While mothers can’t lose their sons, can Ministers afford to lose their jobs?

Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen is the most disarming of Ministers. He is solemn and straight talking yet quick to turn the tables on anyone in his path.

Replying in Parliament to Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh, who said that in the light of a spate of training deaths, the SAF’s zero-fatality goal was unrealistic, Dr Ng said:

“Which mother, shall we say, can lose her son?”

This response of the Minister was splashed across the front pages of newspapers like The Straits Times.

But what kind of a response is that? Why does it warrant maximum coverage?

While it sounds heartrending, it is as good as a non-answer, it is merely stating the obvious.

Yes, no mother can lose her son, but the rejoinder is that numerous mothers have in fact tragically lost their sons while they were entrusted to the SAF and MINDEF.

The follow-up question to the Minister then is: Can Ministers afford to lose their jobs.

The answer, too, is obvious.

Former top civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow put it this way:  “When you raise Ministers’ salaries to the point that they’re earning millions of dollars, every Minister – no matter how much he wants to turn up and tell Hsien Loong off or whatever – will hesitate when he thinks of his million-dollar salary. Even if he wants to do it, his wife will stop him.”

No one has said it better.

Each time we encounter a Minister trying to fend off questions and eschew accountability, just remember what Ngiam Tong Dow said.

 

Augustine Low

* The author is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.

 

 

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28 Responses to “While mothers can’t lose their sons, can Ministers afford to lose their jobs?”

  • Bapak:

    Ex-President KFC (aka TheStyloMiloSteadyHand) has the answers. He led by examole.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    “Which mother, shall we say, can lose her son?”

    “Not flooding, only ponding”

    “If Mas Selamat is not in Singapore, he is outside Singapore”

    “Inside 200M is not within 200M radius”

    “Not collision, just come-in-contact”

    etc, etc, all from the PAP.

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  • Despicable miws:

    Hmmm… it’s not surprising that ah hen can turn out to be a callous character.

    Just to retain $m job.

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  • True facts:

    How can they lost their million dollars job????

    You must be joking.

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  • Regime change is the solution:

    When he said it was not possible to have 100% safe training to help justify an earlier death he made a big mistake. Whilst true, saying it in public created the wrong mindset. Mindef stopped taking MAXIMUM effort to make training safer.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    My view is that this reply by the Minister of Defence is one where you ask a silly question; you get a silly answer.

    What do you expect the Minister to say? It is all right for one or two NS boys to die during training but more than that we must have COI and punish those responsible? Is that the answer you are trying to obtain from the Minister?

    Of course, no mother would accept the loss of a son–however old he may be. But without a zero-fatality goal, you are simply accepting that we should not care too much about safety–even though the boys are entrusted to the care of the army. That it is all right for some boys to have an accident–just not too many. Then the issue is how many is too many?

    The point is not to ask silly questions for the sake of asking questions. There is a difference in having a zero-fatality policy which guides all commanders’ actions relating to their troops. Whether there will be a fatality despite the care, is really an act of God. We must not accept fatalities in a callous and brazen manner.

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  • FAKE Promises:

    I’ll take such kinds of reply as admittance that ZERO-Fatality Goal is a FAKE promise, used to bluff “Mothers” to send their sons to the Army to expose to death. Tantamount of saying;

    “Which mother, shall we say, will send their son otherwise”?.

    Then; shall we say;

    Millions of Dollars paid to be bluffed in return……WTF.

    What do you think?

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  • Sorry doesnt stop the pain:

    Those mums & dads who lost their young sons in NS, their broken hearts can never forget n never heal.
    So sad. They never even got a chance to say goodbye..

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  • Talk big:

    Which miniSTIR, shall we say, can lose their pay?

    Yet many sons were lost!

    So how are you, shall we say, are going to return these sons who were lost?

    Talk big, think big?

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  • Greed_Power_Money_Status:

    Greedy govt. The govt website stated entry level minister gets annual $$1.1 MIL & pm gets annual $$2.2 MIL. That’r all base rates, so pm & ministers r collecting way more than whats stated on that govt website
    So what they do, what value they add? Besides say sorry n wayang in parliament?

    Gather COI after COI…. is it effective? They r simply reactive…only wayanf, react when things have happened…so what r they doin all these while?? ZZZzzzzzz…. ??

