Total Defence: In war, should we fight and be forgotten, or give in and be revered?

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I think we need an update to Total Defence as it doesn’t cover this. If Singapore is invaded, what would be the right thing to do?

Should we fight, die and then be totally forgotten, erased from the annals of time and our sacrifice written off as no more than senseless idealism like all the braves who died resisting the Japanese invaders in 1942?

Or learn survival pragmatism from Singapore’s “Great Leeders” such as Lee Kuan Yew and SR Nathan to turncoat and work for the enemies, be it translating for them so that the invaders can “fix the oppositions”, or join the ranks of their brutal police to help them “fix the oppositions”, never mind if such actions lead to many of their fellow men dying senselessly as long as number one survives?

To do the former, we risk eventually getting pissed on in our death years later if a moronic government in absolute power were to decide to glorify the invaders by naming a museum after them, and then justifying for days as to how the offended should not be feeling offended. How many Singaporeans even know or remember people like Lim Bo Seng, Lt Adnan Saidi and what they did for us?

To do the latter, we might survive long after the war to become the “founding father”, the Prime Minister, the Minister Mentor, the President, and be bestowed a lifelong of riches and power for doing nothing and we are glorified and positively attributed for every single non-issue till we die. We get to write and publish our tales of fiction of our “sacrifices” and sell them as the “Hard Truth”. We get state funerals, and perhaps even a founder memorial in the work, all because we made the smart decision to bury our conscience six feet under at the first sign of trouble to watch all those stupid people die resisting instead of following the flow of power to survive. They die, we live, and that is all that matters, right?

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SR Nathan, seen here with a Japanese Lietanant. He worked for the Kempeitai during the Jap occupation, while Lee Kuan Yew worked as a translator for the Japanese army.

So how should it be? Looking from our history in the past 100 years, I think it is pretty clear on what would be the “right thing” to do. Right?

Leslie Chew

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