Singapore is supposed to be neither a military state or a police state. Yet based on the increasing number of police and military profile raising exercises ranging from posters to videos to public displays of might, it is beginning to look a little bit like the military or police state that it is not supposed to be.
It has been noticed that there has been a heightened focus on the threat of terrorism in the past year even though there is no evidence to suggest that the threat is any higher than before. Further, the police force appear to have been on a mission to showcase its machismo. Now, there is a joint police and military exercise based on the alleged threat of terrorism. Is this too much of an overkill? Is there a genuine threat or is it a bit of a red herring?
Taken in conjunction with rumours of a 2019 general election, the high profile Workers' Party (WP) lawsuit which could potentially bankrupt the top brass of the nation's leading political party making them unable to contest, the way potential critics are swiftly discredited and the ramping up of regulations against "fake news", one could arguably see a pattern of disrupting potential challengers to the incumbent Peoples' Action Party (PAP) government. In isolation, each issue can be disregarded but altogether and in context, there could perhaps be a more disturbing trend of behaviour on the part of the PAP to consolidate power.
On the surface, it could look like a very vigilant government intent on safeguarding the interests of the public against any potential terrorist attack. That said, the very public nature of the exercises and the way photos are published to show uniformed men forcefully tackling individuals could potentially be a message to the public of the authority and power the present government has at its disposal.
If there really was a genuine terrorist threat, wouldn't the authorities be more secretive about its methods to take them down? The last thing we want is for would be terrorists to see what preparations we have made so that they can try and better our strategies to mount an effective attack! Isn't discretion key?
If the government is trying to reassure us of its ability to protect us, it is having the opposite effect on me. It is either playing too much into the hands of would-be terrorists by giving away all our secrets or it is subtly giving us the impression (whether rightly or wrongly) that our government has at its disposal a huge arsenal to use against anyone considered an enemy by the PAP run government.