[News] SAF A strong and silent keeper of the peace


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xtemujin

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Apr 1, 2005
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Singapura, Singapore
#1
Strong and silent keeper of the peace
Straits Times, The (Singapore) - July 1, 2008
Author: David Boey , For The Straits Times

EVEN as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) marks SAF Day this evening with a parade, a sizeable number of military personnel will remain on guard - the vigilant lions protecting the Lion City.

But many Singaporeans may be unaware of this, believing all's well. Apart from the threat transnational terrorists pose, the lack of a clear and present danger from a hostile nation might seduce them into viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses. Such naivety would not only be wrong, it would also be dangerous.

During a study visit I made to Malaysia last year, a senior Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) officer shared with me an episode in Singapore-Malaysia relations that he said occurred during a period of tension.

According to the officer, the MAF was put on alert in late 1998 as politicians on both sides of the Causeway argued over the status of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint at Malaysia's railway station in Tanjong Pagar.

News articles from the period chronicle the public exchanges, but say nothing of the defence postures that the SAF and MAF adopted during this period.

Kuala Lumpur's unwillingness to acknowledge its heightened military preparedness - which military officials on both sides privately acknowledge did occur - was an astute move.

It indicated a tacit acknowledgement on the part of Malaysia's defence officials that they could not allow the CIQ issue to flare into a casus belli. The full force potential of the SAF when mobilised renders it a formidable opponent.

There were other telling signs that bilateral ties were not well during that period. These included Singapore's decision to conduct two open mobilisation exercises in September and October 1998. Records indicate that the SAF rarely calls up its manpower in successive months.

It should be noted that such open mobilisation exercises - overt call-ups of defence manpower broadcast over television, radio and in cinemas - are probably complemented by silent mobilisations. Few beyond Singapore's defence establishment would be aware of this.

The CIQ episode resembles an earlier episode in Singapore-Malaysia relations when military power was flexed in a show of force, apparently to intimidate the tiny island nation.

Operationally Ready National Servicemen who served in 1991 would recall the joint Malaysian-Indonesian military exercise, codenamed Malindo Darsasa 3AB, that occurred that year. It involved an airborne assault by paratroopers in southern Johor.

If the name of the airborne assault, codenamed Pukul Habis (Malay for 'Total Wipeout'), as well as the choice of a drop zone just 18km from Singapore, were not sufficiently provocative, the scheduling of the airdrop on Aug 9th - Singapore's 26th National Day - most certainly was.

The SAF's response was measured and confident. It triggered an Open Mobilisation on the eve of National Day, a fact that was reported extensively in the local media.

The move was calculated not to escalate tensions. But it signalled also Singapore's determination not to welcome a Trojan horse on its doorstep.

Such episodes cannot be kept secret from NSmen, of course. But because they were deliberately kept low key, many Singaporeans were probably unaware of the full picture. Consequently, they may have failed to see the relevance of a strong military.

Singapore has warm and friendly ties with its neighbours. It will often go the extra mile to keep things on an even keel with them. But Singaporeans should understand and accept that there are always undercurrents in bilateral relations.

Those who wonder about the relevance of the SAF should ponder how these past episodes might have panned out if Singapore had yielded to military pressure.

A strong and vigilant SAF is Singapore's hedge against trouble. Singapore's formidable military arsenal - and, more crucially, the fighting spirit of its citizen soldiers - are guarantors of peace.

The writer is this newspaper's former defence correspondent.
 

Jun 5, 2008
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PenguinVille.
#2
Strong and silent keeper of the peace
Straits Times, The (Singapore) - July 1, 2008
Author: David Boey , For The Straits Times

EVEN as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) marks SAF Day this evening with a parade, a sizeable number of military personnel will remain on guard - the vigilant lions protecting the Lion City.

But many Singaporeans may be unaware of this, believing all's well. Apart from the threat transnational terrorists pose, the lack of a clear and present danger from a hostile nation might seduce them into viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses. Such naivety would not only be wrong, it would also be dangerous.

During a study visit I made to Malaysia last year, a senior Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) officer shared with me an episode in Singapore-Malaysia relations that he said occurred during a period of tension.

According to the officer, the MAF was put on alert in late 1998 as politicians on both sides of the Causeway argued over the status of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint at Malaysia's railway station in Tanjong Pagar.

News articles from the period chronicle the public exchanges, but say nothing of the defence postures that the SAF and MAF adopted during this period.

Kuala Lumpur's unwillingness to acknowledge its heightened military preparedness - which military officials on both sides privately acknowledge did occur - was an astute move.

It indicated a tacit acknowledgement on the part of Malaysia's defence officials that they could not allow the CIQ issue to flare into a casus belli. The full force potential of the SAF when mobilised renders it a formidable opponent.

