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Of Emails and the Chain of Command July 13, 2007

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.
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Previously, I did state that I would be cautious about giving praise with regards to Li Hong Yi’s actions. At that point in time I had no knowledge of the exact contents of the email and was relying on what little has been said. However as stated in the last part knowing the contents of the email does change things. A lot.

And so if I  have given the impression previously that Ned is scornful of Li Hong Yi’s actions, I must state that having seen what is purportedly the real email, it is clear that what Hong Yi was trying to do was to highlight a dangerous (but hardly unknown) trend in his unit and perhaps in emailing it to everyone he hoped to be able to do something. Of course I do not approve of his actions in shooting letters to the Minister of Defence. Perhaps it is true that the brashness of youth caused him to take such a course of action. Nevertheless I applaud his daring to actually raise the issue. In fact what is also praiseworthy is the fact that he even bothered to do his own investigations into the matter.

Hongyi’s email actually raises a host of issues which if I may put it boldly, are part and parcel in the SAF, including and not limited to the discrepancies in punishment between a regular and an NSF and to extrapolate it further the discrepancies in treatment between the enlisted personnel and the officer cohort. Furthermore as can be seen there are many things that are covered up in the SAF. And those coverups often involve regulars working in concert. I daresay I have seen my fair share of nonsense in the army and therefore have been very fortunate to serve with good people like the belowmentioned P and several others. I daresay that after perusing the email Hong Yi’s actions are not dissimilar to that of P.

The regretable thing is that such issues are rarely brought to light in the “public sphere” and the only time the public gets to see the sordid details is when someone dies as a result of the nonsense going on in the army. Which is rather frightening given the fact that our Defence budget totals 10.6 billion. Of course the official line is that there are avenues for NSF to seek redress, but as seen in this article they have to do so within the chain of command through proper channels. However having served in the force I daresay that most NSFs are very wary of the so called proper channels. This is because the danger of the respondent taking revenge on us is a clear and present danger and what worse is that the respondent could use military rules and regulations to oppress us. And the top brass may very well agree with his actions. Furthermore what actions are deemed to be unreasonable? There are instances of regulars indulging in unreasonable behaviour but technically they have not done any wrong because they have not contravened any regulations! Furthermore with regards to the chain of command looking Hong Yi’s email speaks for itself. If the higher up in the chan chooses not to do anything or worst, gangs up with the respondent, then the complainant is for lack of a better word, screwed. And if a serviceman calls the hotline, would’nt he be bypassing the chain of command and liable to charge?

Of course Hong Yi should be punished. But the punishment should be for the action of emailing just about the whole army world. And this punishment should be mitigated by virtue of the fact that he has exposed something rather wrong in the unit. And having said all that I now end of with what some bloggers think about the issue (those not featured anywhere in this post).

1. Elia Diodati

2. Dhamandra

3. Rockson (he has finally come out of retirement!)

4. For more info, check out this TOC link.

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