12 Mar 2014 TRE
Alternative Lessons from the Crimea/Ukraine crisis
The crisis in Crimea/Ukraine continues to simmer, simmering it appears, from what had been left to fester over the years. What lessons for us?
Unlike PM Lee and FM Shammugam, anxious to draw lessons under the guise of ‘small countries’ needing to defend themselves but actually finding another convenient justification of the obscene defence budget. Not only that but the very raison d’etre of National Service itself, a noble necessity, being increasingly and justifiably questioned by parents and our young alike. Why make suckers of us to defend so that others and outsiders can enjoy the relative security we offer with the 2 best years of our youth and our tax dollars?
I have no doubt whatsoever that, together with the highfalutin reason of our raison d’etat, PM Lee sees plenty to gain for his PAP. A call to unite, to prepare and be prepared for any eventuality – under PAP’s leadership. But it’s a leadership in sure and deep decline. A leadership that lacks 20/20 foresight in governance in favour of GDP growth at all cost.
Two TRE articles < http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/07/ukraine-crisis-lessons-for-singapore/ >, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population > already made short work of the shallow basis of PM Lee’s call based on physical smallness of country. Well, so much for the quality of a leader whose understanding of physical geography views a 600k km2 country with 45 mil citizens, ranked the 49th biggest amongst 244 countries by population, as a ‘small country’.
So, what are the pertinent lessons for Singapore in the current Crimea/Ukraine crisis? I suggest 3.
1. Treatment of minority / integration
Whilst Ukrainians of Russian origin make up 17.3% of total population, in Crimea alone, they make up 58%. Let’s not get it wrong. It is Crimea where those of Russian blood command the absolute majority that is being ‘invaded’ or have invited Russia’s entry. Not the rest of Ukraine.
So lesson number one is to fully integrate the citizenry.
Are we doing enough of that with the minority races that have traditionally been part of our fellow citizens? Or have we been alienating them and paying only lip service to their concerns?
There’s where your real threat is, PM, and not the surrounding countries per se. They are the ones who can ‘invite’ outsiders into SGP covertly, if not overtly. Have the cabinet of the last 10-20 years lost the key focus, if not the structural belief in truth but not in word, of demonstrating in tangible terms that we are all Singaporeans, ‘one united people’? Or alienate them instead?
Has GDP growth triumph everything else?
2. Ignore / encourage potential sabotage at our own national peril
When leaders, in their blind pursuit of GDP growth at all cost, disregard or are blind-sided by the potential threat of saboteurs or potential ones. And when citizens, so daft and so caught up trying to pay the costly bills of basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing and transportation, just as blindly give such leaders and leadership their votes, it really doesn’t take much for other countries to eye an opportunity to gain intelligence or recruit potential saboteurs.
For e.g., with so many Malaysians employed as Auxiliary Police ‘working’ and ‘guarding’ sensitive areas (airports, customs, installations etc) and Pinoys and Indians in IT infrastructure and banking, even Indonesia need not raise her own ‘spies or moles’ to gain intelligence in time of emergency or in peacetime. Any country can just get it cheap paying for the necessary insider or confidential info.
We don’t need to ask PM Lee if he’s aware, let alone exercise the foresight, of what’s already happening, what they let happened. Just look around us to see the dangers these foreigners pose, that PM Lee’s cabinet has placed our raison d’etat in peril – all for the sake of Temasek’s & GIC’s coffers.
And he, of all persons, tries to draw lessons from the Crimea crisis? He, whose hubris and blindsight have sold us, albeit potentially, to the dogs while calling on us to be prepared for eventualities?
3. Create yr own new disaffected group
On this point, I write as a long-term unemployed PME.
If and when my government and, by extension, my country creates more opportunities for foreigners to gain employment more than for me and my fellow PMEs, how am I expected to answer the call to fight for ‘duty, country, honour’ as a reserve officer of the SAF?
I may not sabotage my own country. But who am I defending for – if the leaders continue to insist on this trajectory of GDP growth at all cost? Why should my sons be called upon to waste 2 years of their youth so that others, outsiders can come and take away my job – and theirs in time to come?
I ask the 5 generals in the cabinet and the rest of the multi-millionaire leaders, what lessons can YOU draw, do YOU want to draw for yourself first before you try to tell us what lessons in the Crimea crisis there are for us.
While you are at it, please remember that the 3 situations described above all originate under your lack of 20/20 foresight watch, your GDP growth at all cost mantra. All 3 continue to fester as we speak – while you sleep….
Lead. Don’t mislead.
Change you must. Or change will change you.