After the COI findings were released, many people (at least from the online forums and various forums) including Mr Low Thia Khiang felt or hinted that DPM Wong, as the Home Affairs Minister, should resign to take responsibility for the escape of Mas Selamat. Personally, I feel that DPM Wong should not resign just simply based on these reasons:

  1. The confluence of the 3 factors have nothing to do with DPM Wong
    1. He wasn’t the Gurkha guard escorting Mas Selamat when he escaped
    2. He wasn’t the contractor who was responsible for the missing grill of the ventilation window
    3. He wasn’t the architect/contractor/planner who laid the design for the perimeter fence
    4. He was in a Parliament seating when Mas Selamat escaped
  2. The additional factors have nothing to do with DPM Wong
    1. He was in a Parliament seating and wasn’t able to notice if Mas Selamat was taking too long in the toilets
    2. He would not have been able to check if Mas Selamat was wearing 2 layers of clothes
    3. He was, and I repeat, in a Parliament seating and would not have been able to monitor the CCTV cameras – speaking of which, it’s probably time to bring in terrestrial TV for mobile TV
  3. DPM Wong did not render assistance to Mas Selamat
    1. He was in a Parliament seating when Mas Selamat escaped

There are probably many other reasons to justify why DPM Wong should not even be blamed for anything. Some have even said that Mas Selamat should have been put in a prison or at least a military detention barrack. However, at that time of arrest, Mas Selamat was a limping man; I mean, he’s a limping man for crying out loud. At best, the whole incident was an honest mistake and no one should be removed from office. In fact, they should still remain in office in full view of everyone. So… stop harping on it… let’s move on!

Of course, I would like to part with the following story that I got from the Internet… nothing to do with DPM Wong… not directly related, but of Yue Fei and the people who betrayed him.

On this date in 1142, the great Chinese general Yue Fei was executed by the Song dynasty he had loyally served.

Loyalty is what Yue Fei is known for, so unbendable that going on nine centuries later it can still work as shorthand for understanding the daily paper.

Yue fought for the Song Dynasty against the neighboring Jin Dynasty. He was a disciplined commander, an honorable and well-studied man — the very Confucian ideal.

The tale about him — the reason he is so well-recalled as a model of patriotism — is that his counterattack after the Jin overran the northern half of the Song realms was so effective that it threatened to repel the invaders. On the cusp of conquering the old northern capital, Kaifeng, he was supposed to have been ordered to lift the siege and return — an order Yue obeyed for the safety of his kingdom, even though it meant fatally confiding himself to his enemy’s power.

The story’s dramatics are to be doubted; he seems in fact to have been recalled (with other officers) after the battle and duly cashiered into a civilian post months before dying. Much of Yue Fei’s biography is recorded by undependable sources such as a fantastical biography written decades after his death, and a historical novel dating to centuries later. Even his death — whether execution or simple murder, and the means by which it was effected — is not reliably reported.

But his place in the firmament of Chinese heroes is well beyond dispute. Yue Fei was rehabilitated not long after his death, and a shrine built (still on public display to this day) with statues of his persecutors, often abused by visitors, carved kneeling in supplication.

And just as Yue Fei is a pinnacle of honor and loyalty, those who struck him down remain contemporary emblems of infamy. It is said that the Song minister Qin Hui, pressed for his reasons for ordering Yue’s execution, responded to the effect that “Though it isn’t sure whether there is something that he did to betray the dynasty, maybe there is.” As a result, the phrase maybe there is or it could be true denotes trumped-up charges in Chinese. In a more toothsome vein, the traitors who slew the general are also supposed to have given Chinese cuisine the fried-dough dish youtiao (油条).


Hope you enjoyed the story.

Reader's Comments

  1. Daily SG: 24 Apr 2008 « The Singapore Daily | April 24th, 2008 at 11:25 am

    […] dimensional island: Mas Selamat Part Deux – Sheep City: MSK: What really happened – Simply Jean: I agree with PM Lee that DPM Wong should not resign and we should “move on” – Singapore Life and Times: Just do it – Singapore Patriot: Don’t demoralise MHA by punishing […]

  2. xtrocious | April 24th, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Exactly – how can we blame him?!

    We should also not attribute how well Singapore is (was) performing (GDP growth etc etc) because all of them are busy sitting in parliament…

    How can they have a hand in that? :p

  3. anon | April 24th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    why does everyone talk about complacency when its plainly obvious that the physical fencing and the way the CCTV upgrade was done is really an issue of lack of COMPETENCY ?

