Update: Actually it seems like there are more worms than I thought – the occurrence of AWOL by officers (as a “normal” practice?), the meting of appropriate punishments and something about the chain of command and how things “seem to stop half-way”. Hmm…

This made it to the headlines as well, as reproduced from straitstimes.com here. For the benefit of readers without access to straitstimes.com (premium news?) nor papers, the article is reproduced here. And oh, Singapore did not endorse Creative Commons, so if anyone feels that I have to remove this article, please drop me a comment.

By Imelda Saad, Correspondent
ONE day after it emerged that the Prime Minister’s son had been reprimanded for firing an email to the SAF’s top brass to complain about a fellow officer, the Internet is abuzz over the issue of whistle-blowing.

A trawl of blogs and online forums show that the cyber chatter has even shifted from admonishing what was earlier described as a ‘brash act’ from a ‘white horse’ to netizens now empathising with and even supporting Second Lieutenant Li Hongyi.

2nd Lt Li had on June 28th sent an email to the Defence Minister and hundreds of other military personnel complaining about ‘the quality control of SAF officers’.

At issue was the disiplinary action taken against another officer who had gone AWOL.

The email was sent over the Ministry of Defence’s intranet and has since made its way into the public domain.

For that, 2nd Lt Li was formally charged and reprimanded for not following the proper chain of command when making his complaint.

But it seems the email has struck a chord with netizens with many bloggers even saying ‘well done’ to Li for making the issue public.

Some like tkt_lucky – who wrote on the straitstimes.com discussion board – recalled their own encounters with disciplinary problems within the SAF.

dbin0047 wrote – ‘Well done I support Mr. Li. finally truth is out.’

Tomorrow.sg, the portal for Singapore blogs, received more than 7,000 reads on the topic as at 7pm on Friday.

2nd Lt Li also seemed to have become a phenomenon overnight.

‘Who is Li Hong Yi’ was one of the top posts on wordpress.com.

There were some criticisms though over the way the issue was handled.

A thread from Yee Hung read: ‘Perhaps there’s an element of social skills involved in making a complaint… a face-to-face discussion with the person is usually better.’

So, this does seem to wrap up the entire issue, and I can probably sleep in peace without worrying if the ISD/MSD will coming knocking at my door to question me on why I reproduced the email on my blog. 😛 Now, we can talk about blowing. The whistle.

Reader's Comments

  1. jon | July 14th, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    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.

  2. sgpolitics | July 16th, 2007 at 3:45 pm


    new stuff…enjoy!

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