Wednesday, 17 February 2016

New battleground for Singapore's security in cyberspace: Maliki Osman at Total Defence Day 2016

By Dominic Teo and Aw Cheng Wei, The Straits Times, 16 Feb 2016

A new battle has emerged on cyberspace and social media platforms.

The weapons: messages by terrorist groups seeking to incite hate and discrimination.

To fight back, one needs a rational mindset that can reject such messages. It is a form of social resilience that is increasingly important, said Senior Minister of State for Defence Maliki Osman yesterday.

Total Defence Day Commemoration Event 2016
“We have to recognize that every Singaporean has a role to play, every community has a role to play.” Said Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman at the Total Defence Day (TD Day) Commemoration Event held at ‘The Future of Us’ exhibition on 15 Feb. During the event, Dr Maliki also toured the TD exhibition at the Marketplace and participated in one of the SGfutures engagement sessions entitled “The changing faces of threats and Total Defence”. A similar TD showcase with activities and plays is also being held at the S'pore Discovery Centre. SMS Ong Ye Kung had participated in an earlier SGfutures engagement session where students shared about the important factors that will allow us to keep Singapore strong. Catch excerpts of the various interviews and also the highlights of the TD exhibitions both at the Future-of-Us exhibition and the S’pore Discovery Centre.#TD2016#KeepSGStrongDr Maliki Osman
Posted by cyberpioneer on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Speaking on Total Defence Day at at The Future of Us, an exhibition at Gardens by the Bay, Dr Maliki said: "The real battle of today and of the future is for the hearts and minds of our people."

Groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have used the Internet and social media to recruit followers and successfully spread their ideology, said Dr Maliki, who is also Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

He named terrorism as the biggest threat facing all countries, and warned terrorist attacks that have struck Paris, Istanbul and Jakarta remain a possibility in Singapore.

Nearly 1,000 men and women from South-east Asia, including Singapore, have travelled to the Middle East to fight for ISIS and they pose a serious threat to Singapore's security, he said.

Singapore's Total Defence strategy relies on the five pillars of military, civil, economic, social and psychological defence, and yesterday Dr Maliki paid special attention to the last two as the only way to reject extremist ideologies and to come back from any acts of terror.

Agreeing, Dr Shashi Jayakumar, head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security, cited US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who lists cyberthreats as the most potent emerging threat, followed by terrorism.

Dr Shashi termed cyberthreats as "slow burn" threats that erode resilience and thus ultimately a nation's defence capabilities.

Social defence forms an important aspect of prevention in which Singaporeans will alert the authorities to people they know who are being radicalised.

Also yesterday, a discussion was held on Total Defence and the changing face of threats. Some 80 participants, including 47 ordinary Singaporeans, shared their views on what these were.

Mr Fang Koh Look, 48 , the executive chairman of a consultancy firm, said he was pleased at the diversity of participants whose opinions would shape the future.

Dr Shashi also warned against merely planning for present threats.

He warned that, within 40 years, Singapore would become the ideal destination for climate change refugees in the area.

"Why not Singapore? We are safe. We are secure," he said.

As part of Total Defence Day, the Total Defence Exhibition at The Future of Us exhibition and S'pore Discovery Centre is jointly organised by Nexus and S'pore Discovery Centre. Both are open to the public.

They came from all ages. Some bore medals, some in school uniforms, while others held josssticks. Leaders of different...
Posted by Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth - MCCY on Monday, February 15, 2016

1,000 gather to remember victims of Japanese Occupation
By Rachel Chia YT, The Straits Times, 16 Feb 2016

Madam Tan Hong Choo could not recall how old she was when Japanese soldiers took her father away.

"I don't even know where or how my father died," said the 86-year- old at a memorial service for civilian victims of the Japanese Occupation yesterday. "The Japanese chased us out of the house and drove us in a lorry from Geylang to Telok Kurau.

"That night, my father cut down a banana leaf from a nearby tree for me to sleep on. The next day, they took him away and he never returned. I was so close to him, so being here fills me with sadness."

Madam Tan, who was at the event with her sister and daughter, has been attending the service every year since the war memorial in Beach Road was built 49 years ago.

They were among some 1,000 people, including students and foreign ambassadors, who attended the service, held by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry each year on Total Defence Day on Feb 15, the date when Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942.

At the start of the ceremony, a localised "all-clear" siren was sounded - a symbolic move showing that danger was not present. This was followed by a minute of silence.

Then five wreaths were placed at the memorial by, among other groups, students, religious leaders and army veterans, who included Singapore Armed Forces Veterans League president Winston Toh .

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, the guest of honour, launched a campaign titled #neveragain, to strengthen support for national service and remind Singaporeans of the need for defence.

She said: "We have learnt very painful lessons about the effects of war, so it's very important for them to appreciate the value of peace and the need to defend the country."

At 6.20pm yesterday, the Singapore Civil Defence Force also sounded its Public Warning System sirens across the island, in support of Total Defence Day.


Built in 1967 and gazetted as a national monument in 2013.

Also called the Chopsticks, with four tapering columns symbolising the unity of Singapore's four races.

Contains a vault underneath with the remains of civilians who were not cremated but buried, owing to objections from the Muslim and Catholic communities.

Most of the civilians were killed in the Sook Ching massacre during the Japanese Occupation, and their remains were found in 1962 in areas such as Siglap and Bukit Timah.

Cost about $300,000, with half paid by the Government - including a sum from Japan as atonement for war crimes - and the other half by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Was the winning entry in an open design contest, and designed by Mr Leong Swee Lin from architectural firm Swan & Mclaren.

Officially opened by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on Feb 15, 1967, the 25th anniversary of the day that the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese.

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