Inculcate right values in Mindef, govt bodies

In a recent report, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng was quoted as saying: "For any organisation's publicity efforts, they would definitely look for people who are pleasant-looking as one of the key factors, because that generally appeals to readers" (Mindef: Glamour pictures do not dilute soldiers' roles; Aug 19).

We should remind ourselves that the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) is not just any organisation.

When I was a platoon commander, the best recruit who I nominated for an award was bypassed by my superior for another one of his mates in his platoon.

I was told that my nomination would not be "pleasant-looking" enough to compete for the best soldier against other companies' nominations.

I was very disappointed as he was truly the best in fitness, discipline, military knowledge and was always helpful with his fellow platoon mates.

This is not the kind of values we want to inculcate in Mindef or other governmental organisations and, ultimately, in our society.

But my experience was something that took place a long time ago and the Singapore Armed Forces has changed beyond recognition since then.

Events held by organisations for showcasing should not become ones for showboating.

Too much sugar-coating could have an effect on credibility.

Tay Yew Chee

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