Singapore dismisses Wikileaks expose as mere ‘cocktail talk’

Singapore's senior diplomats believe the leaders of their neighbors are opportunists, sodomists, and corrupt politicians. And they think India is stupid and Japan is a big fat loser. This was reported last Sunday by Australia’s Fairfax Media group which got hold of several exclusive Wikileaks documents.

Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo dismisses the report as unreliable and reminds the public that the comments were taken out of context.

These are interpretations by US diplomats of what they have heard, their conversations. I don't think it is right of us to comment on these, because these conversations were confidential, some might be informal, but we don't know the context, so I would not go beyond that. But it is bad practice to me for such confidential communications to be leaked, because it makes future confidential communications that much more difficult.

What are the reactions of Singapore bloggers? Loh and Behold is surprised that diplomats made those embarrassing comments

Men – diplomats no less – it seems can’t wait to shoot their mouths off at the slightest opportunity!

We have some fine examples right here!

Such comments coming from an “Ambassador-at-Large” – whatever that means – are very embarrassing indeed.

Why do we still refer to some people as “diplomats” when they aren’t that diplomatic at all ?

Singapore Life and Times is hesitant to support Wikileaks

You can't deny that these news sell, and embarrass at the same time. In a sense, it titillates our baser instincts to uncover the way top leaders describe each other. It certainly is not gentlemanly talk, but that's the point. These conversations are not meant to be available to the public, so our protagonists let fly with colourful phrases about each other. I am sure that for every colour adverb used by person on another, at least another in like is made in return. You let loose under cover of confidence. Its fair game.

And aren't we all like this anyway? We say the damnest things about somebody behind their backs but are very civil in front of him/her. And we do so not merely out of spite, but to express our most honest views to the people closest to us because they know where we are comng from and the circumstances leading to those views (the context). And, truth be told, it is very useful communication. I am not trying to apologise for anyone, just that I agree that certain things are best left unsaid in public.

Which is why I don't support the growing chorus of voices in support of wikileaks. If you do, then can you also say what you say in private in public the next tine, and every other time? If not, then don't be hypocrites.

Musings from the Lion City points out that the views of Singapore diplomats are solicited by the Americans because Singapore is perceived to be the ‘most pro-America country’ in South-east Asia.

I believe the reason why the Americans asked for our assessment is quite simply because Singapore is the most pro-America country in South-east Asia.

I feel too much has been made of the whole WikiLeaks thing. The diplomats’ comments are unlikely to stoke tension in the region because talk is just talk. Worse, these are talk from 2 years ago! Embarrassing but they are nothing Singaporeans should be afraid or proud of.

Yawning Bread interprets the comments as a reflection of the the ‘hollowness of our sense of self-importance

What’s worrying is that our foreign ministry officials may not be worth very much. They’re just parlaying common knowledge, open secrets or conventional wisdom. They don’t show themselves to have much by way of especial insight or conceptual boldness.

In fact, they too may know it, as seen from the way they quickly resort to hyperbole. It is precisely when one privately knows that one has no substance that one spices up the delivery.

These reports therefore suggest attempts to impress the Americans with our “understanding” of the region by making exaggerated remarks. But the lack of substance and the contemptuous tone only reveals the hollowness of our sense of self-importance and further reinforces our shameful trait of arrogance.

Senang Diri thinks the diplomats gave a frank and believable assessment of the situation in the region

The comments made thus far are not necessarily a bad thing for Singapore. It would have been far more damaging, not to say embarrassing for Singapore, if her diplomats were exposed as bumbling idiots whose viewpoints were sought after only for comic relief. Thankfully, these WikiLeaks exposes have shown that behind closed doors, our diplomats do shine.

Singapore Notes urges government officials to ‘control that wagging tongue’ during ‘cocktail talk’

It's confirmed. The BMD (Big Mouth Disease) is contagious. More virulent that H1N1, our nation's security is being threatened by characters who's pecadillo is to prance around on the world stage, seeking adulation. Foreign Minister George Yeo says not to worry about the “cocktail talk”, affirming that these high earners are tasked to imbibe alcohol at tax payers’ expense. The least they could do is to learn to hold their liquor, and control that wagging tongue

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