Palestinian militants are trading rockets with Israel again. Israel retaliated by launching air strikes against Hamas military sites in Gaza and re-calling 40,000 military reserves. The latest skirmish was seemingly sparked off after 3 Israeli teenager hikers were found murdered in West Bank [Link]. Jewish extremists retaliated by burning a Palestinian teenager alive [Link]. I am trivializing their decades of bloodshed to say these murders are the causes of the latest military offensive.
It is curiously interesting to observe Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issuing statements [Link ] condemning the murder of the Israeli teens & calls for restrain on the escalation of violence [Link]. Singapore has avoided mentioning support for Israel publicly in the past. What is worrying are the responses of Malay Muslim netizens towards these press statements. They voiced out strongly to pledge support for Palestinians, condemn Israel and dissatisfied that Singapore had took sides with Israel [Link 1 , Link 2].
In Parliament this week, DPM Teo Chee Hean revealed there are Singaporean Muslims participating in the recent Syria conflict and there are plans by others to do so [Link]. Instead of distancing themselves from these wayward Singaporeans, the Malay community has shocked non-Malay Singaporeans by passing cynical remarks against Teo and expressing support for these Singaporeans in Syria [Link 1, Link 2].
These cynics have probably forgotten that a SAF officer Muhammad Ali bin Abd Al-Rahman who held the rank of Major had become a Islamic terrorist in Philippines. He was killed in an air-strike [Link].
It has become apparent that religious tie is the factor that invoked the sympathy of local Malay community towards conflicts that are distant from Singapore.
The Malay community has always griped of discrimination in the military – such as the lack of Malay Muslim soldiers in certain SAF vocations and SAF units. This contentious issue has been raised several times by politicians on internet [Link] and in parliament [Link]. I had served in sensitive vocations in the SAF, but my superiors never told me the reasons for not having Malay Muslims soldiers in my unit.
I had Indian mates, Chinese mates and Eurasian mates then but we did not ask that question. There seems to be an unspoken common understanding.
To be entrusted by SAF to serve in sensitive vocations means they have faith that you will place country above everything else. I guess it is up to different communities to prove it.
Perhaps I should get a copy of Lee Kuan Yew’s Hard Truth book.