  4. Onlooker | April 25th, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Not to mention Sleeping in parliment is illegal in The British Parliment,France parliment even…..
    Well Uniquely Singapore.

  5. Neo | April 25th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    The lastest scorecard for WKS. If my son gets this type of score I will straightaway send him to ITE (But I know of many ITE students who can perform better).

  6. anon | April 25th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    ha ha ha…this joke is now circulating: the government is contemplating creating a new national day award,which has a precedence higher than the current MSM.It will however also be called the PJG (MSM),and will be awarded to any members of the public for outstanding contributions to the State through consistent exposures of ‘complacency in government depts and ministries.’
    Called officially the PJG (MSM) , it will however be simply known as the Mas Selamat Medal. It’s malay equivalent is Pecah Jaban Gempar , which loosely translated means ” Broken Toilet Uproar “.
    A design competition would soon be launched to select an appropiate design for the medal….which can of any shape or form,to be suspended around the neck .The medal itself would have a portrait of the notorius JI escapee on its front and a package of 7 toilet rolls on the obverse ( to symbolise the cleaning up of ShXXX ).

  7. SGDaily Roundup: Week 15 « The Singapore Daily | April 26th, 2008 at 10:13 am

    […] dimensional island: Mas Selamat Part Deux – Sheep City: MSK: What really happened – Simply Jean: I agree with PM Lee that DPM Wong should not resign and we should “move on” – Singapore Life and Times: Just do it – Singapore Patriot: Don’t demoralise MHA by punishing the […]

  8. ladyironchef | April 26th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Agreed! The home affair minister is in charged of so many areas, if every subordinate under him made a mistake, den does he have to quit everytime?

    I say, move on and look on how to prevent the same thing from happening again, instead of the ineffective comments given by Mr Low thia khiang.

  9. AC | April 28th, 2008 at 8:30 am


    I think that the media have misrepresented the issues again – most people are asking Wong to accept responsibility and Lee to censure Wong for the escape and the terrible mess up in the communication after.

    If Wong does not have to take any responsibility for any mistakes made by his subordinates, then maybe he should not take any credit for the work done by them too.

    Do we want a cabinet full of ministers who take credit for successes and push away all responsibility when things go wrong?

  10. Zhanzhao | April 28th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Didn’t know fellow S’poreans are so bloodthirsty….

    No one said anything about not taking responsibility…. it just does not have to go to the extent of stepping down.

    Some of you guys are turning into the very things you are making fun of. Remember the stubborness and relentlessness of of Mr “I dun care, you must eksprain” Mee-Pok-Man?

  11. AC | April 28th, 2008 at 5:35 pm


    How many comments here asked for WKS’s resignation?

    What we are asking is a proper apology and an acceptance of responsibility that mistakes were made.

    The James Gomez case is also something that came to my mind – when the guy forgot a form, no amount of unreserved apology is acceptable to the government. Now that the tables are turned, how come a half-hearted ‘apology’ will serve and we are told to forget about the entire matter?

  12. Zhanzhao | May 2nd, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    ^^ The James Gomez case is really a interesting example to bring up.

    Considering that at that time, Mr Gomez was the one that was crying out for blood (he even brought in a film crew to record him registering and “submitting” the form)….until the tables turned BACK on him when it was discovered that he himself was the one who failed to file his own documents .

    If anyone recalls, he was the one hinting at conspiracies to sabotage his campaigning and that there would be “consequences”….. Do unto others as one would have others do unto you?

    Again, there’s no being “told to forget the entire matter”. Thats an extreme. Is it that hard to go for a middle ground? The world does not run in monotone black and white….. at least in the world most of us sane people live in 😉

  13. AC | May 6th, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Just a point for clarification – what I read back then mentioned that the media was filming Gomez when he was registering. So is it the mass media filming him, or he did bring in his camera team?

    The government really did commit a overkill when they counter-attacked the WP based on the CCTV evidence. The control over the media was exploited to the hilt and for the entire period the media was blasting the same thing over and over till it became a witchhunt.

    I really felt that asking Wong to do a proper apology, and getting our PM to state on public record that mistakes were made that should not be made was sane and “middle-ground”. The two extremes were those asking for resignations and the government basically shrugging the incident off and saying it happened, too bad, get over it.

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