Deceased NSF’s mother called for greater accountability from SAF and MINDEF to all Singaporean parents
Posted by temasektimes on September 18, 2012
I am a mother of 2 Singaporean sons. My sons are my world. My elder son was enlisted into the SAF November last year. On 17 April 2012, I received a call from the hospital that my son had been admitted to the A&E. When I arrived at the hospital, I was told that my son had died from respiratory failure. In that instance, my world collapsed.
It is clear to my family and me that my son’s death was preventable. He was asthmatic. The incident that cost him his life was an urban training exercise involving smoke bombs in a confined area.
However, it is not his death I wish to discuss here. The issue I wish to present to you is that of safety regulations in the SAF. I am urging all parents of Singaporean sons to stand with me, to advocate for greater accountability on the part of the SAF for the safety of our sons. We cannot be mere bystanders when our sons are conscripted into NS. We cannot allow for our sons to be at the mercy of the training officers, be it the platoon sergeants or commanders, who are very often, little older and none the wiser than the boys they are tasked to oversee, boys whose lives often depend on the decisions that they make.
I do not wish my tragedy on anyone and I do not want my son’s untimely death to go into the books of MINDEF as just another accident. Parents, I urge you to join me, so that MINDEF may hear our collective voice, and be moved to do more than pay lip service to ensure that our sons come back home alive and well.
Together, let’s call for:
1. More thorough screening of the medical history of NSF pre-enlistment, to ensure accurate fitness classification.
2. More stringent risk assessment of every training exercise.
3. Better equipped medical centres with better trained medical staff at/near every training location.
4. More stringent monitoring of staff who oversee NSF, to weed out abuse of power at all levels.
5. Greater accountability by MINDEF and SAF to all parents.
Parents, let us stand together to protect our sons and keep our families intact.
Let us bring our sons home safe!
*The above was first posted on a Facebook page set up in memory of Madam Seah’s 21-year-old son, Lee Rui Feng Dominique Sarron who died in April in a military training exercise.