This publication re-published a Facebook post by Leslie Ang yesterday. And in that article we had said that “part of the job of Singapore Armed Forces’ Aerial Cargo Riggers, that of packing parachutes, has now been outsourced to contractors from the People’s Republic of China.”
Another publication (which thinks that it is doing the ruling party and the establishment some kind of favours and publishes stories which puts them in better light – regardless of the facts sometimes) linked a 2010 Youtube video to their article and quickly tried to debunk the post by Leslie Ang, and explained that “PRC” meant ‘Pasir Ris Camp’ and not ‘People’s Republic of China’.In the meantime, Mr Ang has stood by what he has said in his Facebook. And what he said there was:
“Learnt from my brother-in-arms our former SAF Riggers’ job of preparing our parachutes are now outsourced to PRC contractors!…What on earth are these Commanders thinking when they signed the awarding contract? Openly, our airborne capabilities like parachute model, jumping height, etc are made known to foreign contractors. We are, literally, placing our lifes in foreign contractors’ hands when we leap from the plane?”
It is understandable that Singaporeans are concerned about this. Rightly so, because National Service is mandatory in our country. But what is the truth behind this? Is the job of parachute rigging outsourced to a foreign country?
Because the tagline of this this publication promises that it would be “responsible”, we try to clarify this story for our readers.
1. AERIAL CARGO RIGGERS, PARACHUTE RIGGERS, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
There is a difference between ‘aerial cargo riggers’ and ‘parachute riggers’. The parachute riggers is a unit made up of mostly women.
This women go through a Basic Riggers Course which lasts 10 weeks and would qualify them for the job, whereas ‘Aerial Cargo Riggers’ go through an 8-weeks course to qualify.
Mr Ang had clearly said that the job of parachute rigging has been outsourced, we had confused it with aerial cargo rigging, and for that we apologise.
2. ‘PRC’ STANDS FOR PASIR RIS CAMP OR PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA?
So, now since we have cleared up that there are at least 2 different types of rigging vocations in the SAF, and that the post by Mr Ang was specifically talking about the job of parachute rigging, is it true that this job has been outsourced to a foreign country?
This is the answer according to a former SAF parachute rigger:
This means that the other publication was misleading in saying that ‘PRC’ is the acronym for Pasir Ris Camp.
3. HAS SAF CLARIFIED?
SAF has now clarified saying, “to optimise our resources, we have outsourced the parachute-packing function to Singapore Technologies (ST) – a reputable local company”.
This article was edited with the inclusion of SAF’s clarification after it was published.