So, the Indonesians politicians have done it again. Called us a “small country like that” this time. And seriously, enough is enough. Just because we are small in size doesn’t mean you can belittle us.
In case you missed the news, basically a lot of rich Indonesians have been investing or putting their money overseas to avoid taxes, purportedly including Singapore. So the Indonesians came up with this Tax Amnesty Programme, to encourage Indonesians to declare their past earnings with no repercussion for earlier evasion. But Indonesian media and ministers have been accusing Singapore of offering incentives to thwart this Tax Amnesty Programme, and causing Indonesians to leave their money in Singapore instead of repatriating them back to Indonesia.
Their politicians chimed in, and warned Singapore not to sabo the programme. And their Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said, “Just let it be, I am not afraid of Singapore which is just a small country like that”. [THEY MAKE US!!!]
On Friday, the Singapore Embassy in Indonesia issued a statement to refute these claims, saying that Singapore has not implemented any policies nor cut tax rates in response to their new law. On Saturday, MAS and MOF also buay tahan and issued a statement to reiterate the Embassy’s points.
Then our own Minister Shanmugam (last time he was foreign minister) also fed up and wrote on his Facebook, saying he doesn’t know “why there is this constant attempt to put us down; and taunting us that we are small”. And he ended off with this awesome para which has gotten sappork from many Singaporeans:
“Yes, we are a little red dot. We may be small. But we are respected and successful. And our people lead meaningful lives. And we don’t live in fear of anyone else.”
[NOW, TAKE THAT!!]
Not the first time!
It seems like the Indonesian politicians have a history of making us. Apparently, the term “little red dot” was bestowed upon us by their former President B. J. Habibie (ok, don’t make any jokes there) in 1998, when he said that he did not see us as a friend, and “it’s ok with me, but there are 211 million people (in Indonesia). All the green (area) is Indonesia. And that red dot is Singapore”.
Then if you remember their Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, also said more than once that we should be “grateful for the clean air” we enjoy the rest of the year when there is no haze.
Small but steady
Amazingly, people really come together when we have a common “enemy”. I saw a lot of people online come together to make Indonesia back, and to support Minister Shanmugam’s comments that we are small but successful. But of course, some of them took things a little too far, and said some pretty mean things about Indonesia. Good to know there is so much pride in our little country. But that said, let’s aim to be the BIGGER person (even though we from small country) and not get too harsh/brutal in our comments. Remember that it’s just those politicians who are trying to push their problems to an external party (ie. us), and it doesn’t represent all the Indonesians’ views.
Lastly, in the spirit of the upcoming National Day, here’s hoping that Singapore will always be this small but steady!!