There were other telling signs that bilateral ties were not well during that period. These included Singapore's decision to conduct two open mobilisation exercises in September and October 1998. Records indicate that the SAF rarely calls up its manpower in successive months.

It should be noted that such open mobilisation exercises - overt call-ups of defence manpower broadcast over television, radio and in cinemas - are probably complemented by silent mobilisations. Few beyond Singapore's defence establishment would be aware of this.

The CIQ episode resembles an earlier episode in Singapore-Malaysia relations when military power was flexed in a show of force, apparently to intimidate the tiny island nation.

Operationally Ready National Servicemen who served in 1991 would recall the joint Malaysian-Indonesian military exercise, codenamed Malindo Darsasa 3AB, that occurred that year. It involved an airborne assault by paratroopers in southern Johor.

If the name of the airborne assault, codenamed Pukul Habis (Malay for 'Total Wipeout'), as well as the choice of a drop zone just 18km from Singapore, were not sufficiently provocative, the scheduling of the airdrop on Aug 9th - Singapore's 26th National Day - most certainly was.

The SAF's response was measured and confident. It triggered an Open Mobilisation on the eve of National Day, a fact that was reported extensively in the local media.

The move was calculated not to escalate tensions. But it signalled also Singapore's determination not to welcome a Trojan horse on its doorstep.

Such episodes cannot be kept secret from NSmen, of course. But because they were deliberately kept low key, many Singaporeans were probably unaware of the full picture. Consequently, they may have failed to see the relevance of a strong military.

Singapore has warm and friendly ties with its neighbours. It will often go the extra mile to keep things on an even keel with them. But Singaporeans should understand and accept that there are always undercurrents in bilateral relations.

Those who wonder about the relevance of the SAF should ponder how these past episodes might have panned out if Singapore had yielded to military pressure.

A strong and vigilant SAF is Singapore's hedge against trouble. Singapore's formidable military arsenal - and, more crucially, the fighting spirit of its citizen soldiers - are guarantors of peace.

The writer is this newspaper's former defence correspondent.
the point being?
 

synapseman

Senior Member
May 6, 2003
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www.pbase.com
#4
Realistically, I've always had the opinion that S'pore is at a natural disadvantage due to its small size, and doubt if we can survive a full-scale and protracted invasion by any of our neighbours.

But for a small force, we do have a massive amount of military hardware. 350+ AMX-13s and twice the number of M-113s is NOT a small number by any standard. We are a strong deterrent force. Sure, the shark may swallow the sea-urchin whole, but not without suffering major internal damage to itself, too.

Don't play-play.

(And summore S'pore got big friends like America and Australia, so anyone want to play punk also must think twice)
 

Jun 5, 2008
1,089
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PenguinVille.
#7
Darfur and Singapore are not the same.

Of course we aren't banking on foreign support, and we shouldn't. But it is a consideration that invading S'pore isn't as simple as having the generals plan an assault on us.

I don't want to discuss further as this will definitely delve into the realm of religion and politics.
which is why i deleted that post.
 

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
1,658
4
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#9
I don't know about you guys, but I would not reveal too much about our military capabilities on such public forums gentlemen.

Cheers
 

#13
This article is an example as to why I am a strong proponent of Singaporean females serving national service (be it combat units or in civilian agencies) as well. The threats we face are clear and credible and we need a force which is decisively advanced and large.
 

Silence Sky

Deregistered
Sep 5, 2006
130
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#14
I don't know about you guys, but I would not reveal too much about our military capabilities on such public forums gentlemen.

Cheers
Do you mean We should not reveal one of our solider drop deap during a 2km walk and send the whole SAF and Nation into a tail spin?
 

drakon09

New Member
Aug 12, 2005
3,877
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#15
Do you mean We should not reveal one of our solider drop deap during a 2km walk and send the whole SAF and Nation into a tail spin?
If you're *attempting* to be funny here, trust me, you're not.
 

diCam

New Member
Sep 22, 2003
1,168
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East of SG
www.flickr.com
#16
xtemujin, you posted a serious topic in a wrong forum la. You wouldn't get a healthy discussion here, especially some with warped mind.
 

dordor

New Member
Apr 22, 2008
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#18
In term of military capabilities we are the strongest in this region. Small but very strong...hope this last..... many good years to come....
 

fotoudavid

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2005
2,157
3
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#19
Must be happy that u sleep, still got ppl patroling.....coast guards etc....ppl forgets...
 

xtemujin

Senior Member
Apr 1, 2005
2,778
1
0
Singapura, Singapore
#20
There'll always be the keyboard warriors.

This is for all of us who have served and suffered in the SAF and understand that we cannot take security for granted.

xtemujin, you posted a serious topic in a wrong forum la. You wouldn't get a healthy discussion here, especially some with warped mind.
 

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