I have been happier and less poor, monetarily & intellectually, since I cut off my ST subscription since 2010. Now, I only read it at the library occasionally.
But after I read the many comments to the editorial, http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/23/st-editor-uses-mh370-incident-to-champion-pro-ft-policy/, I just had to plough thro’ W Fernandez’s piece to understand what I might have missed about him that so many are just plain disgusted with. Now, I know better….
What can we make of that person and his attempt at, purportedly, trying to draw 5 lessons for Singaporeans to learn from the MH370 tragedy?
If asked for only one word to describe his 1259-word piece, FARCE would be most appropriate. Why?
It is a farce to, try as he did, masquerade his obvious sense of “schadenfreude” (@Thomas Pain’s choice) with words to the effect that any view that “Singapore would have handled the crisis better” “seems like hubris” to him.
Why? Simply because we can see thro’ his hypocrisy in including phrases like “floundering of the authorities”, “Many have mocked the response..confusing statements… and changing positions to the comic antics of shamans, to the flood of leaks and clarifications, with each day seeming to bring a new lead, theory or explanation.” And, “of course, Singapore would have handled the crisis better,” (purportedly Singaporeans’ instinctive reaction).
The fact of the matter is that Fernandez could have excluded all these remarks – without taking away anything from what he claimed to be the purpose of his commentary; namely, his 5 lessons for SGP. As an editor, he should know better than not to self-edit the redundant. So, what’s his true intent was to include those lines disparaging Malaysia?
Given the above, including ‘some recent fiasco of our own’ is but a cursory charade. Did you write anything remotely bad but true of the ‘floudering…confusing (and) comic antics’ of our own fiascos, let alone draw 5 lessons from same? Zilch!
All his talk about ‘mounting anguish…painful to watch’, ‘priority remains the urgent search’ blah blah blah cannot mask the lack, absence even, of a sense of common humanity for those in their hour of need.
How low can one go – to put others down to elevate ourselves or his masters?
Next, let’s look at his ‘lessons’ for us. Fernandez actually paused, pondering subconsciously whether to proceed. “I am by no means an expert in aviation security, but let me offer…” If you are no expert, did you ask an expert before you ‘offer’? Oh well, shoot himself in the foot he must, mustn’t he? Let’s see from what he had to ‘offer’.
5 Lessons – bordering on the farcical.
1. Just no letting up on security
Say that again. “Just no letting up on security”?
You mean that is lesson # 1 – and it’s only a lesson when such a disaster occurs?
“No doubt, this will give rise to moves to tighten up the system, if only temporarily.” “Ultimately, security is only as good as the officer on the job staying alert and ready to respond to a crisis which might arise when he least expects it.”
Warren, Warren…you are not only no aviation expert, professing to be wise, you become a fool.
Life has many “lessons too late for the learning, made of sand, made of sand”. Systems and procedures are mainly conceived in retrospect to lessons not foreseen. Human frailties – fail. Murphy Laws, there are more than just 2, always apply <http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-laws.html>
I am not saying that security should then be let up. I am wondering, Warren, tell us something we don’t already know. We are the NOW Singaporeans, not your past dafties.
2. Safety comes first, really
“Yet, there have been recent scares with planes having to be turned back or make emergency landings because of mechanical faults on both Airbus and Boeing jets.”
I say it again, you are not only no aviation expert, you know nuts about nuts.
We live in the real world. Nothing we make can be perfect or perfected. Nothing. What did you do all the time you were in Shell (I got this from Wiki)? Did you ever speak with the printing floor lower mortals producing your ST hardcopies?
There is such a thing as AQL (Acceptable Quality Limit or Level) in production. And yes, truly, if anything can go wrong – that has never gone wrong before – will go wrong. And the worse of any two possible wrongs will occur first – and earlier than you think (if you are capable of that, that is).
By the way, didn’t you check with the ‘expert’ to whom you send your underling to interview recently? Remember Mdm Scratch-Head Jo Teo, “with…anything new, you will always learn something…things could always have been better” and “We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One. If we go in with that attitude, it can only mean that we have to build in a lot of redundancy.”
This is not to trivialize ‘safety first’ in everything. But, hey, you are still not adding any value to the discussions.
In fact, what do you think our very own aviation experts at SIA might have reacted to your lame, “Airlines everywhere will have to reassure passengers that they…are not compromising on safety”? Nope, they wouldn’t be scratching their heads a la Jo Teo. Some would say, “Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt” or “Boy, go fly a kite.”
