The Bigger Test
Mas Selamat is a good test of our security system and Total Defence. Every element of the govt machinery and people were put into action without a hitch. They forgot to test the island wide siren though. But that might not be necessary by the nature of things. The bigger test is the test of leadership, or absence of leadership. We were, to borrow the analogy of an orchestra, without a conductor, without the lead violinist and without the manager. The orchestra kept on playing for 12 days with perfect coordination. The same score was played over and over again in different venues to the approval of the spectators. After 12 gruelling days, the tune sounded a bit jaded. But it was a good score and approval was given for the orchestra to continue playing. And we passed the bigger test, that we can continue to function normally in the absence of leadership. We were on auto pilot for 12 crisis days and everything went on smoothly. That is what we called an effective system managed by an effective team. With or without leadership, the system keeps on grinding. We survive the test.