Asia Singapore MPs draw flak online for colour coordinating their outfits in Parliament to...

MPs draw flak online for colour coordinating their outfits in Parliament to talk about defence matters after NSman dies

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“(A) 25yo NSman died yesterday but yeah I’m glad they’re color coordinating their outfits in parliament”.


Two People’s Action Party Members of Parliament drew the ire of social media users for colour coordinating their dresses to make a point on defence and military training. One Member of Parliament (MP), Don Wee dressed in blue and yellow and said that he dressed in that manner to emphasise the importance of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

The MP Don Wee said, “Sir, the colours of my outfit today emphasise the importance of SAF’s realistic training and its safety record.”

After Wee finished speaking, Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin said, “I have to confess, I’m quite confused by the colours”.

Blue and Yellow are the colours of the Ukrainian flag. Singapore recently sanctioned Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The Singapore Government said the invasion is a stark reminder for Singapore that it cannot depend on others to protect our country. It said that this is why Singapore has invested consistently to build up a credible and strong SAF, and to maintain National Service as a fundamental element of our nationhood.

Wee did not clarify if he wore the Ukrainian flag colours to Parliament to emphasise this point.

Wee said that safe training in SAF will give families who send their children to serve national service an assurance. He added that the safety record rates in the SAF will reflect how well troops and resources are managed.

“The SAF Inspector-General’s Office, IGO in short, plays an important role in strengthening safety and safety culture in the SAF. I understand that the IGO conducts independent safety audits and inspections within SAF. I support efforts to critically review how the SAF services and formations implement safety policies and access the strength and prevalence of the safety culture. Will Mindef provide an update on the SAF IGO’s audit findings and the training safety measures that have been introduced in response to its findings”

Another MP who rose to speak after Wee, Denise Phua, spoke on Total Defence and asked how many Singaporeans are aware of the relevance of each pillar of Total Defence, in everyday life.

But before she began her speech Phua said, “Sir (Speaker), I hope you’re not confused by my national colours.”

She wore a red and white outfit to Parliament. Red and White are the national colours of Singapore.

Tan responded to Phua saying, “”These colours I understand.”

Wee and Phua’s speeches in Parliament came barely one day after a 25-year-old SAF Operationally Ready National Serviceman (NSman) died after collapsing while taking part in an exercise session at West Coast Park.

The NSman collapsed while participating in Health Promotion Board (HPB)’s Quick HIIT session in West Coast Park at 7.38pm on 2 March 2022. He was participating in the Quick HIIT session as part of the NS FIT.

The NS FIT programme, introduced in collaboration with HPB and Sport Singapore (SportSG) in 2021 is a fitness programme designed to encourage NSmen to adopt active and healthy lifestyles by bringing NS fitness activities nearer to the community. NS FIT offers a variety of fitness activities across 42 locations island-wide, including the Fitness Conditioning Centres (FCCs) in SAF camps, selected public parks, HPB Quick HIIT sites and SAFRA Energy-One gym.

The NSman was subsequently conveyed to National University Hospital (NUH) where he was was pronounced dead at 9.21pm.

Many commenters in different social media platforms said that they were surprised at the lack of substance in the speeches of these MPs.

One Twitter user said, “an 25yo NSman died yesterday but yeah i’m glad they’re color coordinating their outfits in parliament”. The Twitter user’s post is retweeted over 130 times, and has over 300 likes.

Another Twitter user said that their colour coordinated outfits to make a speech in Parliament is “like an episode of Office.” The Office is a mockumentary that follows the day-to-day lives of the employees of a fictional paper supply company.

Several commenters expressed that they wished the MPs made coherent speeches. They noted that the speeches of Wee and Phua came after another PAP MP, Ang Wei Neng, suggested that degrees from our local universities have a timestamp and expiry date. The Internet erupted with ridicule and scorn at his suggestion.

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