‘PM’s gaffe is a case of bad diplomacy’
The above is the title of an article posted by a ‘Apologise’ in TRE. I quote a paragraph from the article on the PM’s gaffe and Apologise’s position on the PM’s position as not reflective of the general population.
‘Regardless of our individual positions on the South China Sea dispute, we feel that our PM’s gaffe is a case of bad diplomacy because China did nothing to Singapore to warrant such a response. We categorically state that his remarks does not represent all Singaporeans. We feel that by making those remarks, he is acting against our interest and his actions puts in jeopardy our warm and stable relationship with China that former Prime Ministers, including the father of our current PM, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew helped cultivate over the years. Its understandable for China’s leaders to feel annoyed. We would like PM Lee to apologise to China and help restore our peaceful relationship, while supporting Singapore’s call for the speedy and safe return of our property.’
There are strong sentiments in the social media that were not favourable to what Hsien Loong had been saying on the SCS and relations with China. I once mentioned about the dichotomy in views and perceptions between Channel 5 and Channel 8 Singaporeans. The two groups are as far apart and divided in their views, aspiration, taste and likes and dislikes that no one should simply take them for granted as a homogenous group. When reading the English media, there is this audacity among the Channel 5 that they represent the Channel 8 people and can speak on behalf of them. The truth is far from it. Channel 5 people must not think that they represent the Channel 8 people and that their views are the dominant views. In reality, at this point in time, the Channel 8 people are the majority in absolute numbers.
Hsien Loong, though coming from Catholic High background, is more a Channel 5 than a Channel 8 type. His world views and cultural biases are thus more western than eastern and his preferences and affections are quite obvious. His latest comment that there is no ‘middle kingdom’ came as a surprise as he jolly well knows what that word mean in Chinese even if he is more Channel 5. China written in Chinese is zhong guo or 中国。Yes, 中国 means exactly what it is, Middle Kingdom. What he said about being no middle kingdom can be interpreted differently by the Channel 8 people and some may not take it lightly.
Perhaps Vivian can explain that Hsien Loong spoke in his private capacity as an ordinary citizen and not as a PM. That may appease some of the Channel 8 people if they did not know what it means by saying there is no middle kingdom.
Is this a gaffe? Whatever, there is no need to demand an apology, especially from our PM. No need to be so childish, everything also demand an apology. It would be quite embarrassing if our PM actually said sorry and China came back saying sorry must also explain.
The situation is bad enough, it is water under the bridge. Let's move on. It is easy for me to say it but would be good if China is to say it, let's move on.
Let me thank Lycurgus80ofSparta for this lead on this coming movie by John Pilger, The Coming War on China. You can view a 12 minute interview by Afshin Rattani with Pilger at this link,
I strongly recommend everyone to spend 12 minutes to listen to Pilger about his movie based on the real situation surrounding the American pivot to Asia and the biggest and most dangerous build up of American military power in history around China, with more than 400 military bases in a tightening noose to contain and strangle China. And this is the best kept secret of the Americans and the western media, keeping a tight lip over this build up but screaming that China is building 2 or 3 airstrips in the islands in the South China Sea as a threat to the world. This is western hypocrisy at its peak but daft Asians would buy it as a natural development and a right for the Americans to have 400+ military bases surrounding China but China cannot have a few air strips in the South China Sea.
Listen to what Pilger said carefully, at the misinformation, the blackout and the hypocrisy of the Americans. Get some insight into the 32 military installations in Okinawa and the secret nuclear complex in Marshall Islands aimed at China. In the event of a war, Okinawa would be sunk and the innocent Okinawans would be buried with it as the sacrificial lamb just like the South Koreans in Cheju Island, another American military base.
Learn the truth about the real provocateurs of a nuclear war and how China has to react, to raise its nuclear alert state from normal to the highest alert in the face of this serious American encirclement and nuclear threat. Learn what the Americans are doing to contain China, to blockage China etc etc.
