This coming August, Singapore will celebrate 47 years as a nation state. Many of us take for granted Singapore's autonomy as a sovereign nation. But in this post, I explain why I think that in 47 years time, there is a very significant probability that Singapore will no longer be an autonomous territory.
The last 15 years of economic and social mismanagement by the PAP Government have set the foundations for our eventual decline, and given the PAP's continued stranglehold over parliament and public policy, I fear that the necessary actions to arrest the dangerous prospects facing our society will not be implemented quickly or effectively enough.
1. Shrinking Defense Force
Singapore's fertility rate has hit new lows. According to the CIA's fertility ranking, Singapore's fertility is the lowest in the world. For any normal country, this would be a worrying trend, mainly for economic reasons (shrinking working force supporting the elderly). In the case of Singapore, it is fatal.
Simple. This is because our national defense hinges upon a healthy conscript army. The size of Singapore's military force depends exclusively on the number of Singaporean boys being added to the population, and a shrinking number of resident babies means a shrinking conscript army.
The chart above shows the inexorable declining trend of resident live-births and fertility rate in Singapore.
Currently, the size of the active army has about 35,000 NSFs. Today's NSFs were born around 1994-1995. This is near the historical high of live-births as can be seen from the chart above. Extrapolating from the chart above, we can estimate that the number of NSFs in another 10 years time (birth year 2004-2005 cohort) will be about 28,000. And in another 20, 30 years time?
The logic is clear - it doesn't matter if you have super genius Generals and master tacticians as military leaders. If you have a shrinking army, sooner or later you are not going to have enough manpower to be able to defend yourself.
Speaking of Generals, this brings me to my next point.
2. Paper Generals
A small, nimble army might be effective if it were led by military geniuses like Julius Caesar or Napoleon Bonaparte. But look at Singapore's military leaders. Do you really think they really are able to lead us into a war and come out victorious?
These guys are put on a fast track to top leadership based on scholarships awarded to them when they were 18 years old, because they scored straight As in school or because they had strong CCA records. Or for other reasons completely unrelated to military prowess.
Have any of these guys fought in a real war? Are any of them tried and tested in real military situations? Do these guys inspire patriotism and valor in our soldiers?
Well, to be fair, maybe there are one or two who might really be worth the number of stars on their shoulders. But for the most part, Singapore's Generals are just warming their seats, waiting for a ministerial appointment in politics or a cushy job in a Government Linked Corporation.
Every NSman knows the meaning of wayang, and it's a culture which permeates the entire SAF, because it starts right from the top.
3. Toxic SAF Culture
Chao Geng. Wayang. No Action Tok Only.
If you are an NSman or NSF, you already know what I mean. If you haven't been through the army, just read these blog posts here and here and you know what I mean.
Many Singaporean men who have been through the process are exceptionally cynical when it comes to NS and reservist. They know that much of the activity that the SAF does today is so that whichever COL or BG in charge of their unit or division can show excellent paper report so that they can get a promotion or so that they can catch the eye of the Minister of Defence or even the Prime Minister (Nat'l day parade is very good example). Then if they do so they are guaranteed cushy well paying position in politics or in Temasek Holdings or one of its subsidiaries.
Either that or a lot of the time is spent trying to practice on the new military toys being manufactured by Singapore Technologies so that the many ex-SAF officers working there can justify our oversized defense budget being funneled to Singapore's defense contractors, then they can pay themselves bigger bonuses.
How much time is really spent on genuinely analysing the threats facing Singapore today and trying to prepare ourselves for them in an efficient, effective way?
4. Increasingly Demoralised Resident Population
The surge in non-resident population in Singapore is contributing to the increased alienation and demoralisation of Singaporeans, particularly younger Singaporean men who form the bulk of our military.
Singaporean men have to spend 2 years on NS, and then they have to pay for their own education. And then they see that some 'foreign talent' is fully funded by the Singapore Government for his studies in Singapore, doesn't have to to serve NS, and is guaranteed a job in Singapore for at least 3 years, if not more. How do you think this state of affairs makes young Singaporean males feel? Furthermore, some of these foreign talents have the audacity to call Singaporeans 'dogs'. Do you really think the Singaporean man will be inspired to fight for his country if push comes to shove?
Even worse is the situation for those Singaporeans who got denied a place in our local universities. Or those who got demoted at work by a FT boss who brought in a FT to replace him in his position. Or those who got fired by an FT boss and has to drive taxi in order to make ends meet. How do you think these Singaporean men feel? Do you think they are very motivated to defend their country or to follow the orders of the political leaders who implemented the FT policy in the first place?
