01 July 2005


Two letters to the ST Forum today about the SAF and servicemen who are ill:

July 1, 2005
SOLDIERS' DEATHS - Mindef should relook rules on reporting

THE recent incidents of SAF soldiers dying in camp reminded me of my last reservist in-camp training last November.

I was having a high fever so I went to a GP and was given two days' medical leave. I did not book in but I called my unit - I also called my camp-mate to ask him to inform the officer in charge - only to be told that I had to go back to camp and have my MC endorsed.

I explained to the duty clerk that I was having a high fever and asked him if it was possible for him to call the clinic to check or have someone come by my house.

However, I was told that I had to have my MC endorsed by the camp doctor or I would be put on charge.

I took a cab to the Sungei Gudong Camp from my Toa Payoh home. The medic took my temperature and sent me to the medical centre right away. I was running a fever of 38.9 deg C and the doctor sent me home to rest. I was on MC for that week because my temperature just would not go down.

I hope Mindef will do something about the rules on reporting sick.
Ong Kian Seng
An excerpt from the second letter:
July 1, 2005
Sick NSmen deserve to be treated better

I AM a medical student who has served a period of national service.

During my NS days, I witnessed and heard of numerous cases in which army doctors doubted servicemen who reported sick, seeing them as potential malingerers. This resulted in the poor servicemen receiving sub-standard attention and treatment.

Worse, some were even scolded by the doctors and were subsequently 'punished' by their officers, be it psychologically or otherwise.

Being sick is not a crime. And it does not become a crime just because one is an NSman who, some doctors believe, is likely to malinger.


Kwok Kah Meng
Also read an army poem here by someone I happen to know quite well, blogger Gilbert Koh. The poem was first published in the literary e-zine Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and then in the book From Boys to Men.

Right now, the poem forms a small part of a drama performance "Hentak Kaki - Green Days of our Lives", first performed in the 2004 Arts Festival and now showing again at the Singapore Art Museum Auditorium (last day - 6 July 2005).

Tickets at SGD 8 for students and NSFs and SGD 12 for adults. For more details check this out.

The Grapevine Chatter:

1. Takchek

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