Small countries punching above their weights?

Sometimes people are made to believe in fiction. Sometimes, after believing in fiction for too long they think fiction is the truth. This mantra of small countries punching above its weight is something Singaporeans were told to believe, ie, Singapore is a small country but can punch above its weight. In some circumstances this is true, like when people messed up their finances and come begging for money and we have the money to throw. When people want to build a monument and we have the money to help them pay for it, we throw money around thinking that we are some rich philanthropists and people are admiring at us, at the amount of money we can throw. When there are big white elephants that no one dares to touch, we would go out to buy them at a handsome price, like buying a piece of fake art at an auction to show people we have the money, we are rich.

In situations when national interests are at stake, no amount of money can buy glory, no amount of money can a small country get what it wants.  I have been writing about this, that the ability to punch above one’s weight is because the other parties allowed the small country to do so. Or the small country is like the proverbial little rat standing on the head of a lion and shouting at everyone, thinking it is really powerful.

This mantra of punching above our weight is now put to test by the Indonesians. Among the haze affected countries, we have been shouting the loudest. We finally have the gut to want to pull the culprit corporations to court. This is the right thing to do, except that when the jurisdiction is transboundary, when the parties are not inside this island but in other countries, you need to measure how much power or authority you have to bring the culprits to justice. You cannot simply send a legal letter to someone and demand that he appears in your office, in your courts, in your country. Oops, you can, but whether he would appear is another issue.

If you want to punch above your weight you better know who you are dealing with. The Indonesians are furious and are reviewing all agreements with Singapore, haze related and others.  This is like the Indonesians are tearing every agreement they have signed with us, or are going to tear them if they are not happy with them. And they are doing it unilaterally. They do not need to consult us and they are not going to consult us. They would only tell us what they have decided and what they want to do. 

The Indonesians are telling Singapore to shut up and haze is their problem and they will deal with it the way they like it. They are saying it is none of Singapore’s business even though the haze will affect the way of life, the economy and the health of Singaporeans. Now Singapore is put in a spot. What is Singapore going to do or can do with this snub? Now is the time to mean business, to see if Singapore can really punch above its weight with a neighbouring giant.

This is a new drama that is unfolding. When a giant flexes its muscles, the small countries better take notice.  Now to bring an Indonesian corporation to task, to appear in our courts, is going to be a very sensitive and touchy issue.


Anonymous said...

This is PAP's problem. Not my problem.
I die is my business. PAP die is their business.

Anonymous said...

Now to bring an Indonesian corporation to task, to appear in our courts, is going to be a very sensitive and touchy issue.

Not really lah. RB, you ever heard of "give and take" or not? I mean Sinkieland give some to Indonesia, and take some from Indonesia lah.

For instance, Indonesia said we have a lot of the "cheat their country fugitives" hiding here, tio bo? So maybe we can send back some of these fugitives to make Indonesia happy lah. They happy, we happy because maybe we can get back something in return from them.

Anonymous said...

Give and take no longer applicable. If you read the tone of the Indonesia Minister Sit Nurbaya Bakar, you can see the middle finger up the face.

patriot said...

If Sin punches above it's weight and fails, worry not.

Our Sin Foreign Ministers, from S Rajaretnam, George Yeo to Vivian Bala were and are more than able to punch beyond their weights. They have charisma and winning formulae.
Sre how close Sin is with US, India, Japan, Australia anf everybody else.

No worry lah, for our size, Sin is actually more than respected by our neighbours and it is because Sin punches like Atom Ant.


Anonymous said...

The Tinaco-Anaco Railway Line: A Look At How China Overextended In A Failed Venezuela


Anonymous said...

Yes! This is a new drama unfolding.

Indeed an exciting one and potentially an "explosive" one.

This is an acid test of present leadership after LKY!

But. Worry not! Worry not!

I have confident in our present leaders.

They are ALL very very good leaders!

"Small countries punching above its weight?"

Will they?

I wish them well.


Anonymous said...

"everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face"
- Mike Tyson

virgo49 said...

Will there be A Kronfrontasi II??

All reservists to report to their respective camps, draw arms and in combat orders.

Wait FOR HEN's orders.

Anonymous said...

"Punch" others and get punched back. This is the present situation. The Indon parliament this week was discussing a bill to ask Indonesians dodging taxes keeping money overseas to own up and pay the tax. This amnesty will end by 31 Dec 16. But the bill was not passed before the recess.

By 2018, Singapore will have to share tax info about Indonesians with Jakarta. Then the catch will be on if they found mice.

Singapore has not punch beyond its weigh in a righteous way. It harbored ill gotten money from Indonesia.

One clear evidence was Hartawan (ST 23 April 16. He stole S$683millions from Indon state banks in 2008 and ran to Singapore. He was able to be a PR living here while Indonesia sentenced him 14 years jail at his absence.
If Hartawan was a case of "punch" then it is something very shameful to citizens of education.

At the end, all of sudden in April 16, Hartawan s PR was cancelled and said to be "removed" from Singapore.

Indon VP kalla said there are 28 of such fugitives.
Good luck to the wrong concept of punch beyond weigh. Never teach children to do it that way. At the end, Hartawan is still back to pay for his karma. Indonesians will be back for his assets here. Was it wise as a state policy? It happened in the same way for a China fugitive. China s #2 in Interpol list, was said to live in Singapore. He was brought back handcuffed. The whole world press including on line had his picture when he landed in Beijing. Shameful or honored?

Anonymous said...

