Saturday, July 07, 2007


My disaffection with the country started with the military, before spreading to the entire bureaucracy. It's not hard to see why.

I have seen the FUBARs they can make, e.g. something as straightforward and yet all-important as morale, which is so important and yet, through their disconnect with reality, they make things worse. I have seen how some commanders treat their men, how they are treated as resources and not as human beings, how they have lost sight of the reason reason and objective behind what they do. I have sat on Courts-Martial panels before and seen the bottom end of the spectrum, how the system can be so stupidly inflexible that it drives NSF boys to desperation, to do silly things like go AWOL for trivial reasons, just because their commanders did not care enough about them, or worse: of injustices I felt compelled to fight.

There was a case once of an NSF charged with losing a live round of ammunition during patrol. He pleaded guilty and was going to be sentenced to detention for a few months. But upon hearing the facts of the case, I discovered that it was not implausible that we was originally only given 29 rounds in the first place, that he was not trained in the technical handling of the weapon in the first place, and that he was actually ordered not to physically count the issued rounds individually. I threw out the case and told the defending officer to investigate more thoroughly and to prepare a defence for him. When the next trial date approached, I called up the defending officer and realised that he had done absolutely nothing at all—because the unit CO and S1 instructed him to "just get it over with quickly". They didn't seem interested at all to uncover what really happened, but would rather send him packing off to DB for a few months just to close the case without much fuss. I was horrified. This was a few months of a man's life we're talking about here, and they didn't seem like it mattered a lot to them. But the soldier wanted to plead guilty because he "didn't want to drag the issue", also I suspect because he was afraid that by fighting for his innocence, he would incur greater wrath. I could not do anything and a man went to DB for 3 months because of an offence he most likely did not commit.

The unit in question was an armour battalion. This incident was seared in my collective memory and after many other encounters with people from Armour, of all the branches of the Army, I despise Armour the most.

And the truth is that it pains me. It pains me to see an organisation that is so important to our country get ruined in the hands of people who don't know better or couldn't care less. Yes, I believe there are good people in the Army, but the Army is so large that the proportion of these good people are overwhelmed by the rest. Some commanders don't know better what's really happening at the ground level. What most of them see are the showcases, where everything is made presentable before they arrive, and then it's back to the dregs after they leave. But the picture is very different right at the ground, which is where I work. - jemauvais

Afterall, you must be doing real bad to drive many of your citizens away, including some of the best and brightest.

On a side note, I am sensing some kind of latent unhappiness towards me by my male peers (stuck in Sg for various reasons) for not having done any 'reservist' at all. Heh. NEVER AGAIN.

I despise the SAF and everything it stands for. It's amazing looking at the hate generated by a 'mere' 2.5 years of conscription.

"2.5 years?! Wow, it's so long! Are you guys fighting a war like we are in the South (Kurds) or what?" - My Turkish colleague. He will only serve 21 days in total if/when he returns as he has already worked more than 3 years outside his country.

1 comment:

Ned Stark said...

SNAFU TARFU and FUBAR, thats the SAF for you. Even the military tribunal is nonsense as you can see, the accused is not given a fair trial. While in theory our dear Col Benedict Lim will spout some gibberish about how everyone is given fair trial etc, the reality is far different. Perhaps i will do a longer ramble on NS. Heh.