Mas Selamat has wrecked havoc after his escape from the detention center. It was a non-tested method but it worked and caught the national security off-guard totally. They were probably expecting him to bomb a building, hold an important person hostage (having said that, there’s a chance that the important person might be left to die – remember, nation above self), bomb more buildings, set the Istana (for our foreign readers, the Istana is where the President of Singapore reside – and unlike most countries, he doesn’t hold much power in reality except to pardon a prison’s life) on fire and the likes; but no, he did something worse.

He disrupted the lives of 4 million people. Well, not everyone is affected, but just look at the inconvenience he has caused – jamming up our causeway, making the immigration process horrible, wasting manpower on his escape and all. Speaking of which, this reminded me of the plot in the movie Vantage Point (spoilers alert!) where this suicide bomber bombed the lobby of the hotel were the U.S. President was staying so as to draw attention and manpower to ground zero so that the assassin has a chance to kidnap the president. I am just wondering if Mas Selamat’s escape is part of a bigger plan to terrorize Singapore.

At first, everyone was surprised that this even happened (is it a prelude to an April Fool’s Day joke?), but most were confident that at the end of the day, he would be caught in Malcom Park and everything will be back to normal. Then 24 hours came, 48 and 72. Still no sign of him. Security at exit points were increased, fingerprints now have to be taken of almost every single person that leaves Singapore – and we were so glad that we don’t travel to U.S. that often (U.S. immigration takes all finger prints of all visitors). The Home Team deployed men all over Singapore , particularly empty buildings and forested areas – yet, Mas Selamat remained elusive.

While it seemed that the Ministry is not giving Mas Selamat a chance, it’s only a matter of time before fatigue takes over. I mean – if Mas Selamat is in hiding, or dead, for 1 year, it’s either we have to "rely on accurate sources" to determine if he’s really dead or not in Singapore, or our guys will just literally die from fatigue. See? The terrorist kills a few good man without having to bomb himself up.

Amidst all these, some people in Singapore – and I am pretty sure that it’s just a handful, say 100 out of 4 million people, who are asking for someone to be responsible – with Mr Wong Kan Seng being the most popular choice. However, as most of the other 3,999,900 people can see, it’s really an honest mistake and therefore, no one has to be sacked. Some people also questioned about the choice of people who are seconded into the Board of Inquiry. Out of 3, at least 2 were somehow linked to the Police Force or the Home Ministry. These complaints were dismissed as noise.

It’s been almost a month since Mas Selamat has escaped – probably the same amount of time that detainees are devoid of toilet breaks. It’s strange that there are still no findings as to how Mas Selamat could have possibly escaped – not even the crawl-down-the-toilet-bowl conspiracy theory. Some even factored his escape through the use of black magic, or something more probable – digging really deep into the ground and coming up from the other side. It’s really a wonder how he managed to get out of a place that’s supposed to be tightly secured.

In the mean time, monetary awards are being put up by private organizations for any information leading to the arrest of the escapee. The Home Ministry, however, declined to do likewise because it does not believe in monetary rewards not to the tune of $30 or $3mil. Of course, being Singaporeans, no one will expect anything of this sort from the government. This is after what we expect. Thankfully, other Singaporeans are more innovative – with a duo promising INSTANT ORD (Operationally Readiness Date? a term used to describe the date that army conscripts are released from their 2 year national service) to any NSF (National Service Force? – a term used to describe army conscripts) who can lead to the arrest of the escapee. How they are going to convince the Defence Ministry to do so is anyone’s guess.

So… where’s the terror? Well, without doing anything substantial, Mas Selamat has created havoc in our once peaceful and serene city. Not only are the people inconvenienced – particularly at the causeway, but the armed forces are dragged into it as well, instead of preparing for war that can happen anytime.  Look at the causeway – 4 hours just to get across! Thankfully that doesn’t happen at the airports, so at least air travel is still a viable option (as I am typing, I hear truck loads of army personnel being deployed at Terminals 1,2 and 3 and the Budget Terminal; especially the Budget Terminal – where all the passengers are left to their own device).

However, there is some silver lining though. Now that crossing over the causeway is such a hassle, Singapore gets to keep all the expenditure to herself – i.e. money will no longer be spent buying cheaper essentials like oil, rice and sugar across the causeway and food connoisseurs will be subjected to the sometimes ridiculously priced India crabs at seafood restaurants. No cheaper petrol for the car owner who forgot to factor in fuel costs as a burden for his newly-bought-50-cents-per-step-on-the-accelerator BMW too – and with security this tight, it’s unlikely he can pass through immigration without getting his boot, bonnet and fuel gauge checked. Hack, they might even X-ray his car! Wait… isn’t this silver lining only for the government and none for the people? Darn…

In the meantime, all you complain-kings and complain-queens will just have to bear with whatever inconveniences that the government might decide to impose, even if you feel deeply that Mas Selamat could well be killed and buried in the detention center. After all, it’s all in the name of security. Failure to comply could jolly well land you in the detention center to keep the up-and-coming JI leader company; but if you are suffering from incontinence, you’d better consider twice about non-compliance because there will be no toilet breaks for you. Indeed, Dr Chee would be one of the last person that you’d want to model after. =)



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