Look out for this coming movie just before Christmas, to be screen around the world and to be enlightened by the truth of what is going on around Asia and be well informed.
Thanks again Lycurgus80.
The Singapore team met up with the Hong Kong authority over the Terrex Incident for 3 times, each lasting about 6 to 7 hours. The time is about right, could be longer, for such interrogation or investigation, or shall I call it meeting? With the wealth of experience learnt in Singapore, hopefully the team went there were well prepared, at least they should be in thick clothing in case the Hong Kong authority turned on the aircon to the fullest. Luckily the meetings were held during the day and not drag on to the wee hours of the morning. And they were not stripped to their underwear.
Altogether 19 hours have been clocked in the 3 interrogations or meetings and nothing came out of it. Maybe this is the norm and the Singapore team should be prepared for another 20 meetings or interrogation sessions before they could see some light in the darkened and cold meeting rooms.
I am not sure if the Singapore team brought along their lawyers to protect their legal rights. At least the lawyers could insist on food and drinks be provided or they be allowed to bring in their own food. Such long hours of interrogation or meetings can be very taxing on the side that is not the authority. The advantage is definitely on the authority side, the side that could set the temperature, set the tone, prolong or call off the meeting or interrogation as and when they like.
I could not believe that such a straight forward case of filing proper documents could take so long and yet nothing is resolved. Maybe the authority is just being the authority, just wanting to drag on and on and on. This is a common practice I think. The side that is not the authority would just have to bear with it.
The next step could be site visiting. The authority may want to bring the whole team to visit the site, open and inspect everything, including the canvas covering the vehicles. They may want to take some back for sampling test for dangerous chemicals or drugs. I just can’t imagine what the authority is capable of doing in cases like this when they are going to exercise their full rights and privileges being the authority.
The poor Singapore team is going to have a rough time, I think. And now is December. Better send them more warm clothing.
December 8, 1941, Japan conducted a sneaky attack against the American Pacific in Pearl Harbour, sinking almost every ship that was in the harbor. Today, a Japanese is commanding the American Pacific Fleet. And there is another Japanese commanding the Japan Self Defense Force. And to mark the day of infamy, Japanese Prime Minister Abe finally paid a visit to the site of horror where thousands of innocent Americans were murdered in cold blood without knowing what hit them. Abe was not there to say sorry, to apologise for the dastardly attack against the Americans but just to commemorate the incident. Remorseful?
The Japanese have not heeded the lessons of Pearl Harbour. They are not remorseful and so were Abe and his ministers. They did not regret the death and destruction they caused to the Americans and the victims in Asia and South East Asia. In an article by a Kuni Miyake, a former diplomat, in the Today paper, he got the cheek to title it ‘China should heed the lessons of Pearl Harbour’. He did not think Japan should heed this lesson except regretting on the ‘hubris and miscalculation that led to the attack’, not the shameful and vicious killings of innocents in Pearl Harbour and Asia. Japan is rearming to the hilt, tore away their pacifist constitution and is ready to conduct wars once again.
Japan does not heed the lessons of Pearl Harbour. China must. China must prepare for another ‘Pearl Harbour’ by the sneaky Japanese against Chinese ports and naval fleets. The Japanese have arrogantly returned to their Pearl Harbour days and mentality, eager to engage in wars. The Japanese so called Self Defense Force is as big, or even bigger than their WW2 fleet and the largest in Asia, second only to China.
When would Japan learn the lessons of Pearl Harbour? Is Japan waiting for a Pearl Harbour on Yokohama or one of its harbours before it learns its lesson not to conduct wars, not to engage in wars? Japan must know that the next lessons would be the end of Japan if it dares to conduct another war of aggression against is neighbours or against the Americans.
Would Japan learn the lessons of Pearl Harbour before it is too late? Neigh, they think they could conquer the world one more time.
PS. Is this Japanese warning and threatening China that Japan would do a Pearl Harbour on China?
