Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mas Selamat's Escape : Amazing 11 minutes!

civil servant mentality : Ventilation window with handle sawn off

I was at the Parliamentary meeting this afternoon to listen to DPM and Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng's presentation of the Committee of Inquiry Findings on Mas Selamat's Escape.

My jaws dropped as I listened to the full details of Mas Selamat's escape, I find it so incredible and dramatic, just like in a movie. 11 minutes was all it took for Mas Selamat to escape via the toilet's ventilation window, which was not secured properly.

When I first heard of Mas Selamat's escape on the news, I was extremely shocked. How could this happen in Singapore? Well... it did and Mas Selamat has been on the run for more than 7 weeks now.

I don't doubt the credibility of this report. We do have civil servants who are that stupid in our various ministries. People who know me, know I hate our civil service where its staff have a typical civil servant mentality. It's over-confidence that leads to such complacency.

At a time like this, I doubt DPM Wong is running away, ducking or covering up this serious matter. It would have a detrimental effect on the security of Singapore. DPM Wong assured Singaporeans that disciplinary actions would be taken against not only the junior officers but to go up the chain of command and include the supervisory and management levels as well. There is a proper process for disciplinary action under civil service and Police Force rules and this must take its course.

I almost could not sit in the Parliament session this afternoon because I requested to "sit in the public gallery facing PM Lee Hsien Loong". A young Chinese Cisco guard shook his hands at his Malay colleague when he heard my request. The Malay Cisco guard then told me, "The public gallery is full."

I was stunned because I noticed that the the box holding Identity Cards was half empty. I asked him, "Are you sure? The whole gallery? What about the other side?" He replied,"All full."

When I started to protest, a senior Malay Parliament staff stepped forward and said,"May I look at your attire, Mdm? ...... Sorry, you cannot go in because you are not properly dressed. You are wearing track pants."

I argued that I had entered Parliament twice in this same pair of track pants but he brushed that aside as "probably they overlooked" and then ignored me.

Undaunted, I went to Peninsula Plaza to buy a pair of long pants, changed into them and went back to Parliament again. I was given a pass. When I entered the public gallery, I discovered that it was quite empty.

I'm annoyed that the Malay Cisco guard lied to me. If I wasn't allowed to pick and choose my seat, he could have told me so. If it is due to security reasons, he could have been frank with me. I made time to attend today's Parliament session but was denied entry for no apparent reason. This again is civil servant mentality at work.

10) What is the acceptable dress code? Visitors are requested to dress modestly and not to come in shorts, jeans, round-neck T-shirts or slippers.

Forgot to publish this but this was included in my email to Parliament Secretariat on 22/4/08, it has yet to reply :

A Japanese visitor who was sitting on my left, wore a golf T-shirt and a pair of golf pants with red lines running down the sides. Isn't that sports attire?


  1. It suxs.. when ppl with a little authority.. behaved badly .. and inconsiderately. There is alot to be learned .. with that escape.. but i am really surprised.. because i know .. how even common prisoners are watched like a hawk.. so i cannot understand it.

  2. From what you're saying, it seems that they're restricting the number of viewers in the gallery.

    To be honest, I've never thought of going to view a Parliament session in Singapore. I couldn't even keep awake during a televised session.

    Anyway, I heard lots of conspiracy theories during my short visit back home. Haha... when things like that happen, the people's imagination just ran wild...

  3. Wah u got go to parliamentary sessions one ah? Such a good citizen.

    I think ours one will be interesting since the Opposition had garnered triple the seats than wat they snatched during the last GE.

  4. I think you did great!! Being politically involved and not giving up your rights in spite of being given a hard time!! You GO girl!!!

  5. hi again! i'm hosting a giveaway - thought u'd like to enter!

  6. Why would they allow him 11 minutes in the toilet, without any verification at every short interval?
    Don't you think that is extremely long?

