Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MAKES YOU WONDER WHICH ONE COMPLETED BOOT CAMP: The photo above has thrust Singapore's military--and the readiness of its soldiers--into the spotlight. The photo first appeared on Facebook, zipped through message boards and then was posted on March 27 on a Straits Times-related Web site called Stomp!. The photo appears to show a maid carrying the backpack of a Singaporean soldier.
The discussion around this is so serious because every able-bodied male citizen and permanent resident who is 18 and older must do two years of military training. The big question: Are Singapore's soldier's too coddled to defend this island nation?
Maids are quite a big part of the lifestyle here. And it's quite easy to find women who are eager to do such work in Singapore, which is quite a bit wealthier than the surrounding nations. I like the fact that the soldier appears to be checking his email or something like that. He's peering down at something in his hands. Maybe he's looking for another maid, on a popular Web site.
An article released Wednesday by Agence France Presse said:
"Local daily the New Paper also surveyed 23 national servicemen and found that 22 of them had their maids wash and iron their army uniforms, while 17 had their domestic helpers clean their rooms for them.
Close to 200,000 maids -- largely from Indonesia and the Philippines -- were estimated to be working in affluent Singapore last year."
Sandy recalled something we heard during our tour of World War II sites on the island. The guide said she often sees mothers (or maids) apparently delivering food to the young men who are stationed at various barracks or camps--because the military rations "aren't good enough".
This type of coddling surely doesn't happen for the vast majority of servicemen, I'm sure. But what happens when one of these pampered soldiers pulls KP duty?
Where will this end? Is it a slippery slope that leads all the way to a form of substitution allowed during the U.S. Civil War--one of the great examples of a "rich-man's war; poor man's fight"?

CRANES KEEP A WELCOME LOW PROFILE: We're back in business with the Singapore Crane Index Limited Economic Indicator. Everything is looking pretty good with a couple of DOWN days.

Date: March 31
Time: 8:10 a.m. (Singapore time)
Cranes Up (bad): 8
Cranes Down (good): 18
CRANES MISSING (neutral): 1

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