As the week progresses without any news of his capture or the reasons for his escape (read Alex Au's excellent piece on the great stonewall of Singapore gahmen), the local papers continue to astound us with their ability to scrape the bottom of the news and letters barrel to fill the void.
Here is a letter from someone who did not teach Mas Selamat, did not know him, but may have been in the same building as he was when he was a child, expressing his views on the man.
Perhaps tomorrow we can have letters from people who used the same toilet he escaped from, sharing their disappointment in having used the same cubicle as he did.
"No pride in having a pupil like him
IT IS common for teachers of a school to feel gratified when a pupil becomes a well-known figure. But sometimes, it doesn't work that way.
After reading the profile of escaped detainee and Jemaah Islamiah terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari last Sunday, I was surprised to learn that he is a former pupil of Kaki Bukit Primary School.
I started my teaching career there in 1964 and taught at the school for five years. The school building still stands today at Bedok Reservoir but it is now a drug rehabilitation centre.
Mas Selamat probably studied in Kaki Bukit Primary while I was teaching there. I did not teach him as I taught the upper classes when he started Primary 1 in 1968.
The pride and joy of seeing your students do well in their career is always a special feeling when you are a teacher.
Three of my former pupils, whom I dub my very own 'Charlie's Angels', are an example. They are my family friends now and featured in one of my earlier books, an autobiographical novel.
But, sadly, I doubt if any former teacher of Kaki Bukit Primary would feel proud that someone like Mas Selamat was part of the school... (Read more)"
I showed this to a friend and he msn-ed "go n sad by yourself la, teacher". Hey, I know! I can send my own letter of disappointment too!
"No pride in having fellow Singaporean like him
IT IS common for citizens of a country to feel gratified when a fellow Singaporean becomes a well-known figure. But sometimes, it doesn't work that way.
After reading the profile of escaped detainee and Jemaah Islamiah terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari last Sunday, I was surprised to learn that he is a Singaporean.
I was born in 1969 and lived in Singapore for all these years. The country is still there.
Mas Selamat probably lived in Singapore while I was living here. I did not know him as I lived in Aljunied while he lived in Kaki Bukit in 1969. But now I am sad I breathed the same air as he did..."
In other news, the escape is covered by news agencies like AFP:
"Singapore gov't butt of jokes after prison escape
SINGAPORE (AFP) — Terrorism is usually no laughing matter, especially not in security-conscious Singapore, but the escape from custody of a limping Islamist extremist suspect has led to scorn on the Internet.
Barbed jokes and irreverent spoofs have sprouted up on websites five days after Mas Selamat bin Kastari, the alleged Singapore chief of regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, escaped with apparent ease from a detention centre... (read more)"
And Sam Leong of Sammyboy forums (yes Da Man hisself) has a view about the Wong Kan Seng apology:
"There is a big difference between saying
"This should have never have happened. I am sorry that it has"
"I apologise to the country for this serious breach of security".
The words he chose to utter in parliament were carefully crafted so as not to admit liability or accept any form of responsibility whatsoever.
Suppose my friend was injured in a hit-and-run accident and ended up in hospital.
When I visited him, I could say "This should have never have happened. I am sorry that it has.".
In no way could the words be construed to mean that I was the person who caused the accident. I am merely expressing sympathy for his predicament."
And we seem to be living in some time warp when it comes to this escape. Let's see:
1. The public knows about the escape only 4 hours later.
The reason given? "Public not told of detainee's escape earlier to avoid causing panic: Police" So research has shown that after 4 hours, the public will not panic if told that their country's top terrorist has escaped? And they gave their reason after 3 days.
2. First you tell us limping, then days later, you tell us only if he runs.
3. We find out what he WAS wearing that day he escaped, after 6 days. And we are asked to look for his discarded clothes.
"Releasing details on what the fugitive was last seen in for the first time since his escape, Police Assistant Commissioner (AC) Wong Hong Kuan told reporters on Tuesday morning that Mas Selamat was wearing the baju kurong - a very loose blouse with just a small neckline, worn over a sarong usually wrapped around the lower part of the body - while he was being taken to meet his family last Wednesday."
Maybe in next few days, they will let us know what colour Hello Kitty underwear he was wearing.
Tellingly, someone else is also missing besides Mas Selamat. Our Prime Minister has been silent all this while. Funny, he was very out there when we won the bid to host the 2010 Youth Olympics leh. Maybe he is busy lah.