The dude is in trouble!
I read his email on sammyboy forum (Click HERE to read it yourself), and I find his argument rather compelling. There was clearly wrong-doings and he was right to air out the dirty laundry.
Whistle-blowing is something that Singaporeans are not accustomed to. However, it is necessary in order to augment social changes. Think of the Watergate scandal in US, and the NKF saga in Singapore – these are instances where whistle-blowing appears to be the only way to expose evils by big, power organisations. Even though doing so means the whistle blower will be subjecting himself/herself to potential legal disciplinary action, it was the right thing to do.
Actually, any guys who have served National Service will have their fair share of experiences with corrupt practices or unprofessional work ethics from their superiors. However, most of us will just let it go as it will be like ramming your head against the wall to go head-on against the entire SAF structure and it’s ‘chain-of-command‘ nonsense.
Logically speaking, I find it odd that when we have any grievance, we are expected to speak to the person whom we want to complain against first – especially so if he is your direct superior who is also in charge of your leave approval, welfare, the amount of duties you have to do… heck, even your toilet and smoke breaks! Ironic lei.
Anyway, I am digressing. Back to whistle-blowing…
We all know that SAF is flawed lah, and there are a whole bunch of lazy buggers out there wasting tax-payers’ money (maybe a ratio of 1:5 compared to the good ones who are stil the majority). Just like any other organisations, there are performers and there are slackers. SAF is no difference in this respect.
However, I would believe that the proportion of bad superiors who get away with wrong-doings will be higher in SAF as opposed to other organisations, because of the chain-of-command thing.
This is largely because the bulk of the SAF are made up of NSFs (who only have to serve two years of services). They are more likely to bear with any injustice administered to them by bad superiors (regulars and NSFs alike) as really, the last thing they want is any trouble during their two years stint.
This can’t be expressed more succinctly than the mentality of ‘serve and fuck off‘ – hence I won’t elaborate.
Whistle-blowing is too much of a hassle.
Here, Hongyi (as a NSF) took a brave step forward and bypass the chain-of-command to whistle-blow loud loud to*gasp* – even the Minister of Defense himself!
Bravo dude! I applause you for that.
Wait, but there’s one problem though…
2LT Li Hongyi also happens to be the Prime Minister’s son lei.
That’s where things get complicated. If he had been just another regular dude, will he be let off with only a reprimand (as reported on Channel NewsAsia)?
While I think Hongyi did the right thing, I can’t help but keep running the scenerio of ‘what if this was done by a regualar dude’ in my head… from there, I see a guy getting sent to DB or kena tekan jialat jialat for his remaining NSF life by the superiors he complained about.
There need to be structural changes in SAF – especially in the way superiors deal with with their subordinates. Unlike a regular job, NSFs cannot just quit and walk away if they don’t like their assigned boss. There’s bound to be a better way to complain than this going through the chain-of-command.
Due to his high-profile background, Hongyi has bring about public scrutiny to this issue and SAF as an organisation. Regardless of his intention or whether his action was right or wrong – he did something.
And for that – this whole episode is for the greater good.