Now, Singapore’s Foreign Minister has said his piece on the naming of the Indonesian frigate. Of course, he did so in high-faluting, high-level English. Here’s how he could have talked to his Indonesian counterpart.
Eh, brudder, what lah this? Suka-suka go name kapal after dua orang who bombed Singapore. Go name some lorong or some barat lah. How you think kita orang in Singapore going to tahan this? People upset you know.
Okay lah, you say no ill intent, no malice. Okay.. okay. You didn’t say sorry but never mind….still can. But you know right…you cannot do this sort of thing to people, especially neighbours. I tell why we upset.
We upset because we thought everything all over already. Our old mentri besar already settle everything with your Suharto…Case closed. Bungkus business.
You all say the two men war heroes…How can? They are soldiers who wear ordinary baju and then they go bomb our tallest building! Three people. Mati! Thirty-three. Kena injured! Like that how to call them heroes…Apa pardon…? How to face our people’s families? You go to Geneva and call them heroes.. and they will laugh at you.
So we bring them before judge, all the way to Privy Council in London. Remember? Took three years! Even Privy Council say guilty. So we hanged them. But don’t forget that we also let go 45 of your people, people who tried to make trouble here, including two other fellows who exploded one bomb but luckily, no one died.
So we been fair leh. And we thought everybody can now relak. Then you go name that kapal…Alamak. It’s not some cruise ship or sampan, but war ship, war ship! Ya sure, you can name anything you want…whatever longkang, kampong also can. But you just think lah. Your ship go sailing round the world, got guns and all, and you have the names of these bombers on the ship….Very fierce, very garang. What will people think?
Actually, very bad for you also. People will say you trying to bully your small neighbour. Can be more sensitive or not? We small but don’t come and cho chok us lah. We also got limit.
You want to go tukar the name of the kapal or not?
With apologies to Mr K Shanmugam.