3. Pick the right people
This lesson…it’s hidden in the middle, lesson #3 of 5, for a reason, a sinister one, isn’t it, Warren?
By now, at least with some 50k readers, your words will be hard to forget for a long time, “Finding the best people must entail appointing whoever can do the job best, regardless of gender, race, age, background, or even nationality.”(italics & bold for emphasis, which is yr key thrust).
“So please, let’s go easy on the anti-foreigner “Singaporean first” rhetoric that has become so popular these days. Give the job to whoever will deliver when it counts.”
At a time when our closest, friendly neighbour is being, in yr words, ‘maligned’, you surreptitiously sneer at them here at the beginning of yr article. At a time when many fellow Singaporeans, especially PMEs (me, included) have either lost jobs to foreigners or finding it hard to land even an interview, you come with this bull lesson? Truly, ‘I don’t know what to say!’
I beg your pardon, Warren, but I just have to ask, “Did you actually have parents?”
Our deep hurt aside (yeah, how can you claim to empathize with the MH370 victims when you spit on your own fellow citizens?), we can and will forgive if you print a clarification that you are, in fact, sending a message to the Lee Hsien Loong cabinet that if they have proven to have not done ‘the job best’ they must step aside – NOW.
Oh, and as Editor of ST, ranked progressively lowest at #150 now by Reporters Sans Frontières, editor, please edit yourself out of your job, can? Thank you.
4. Sooner or later, a crisis will come
“..simply assuming…that our systems are sound and superior, is the surest way to set ourselves up for a spectacular fall.”
On this, I agree with you. You should tell that to NEA with their ‘ponding’ spin. As COEs are unaffordable now, I bus past Suntec City often. Tell NP or LTA about the dead trees at the Nicoll Highway aside Suntec…Is it cheaper to water them during the recent dry spell – to plant new trees…that would need to be watered regularly when first planted?
Why didn’t you preach lesson #4 to Teo Chee Hien with his Riot & Woodlands Drive-thro Total Defence fiascos, all under MHA…‘Job done best’?
How about the preceding and current health ministers who have proven to be not only unprepared for our hospital bed crunch crises but actually created them with, deliberate help from cabinet colleagues who not only lacked 20/20 foresight but were blind-sided with growing GDP at all cost to boost, among other KPIs, their own annual bonuses? For good measure, let’s also parade out Mah Bow Tan & Lim Boon Heng for their respective housing supplies and workers’ salary sub-growth.
Not spectacular falls, all these? “Job done best?”
I also like this bit, “in the absence of credible and timely information, conspiracy theorists will rush to fill the vacuum, forcing the authorities to respond.” Darn right you are about the ‘absence of credible and timely information’ re all things Temasek, MOM employment figures breakdown, AIM, use of our reserves without submitting to the very Presidential oversight rules PAP set. The list goes on.
I seem to be saying some positive stuff about your lessons. But don’t be happy just yet.
5. Building trust and sense of community
“Long before such a crisis strikes, people will need to have developed a sense of community, trusting in themselves and each other, as well as the authorities, to do the right thing in a difficult moment.”
5th and last lesson takes the cake – at best, for the dumbass of an aviation non-expert, at worst, for sheer hypocrisy. Yours. And your masters’, whoever they may be, for whom you write yr current piece.
You tell us as the 1st lesson that we must not let up on security. You go on to discuss safety first. Then you preach to us that our citizenship, our citizen’s job interest is subservient to other nationals who are supposedly more ‘right’ than us for jobs we need to feed our families along with the importance to be prepared for a crisis.
And last, you hit us with the ‘trust & sense of community’ imperative?
Words fail me, Warren. Words fail me.
You are made of sand, made of sand.
You’d better go away with no word of farewell
Better you leave no trace behind
I could have warned you
Didn’t mean to be unkind
But you better disappear completely from our minds
For crying out loud, your whole piece is a farce.
A farce in its schadenfreude.
A farce for your own aviation non-expert, in fact, an anything non-expert related to the 5 lessons you expound.
And a farcical attempt to promote this government’s agenda of increasing foreign workers into our already over-crowded, economically grievously-injured unemployed or underpaid fellow citizens on an island already at #3 as densest after Macau & Monaco. STOP! ENOUGH!
It might have been different if you directly and without qualification, addressed your message to the government and the complacent, compliant civil service.