12/04/2005

melvyn tan's concert

the mistake made by melvyn tan is not to denounce his citizenship earlier, ie, before he is due for ns. if he had done so and taken up another citizenship then there will not be the need to call him up. he would not be a defaulter and he could return as a visitor or even live here as a pr. the irony is that his delay is probably due to his desire to retain his citizenship, continue to be a singaporean, and that is something he values. while on the other hand some will be quite decisive in giving up the singapore citizenship and prepared to cut off all ties here. as much as the country appreciates his talent and sincerity to return and contribute whatever he has, accepting melvyn tan has and will upset the whole ns system and all the ns men past, present and future. the $3,000 fine was a way of telling melvyn tan that he is welcomed home. but given the reaction to this reception, no one can really tell how bad this will turn out eventually. how could the nation answer to all the ns men to treat melvyn tan as an exception? how could the nation reconcile the return of a prodigal son? any leniency shown to defaulters will have to contend with the feelings of hundreds of thousand of ns men. there must be a way to accept our sons who have made a wrong decision when they were young or when their parents miscalculated. but whatever ways, it must not be seen as to encourage young men to abscond when they are called up for ns and think that the nation will welcome them with open arms, one day. perhaps allowing them to return as prs is not a bad idea. and melvyn tan could just do that if he had denounced his citizenship before he is callup. it is more a technical fault. could there be a formula to allow our sons to return and be singaporeans again without incurring the wrath of all ns men? it is a pity that melvyn tan has to cancel his concert.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I for one think that Melvyn Tan should be more severely punished. He has the cheek to say that he has forgotten the amount of his fine. Come on Melvyn, pull the other one, it has bells on!!

You have insulted the value of the contribution of all the NS-men of the past, the present and the ones who will be called up in the future.

Cancel your concert by all means, and please do not put think people will forget.

redbean said...

hi anonymous,

everyone look at this issue quite differently. personally i would like to see a way where deserters have a chance to return home. we all make mistakes.

but it is a problem for the administrator to work out something that is equitable to all the ns men. otherwise, there will be a lot of unhappiness. no one like to be drafted while someone else got away with it, no matter how talented.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we get him to teach 12 promising pianists of Singapore for 5 years free of charge. Also during this 5 years he must perform in 5 free of charge concerts in Singapore.

redbean said...

that's what i thought. a little cover up by telling the public that he will be attached to the music and drama company for two years. then what he does there, how much time he spend there, who cares. but it will give an impression that he is serving time in some way.

even this kind of pr they could not do? got to ask george bush to send them some spin doctors.

Anonymous said...

I am sure Bush would only be too glad to send some spin doctors over. He has never been short of them. I am sure he can spare a few.

redbean said...

this case actually misfired. someone trying to be nice and followed the book without thinking of the reactions of all the hot blooded men when have given 2 and a half years of their lives and many going to follow them to do so.

IMAGOD, the original said...

You are making the assumption that military conscription is right.

The state forcing males to sacrifice their lives for the cuntry can never be ethically or morally right. It is state force.

The argument that "everyone else has to do NS" is no argument either, since you make the presumption that NS is "alright".

The sooner we get rid of FORCE by the state, the better for all.

A totally voluntary military is what we need, not anymore of this NS nonsense.

Melvyn Tan, I salute you for standing by your principles, and I wish you the very best for the future.

redbean said...

ns was introduce at a time when we have no history and tradition for military service. and there was unemployment and a british withdrawal to manage. it was the fastest, cheapest and most effective way to deal with the problems then. it is not an issue of right or wrong.

could we have a strong voluntary or professional armed forces without ns? that is debatable. but ns is a demand make by the nation on the people, it can be seen as a kind of taxation. a very heavy tax on the people.

is removing the state a solution? i think we will be in a precarious state without statehood. in fact, with all the disincentives enforced on the citizens, we may eventually dismantle the whole system of statehood when citizenship is no longer a value title.

melvin tan is a deserter. he broke away from the system. he survived all these years. good for him. the state is trying to accommodate him and integrate him back to the system. but the system has grown too big that bringing him back is going to incur the wrath of all ns men.

