In tragedy and adversity, our leaders display moral cowardice by going missing

In tragedy and adversity, our leaders display moral cowardice by going missing

When Singapore hosted the Trump-Kim summit last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke extensively to the media, telling Singaporeans “I hope you will understand this is for a good cause, it is a national effort, and I hope we will be all be able to work together to show the world what Singapore can do.”

After the summit, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen waxed lyrical, giving an A grade to the Singapore Armed Forces for security preparations for the summit: “I suppose in exam terms, this is a preliminary test which I think we scored an A.”

Mind you, this was an event where Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan admitted that Singapore’s role was merely to “serve tea and coffee.”

Our leaders went out of their way to score points over a summit that Singapore hosted, but in the aftermath of the latest death of a national serviceman, Aloysius Pang, they conspicuously went missing.

They left it to the military brass to hold a media conference, giving very scant details of what happened.

What in heaven’s name has happened to the Prime Minister who is a former general himself? And why did the Defence Minister not see it fit to take charge and take responsibility?

In fact, not a single leader or politician dared to face the nation to give an account of the latest tragedy.

PM Lee and Dr Ng spent so much time and effort to claim credit for a summit. But when a young Singaporean died tragically while serving the country, they abdicated their duty and responsibility to face the nation. They relegated the task to SAF generals who appeared ill-equipped to give a creditable account of what happened.

Is this what has become of our leaders? They come out in full force when the going is good but when things turn tragic, they go missing.

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