Li Hongyi Update - he's famous now! - Alvinology

Li Hongyi Update – he’s famous now!

Li HongyiThe 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.

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9 comments
  1. To add some more info.
    In the army enlisted men (cpl/sgt) are often disciplined impartially with punishments severely as a sign of discipline.However this line is blurred when this involves regular (professional?) soldiers , they are given a slap on the wrist (informal punishment extra duties/confinement).Why? because this will affect their career while NSF will do their two years and [email protected]@@ off.These punishments may not be served by offenders as regulars help regular code of ethics are in place. U help me i help u network.
    Those NSF servicemen officers are often ranked below regulars (same for enlisted men), thus they will often feel disgruntled as different standards applies.
    I felt that Li Hongyi opened a can of worms when he crossed path with LTA X ( Mr Tua Si lang),swapping his duties with somebody.
    LTA X should sell his duties to others, which is prevalent in SAF (under table swap for favours/money) to NSF servicemen but not to white horses like Li HongYi.
    The supervising OC(Bo tao nao) covered for LTA X should be impartial and get him to do extra duty immediately for 3-5 days so to show others what u will get for running off from duty.But he did not.
    I approve and Mr Li Hongyi for opening this can of worms for us to see that SAF has not changed at all so much for increased pay,benefits for Mindef personnel or civil servants, still has double standards for regulars and nsf servicemen , do the same job get different pay, different punishment(informal for regulars,formal for nsf servicemen),different offdays (no off for nsf even u are going to ORD,planned offdays for regular,unofficial MC,see mother to hospital,etc etc).
    Why is this so? because nobody blows the whistle on them (the regular i help u u help me network.

  2. The “chain of command” thingy is just a farce and a means to protect the fat cats at the top from doing an honest day’s work. It is also an anachronism from the old days of slavery and exploitation of workers, and of course the military such as SAF, where there is no proper system of redress for wrongs committed etc.

    Nowadays in modern organizations there is nothing preventing anyone in the group from speaking out and emailing or calling on the phone to the CEO and anyone else. In fact, often the boss will ask everyone in the company to call him or to ask him questions in order to help improve work procedures etc., but in practice few actually do so in Singapore, for obvious reasons. However in places such as USA, it is common and taken for granted, to be able to have a discussion or to air grieviances between anyone with the CEO at any time.

  3. Two supervising officers were issued letters of warning for administering inappropriate punishment.

    Think about that.

    This means at least two senior officers were aware of the problem and had decided to ignore 2LT Li Hongyi’s complaint.

    If 2LT Li had followed the “proper channel”, what makes you think the 3rd senior officer up the chain of command will do anything?

    MINDEF needs to clarify what it means by “proper channels”.

    Will Li Hongyi be charged if he merely sent his letters to everyone directly above him (ie, Defense Minister, CDF, CoA, Chief Signal Officer, etc)?

    The problem with that approach is that all these senior guys may still decide to ignore his complaint. What can he do then? In my opinion, his letter to everyone (including the unit storemen, cook, etc) directly causes the AWOL LTA to be court-martialed.

    Cos the SAF leaders are now aware that justice must be seen to be done. Otherwise, they cannot no longer maintain effective discipline among the men.

  4. i can’t believe there are actually people disputing the fact that SAF is a fucked up organisation with fucked up people and fucked up working attitude. The only people who shouldn’t complain are maybe the pikachus (bai ka qius), officers and regulars themselves. Some lucky buggers are PAs for hot female DXOs ie. vocation :pak tor. these group of people aside, I’m sure everyone of us males who have served NS have been exposed to the ugly side of the SAF. I can’t even bring myself to watch Bao Jia Wei Guo on channel * even though therez felicia chin rui en and dawn yeoh. what a load of crap

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