Singapore Summit 2018: USA & North Korea

WhatsApp Image 2018-07-12 at 23.18.52At the beginning of mankind’s history, there was harmony. According to the Christian Holy Bible, after mankind was created, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, which was the beginning of numerous problems. Probably the first agreement between human beings was the beginning of many troubles to follow. Men against men, nations against nations has been the theme of our history. (Matthew 24:7 – Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…)

In spite of all these conflicts, we managed to prosper. The standard of living has been slowly improving and life in our 21st century is leaps and bounds better than the previous century. Out of the 7 billion people on this planet, more and more lucky ones are accessing piped water and electricity. Even though some of us still prefer to purchase and consume bottled water, piped water allows us to quench our thirst without stepping out of our shelters. In addition, I strongly believe that piped water significantly improved our home hygiene practice too – the fact that we can maintain a relatively clean bathroom certainly reduced many diseases. Those people who live in municipalities where there was fluoride in the water also enjoyed much less dental decay. Even though I am in the dental service, I truly understand that nobody comes in my office to see me for fun. Some of our patients are still fearful to come in no matter how friendly and efficient our colleagues are.

The mastery of electricity is arguably, the most significant breakthrough in our civilisation. Without such know how, the vast majority of our modern technology would not work. If we look back at the quality of our life, the 21st century has been better than the last century, the 90s were better than the 70s and the 70s were better than the 50s. It is safe to conclude that, barring any international conflicts or giant natural disasters, mankind would fare better in the upcoming decades.

Natural disasters, and Acts of God remind us of our vulnerability. In contrast with human inventions, we never fail to create newer and bigger troubles that are unprecedented. Our invention can sometimes be of the worst kind! Albert Einstein is known for his genius – his contribution to physics was one of a kind. The idea of nuclear power was ground breaking in our civilian life, at peace time and at war.

North Korea certainly got the world to pay attention when they showed that they possessed nuclear power and long range missiles. This made the Americans very concerned about their own safety. A push of ONE wrong button had the potential to set off nuclear detonations that would kick up enough dust in our atmosphere such that the resulting manmade ice-age would reset our planet for tens of thousands of year. This would likely be the end of civilisation.

As far as I know, Singapore and Malaysia are two special countries where citizens can travel freely to North Korean without a visa. North Korea is still relatively mystical. I have seen the world a little but it was in Singapore that I got to know a few perfectly normal folks who originated from North Korea. It was so surreal.

When Donald Trump was nominated as President of the USA, people thought it was the fulfillment of a prediction from the popular Simpsons cartoon… but when he was actually elected into the role, I had to pay attention as his country has the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons. When an ever unorthodox Trump and a colourful North Korean get heated up on the topic of mass destruction weapons, my ears listen.

I saw no logic with a lot of complaints in Singapore when people heard that it would cost the country about SGD$20mil to host the USA/North Korea summit on June 12, 2018. A cost of SGD$20mil for a meet up on an important international issue that may affect all of mankind is a bargain to me. The fact that Singapore, aka the little red dot was in the position to host such event, IMHO is an honor that I have no complaint about.

Knowing that close to 50% of Singaporeans are professionally trained as soldiers and the city-state is such a well organised place, I only feel safer for myself and my family because I know the chance of terrible things happening to the two country’s leaders is low.

The two camps were based at the St Regis hotel and the Shangri-La hotel, both of which were quite close to my training ground and my work place. Being a busy body, I ran from my training ground to the two hotels during the summit period. The security was waterproof but not alarmingly tight. I even ran into an area where I was not supposed to run into but the Singapore security was courteous to let me run away. That formed part of a good session for my Gold Coast marathon training.

When strong personalities meets, the outcomes are unpredictable. This time at the Singapore summit, the two leaders seemed to hit it off well and they carried themselves professionally. I hope this may resolve some differences between their political and economic ideologies.

SGD$20 million? Is it a lot of money? Or is it another case of, ‘Can’t afford it? Or can’t afford not to have it?’

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