By Lee Jixiang
I read with great interest “The hurt of militarized authoritarianism in Singapore, Afghanistan
and the world” by Dr Wee Teck Young on TOC.
Dr Wee and his fellow social workers and volunteers are risking their lives every single day there and as a Singaporean, he is physically witnessing first hand what “War on Terror” really does to a people under military occupation by certain western countries for over 11 years. Of course 11 years may seem little to the 65 years suffered by the Palestinian people, it is tasteless to compare suffering. Humiliation. A puppet government. Collaborators. Corruption. The drug trade and other who-knows-what slimy deals. Death squads. IEDs. Sectarian killings. Western mercenary armies. Suicide bombings. Women and children bombed to pieces. The civilian and combatants injured. Lack of medical facilities and supplies. The Afghan resistance of all sorts against the occupation employing terror tactics to discourage collaborators… War is hell. Military occupation is hell. Words cannot describe hell on earth.
The Total Defense Day on 15 February each year in Singapore commemorates the surrender of the British army and the start of the Japanese Occupation which lasted 3 years and 8 months. Every few years, there would be local dramas on television to remind us what our forebearers suffered under the Japanese Imperial Army. Dr Wee related his experiences and thoughts in Kabul and gave us a real report of life under military occupation from his medical and social work standpoint. No actors, no fake blood and no imaginary plots. Its real and raw. Personally, I think he has more than earned the right to lecture us, and we should seriously listen to what he has said and will say in the future.
War and military occupation is not a computer game. Search for pictures of people, military and civilians killed in conflicts. Look at pictures of the Battle of Stalingrad and My Lai. See the piles of bodies. Look at the World Press Photo of the year 2012 by Paul Hansen . Look at the Palestinian Samer Issawi who is currently on hunger strike for more than 200 days against illegal detention and occupation by the State of Israel .
Some might say: But we are Singaporeans. We are a first world country and we don’t do these kind of things!
Really? I certainly hope and I want so. However the Australian journalist and film maker John Pilger discovered something about Singapore in his documentary, Cambodia: The Betrayal (1990).
I don’t know what to say about that revelation. I don’t even know what I can say without getting into trouble.
I want to end my little letter by a video of a speech given by Mr George Galloway, a UK MP, at the Oxford Union Society, for an example on how to discuss and find a rational solution to such issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i8p49ODBu4
Dr Wee, if you are reading this: keep up your good works! The world needs more doctors. Singapore needs more doctors. And you are exactly the kind of doctors we and the world needs .
Respect and best regards,
 Dr Wee’s work resonated with what I understood to be happening in Venezuela. Cuba-trained medical doctors were invited to Venezuela to both work and train Venezualan doctors. When Venezuelan doctors have become competent themselves, they take over some of the training and teaching. Social health, education level and employment all three created, and improved at the same time:
“… Cuba is educating more doctors at home even as it trains tens of thousands in Venezuela. In 2008 there were 29,000 Cubans enrolled in medical school, plus nearly 24,000 foreign students (including more than one hundred students from the United States) studying… Un ejército de paz. An army of peace…”*
* Brouwer, Steve. (2011) “Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba Are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care”http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/6368 Accessed on 20 Feb 2013.
I can imagine a future Singapore as a real medical and training hub based on that model. An army of peace for the poor and rich; for everyone in need.