ME1 Clarie Teo Should have Stayed in the Engine Room

Photo credit to whoever who took this photo

I like it on rare occasions when Singaporeans call a spade a spade. Yes the Navy recruitment advertisement uses a hiring bait. I don't think the Navy will deny that. But what to do? Put lao encik with big moustache fucking wayang soldiers running around in their ship yielded terrible recruitment rates. Put chiobu in the advertisement lah! What are Singaporeans so worked up?

My friend Gintai [link] said that our defence is no joking matter. He said,

"The next thing they will do the same for the army! Nonsense lah!"
"They think they selling cosmetics or fashion izzit?"
"They will attract the strawberry generation but turn away the tough guys lah!"
"National security dah! No joking matter but they get young sex lady in their recruitment campaign! Stupid! You should blog on that."

Look. The force said they needed a new generation of thinking soldiers. They didn't specify which head should be doing the thinking. You can't fault them.

However, Gintai had a point. When I watched the Navy advertisement, I learnt next to nothing about the Navy as well as the engine room that ME1 Clarie Teo was supposed to look after. I caught a few glimpses of a couple of Navy boys calefare wayanging around and the rest of the video showed a make up artist touching up the chiobu during her pre-shoot leading to her interview. After a few shots of her posing charmingly, Clarie was asked why she chose to join the navy, in which she replied she was looking for an adventurous job, the sea, the sun and to travel around the world. Lastly they got her to sing a tune to showcase her talent. It looked like an introductory clip before Miss Universe Singapore appeared on stage.

Yeah, I'll rather watch a pretty girl singing a tune than, say, a clip of ex-Chief of Navy Lui Tuck Yew explaining how great the Navy was and expressing his deep regrets of leaving Navy only to be arrowed to fix broken-down trains.

"At least a ship still moves with the tide when the engine breaks down," I can imagine Tuck Yew lament. "Now let me get to the engine room to fix things up." Previously, every man who aspire to join the Navy wants to be a diver or at least man the gun. Now, most just want to go to the engine room.

From a hiring point of view, the Navy's decision to put up such an advertisement was a puzzling one, considering that the fact employers usually design advertisement to attract the right people that align with the goals of the organisations, such as more of the willingness to defend Singapore's coastline in the this case and less about traveling the world enjoying the sun and the sea with a lovely lass. Instead, Navy's advertisement covertly or overtly portray these messages,

Skirt chasers and wussy vagabonds are welcomed

If you think it is a chilling thought to have a wuss such as Chan Chun Sing as one of our ex Chief-of-Army, think of a scenario where the majority of our "regulars" (full time defenders) are gentle sensitive-new-age-guys. Look, I don't have a problem against nice gentlemen but they belong to the working society, not the military. Just look at how the Little India riot went. The commander peed in his plain clothes in his safety zone, unable to control the situation with theory. In the defence force, we need the thugs. Smart and disciplined thugs who can take on real problems, not simulated scenarios. 

We are training for peace not war

In my personal opinion, the last thing a defence force need is a white-knight environment. I have the highest doubt if male personnel are able to stick to their roles instead of turning white knights to save their damsels in need during an emergency. This issue will not be relevant during peacetime. However if we are building a force to prepare for peace, it will not justify our phenomenal defence budget.

The job doesn't necessarily require a male to perform

But I say, the women should stay in the kitchen. I am not sexist. I have full confidence that any competent Singaporean daughter can perform a role such as what ME1 Teo is undertaking for the Navy. The question is not about competency but whether we are ready for a paradigm shift in terms of gender equality in our defence force. If we are ready to give our Singaporean daughters the full recognition that they can contribute as much, if not more than our Singaporean sons, then they should go through a full conscription like the men instead of skipping the fire ring and climb straight onto the podium.

To conclude, if I were in charge of marketing the Navy, I'll rather keep a good woman like ME1 Teo in the engine room instead of making her the face of the Navy. It is also counter-productive to try to attract men to rejoin the Navy after they completed their National Service and become part of the working society. Ideally, the National Service experience should be fulfilling enough to convince an adequate number of men why it is the right choice to sign on and defend our country at the end of their NS. Unfortunately it isn't so at the moment, hardly surprising in an environment where much thinking is being preferably done with the smaller head.


  1. Nix

    You cannot put a chiobu picture and talk about the SG Navy.

    I know it was not your fault they got that ME1 as the advertising mascot but even after reading the entire post, I still feel cheated like an April fool.

    A bit like enjoying shark fin soup and told later it was fake abalone and shark fin, it shouldn't matter since it still comes out of me looking the same but still hurts to know

  2. I would like to work with such a beautiful colleague.

  3. "I'm not sexist"

    This whole blogpost suggests that you are.

  4. They should learn from a airasia technician advert.