Succumbing to Chinese Aggression
If things continue as they are and there is no substantial political and social change in Singapore, Singapore will be ripe for the taking for a calculative and increasingly militaristic China that is well on its way to becoming a global superpower.
- Within the next 50 years, China will definitely become the world's largest economy. And by then, it will certainly have the largest defense budget in Asia, if not the world. Its military might will be unparalled in the region. It has already built its first fully functional aircraft carrier. It is only a matter of time before it has a world class navy, ready to dominate the south china sea, the straits of Malacca, and beyond.
- China's increasing role in world trade makes Singapore a strategic asset in its rise to dominance. Singapore sits right smack in the middle of Southeast Asia and is an important port on trade routes between China and India, Middle East and Europe. Control over Singapore will ensure security of these shipping routes for China, and will enhance its dominance over the south china sea.
- Singapore's racial composition makes it easy to integrate into the Chinese political structure. Singapore's majority ethnic Chinese population will be easily assimilated under Chinese rule - and besides, there is currently a huge non-resident population of mainlanders here in Singapore anyway.
- No other country is going to seriously contemplate coming to Singapore's defence in the event of Chinese aggression. Do you think Malaysia and Indonesia are going to risk a war with China? Is USA seriously going to go to war with China over the tiny state called Singapore?
- Divide and Conquer. All China needs to do is to blockade Singapore's ports, bomb our military installations, or perhaps even threaten nuclear annihilation. The NSmen population, completely disillusioned with the country's military and political leaders, wouldn't be bothered to put up a fight. The political and military leaders would anyway be scared shitless and not have the balls to stand up to the Chinese anyway. Singapore would capitulate very quickly and quietly without whimper because the nation is divided and there is no will to defend our national sovereignty.
What We Need To Do
I've written the thoughts above not as a fear-mongering exercise but as an honest analysis of the potential downfall of our country. I know I'm going to be flamed as unpatriotic for the analysis above, but what I'm trying to do here is to genuinely confront the challenges our nation faces and the bleak prospects if we don't do something about it NOW.
- We need to wind back this misguided PAP immigration policy.The foreigners are here for only one thing - to make money or to use Singapore as a stepping stone. They have no vested interest in our national security or our solidary or longevity as a nation. These foreigners are completely mercenary and will do and say anything as long as it serves their own selfish interests. Their presence is extremely divisive for this nation and creates the disunity and disharmony and precedes a national downfall.
- The military needs to be professionalised. There needs to be a clear separation between the Military and the Government/GLCs. There are too many ex-generals in cabinet and in Singapore's corporations and this completely skews the priorities of the SAF towards maintaining the hegemony of the PAP or the profitability of the corporations, at the expense of the strength of our national defense. Selection into top military posts needs to be by genuine military prowess, not A-level grades!!
- We need to make family and child birth an absolute top national priority. It has to become more important than GDP growth, career advancement, productivity growth and material achievement. We need to do so even if it costs us big. Yes, if it costs $200,000 a baby, so be it. If not, Singapore will slowly but surely shrink out of existence. Economic objectives need to be sacrificed for pro-family objectives. Motherhood and fatherhood needs to be subsidised, funded, supported and promoted by the State. Taxes need to be raised to fund social objectives. If not, we will all ultimately pay for it together.
- Above all, we need to build a genuine identity as a nation-state and unwielding patriotism of citizens to our country. I know this sounds cheesy, but the only possible deterrent to a foreign aggressor like China, is if they know that Singaporeans are genuinely willing to die for their country. Because then it would not make sense for them to try to capture Singapore because Singaporeans would willingly practice scorched earth, kamikaze military tactics and leave next to nothing for the Chinese to take over. But as long as there is a hint of internal division and weakness, Singapore is ripe for the taking once the China grows into a credible military superpower.
The Clock is Ticking
We haven't got much time.
It is only a matter of a few decades before China becomes a military superpower and starts looking to flex its muscles. Our birthrates are perilously low and we need to start cranking it up NOW. Our nation is starting to become very divided between the rich & powerful, and the rest of the nation. The next 5-10 years will be extremely telling for the longer term survival (or failure) of our nation.
Will we band together as a united country, or will we, in a generation, be consigned to the annals of history?
Singaporeans, the fate of your nation is in your hands.
Do, or die.