Perhaps some of you may be unaware. There’s a massive manhunt going around now in Singapore. On 27th February, Wednesday, Mas Selamat Bin Kastari, alleged leader of the Singapore arm of the militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah, escaped from detention and sparked a massive manhunt involving thousands of policemen and Gurkhas. In addition to posters being pasted everywhere including MRT stations and bus doors, telcos Singtel, Starhub and M1 are also sending out free MMSes to users with photos of the alleged terrorist and citizens are on high alert.
I find a certain development particularly interesting:
Proliferation of Facebook groups related to the manhunt
While I anticipated the Facebook group Where in Singapore is Mas Selamat, which basically tries to drum up more awareness for the manhunt, I did not anticipate this:
Instant ORD for Mas Selamat Capture. The second group, with the most members at 149 strong last I checked, is decidedly cheeky in tone. It is even classified under the category “Just for fun – Totally Pointless”. Taken from the group profile:
A little background on this fellow MAS ‘the mat bomber’ SELAMAT:
Singapore’s most dangerous man, who once plotted to hijack a plane and crash it into Changi Airport was thrown into jail, and was not heard of till he masterminded one of the greatest escapes in modern history; walking out of the back door of a detention centre’s toilet. The man with a limp in his left leg has been able to evade the authorities since. Commandos, Guards, Gurkhas and thousands of policemen have been on the lookout for him, some standing 5 metres apart just in case The Flash blitzes past them. Still, we feel our comrades in arms could do better, so we have outlined a detailed proposal to the government:
MINDEF SHOULD OFFER AN INSTANT ORD FOR HIS CAPTURE!
OUR SOLDIERS NEED MORE MOTIVATION!!!
So ladies and gentlemen, give me your 2 cents on his possible location.
My take is pretty obvious, “one corner”
Does it make light of a very serious situation? Yes. Is it totally pointless? I’d say no. Even as the group owner adopts a very light tone, I feel that he has succeeded in increasing awareness of a very serious situation. At the very least, he is making Mas Selamat’s face even more recognisable among Facebook users, which can’t be a bad thing can it?
As to the escape itself, many are asking how exactly he could have escaped from detention in a country that has prided itself on prudent internal security, and many questions remained unanswered.
ORD: Operationally Ready Date, the date that determines the end of the obligatory 2 years of national service.
one corner: refers to slang that usually goes with “relax one corner” or “relak one corner”. Associated with the use of the term “mat”.
To read about the Mat Rocker sub-culture, see this site.