  7. I read an AP article about Mas Selamat. Gosh!

  8. I read on the news abt the 11 mins and I was shocked!

    Me very suaku, don't know we can sit in for that... I am definitely learning a lot from you :)

  9. Ya loh...faster than Mr David Copperfield or Master Houdini great escape hor....

    How come cannot wear track pants - I also dun understand. If you say shorts, slippers, skimpy clothings I can understand lah....but track pants? They better let the other half be occupied if not sooner or later...all the 幽魂 will starting taking those empty seats. Or maybe hor, the Feng Shui Master gave some advice that those seats cannot be taken!

  10. yeah..i read about his escape in the papers...and it is not suprising if it happens in M'sia...so many times already over here...
    You r indeed a good citizen of S'pore....i never bother to go to one here...rather sit at home watch my favorite programe...

  11. Good thing you managed to get a pair of pants at such short notice! Haha...I still don't understand the rationale of having a dress code for these sessions...you mean the speakers will be distracted if you wear track bottoms?

  12. mama bok,
    This incident caused many people to sit up or wake up. Many civil servants who were having an easy life are now working like donkeys! Good things do come out of it though.... some lazy ones, dead branches would be trimmed. :)

    I pity some of our friends in the Police Force and Defence, they are working very hard due to this stupid mistake.

  13. ck,
    They are not restricting the number of viewers in the public gallery. They should be happy there are people who wants to sit in Parliament!

    Yeah, lots of speculations, rumours, and conspiracy theories...... there are certain info which are highly sensitive and involves the security of the country that should not be disclosed.

    Trust the leaders to do their stuff..... it does them no good if they lie or cover up.

  14. kyh,
    I attend Parliaments when there are important issues to be debated. As a citizen, we should be aware of what is happening at the top. Their decisions affect our lives very much.

    It's interesting to know what are the sessions going to be like in Malaysia. :)

  15. yenjai,
    Precisely! I really couldn't understand how the guards, who were supposed to be vigilant, could be so thick in the head!? More security personnel like them, Singapore would be dead!

    Two of the guards were Gurkha guards, foreign talent. :)

  16. henry leong,
    Yes, I was in the 10 pm news! hehe.... I made a longggg commentary but they cut it.
    *sniff sniff*

  17. lzmommy,
    Want to experience a Parliament session? I'll call you the next time I go. :)

  18. tigerfish,
    On its website, it didn't say cannot wear track pants ah! Never say means can. So they were trying to make things difficult for me and tried to stop me from going in.

    ECL is now a national threat? hahha....

    There were not many public in the gallery nowadays because you can watch the Parliament proceedings on the net.

    I sit in to observe the MPs and Ministers. Certain parts of the proceedings were edited for broadcast, so to hear and feel the actual going-ons, you have to be present.

    I made lots of discoveries. :) Not spirits.....

  19. Hi ECL,

    So it's really you! Hee.. It's a bit surprising to see you speak Mandarin!

    Anyway, you are a good citizen! Hopefully they will find Mas Selamat soon :)

  20. sweet jasmine,
    That's why I cannot fathom how he escaped and when it was revealed.... Tada! it was just carelessness on the guards' part! Bummer. Lose stim.

    It is boring if you have no interest for politics. I also prefer a Korean drama than the drama in Parliament! haha...

  21. giddy tigress,
    I understand that one has to dress appropriately for such solemn occasions but it didn't say that I cannot wear track pants in its website. And I was allowed in on 2 occasions in the same track pants.

    I wore them because the sessions were long and the pants are very comfortable and keeps my legs warm in the cold gallery.

    What about the girls in skirts? No mini skirts is allowed but when the MPs and Ministers look up, they can see the girls' bare legs. :)

  22. peiyun,
    Yep... that's me in the 10pm news. hehe.... I was waylaid and caught offguard, so that explains my stiffness and horrible Mandarin. arghhhh..... ugly image. Hope the viewers didn't have nightmares! haha...

  23. i saw you in the news too. english i think, unless i was really dreaming and didn't realised it was mandarin!! lol.
    and you know, i seldom watch tv. only like once in a blue moon! so i was lucky to have caught you 'live' on tv main news!!! whoohoo you're famous (again)!!