PS. Is this Japanese warning and threatening China that Japan would do a Pearl Harbour on China?
Many people are trying to pooh pooh the seriousness of the 9 Terrex armoured vehicles on the shore of Hong Kong as if they were toy cars, no weapons, so very safe and innocent. It is really a non issue and Singapore’s relation with China would go on as per normal. Singapore can still demand China to abide by the rulings of the NOT UN backed Hague Tribunal, China must abide by international law, China must ensure freedom of navigation in the SCS, China must not split Asean to divide and rule. Singapore politicians can sleep very well and not going to lose any sleep over the incident. How about 20 machine guns or rocket launchers without the rounds instead of the Terrex? Safe and innocent?
The 9 Terrexes are claimed by Singapore and were on an innocent passage through Hong Kong. What if, the armoured vehicles belonged to some terrorist groups or a hostile country? No country would allow such war machine to land on their soil without permission or without their knowledge. In a worst case scenario, the armoured vehicles could easily be armed and run through the city firing at anything on site like a suicide mission or a point assault group clearing the way for the main force to move in. How much damage can 9 armoured vehicles do to any city or country once landed? Think about it.
In this case, was someone testing Hong Kong’s custom alertness or a procedure to land military vehicles into Hong Kong, a trial run in preparation for a military op? Who knows, the incident is claimed to be so innocent. Was there any intent by some nebulous party testing out their plans to back up Nathan Law and the other silly girl to create a state of street violence when the opportune time comes? It is not necessary that they would use the Terrexes, the perpetrators could be more ominous and dangerous war machine like tanks could roll in when street demonstrations go berserk. An innocent passage of the Terrexes through Hong Kong with proper papers and declaration would be just another non event. Why were these not done?
Once a procedure like this is proven to be feasible, workable, the planners could use the same modus operandi to turn Hong Kong into a mess. Do not take such an operational slip lightly. No one knows for sure who was behind it and what was the real intent? Don’t just pooh pooh it as just an administrative slip by APL.
Sure Singapore is likely to be an innocent party but its vehicles could be made used of by some unfriendly party without Singapore knowing it. Sure, Singapore has no such ill intention against Hong Kong. But that does not mean other parties did not harbor a threat with evil motive against Hong Kong and China.
Were the landing of 9 armoured vehicles onto Hong Kong soil, or in Hong Kong port, transiting or otherwise, with no papers or declaration, without the knowledge of the Hong Kong govt, be that innocent or a sign of things to come?
Everyone is looking at it from the political perspective, a ruse between China and Singapore, China sending a message to Singapore in a deteriorating relationship. No doubt China has cause for doing so, and wanting it to be so. Beyond this, could there be something more devious behind an incident that should not have happened at all. This is not the first time such cargo is being shipped. Why so many holes in the incident? Why so many unnecessary and avoidable lapses?
What do you think?
Why is the Singapore govt quarrelling with China over the Terrex Incident? The Singapore govt consigned its Terrex armoured vehicles to APL with a simple order, deliver them to Singapore from Taiwan. How APL navigates, visits whatever ports, how APL handles the documentations are not Singapore’s problem. All Singapore is interested is for the armoured vehicles to be delivered to Singapore on time and in good condition.
Now APL detoured to Xiamen, to Hong Kong and found not filing the proper documents and the Terrex armoured vehicles were off loaded into the port in Hong Kong. Why is this a Singapore problem? Why is Singapore sending a team to Hong Kong to negotiate and to retrieve the armoured vehicles? Why is the Singapore govt quarrelling with the China and Hong Kong govt? And by so doing, gave China the opportunity to screw Singapore, to complain about Singapore not abiding by the rule of law?
Should not Singapore just be dealing with APL and let APL deal with China/Hong Kong? APL shitted and why is Singapore running all over the place behaving like the guilty party, as if Singapore shitted?
Should not Singapore just keep quiet and tell APL to deliver the armoured vehicles or be sued for compensation and damages? And by so doing, China would have no reason to point the finger at Singapore and accused Singapore for any wrong doing.
