I'm going out for dinner. I'll come back to comment on the article.
In the meantime please fill free to expres what you think..... do leave your comments.
I'm back. I slept on it and woke up with an answer.
He wrote in his capacity as a citizen of Singapore as far as I know the SAF even its highest echelons is answerable to the citizens of Singapore. I guess there are procedures/rules in place and he had to be punished for not following them.
I just have a few comments on the FT article:
“No ordinary OCT [officer cadet trainee] would dare to write such a letter addressed to all the big guns in the [defence] ministry".
Only in non-democratic countries people fear their leaders. Do people fear George Bush in USA? Do people fear Tony Blair? People don't fear authority in real democracies. That is probably why Li was not afraid to speak his mind.
Mr Li was apparently being groomed for a future leadership role after being awarded a government scholarship to study economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Singapore military has served as a training ground for political leaders
In a real meritocracy, competition is kept alive and as broad as possible so that people with the highest ability will emerge. FT is wrongly accusing our beloved govt of un-meritocratic practices by grooming certain individuals for higher appointment. Meritocracy has been upheld as the cornerstone of our society and it will fail if we undermine it by grooming selected individuals for certain appointment killing the spirit of competition. A govt that works for the interest of the people will never do this.
“SAF is not a charity organisation and does not owe anyone a career”.
I'm glad Li Hongyi understands this. It explains the high level of competence among the top leaders in the SAF. Our former CDF (Chief Defense Force) was given a specially created position in Temasek Holdings and his predeccessor is now heading A-star....it shows how versatile their talents are being able to contribute to diverse fields after their stint in the SAF.
E-mail by Singapore PM’s son backfires
By John Burton in Singapore
Published: July 13 2007 18:02 Last updated: July 13 2007 18:02
A son of Singapore’s prime minister has been reprimanded for e-mailing a complaint about a fellow army officer to the country's defence minister and hundreds of other military personnel. The case involving Li Hongyi has served as a lightning rod for criticism on the internet of his family’s political power.
The defence ministry said on Friday it had issued the reprimand against Mr Li, 20, after his 2,000-word letter of complaint was posted on the internet and drew widespread attention.
Mr Li, a 2nd lieutenant, is the first-born son of Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister, and Ho Ching, head of Temasek Holdings, the state investment company, and grandson of Lee Kuan Yew, independent Singapore's first leader. The letter provoked complaints on the internet about the Lee family's political dominance in Singapore.
“No ordinary OCT [officer cadet trainee] would dare to write such a letter addressed to all the big guns in the [defence] ministry,” read one posting on an internet political chatroom. The internet has emerged as a forum for political criticism of the government in a country where the media is guided by the state.
Mr Li, who is doing his compulsory military service, sent the e-mail last month to Teo Chee Hean, the defence minister, senior military leaders and other army personnel complaining that a colleague had gone absent without leave on two occasions but that no action had been taken by his superiors.
The defence ministry said that Mr Li had gone outside the chain of command “by broadcasting his letter of complaint to many other servicemen – almost all of whom were neither directly under his command, nor in an official capacity where they could deal with the matters contained in his letter of complaint”.
Much of the internet criticism commented on suggestions that Mr Li was apparently being groomed for a future leadership role after being awarded a government scholarship to study economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Singapore military has served as a training ground for political leaders and executives in state companies. Mr Li’s father was a brigadier general before entering politics. Temasek announced last week that a former head of the Singapore armed forces had been appointed to the newly created post of portfolio management managing director.
In his complaint letter, Mr Li said his colleague’s continued service in the military was an “embarrassment” and that the armed forces was “not a charity organisation and does not owe anyone a career”. The defence ministry said that the officer accused by Mr Li had since been court martialled.