Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Requiem for Usman and Harun (MacDonald House Bombers)

Osman & Harun were professional soldiers. 

No soldier trains to kill civilians. No soldier wants to dishonour himself by fighting unarmed non-combatants. But all soldiers learn to obey orders. Even questionable orders. Difficult orders. 

These two marines sacrificed their honour for their country, and to non-Indonesian they are terrorists. But to other soldiers, Indonesian soldiers, they were simply soldiers who sacrifice the most for their country - not their lives, their honour. 

They may act like terrorists, but they were soldiers first. Not terrorists. They did what they did because they believed it was what their country wanted. They were patriots. And their country owes them a debt that can never be repaid. Indonesia can never restore their honour to them. But still she tries. She tries by naming a ship after them. And it has backfired. But what can Indonesia do now? Backtrack? 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Like Yasakuni?

So I asked myself, "is the Indonesian naming of their warship after two criminals we executed for murder similar to the Japanese PM visiting the Yasakuni Shrine?"

First of all, I was never really bothered by the visits to the Yasakuni Shrine. I understand that there are thousands of war dead buried there, and about 14 (?) were war criminals. But because of those few War Criminals, the whole visit is suddenly controversial?

Secondly, Lee Kuan Yew visited the graves of the two marines, sprinkled flowers over their grave. Was he honouring them and was that a slap in the face for their victims, and the victims families?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Don't Take us for Granite.

Indonesia has stopped exporting granite aggregate to Singapore. Flashback to 2007. But this time, there don't seem to be any specific reason (i.e. political or diplomatic reason) for this. But this trip down memory lane is a reminder of our various vulnerabilities.

Singapore and neighbors just can't get along

By Wayne Arnold and Thomas Fuller
New York Times
Thursday, March 15, 2007

SINGAPORE — Some countries have strategic oil reserves; others stockpile rice or wheat. The island nation of Singapore has emergency reserves of imported sand.

The sand is there to secure Singapore's insatiable demand for concrete, a reminder of Singapore's vulnerability as a nation without a hinterland to supply it with vital resources.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Democracy and Meritocracy are incompatible.

Two of the things you could say about Singapore is that,

1) Singapore subscribes to the idea of meritocracy. That is, the best person for the job, gets the job; and

2) Singapore is not a Democracy - there is no freedom of speech, freedom of association, and our votes are not secret.

Here's a mind-boggling idea (or not):

Democracy is the natural enemy of Meritocracy.

The rest of the post is long. Maybe too long. So here's the summary:

Meritocracy is the selection of a candidate based on  ability or merit. Democracy is the election of candidates based on popularity. Ergo, Democracy, if not the enemy of Meritocracy, is not compatible with Meritocracy.