IMAGOD, the original said...

In this case, desertion is the highest moral action.

The state has no right to force individuals - whatever the "valid" reasons maybe.

For e.g. just because you "need" something doesn't give you the right to force someone to give it to you.

The same moral principle applies to states.

Dr Goh Keng Swee should be charged as a criminal, and convicted for his crime.

redbean said...

as a principle, on the grounds of human rights, i can accept your argument. not one has the right to force something on an individual, not even a state. which means all the laws that make demands on the people are wrongful.

but if we look at it from a legal point of view, a law is a law. passed through parliament and legislated. and all citizens are bound by the laws. then legally, legally, it can be done. even locking away people's money in the cpf. so technically, legally, melvyn tan had broken the law.

but champion of human rights will say, nay, my rights is more important than your stupid laws.

IMAGOD, the original said...

Yes, Melvyn broke the law. Its not a technicality, its a fact.

I'm not a fan of "human rights" because that has the odium of democracy in its meaning.

My stance has always been for individual rights and private property and ANARCHY, and I'm uncompromising on that.

... but you knew that already ;-)

redbean said...

individual rights, private properties and anarchy is back to the law of the jungle. otherwise, such a utopian state where all these are present and in harmony is only in heaven.

an anarchic state will be survival of the fitness. the meek will all be eaten.

with some laws and order, the meek will be protected and given a chance to inherit the earth.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Not so my dear redbean.

You of all people, know about "spontaneous order" and Wu Wei.

Leave people alone. Nature is an anarchy - every diverse thing behaves according to its nature and sponataneous order (or natural order as the anarcho-capitalists call it) ensures that all these unequal things form one big beautiful perfect thing.

There is no "central mind" in nature. Wu wei means leaving things alone, so they can grow, die, change form and interact with each other... each according to its own charateristics and purpose.

The "law of the jungle" argument against anarchy forgets one thing: to steal or coerce your fellow human being, you must have resources. Yes you can do it. Then other people will also steal from you or kill you when you are weak, old or powerless.

In nature, dominant species feed off "weaker" species, but they do not wipe out the weaker species - because of the complex cycle of lives, and the overall cycle of life in the universe.

If a species does extinct, another species simply takes over - and overall "efficiency" (I can't find a better word) is increased - and life goes on.

For humans to be arrogant is quite normal. That is why most of them will never support anarchy. They think that the only way for their species to survive is to "control" each other.

In fact, the present system we have now is survical of the fittest. It is merciless - if you are meek and weak, you are totally SCREWED

redbean said...

sure i understand wu wei. in a sense i am practising wu wei. i sit for about an hour daily, working myself to become a recluse.

as for nature's way, it always reminds me of the african savannah where the lion rules with his harem. and they eat just enough and let the rest of the animals grow and multiply. and yes, they will be eaten or discarded one day when they grow old. there is law and order in nature, nature's way. and nature's way is much kinder than anarchy with the human element. man is more greedy and evil. they will want more and more and will destroy everything in their path.

the lions are contented with a full belly and his harem. man will want a fortune that last forever. between the lion and man, lion is no match for man's destructiveness.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The insight I gained from this incident is how some people just can't be happy for another person.

Melvyn managed to avoid the evils of conscription, and pursue his chosen path.

People just can't be happy for him - happy that he beat the odds without interfering with anyone. He beat the state. He beat the govt and their stupid laws.

Just shows you how many shallow lives there are out there - lives without any joy, soul or support for one's fellow man.

redbean said...

from melvyn's angle, it is nice to say, shit to them. i screwed up your system and you still welcome me with open arms. that's great.

but for those who are affected, they are not going to let the system get away for playing favouritism. i think not many people are against melvin. but they cannot tolerate a system that is unfair to them.