Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Back in Taipei..another prisonbreak article

Returned to Taipei yesterday evening and am back in my little shoebox apartment after a fruitful day at work. After having spent 2 weeks in Singapore, there is little doubt that I have tons of work to catch up on and was kept so busy that when I finally caught a breather, it was already 8pm and my colleagues had all left the office. Well, not that I'm complaining, I would rather be busy than bored out of my wits at work (Bro, I'm sure you agree with me after your intern-"shit" experience :) ).

Needless to say, I'm often tasked with the duty to lock up the office since I'm always the last one out. I do it so consistently that I personally feel that 20% of my performance evaluation should be office security and lock-up. Hehe. :P

Talking about lock-up or break-outs for that matter. During dinner today, I was happily reading my latest copy of newsweek and on page 24, sandwiched between articles of the Sichuan earthquake and terrorist bombings in New Dehli, is an article covering Singapore entitled:"Gone in 11 Minutes Flat".

With all the nasty news going on in the world today, its very rare to see Singapore pop up in an article under the World Affairs section. But OH YES, there it was on page 24 of the May26/June 2 2008 special double issue. I sat up to read more and as suspected it was regarding the escape of Mas Selamat Kastari - reputed head of the Singapore cell of Jemaah Islamiah (JI is a notorious Southeast Asian terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda. )

In late Feb, Mas Selamat had broken out of a detention facility and became Singapore's most wanted man. As a Singaporean, I admit that I was initially in disbelief and frankly a little traumatised when I first heard the news on the escape. As a MAJOR Prisonbreak fan (Fox Series)....suddenly, prisonbreak held a total different meaning for me. (Hint: Compare Wentworth Miller versus Mas Selamat's picture...I'm sure you will understand)

Interpol - Mas Selamat Kastari

Prisonbreak - Wentworth Miller

Anyway, the article goes on to describe that "the episode is revealing shortcomings in Singapore's nanny state.....Singapore does an excellent job mobilizing its resources and directing them at recognized problems. But there are few external or independent checks on the system - and this lack of scrutiny, combined with the government's generally successful record, has produced blind spots. Past circumstances have made it easy to become smug. But this smugness has proved dangerous."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read this - "when the guards started to wonder why Mas Selamat was taking so long in the toilet, rather than act immediately, they went to their superiors for permission to open the bathroom stall door".

For me, the moment of truth was in the later part of the article describing the actions taken after the fact. As follows - "the authorities took five days to tell the public what the terrorist was wearing at the time of his escape. And only a few days after that did they bother to inform citizens that the fugitive also limps on his left leg. "

I love my country but I think this is a good wake up call for us all.

1 comment:

Woon Ming said...


I added your blog link into mine, hope you dont mind..