Further Reactions To Dr. Allan Ooi’s Suicide

April 5, 2009 at 01:31 7 comments

As if Dr. Allan Ooi’s suicide (which I wrote about on March 20, 2009) wasn’t already painful enough, someone has written a public letter that seems to imply that his family has no right to ask Mindef about the discussion Allan had with his superior about his bond.

It happened like this: Mindef published a so-called clarification about Allan’s bond with the Singapore Armed Forces on March 23. It cited mostly plain-vanilla bare bones, with no information on the extension of his bond. There was one tantalizing statement about Allan’s superior offering an alternative posting, but Allan never got back to him. In essence, the article was so pedantic and non-committal that it clarified practically nothing. However, given the local culture, that is no surprise at all.

Equally unsurprising was the family’s public response, asking for more information. They wanted to know “details of Allan’s discussions with his superiors”, “how a contract is subject to policy changes”, “why would a bond be breakable only in ‘strong, extenuating circumstances'” and the outcome of Allan’s letter to “HQMC Manpower in July 2008 with the intention of breaking his bond”, preferably via “an independent panel with oversight powers”.

Reasonable, what. Relevant, considering the distress Allan expressed over his job and contract. Furthermore, written in clear, restrained fashion. No soap-opera-worthy cries of, “Give me back my son!!!”

It’s just sad that they felt the need to publicize their request instead of writing directly and privately to Mindef.

Enter this silly moo with the following gem, “I can’t believe that his family is asking an inquiry into his death. Who will pay for this inquiry? Wh should taxpayers shoulder the ‘blame’ for his death?” (Errors not mine)

<Picks up jaw from floor> Excuse me? Could you possibly be a little more insensitive and thick-headed? These folks would like to know more about the main reason their son or brother committed suicide, and your fear is that someone will ask you to pay money?!

It sounds like this odd little man expects the Ooi family to do nothing besides cry quietly at home, marinating in self-blame and shamed-faced gratitude to the Armed Forces. Everyone else – wag fingers at them.

Mind you, he does raise other points that are not devoid of sense. It is fair enough to say that a contract should be honoured, and to wonder what the family did in the months that Allan went AWOL, and to say that Mindef is not 100% responsible. I have no quibble with these points.  

However, it is not fair to assume that the family was either completely ignorant or unconcerned about Allan’s problems. How would this chap even know, for goodness sake? Maybe they were distraught; maybe they persuaded to no avail; maybe Allan simply decided not to confide in them. Now that the worst has happened, of course they want to learn about details that they did not know – or perhaps were not allowed to know – that might have been important. What’s so unbelievable about that?

Gosh, I can just imagine the glee of the tabloid editors into whose laps this letter fell. Free, blameless publicity, guaranteed to ignite furore and indignation, and therefore sales. If you ask me, they are the big winners in this event. 

Unless… the guy was paid to write this letter… and Someone Up There is laughing at all of us dumb sods for taking this stupid crap so seriously…

Update: Read about my own experiences in the field here.

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Entry filed under: The Manx's Take. Tags: , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Manx’s Front Door « Home of the Manx  |  April 6, 2009 at 13:50

    […] damn stupid public letter written about the suicide of said […]

    Reply
  • 2. fairplay  |  April 7, 2009 at 11:22

    Dear Manx,
    Greetings,
    I chanced upon your website upon reading the Singapore Enquirer. I like your writing very much and have bookmarked your site in my PC. I shall be visiting it daily.
    Cheers.
    Fairplay

    Reply
    • 3. Katie  |  April 7, 2009 at 23:34

      Dear Fairplay – thank you for your very kind comment. I am much encouraged. Do you have a blog? If you do, I would love to visit. :) Katie

      Reply
      • 4. Fairplay  |  April 8, 2009 at 11:18

        Dear Katie
        I am a poor retiree. I am one of those “ugly Singaporeans” who tries to kaypoh ones a while in the forum, but mostly as a silent reader. If necessary I wish to contribute my 2 cents worth to fight for honesty and justice.
        Regards
        Fairplay

  • 5. Katie  |  April 8, 2009 at 12:49

    Hi Fairplay – I’m sure you under-rate yourself. I am too cowardly to even kaypoh in forums; that’s partly why I prefer blogging. Heh. Take care! :) K

    Reply
  • 6. Fairplay  |  April 8, 2009 at 15:14

    Dear Katie,
    Your articles in a way tell readers that you are an intelligent, upright and rational and sophisiticated person. As long as you write factually, able to right the wrong, criticise objectively you will command respect from the netizens. Like you I have great respect for the editor of WP whom I think has great qualities. Keep up your great essays. They are captivating!

    Reply
    • 7. Katie  |  April 9, 2009 at 11:24

      Heh heh, much thanks from a normal human being who happens to have undergone certain experiences. Have a great weekend!

      Reply

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Welcome to my blog!


My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.

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