More like "small countries punching above its ability"

Small boy punching above his ability.

Anonymous said...

Small fart government don't know "what is high and what is low. What is above and what is below."

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is better to focus on bringing bloggers and 16 year old boys to court?

Anonymous said...

Was it wise as a state policy?
Anon 10:50 am

Sometimes if can, do it lah. Or else how to sell those condos and bungalows in Sentosa?

If depend only on Sinkies, how many can afford to buy? How to generate GDP growth if cannot sell? If GDP cannot grow, how to pay million dollar ministers and their bonuses?

Anonymous said...

Nevermind wat the Indon minister said Lah uncle RB..remember we got that Dragoon Wariooor call Lee Ah Looong...this Ah Looong still haven't flex his muscle Leh...who knows he send in his elite ( scdf team) within 7mins everything all settled Liao...lets see...

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

At the root at the problem is the PAP's acquiescence over the haze for at least 2 decades. They refused to act in all this time. Motherfuckers, this shit has been going on from at least the 1990's.

I remember a particular series of days in the mid-1990's where at around 4 in the afternoon, vehicles had to put their headlights on. The haze was so thick, everyone smelled like a chain-smoker.

You let the shit go on for SO FUCKING LONG without taking REAL action, so of course now the Indonesians can wave their dicks in Singapore's face, then take a good piss on Singapore's shoes.

Now the PAP wants to come across as "victims". Back in the 1990's when Suharto and his cronies were stuffing their loot in Singapore banks, the PAP "buat bodoh", shuffle feet, clear throat and talk fucking NONSENSE.

Fuck them lah. Assholes.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:06am
"generate GDP growth":"sell those condos and bungalows in Sentosa"
This kind of passing condo one hand to the other can add up GDP for the minister to have excuse to increase salaries and bonus, but the transactions generate NO tax. NO GST is involved.
It ends up the ministers take from taxes from other sources for their GDP growth.

I called this kind of GDP fake growth. The building is already there. It s like u strike lottery S$3million. There is no GDP grow in real sense, no hard work. The 3 millions comes from some collections, 1 of which could be mine.

The reputation for harboring criminal like Hartawan is very damaging to Singapore. Hartawan stole S$683millions. That was alot of money to Indonesia. It was some recuse package.
I guess those who are loyal to Indonesia will hate this kind of criminal who stole state recuse money. And Singapore was his "helper" harboring criminal.

Anonymous said...

As far as this smog issue is concerned, based on last year exp.

Until we can come out with the dome that will cover whole of Singapore with its own regulated clean air.

I think it is better to take tough actions against the violators of any nationality.

If this would to occur 20 yrs back, we may still be able to tolerate. But now, population has aged a lot and if i remember clearly, you cant even take a walk in any park. sibei jialut as you can smell the burnt smell.

Anonymous said...

The deliberate action of harboring cash-rich criminals (28 of them according to Indonesian Govt), is a
DISHONORABLE ACT that not only cannot see day-light but is a DIRECT INSULT AND HUMILIATION upon the
Indonesian Government and People. Such action should not have happened if Singapore values good
neighborly relation and close trading connections between Singaporeans and Indonesians.

Only an Unethical, Immoral and Unscrupulous person of dishonorable, despicable and deplorable nature
would give the permission for ICA to issue PR Status to these 28 Thieves of the Indonesian Government and People.

Moreover, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

I believe it is most likely that there are also criminals (tax evaders) from the USA,
criminals (corrupted officials) from China, criminals (drug lords) from the Golden Triangle,
especially Myanmar, criminals from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Russia, Europe and UK.

Anonymous said...

Some people also said that the disgraced ex-President of Taiwan, Chen Sui Pian, also
parked some of his ill-gotten money, stolen from the State Coffers, in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

The Philippines Government is trying to get back the money stolen by ex-President Marcos and his wife,
which had been parked in Singapore. There is a court case going on regarding this matter.

AhKong65 said...

I can only summarize this episode in seven hokkien words :-

" 小牛不認識老虎 "

Anonymous said...

That is why when they shout about how good the relationship is between us and our Northern and Southern neighbours, I have always taken them with a bucket of salt.

When one leader goes and another comes in, the relationship is always going to be tested and rebuilt from scratch. And that is also why we must be careful about who takes over should Najib go. We depend on each other more than the water matter.

Anonymous said...

Problem with government is always painting to us a beautiful pictures of anything they touched, be it investments or bi-lateral relationships. Always good and all thanks to the able ministers with advice from PM.

Well done but this population is no more a blur generation. We know there are always issues to resolve in any relationship. Perhaps the government may wish to consider telling us the truth instead of half or worse still 10%.

Anonymous said...

Remembered former Indonesian president Harbibie remarked that Singapore is just a little RED DOT!

Anonymous said...

Remembered former Indonesian president Harbibie remarked that Singapore is just a little RED DOT!
May 16, 2016 4:51 pm

But do you think our Leeders have very BIG ego, BIG salary and very thin skins?

Anonymous said...

If you look at the silly IBs here blindly defending without knowing what they are defending, you know how silly Singaporeans have become.

Anonymous said...

It's gonna be reckoning days ahead.

Anonymous said...

Rb, if we did not punch above our weight, why would Putin meets him as we are a very small country smaller than many larger cities. Obama also meet him leh

Anonymous said...


b said...

Sg should allow the people to have dual citizenship because of the security risk created by the neighbouring countries otherwise should have a nuclear bomb program. I think the lesser of two evils will be the dual citizenship scheme. All should be encouraged to have.