Why the sudden resignation of a high-flying colonel is not newsworthy.
By Myk Litoris
Special Defence Correspondent Report
Colonel Nelson Yau says "I quit!"
There has been quite a few media reports that are portraying the resignation of Singapore Armed Forces regular Colonel Nelson Yau, who was also the chairman of the National Day Parade organising committee, as a mystery and a shock.
I mean, is this necessary?
Yes, no reasoning has been given other than saying that his departure is due to “personal reasons”.
But what should we be expecting from the Singapore Armed Forces?
For them to reveal the whole case in black and white?
Disseminate the news over Twitter the moment Colonel Yau sat down with his colleagues to inform them about his resignation last Monday?
Imagine how this would look: “Col Nel Yau quits SAF. Becos he cannot tahan cookhouse food anymore? More details soon.”
Put it out on Facebook?
Call Tessa Wong of The Straits Times the moment he decided to bail?
But more importantly, why should his sudden resignation be of any interest to the general public?
Yes, it could possibly be true that without the calibre of Colonel Yau to oversee the organisation of this year’s 47th National Day Parade, our nation’s birthday celebration will go to the dogs.
There won’t be the bright lights. Or the sorry-looking NSFs prancing around, working below minimum wage levels. Or the fire works might be replaced with hand-held sparklers.
And even if it did take place, instead of a dazzling display of performers running around and reenacting Singapore’s tempestuous rise away from Malaysia and the proud military showboating technique of rifle-twirling, we have the normal cake-cutting with candle-blowing, followed by a buffet that is normally found at a 12-year-old’s birthday celebration.
But we all know the military is never short of talent.
Look, they’ve even produced Chan Chun Sing!
So to really proclaim shock at anything, there is a need to produce miraculous evidence.
Because, all things considered, it is not as if Colonel Yau is quiting the Singapore Armed Forces to join Al Qaeda.
If that were the case, it will truly be newsworthy.
It will be like Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader all over again.
Switching sides like this will be something that will deserve a screaming font size 72-worthy headline.
So what else would be considered news?
Well, if Colonel Yau quit the SAF so he can become a woman.
This would attract attention for sure. But no worries, because The New Paper will be on his case and they will provide a lot of anonymous quotes by people who might not even exist to talk about him.
But this will truly be a personal story worth reporting.
Other than these two scenarios, what else can provoke a lot of interest?
Mmm let’s see. He quits the SAF because he has grown gills and he is becoming a full-time fish?
That would be an evolutionary step in the right direction.
Yes, I know. There might in fact be more than meets the eye.
But then again, so what?
Even if Colonel Yau quits so that he will be eligible to join a political party to contest in Hougang SMC, why should this be news?
Everyone knows that if he joins the PAP, they will still lose no matter what.