The only reason I can think of is that after all those years studying, he suddenly lost the use of his limbs and got himself downgraded. I believe his limbs are all in good working condition though. Good enough to hold test tubes and to turn on and off the air conditioner in his DMERI office.
Even if that is the case, the fact is that he should not, as Cedric Foo declared in Parliament, been given "cushy office jobs in Mindef" and had to be "sent down to the ground units instead".
The denigrating but thoroughly deserved label of Phoney Tan introduced by a forummer, will stick onto Tony Tan if he and his son continue to vomit out irrelevant, peripheral and evasive answers to the questions being asked.
Minister tells more about 'white horses'.
147th Prostitute Press
19 November 2003
PEOPLE in Internet chatrooms did not believe him, nor did some writers to The Straits Times Forum page.
They argued that contrary to what Minister of State (Defence) Cedric Foo told Parliament last week, that 'white horses' did not get special treatment during national service, the opposite was true.
Yesterday, the minister gathered reporters at the Defence Ministry headquarters in Gombak Drive to elaborate further on who the 'white horses' were and what sort of treatment they were given.
He revealed that the list included sons of current and former Members of Parliament and Nominated MPs, senior officials - lieutenant-colonels upwards, deputy assistant commissioners in the Police and Civil Defence and civil servants from Superscale Grade H onwards - and even doctors.
Also included were sons of 'a very big group' of others who earned at least $9,500 a month, he said.
Knowing who these influential people were allowed the Singapore Armed Forces to prevent them from abusing the system.
This means those classified by a doctor as medically unfit had to also get the nod from the commanding officer of the medical classification centre, an extra step not required of non-white horse servicemen.
Even with the officer's approval, cushy office jobs in Mindef were out for these full-time servicemen, who had to be sent down to the ground units instead, he said.
The fit ones would also have to rough it out in combat positions on the ground, as part of the checks introduced in the late 1970s when many boys preferred clerical and other 'softer' positions.
But if the system was working so well, why did the SAF abandon it three years ago?
For one, Mr Foo said, today's servicemen aim higher because they know employers value those who have been officers or section commanders.
Another reason is that Singaporeans have come to accept that the SAF treats its servicemen fairly, so there was no need to spend the money now on monitoring white horses, he said, without saying how much it had cost.
He told reporters he had wanted to expand on his reply to Non-Constituency MP Steve Chia in Parliament but did not get the chance as there were no follow-up questions.
When contacted, Mr Chia said it was difficult for some Singaporeans to believe that white horses were treated no differently from others.
Some Singaporeans have said they had witnessed special treatment for white horses and their platoon mates, who would get more frequent canteen breaks, better food and later wake-up hours.
They are wrong, said Mr Foo. 'You see something as favouritism which may not be the case, and the white horse system was to address such possible misperception.'
To those who 'nitpick about how many canteen breaks one platoon gets', he said the platoon could have earned the rewards because of the hard work of its men.
Instructors could also be at fault, he said. 'Like anywhere in society, there will be some people who are more prone to bootlicking, but let me say categorically that it is not the policy in the SAF.'
He stood by his statement that there was no special treatment, and no one had claimed that white horses had used their influence to get exempted from NS or to downgrade their medical classification.
'If you hear of a case like that, please let me know,' he said.