Following Singaporean actor Aloysius Pang’s sudden death from injuries sustained during reservist, the number of casualties under the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has been brought into light.
The incident has re-sparked controversy regarding safety in the SAF, a worrying issue for all Singaporeans as it is mandatory for our males to serve in the army.
1. Aloysius Pang, 28
The popular Singaporean actor, a familiar face to viewers of Mandarin television, died on Wednesday, 23 January. He received injuries to his abdomen and chest area after carrying out repair works in a military artillery gun. He was 28 and on reservist duty when the accident occured.
Read more about it here.
2. Liu Kai, 22
Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu Kai died in an accident during his National Service (NS) field training on Nov 3, 2018. It was his sister’s birthday.
Liu, 22, who studied in Presbyterian High School and Nanyang Junior College, had already attained a place in the Singapore Management University. His life was tragically cut short when a Bionix vehicle reversed into the Land Rover he was operating.
It was the second Bionix-related accident in two years.
In 2017, a soldier named Gavin Chan was operating a Bionix vehicle at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland when it landed on its side. Chan was found unconscious by the vehicle, and died of his injuries soon after. It was found that the cause of the accident was lapses in safety, leading the SAF to tighten safety regulations.
3. Lee Han Xuan Dave, 19
Full-time national serviceman Corporal First Class (CFC) Dave Lee passed away on April 30, 2018, two weeks after showing signs of heat injury following the completion of an 8km route march in Bedok Camp.
The Committee of Inquiry (COI) investigating his death found that his tragic death by heat stroke occurred due to inadequate on-site casualty management and delayed evacuation.
His mother, Jasmine Yeo, said that he was a “very good boy” who was very respectful and helpful towards his family.
4. Muhammad Sadikin Hasban, 33
The SAF regular serviceman died in a freak accident on October 9, 2018, after being hit by a falling tree branch in Brunei.
He became unconscious and resuscitation efforts were ongoing onsite and en route to the hospital. He succumbed to his injuries two hours later.
5. NSF found hanging from a rope
On 28 September 2018, a full-time NSF was found hanging from a rope in his office at the Sembawang Air Base. He was part of the Air Force.
6. 23-year-old Police NSF dies from gunshot wound to the head
The NSF died on 10 September 2018, a week after he was found with a gunshot wound to the head. The incident happened at the Protective Security Command in Ulu Pandan Road. His service revolver was found beside him. He was supposed to have been taking a break before going back to his duties.
The police classified the case as unnatural death.
7. Off-duty serviceman found dead in his bunk
On 28 July, an off-duty serviceman was found hanging from a rope in his bunk at Nee Soon Camp. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
8. Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, 22
The young man died in a hazing ritual at Tuas View Fire Station. His squad mates had pushed him into a 12m deep fire pump well to celebrate him ending his two years of service.
The practice is known as ‘kolam’, or ‘pool’ in Malay. The challenge was to jump into dirty-algae-filled water and emerge dirty but unscathed. Such hazing rituals are common practice, but designed to humiliate rather than actually harm anyone.
Unfortunately, Kok drowned in the well. 5 officers were charged in court for his death on July 25.
The numerous deaths that have occurred over the course of a year has raised debate amongst Singaporeans, and criticsm towards the SAF. Not all of the deaths listed above was due to negligence of safety on the SAF’s part, but nonetheless, a few young and precious lives have lost under them, including the high-profile passing of Aloysius Pang.
Given that national service is mandatory for all males, most of us would want to be assured that our men will come back safely. Hopefully, these things do not happen again.