By now, you probably have heard the tragic news that we lost a Singapore son, Dave Lee, in army training due to heat injuries.
The latest is that the government will convene a Committee of Inquiry into the case to find out what happened. Dave’s aunts have also called for his army mates to tell investigators the ‘full truth’.
One unnamed soldier had posted his account that Dave was taking part in a fast march and his commanders had shown “reckless behaviour”, forcing him to complete the fast march “even though he was showing signs of extreme physical exhaustion”.And then they didn’t gave him proper assistance when he felt unwell.
We hope those who know first-hand about what happened will speak up and help with the investigations of the case so that justice can be served in Dave’s case. And also, to be fair to the commanders also by having objective investigations into what happened.
When we first heard the news, we also think “@#$%^&, how can the army like this” and “how can the commanders like that??!”. Just training in army only, need to train until got such a thing happen anot?!
One main issue that we see here is how to balance how much we should push the soldiers to excel and when to stop pushing them because they really not chao keng. Yes we know some people really chao keng but the commanders cannot always just think everyone also want to chao keng right?
Where is this line of balance? Can we define it better for the trainers so that we can minimise such tragic accidents?
Army training is not meant to be easy. Soldiers are expected to be pushed to excel physically and be ‘tekan-ed’ enough to build mental resilience. But when is such endurance training adequate, and when does it cross the line because the trainers are sadistic/drunk on the powers they hold and go overboard?
Medical SOPs and guidelines are in place in the system. It is not like there isn’t any. It is the humans in the system who chooses to implement these guidelines or SOPS. So what is important is to ensure our trainers in the army are properly trained and are sane people as well. Can we perhaps focus on this human aspect of the equation and try t o improve it?
And then maybe, we will be able to see less of these accidents.
Still, whatever the Army say now, it is too little, too late for Dave’s grieving family, but let not another Singapore son fall because we didn’t push hard enough for more to be done. That is the only closure the family can have.