them to gain intelligence and to aid in search and destroy missions.

In his experience, the women were more deadly.

It was possible to crack or turn a male communist, given time and incentives, he said.

However, try as he might, he could never turn a female communist. They were prepared to die for the cause “no matter what”, he said.

He once led an ambush of a communist patrol and a heavily pregnant communist charged at one of his soldiers with a parang.

He knocked her down with a shot but she got up and tried to charge again. He had to shoot her again, this time, to her death.

In his opinion, female soldiers are as good as male soldiers. They may even be better as they can be more focused and ruthless.

There are many reasons for and against enlisting women, but their fighting capability should not be one of them.

Chew Kok Liang

STforum online, Lessons to learn from Hong Kong, 20 Oct 2014

I VISITED Hong Kong recently and witnessed the so-called “democracy” protest going on there.

The city’s modern development is similar to Singapore’s.

Hong Kong became a British colony in the late 1940s, after World War II.

In the early 1950s, Hong Kong was more a trading port than a bustling city. There was no public housing and the influx of Chinese refugees made the situation worse. There were a lot more people than there were jobs.

But through the hard work of the population, the city grew and prospered.

This pioneering generation is now handing the baton to the younger generation, who did not witness the Japanese war, union riots or secret society fights.

Many of the younger residents have studied overseas, travelled abroad and tasted the affluence of developed countries.

There is an increasing sense of entitlement as families grow smaller and a belief in “my rights”.

The student protest for “democratic” votes illustrates the fact that they have forgotten or do not know that they never had any votes under the British.

Singapore’s young must be careful not to fall into a similar situation, where our economy is damaged by a “louder” minority.

We should look forward and outward and learn from others.

Geoffrey Kung


One Response to “Falsehoods and false lessons from ST forum letters”

  1. dotseng Says:

    Thank you very much for winnowing lies from the truth. As always.

    Your respectfully,

    Darkness 2014

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