  24. My angel,
    yes..., the good kaki is going to kick butts!
    *stretches right hand to suck the positive energy from angel*

  25. misti,
    I didn't even catch myself on the news because I was out the whole night at a meeting.

    I tried to watch the news early this morning but I think it was taken off.

  26. Cheers for your never give-up determination in attending the Parliamentary meeting despite the odds.

    I can be certain that I saw you on Channel 8 news last night. Yup, have to learn from this mistake, and learn to do better the next time. ;)

  27. I should sit in one of these days.

    You mentioned that the disciplinary action will "go up the chain of command and include the supervisory and management levels". You may wish to read closer that he refers to the Detention Center only. The director of ISD will be saved. He as well.

    Oh, talk about dramatic. Check out my site! I got a even more dramatic story :)


  28. Hi ECL, sorry to be off topic, but I'm here to drop off a tag for u. Have fun! :)


  29. Sorry to say this, but you should have known that track pants are not the correct dress code for Parliament. You cannot expect them to list out the whole list of what is and is not allowed, as if we are ignorant children.

    Sportswear are considered casual wear and are not formal enough for an important venue like Parliament. It shows a lack of respect for the seriousness of the proceedings.

    And to complain indignantly about this is a typical Singaporean attitude. On the one hand, you ask how can MS escape and why didn't the guards do their duty, but in the same breath, you complain when the Parliament police officers are carrying out their duties correctly.

    The fact that you could enter Parliament earlier in track pants indicates that some officers were not doing their jobs, also precisely the reason why MS managed to escape.

    I have seen summoned persons attend sub court proceedings in slippers, singlets, unbuttoned shirts/blouses and tank tops! Just because officers are lenient doesn't mean it is appropriate attire; it is not.

    I mean, would you wear that track pants to attend a wedding dinner? I don't think so. So why wear it into Parliament, which is an even more formal occasion?

    Come on, show a little more decorum. No wonder we Singaporeans have such a low image overseas.

  30. oceanskies,
    Yes, such things don't deter me. Actually the more they try to pick on me, the more I will try to challenge them.

  31. wilfrid,
    Yep, read the statement by PM Lee last night regarding the disciplinary actions taken. I'm not surprised DPM Wong is spared.

    Initially I called for his head to roll too but now I agree with PM. We need him to solve the problems now.

  32. Anonymous,
    Talk about decorum, why are you anonymous then? :) You are also the typical Singaporean who likes to criticise and complain anonymously.

    I realise it is not right to wear sports attire to Parliament, I'll dress appropriately the next time.

    Actually there was a double standard take on dressing code at Parliament that day.

    I forgot to publish this but this was included in my email to Parliament Secretariat on 22/4/08, it has yet to give me a reply as of now :

    A Japanese visitor who was sitting on my left, wore a golf T-shirt and a pair of golf pants with red lines running down the sides. Isn't that sports attire?

    Another Chinese man wore a flowery short-sleeve shirt with blue track shoes. Isn't this casual attire? He looks like he's on an outing to People's Park!

    I can only think that the staff is picking and choosing people to enter the gallery.

    My main complaint is why did the police officer lie to me about the gallery being full? Won't an honest answer be appropriate? If I had broken any rule, it is appropriate for him to tell me off as the Malay senior staff has done.

    As an officer on duty and in uniform and in a place such as the Parliament, how could he lie? I could imagine him lying too in other circumstances.

    Thanks for sharing your view. I'll keep your advice in mind. :)

  33. Hmmm this is really annoying when civil servant mentality happens.But I admire your perseverance in being actively involved.

    Keep on rockin'!

  34. so it's really you on channel 8 news!

    by the way, you're such a positive citizen and believe the story.

    it took them so long and this is the best they can come up with..lucky this is Singapore and not China, Taiwan or even USA!

  35. Jade,
    I love my country and I'm just doing my part as a citizen. At least the leaders know there are people like me watching them, keeping them on their toes. :)

  36. Leonard,
    Yes, it was me on Channel 8 news! hehe....

    People who know me dropped their jaws... I looked so serious during the interview. Yep, I looked fierce when I'm serious so dun play play! haha....