By: B Goode
There are many reasons for us to be thankful for having Indonesia as a friendly neighbour.
Housemaids, cheap and reliable food source, supply of natural gas, 9 months of fresh air (hehe), billions of tourist dollars, billions more stashed in our banks, military training facilities, keroncong, dangdut, trade and the list could go on and on.
And not to mention the paradise island of Batam where the food is scrumptious and the hookers vivacious, according to my friends of course.
Most recently, Indonesian security forces have foiled an attempt by a group of ISIS sympathizers to attack Marina Bay using rockets to be fired from Batam.
Some of our reactions to that news were baffling and downright absurd. We ridiculed it and questioned its veracity. We wondered whether it was just a ploy by the Indonesian government to raise its stature with the world. We argued whether the group were actually capable of getting and firing rockets to traverse all the 20km separating Batam and Singapore. Some of us even laughed at it as though it was a joke.
Does it matter whether the group are capable or not? The fact that they planned such an attack was good enough for us to be concerned. And bad enough for the Indonesian authorities to take action.
So I say; thank you Indonesia.
Which brings me to the point about Singapore-Indonesia relations. We are entitled to be frustrated and even angry at some of the antics by the Indonesian Ministers especially on the haze issue. We can laugh at the Indonesians for their corruption and inefficiencies. But the crux of the matter is, without a friendly and accommodating Indonesia, we will not be where we are now.
A belligerent Indonesia can disrupt Singapore’s trade. A belligerent Indonesia will turn away foreign investments because foreign companies want a safe haven for their capital. A belligerent Indonesia is simply not good for our little red dot.
So we have to tamper our negative perception of Indonesia with the reality that we need Indonesia to be stable, friendly and prosperous. And this is not only for us Singaporeans, but more so for our government leaders.
When it comes to serious matters such as cross-border terrorism, and when Indonesia has shown good neighbourliness by thwarting a plan to attack Singapore, we have to give credit where credit is due and be quick to show our appreciation.
So once again I say: Thank you Indonesia!