What is going on? Don’t we have the best legal talents to tell the govt, look, this is not Singapore’s problem? This is a problem between APL and China/Hong Kong. Singapore is just a customer of APL. Singapore has nothing to do with what APL did in Hong Kong and how APL handled the armoured vehicles. If APL commits murder, what has that got to do with Singapore? Why is Singapore responsible for APL’s crime or wrong doing?
Is this so complicated to understand? This is strictly a commercial assignment between Singapore and APL. Why is Singapore in the thick of action in this political fiasco?
Do you think Singapore could avoid this diplomatic row by just keeping its mouth shut? Who is the daft one?
Was it the seizure of the armoured vehicles or was it the newly elected Trump Presidency that prompted Eng Hen to have a rethinking of what he said about the rise of China in Simi Valley, California? The containment of China, provoking and inciting Asean to put pressure on China, bad mouthing China and selling the story that China is a destructive rising power were given a new twist in Eng Hen’s speech at the Reagan National Defence Forum over the weekend.
Before this forum, all the arrows were aimed at China and nothing good was said about China, a country that did not respect or live by international law, against freedom of navigation, bullying small nations when the truth was that little puny countries were trying to bully the sleeping dragon. Eng Hen was telling the US and those at the forum that all these silly propaganda and provocation need to change. There were several takeaways from his speech which would be upsetting to our foreign minister and his MFA officials.
The first point, it was ‘“neither possible nor strategically necessary” to contain the Asian giant’s rise’. Of course the Americans would deny that, they would even swear in the name of their grandfathers that they were not trying to contain China with a blank face.
The second takeaway, ‘It is clear that China needs the world as much as the world needs China, and I think this interdependence will grow, not diminish.’ Now who wrote his speech? Definitely not from the MFA. This is likely a speech coming from the analysts in Mindef and would make many in the MFA very uncomfortable and unhappy. But Eng Hen is not going to hold back after his armoured vehicles were impounded in an embarrassing incident in Hong Kong and the likelihood of his boys training in Taiwan being scuttled by the MFA’s position on China.
The third takeaway, ‘that Singapore is “very careful and in fact, constructive” in adhering to the “One China” policy’. Would the reemphasis on adhering to the One China policy at this stage help in his boys training in Taiwan or is it too little and a bit too late after all the poking by the MFA at China? How constructive was Singapore towards the rise of China in the last few months, and would there be a change to go back to earlier days before Vivian took over the MFA and allowed his team to go wild to heckle China?
And another takeaway for the Americans, ‘There are many areas that (US) can focus on that are productive,’ he said. So the cat is out of the bag, the US had been counter productive in its treatment of relations with China, put it in a polite way without saying it, like telling China to abide by international law implying that China was not. Eng Hen added, actually reported as stressed, that a ‘US presence in the Asia Pacific “based predominantly on security is uni-dimensional and structurally brittle.”’ I am not sure how his good friend the hawkish Ash Carter would swallow these advices from Eng Hen in his policy of containing and isolating China by military means and alliances?
Eng Hen is the first minister to take a different view of relations with China following the recent fiasco by Singapore that led to the rub and snub by China. The point is whether this is just his personal view, speaking as a private individual, or a Mindef view, or the view of the govt? Whatever, it is a first sign of fence mending with China, a job that the MFA has fouled up so badly that nothing they said would help. MFA better shut up and shut the mouths of its officials if Singapore wants to improve relations with China. Perhaps a few sacrificial lambs like the retiring of some of the more vocal anti China voices may soothe the nerves in Beijing.
Can the Americans still think they could contain and isolate China with the help of some silly Asian cronies? Would Eng Hen’s advice be taken seriously and lead to a rethink in American policies in the containment of China? Is Singapore rethinking its position and trying to do some damage control at this critical time? Is Eng Hen’s view a solitary view, a departure from the official govt’s view?