TL;DR – Thank you, Sir!
An unattended bag caused Hougang MRT station to be temporarily closed. Here’s the timeline of what happened:
Some people ask whether it was necessary to close the station. Definitely. Look at what happened in Russia. A bomb went off on Saint Petersburg’s equivalent of our MRT. That blast killed 14 people. As Minister Shanmugam, said:
“There were questions as to whether we overreacted. But if it were really a bomb, then the question will be why we didn’t, so closing it was the right thing to do.”
The staff of SBS Transit must be commended for their alertness. It goes to show that our transport workers have been well-trained. We can rest a little bit more soundly knowing that our security forces and transport workers are well-prepared to handle such incidents expeditiously while ensuring the safety of civilians around.
However, some people just can’t accept the fact that our Home Team did well. These people include the social media site All Singapore Stuff. This is the title of their article:
Whoever wrote that article clearly has never served in the army during NS. Anyone who has served in the Army during NS would treat all explosives with a bit of fear and a lot of respect. They would remember the grenade throwing exercise. Whenever there is a blank, there will be a long wait. Why? Because we needed to wait to be sure that the grenade is a dud. Then the professional bomb disposal people need to go in to detonate the grenade.
And that is dealing with a grenade, something of a known explosive force and destructive power. The police had no idea what was in the bag. It could well have contained a real bomb of unknown destructive power. If there was a real bomb in that bag, anything – moving the bag or opening it – could have triggered it.
Would we rather the police went in without the proper precautions, without moving people out of harm’s way, without conducting the proper checks? Definitely not. Anyone who thinks otherwise ought to get their heads checked. And checked soon. Because they might just go around opening suspicious packages that would blow up and hurt people around them.
Yes. It did take slightly more than an hour to determine that the bag didn’t contain a bomb. Sure. The police should think of how they can accomplish the same task in a shorter time. After all, we should always seek to improve. But it’s completely irresponsible to make such snide remarks like what All Singapore Stuff did.
Just as well that All Singapore Stuff has been identified by Minister Shanmugam as a website that regularly generates fake news. Let’s hope that Singaporeans wise up and don’t get conned by such fake news sites.
As for this incident, the police had a job to do. Their job was by no means simple. Given the complexity of their task, they did it to the best of their ability, with what is certainly superlative efficiency.
We should applaud our police for what they have accomplished. And we should all be as alert as the staff of SBS Transit. Today, it’s a bag with household items. In the future, it may well be a real bomb.