KRI Usman Harun

GENERAL MOELDOKO SAYS HIS LUXURY WATCH IS FAKE

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Gen. Moeldoko rebuffed Singaporean media reports on his lavish watch collection and claimed that he only purchased knockoff watches to satisfy his curiosity about watch technology. “In the market, this watch could fetch for more than Rp 1 billion [US$85,984], but I bought it for only Rp 5 million,” Moeldoko said after a meeting with the Philippines’ armed forces chief, Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista, in Jakarta on Wednesday. Moeldoko was responding to foreign media reports about his penchant for collecting expensive watches. One of the watches was a limited edition Richard Mille he wore during an interview with a Singaporean news channel.

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Indonesian Warship Naming Row: Why Usman and Harun are not heroes

Nationalism is legitimate and peoples are fully entitled to resist foreign colonial rule. In contrast, the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state is a violation of international law, prohibited under Article 2(4) of the Charter. Konfrontasi was an entirely unprovoked attack against the territorial integrity of Singapore that had nothing to do with self-defence.

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INDONESIAN ARMED FORCES CHIEF APOLOGISES OVER NAMING OF WARSHIP

The Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces has apologised over the naming of an Indonesian warship after two marines who carried out the bombing of MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965. General Moeldoko told Channel NewsAsia that the Indonesian military had meant no ill-will, and had not intended to stir up emotions in Singapore. He said the episode has been a learning process, and he is confident that future ties between the two militaries would grow even stronger. General Moeldoko said: "Once again I apologise. We have no ill intent whatsoever to stir emotions. Not at all. Second, relations between the two countries are on the mend. There have been communications among leaders. Singapore's Chief of Defence and I have spoken."

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Not business as usual for Indonesia-Singapore defence relations

Or it may have been staged because Indonesia’s Korps Marinir (Marine Corps) has absolutely no other national heroes in its long history. Whatever the case, Indonesia’s decision to have two of its marines walk side by side, dressed up in 1960s-era uniforms this past week emblazoned with the names “Usman” and “Harun” indicates that the Usman-Harun warship naming episode is, quite literally in this instance, far from dead.

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Alex Au: Let others have their heroes

Singapore should never have re-opened this matter. In May 1973, six years after hanging the two men whom we refused to recognise as prisoners of war, Lee Kuan Yew was made to lay flowers at the graves of Harun and Usman. Astute observers would have read this act of contrition as the price Singapore had to pay to normalise relations with Indonesia post-Konfrontasi. By bringing this up again, current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong not only looks thin-skinned, but risks being made to make another trip to visit the graves on his next official visit to Indonesia. The trouble with Singapore is that every time we throw a fit like this, we look terribly immature and petty as a country, and paint ourselves as too self-important by half. Our government does us no favours.

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DR NG ENG HEN: INDON WARSHIP USMAN HARUN BANNED FROM SINGAPORE

Singapore will ban the Indonesian warship, named after two marines who carried out a bombing in Orchard Road, from calling at the Republic's ports or naval bases. The Singapore Armed Forces, as "protectors of this nation", will also not sail alongside or undergo training exercises with the new Indonesian navy frigate, the KRI Usman Harun, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, in response to MP Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC).

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LIEUTENANT-GENERAL (Ret) WINSTON CHOO: Hard-won relations, So Easily Forgotten

When the Indian Ocean tsunami struck in 2004, the SAF was the first to reach and lend a hand, deploying an unprecedented amount of manpower and assets in its history of disaster assistance. When Singapore was in need in December 1997, when SilkAir Flight MI185 crashed into the Musi River near Palembang, killing all 104 passengers and crew, the Indonesians came swiftly to our aid.

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Bilahari Kausikan: Sensitivity is a two-way street

My father was ambassador to Indonesia when Singapore's embassy was sacked. After the mob attacked our embassy, he and all our staff remained at post, operating from Hotel Indonesia. I was a schoolboy studying in Singapore at that time. But shortly after the attack, he summoned me to Jakarta to join him and my mother. I now realise that it was to show that we were not intimidated. It was my first lesson in diplomacy.

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SALIM OSMAN: THE DAYS WHEN BOMBS WENT OFF IN MY KAMPUNG

The Indonesian soldiers who infiltrated Singapore to carry out the bombings were all of Malay stock. Some could have well been relatives of Malays who had migrated to Singapore from Java. I recall the swirl of talk in the kampung then: What should the Malays do if the saboteurs came to them to seek refuge? Should we provide food and shelter, or should we surrender them to the authorities?

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LET INDONESIA NAME THEIR WARSHIP WHATEVER THEY WANT

And don’t bother about being sensitive towards Singapore. The damaged relationship between Singapore and Indonesia can be easily repaired. Naming your warship after 2 terrorists is more important than your relationship with your neighbours. And don’t worry. The next time you have an earthquake or tsunami, Singapore will still provide assistance like we always do.

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