Batty’s Squawk: Undoctored Truths

Teen Azizul’s legs blown off by Landmine: We are all Guilty

 See this picture in ST’s World: Sept 15, 2017.

Madam Rashida Begum at the bedside of her son Azizul Haque. The 15-year-old had lost both his legs when he stepped on a landmine as the family fled their village, the Burmese military in ruthless pursuit.

 As a mother & a grandmother I felt so much pain for Azizul’s mother. She saw his legs blown off . She spent a week at his bedside in a Bangladeshi hospital where he underwent several operations – but he still died.

The Rohingya Muslim family were among nearly 400,000 in Myanmar’s Buddhist dominated Rakhine state who sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh from the horrific violence ‘now dubbed Genocide i.e. Ethnic Cleansing’ by France’s President Macron and international humanitarian groups.

Why are we ALL GUILTY ? Because Singapore is ranked one of 20 top producers of arms among 100 countries surveyed.  And landmines are one of the weapons we produce. 

It doesn’t matter if the landmines planted did not come from Singapore.

Governments all around the world are allowing arms companies to sell and profit from ethnic cleansing and even providing military training. Even if we cannot directly pressure our government, we can respond to humanitarian groups collectively exerting pressure on governments. What horrifies me is that we are de-humanising war.  Plant landmines,

drop smart bombs – you don’t even eye-ball the ‘enemy’ . It is much harder to kill when you ‘see’ your so-called ‘enemy’ close-up.

Many border military patrols – Israel & Palestine, India and China – develop a conscience when they begin to realise that the ‘enemy’ is another human being with feelings and family. They no longer have the ‘appetite’ to destroy their homes and farms.

Even worse, we make killing fun. Surely you must have seen the posters advertising the thrill of Air Shows in Singapore. One poster showed a father carrying his daughter in his arms and pointing to the sky where jet fighters streaming deadly chemical trails were performing acrobatics. Does the father not realise that each fighter jet and its fighter pilot are trained to kill? I read a tiny item in the Straits Times where an old fighter pilot from Japan came out of retirement to protest against Japan re-arming. This 90+ year-old veteran of World War 2 battles in the Pacific said he did not stop having nightmares after the war.  He described seeing the TERROR in the eyes of young American pilots as his anti-aircraft gun scored deadly hits and the ‘enemy’ plane, caught fire, spun out of control and plunged into the sea.

Singapore produces quite an ‘impressive’ range of deadly weopons.

I remember my son – when he was in National Service – telling me that one of the girl soldiers was shot in the leg and the bullet shattered, unlike bullets of old which can be dug out. I was horrified. So, years later, when I was in a taxi driven by a middle aged taxi driver he  proudly told me he was a weopons designer, I said I hope he did not design guns that fire bullets which shatter into God knows how many scrapnels.

The taxi driver said: “ Of course I did. What’s the point in designing guns that just fire bullets that don’t shatter.”


My nephew Eugene earned his degree from NTU a year plus ago. He graduated with ‘Materials Science’ and was immediately offered a lucrative job as a weopons maker. Eugene had no hesitation in turning it down.

“ I am no longer interested in making money.” Reason? A year before that he had chanced on a book I loaned to my sister Amy. The book was ‘Anastasia of the Ringing Cedars – Siberia.’ That was his moment of awakening…of becoming conscious and developing conscience.

 Eugene read of how this ‘Goddess’ (or recluse) in the Siberian forest was influencing thousands of professionals in Russia to abandon the cities and go back to the land, to create their kin’s domain and President Putin was encouraging these professionals by giving each family a hectare free to grow their own food (organically), to start self-sufficient communities.

Google: Russia: Eco-communities inspired by Anastasia-Meagre Ringing Cedars.

Eugene read that the Anastasia movement is worldwide and similar ones have sprung up in America and Australia.  He got to know about the Japanese Fukoka and natural farming – so he went to volunteer and spent many months with Buddhist nuns outside Taipei.  He is now working and saving to buy his own land – in Taiwan.

But I hear some of you saying: But tiny Spore must defend itself. Our armed forces – are purely defensive.

But really, why are we so fearful?  Dr David Reuben M.D said in the 1970s. “People the greatest threat to the survival of you and your children is NOT some terrible nuclear weapon, it is what you are going to eat from your dinner plate tonight.”


That’s the subject of another Batty’s Squawk: Un-doctored Truths.  

So, if I have woken you up to realise that we are all guilty and can do something, at least start with two actions.

1.  Under pressure governments are waking up — UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced an end to all training of and co-operation with the Myanmar military, until the violence stops. If enough of us join the call for a global arms embargo we can make other governments — and even the UN — follow suit.

* Please, will you take action now and join the call for a global arms embargo now?


2. The Avaaz appeal for Donations so that families trapped on one side of the river can hire boats to cross to the other.

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