    Lets be clear. Each minister makes avout $3,000 each day. LOL mai hum Pm makes more than $5,000 each day…. for doing what? Juz post pictures on social media instagram facebk??

    Vote OUT

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  • N.Jungne:

    He sounded more Anger than being sorry. From what I understand is “I am in charge” not you, anyway he is for his reward, a Promotion.

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  • Bad Boy:

    Should be which parent can lose their children.

    Truth is and sad to say – sometime can as history depicts . If you look at Chinese history many examples 武則天 strangle her own daughter inorder to do away with the empress.

    劉邦 when he was pursuit by 項羽 army , throw his own flesh and blood off his carriage and horse so that he can escape. If not because of 夏侯嬰 risk himself and rescue them back, but in return he was f by 劉邦. Something like that, We are facing life and death situation and running our lives why bother about excess baggage or burden.

    Many examples. …

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  • ganeshsk:

    “But what kind of a response is that? Why does it warrant maximum coverage?”

    TO FOOL THE DAFT SINGAPOREANS

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  • MarBowling:

    Words of WISDOM from Mr Ngiam Tong Dow, a True Blue Singaporean and also a GREAT and WISE Man!

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  • Great Asia:

    Good news!

    Lee 呆/idiot will make himself the Minister Mentor after the 4th Gen PM took office and rule from behind the curtain.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • conu eat shit:

    This HEN only talk COCK.In all previous death he DID NOT say sorry.In all previous cases he only say sorry on behalf MINDEF.Did this MOTHER FUCKER do NS or any of his family members do NS.HE IS OUT OF TOUCH.HEN is TALKING COCK when to report any unsafe acts.
    HEN is only good at TALKING COCK.Hen go eat your pratas.

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  • Duncan:

    The guy has asked a question to all mothers.

    Wonder what answer his mum will reply?

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  • Bapak:

    Hope all mothers give them a clear “NO” answer on polling day. But sorry to say, some no see coffin no tears. That’s why the Old Hack named us DAFT!

    Duncan:
    The guy has asked a question to all mothers.

    Wonder what answer his mum will reply?

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  • conu eat shit:

    You know what the mothers of the fallen soldiers will say? “FUCK YOU HEN FOR TALKING COCK.”Whatever happen to our sons will also happen to you sons”"Go eat your parata,wait for karma’s payback.

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  • HarderTruths:

    father mother vote for who?

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  • LIONS:

    ARROGANCE N NONCHALANCE EQUATE TO INCOMPETENCE!

    what else???

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  • Xiaozhong:

    “which mother will not miss her son?”

    And Go visit these mother.

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  • Gone Forever:

    Up to today, MINDEAF dare not reveal how many deaths occurred in total since NS started; perhaps the expensive hen will have the courage to finally reveal to us; most unlikely, because he is actually a chicken.
    The politically- motivated Garden -By-The Bay East Founders Memorial should be re-designated Memorial for the NS-Fallen.

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  • Lee Kuan Yew's cup of tea:

    REALPOLITIK (from German: Real; “realistic”, “practical”, or “actual”; and Politik; “politics”) is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or Moral and Ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism. It is often simply referred to as “pragmatism” in politics [e.g. "pursuing pragmatic policies"]. The term Realpolitik is sometimes used pejoratively to imply politics that are perceived as coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian.

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  • Over to Pritam:

    OK, so the defence minister meant that aiming for zero-fatality is motivated by the fact that no mother can bear to lose her son. That being the case, could then Mr. Pritam mean while that aim may be “idealistic”, SAF is one death too many from that goal: “it could have done better”?

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  • Ahtong:

    I think all mini.shuld come out

    Books about their achivement during office.

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  • nizhemoshou:

    one word about Hen answer . KANNASAI

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  • tricks?:

    You mean setting a National Goal just for mere appeasement to those mothers to lure them into the “TRICKS”??? WT double F*uck.

    In that case, then all these idiots need to be executed!.

    Over to Pritam:
    OK, so the defence minister meant that aiming for zero-fatality is motivated by the fact that no mother can bear to lose her son. That being the case, could then Mr. Pritam mean while that aim may be “idealistic”, SAF is one death too many from that goal: “it could have done better”?

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