Could the recent seizure of Singapore Armed Forces infantry vehicles be a conspiracy between Singapore and China? The aim is to find excuse to a total withdrawal of SAF training in Taiwan.
I wish this is the case.
However, it seems not the case.
Singapore side wants to keep the old ties and refuses to give up the old friendship. We even ask Hong Kong Customs for reasons that result to the detention. It seems Singapore does not want to take part in this conspiracy. We have also no intention to withdraw SAF trainings in Taiwan.
Domestically, Singapore government wants to project herself as a victim and at the same time, to defend our position as a trusted middleman - ‘Singapore has a long record of being an honest broker, good friend and constructive collaborator’. #1
The PAP government is telling Singaporeans we have done no wrong and we are doing the same old practice of bringing back military equipment from Taiwan, using commercial shippers. In some ways, the government is trying to divide the country again. She wants support from Singaporeans in time of crisis because as an honest broker Singapore cannot be wrong. Those Singaporeans who question and double about the reasons given by the PAP government are anti-Singapore.
In 1997, late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew had to make an apology for describing Johor State as a place “notorious for shootings, muggings and car-jackings.”
Lee Kuan Yew: an apology
The furore caused by Mr Lee's comments was remarkable in a region that makes a virtue of being tactful to the point of coyness about neighbouring countries and their leaders. There were demonstrations in Malaysia in which protesters called Mr Lee “senile” and a “bloody idiot”. Newspapers broadened the attack to Singaporeans as a whole, for their “pride and arrogance”, and contributors to Internet discussion groups threatened to “reclaim the little dot” of Singapore.
Ask yourself if there were no apology and a war broke out between Singapore and Malaysia then, what would you do? Support the government or question the government.
The recent SAF infantry vehicles incident is different from the LKY apology. However, the government has the duty to protect the safety of SAF soldiers in Taiwan. With new Democratic Progressive Party government, man-made and self-made new external and internal shocks have emerged in Taiwan. And Chinese Air Force is making round trip cycling Taiwan. The irony is DPP is very different from the nationalists KMT. Is DPP an old friend? Or is DPP considering the PAP an old friend?
In a pragmatic way, as practical as the PAP, we have other options for SAF trainings. A total SAF withdrawal from Taiwan is a workable solution. But it seems the PAP government is using this as another ‘patriot’ exercise.
This is not a groundless conspiracy theory. It can be a win-win for both China and Singapore.
So far, the responses from Singapore government is very inflexible and sometimes even not so diplomatic. The discussion between APL-the shipper and Hong Kong Customs is just the front. Perhaps, it is just to satisfy Singaporeans for domestic political purpose.
If we read the newspaper reports, it seems our foreign affairs and diplomats have little Chinese wisdom.
Maybe they should look at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and how he reacts when Donald Trump was declared the winner of the US Presidential Election.
Interestingly, Shinzō Abe uses the Chinese wisdom of Yijing (Hexagram 49) to explain the situation of TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) in parliament. He also immediately arranged and flyed to New York to meet Donald Trump. When asked if TPP is not workable, what would he do? His reply is Japan may have to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
‘君子豹变’ is from Hexagram 49:
Above 6: The noble one changes like a leopard, small men shed the skin of the face. To set things right: pitfall. Settling-down determination: auspicious.
The purpose of the Abe-Trump meeting in New York is Abe tried to convince Trump to change his mind on TPP. He hopes Trump can be a gentleman (noble one changes like a leopard) and agrees to support TPP. However, if you understand Yi-jing, there is also a possible of further change (bian gua 变卦）. This is why Abe said Japan may have to join RCEP. If you can not convince others to change, then you have to change.
Abe may not fully understand Yijing and Chinese wisdom. But he is willing to change, from TPP to RCEP when Trump says no to TPP.
The situation among China-Singapore, China-Taiwan, and Singapore-Taiwan has changed a lot. Is the PAP government ready for the change and the new reality?