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Mother seeking compensation from SCDF for NS negligence

25 October 2015

Compensation for Pte Ian Derek Low S9345149Z and family due to negligence by SCDF.

Dear Sirs,

Ian was discharged from Admiralty Prison on 19 September 2015 with a cocktail of medications (anti-psychotics, anti-depressions, muscle relaxants and sleeping pills…), a weight gain of 12kg, increased cholesterol levels and a letter from the prison psychiatrist, Dr John Dosco, to seek further help from IMH.

He was admitted to the IMH on 22 Sept 2015 and discharged on 28 Sept 2015.

Since taking multiple drugs can cause serious unpredictable damage, he is now undergoing non-invasive natural treatments; acupuncture, aromatherapy, Chinese herbs and food as well as drinking natural spring water all in a conducive environment for his recovery against the backdrop of a rainforest, river, waterfall and hot springs in Malaysia.

Ian was enlisted on 12 March 2012 for NS in SCDF.

He was officially discharged from SCDF as of 29 July 2015 on medical grounds.

The primary consideration for NS Enlistment Act is that the individual should be fit physically, emotionally and mentally to serve.

Below are some questions that perhaps you can help with my understanding of how SCDF works:

1. What kind of stringent checks do you accord to determine the fitness of an individual?

Ian had complained about the tedious, backbreaking physical training under the hot sun that he had to undergo during his training. Emotionally traumatized as he struggled to cope with what was required of him to carry out his duties such as having to bear with vulgarities screamed down his ears over an extended period of time.

Whilst some may feel that nothing is better for the heart than a lot of vigorous exercise and obedience enforcement through whipping these young boys into line, I beg to differ.

The human heart has a certain rhythm, whether it is quickened or slowed by extraordinary stress, it is quite obvious that the more we endanger the heart’s function both physically and emotionally, the more likely it is to be damaged.

There is not a mood, not a thought, not an attitude, not an experience, not a word read from a book, not a headline in the paper, not a moment’s viewing on television, not a second in the consideration of a play, in which the circumstances taken in through our senses, will not have an immediate reaction upon the heart.

Whenever a delicate instrument is subject to extended period of exceptional stress for which it is not basically intended, a gradual destruction of psychic function and physical damage, especially the autonomic nervous system is inevitable.

Even though he may become accustomed to it and may endure it at the time, the heart is at a danger of stopping anytime.

There is a reason why people have been dropping dead in their youth and prime.

The present educational curriculum does not gear towards keeping the body in good condition but towards institutionalizing young children to the non-militant Warfare of Competition.

We staved into these young hearts, striking it a foul blow for which it has no defense except to take their young lives.
Society has placed unrealistic expectations of our youth like how scoring 9 A*s instead of 10 can now constitute a failure in their young minds to the majority.

2. What actions, code of conduct and military protocol does SCDF implement to train these young soldiers freshly out of school, in keeping the rules of health?

In my opinion, a tutored and disciplined mind will do things in a way that will protect his wellbeing; moderation in appetites, normalcy in activities should be the number one priority in any military training protocol so that he does not make a mockery out of being a soldier.

The discharge on medical grounds date for Ian should be upon enlistment (12 March 2012) and not now.

During this time, his emotional, mental and physical health went through extraordinary stress. The extremely barbaric and inhumane way he was treated while in prison; shackled to the bed for more than one month with nothing to distract him but his thoughts, which perhaps lead to his recent attempt at suicide 2 weeks before his discharge from prison.

The body has been given all kinds of protections against the common ailments and the body has remarkable, rejuvenative power.

3. Ian now lacks the courage and has lost the insight to live a well-adjusted life as he questions the purpose of NS within the context of Civil Defense. How can he protect his country and people when the heads of 3 countries, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are not able to stop the hand that strikes the match that starts the fire for the last 20 years? That if we are making a comedy out of our present defense system in Singapore, it is unfunny for the most part.

No one knows to what extent the damage has been done not to mention the unbearable anguish this tumultuous period had on his family members.

I will be seeking legal advice to seek compensation from SCDF for negligence.

Yours sincerely,
Carena

*******

Dear Mdm Tan,

I refer to your email of 25 Oct 2015, concerning your son, PTE Ian Derek Low.

2 Prior to enlistment, SAF Medical Officers from CMPB would conduct a thorough medical assessment of the physical, mental and emotional state of the pre-enlistee. For PTE Low, he was graded PES B1. NSFs with this PES are fit for most frontline operations and operations support vocations in the SCDF.

3 SCDF has various measures in place to look after the safety and well-being of our recruits. We wish to assure you that all training conducted by SCDF are based on a set of prescribed guidelines and all safety regulations are strictly adhered to.

4 Shortly after enlistment, the Platoon Commander (PC) will conduct an interview with the recruits to understand any problems that may be faced by them. This is to enable the PC to assist any recruits with problems coping at the early stages. Recruits have also been briefed that at any point in time they can engage the PC, orientation officer, or the Officer Commanding of their company, if they have difficulty adapting to National Service (NS) life or needed someone to confide their problems with. Recruits would be referred to our counsellors for counselling where required. PTE Low did not surface any issues about his medical condition or problems on coping with NS life during his recruit phase and after being posted to Special Rescue Unit. Our counsellors conducted several counselling sessions with PTE Low on 05 Apr 2013, 07 and 20 Mar 2014 when he served his sentence for AWOL charges at Detention Barracks. It was only during these sessions did PTE Low mentioned about his personal issues such as breaking up with his girlfriend, financial problems and drug consumption. PTE Low also mentioned he was already actively seeking treatment from IMH for his drug addiction then. Our counsellors had also advised PTE Low to surface any problems he faced to his supervisor so that assistance could be rendered to him.

5 We hope we have addressed your concerns accordingly. Please contact the undersigned at 6848 3456 or email Wong_Sang_Hua@scdf.gov.sg if you need any further clarification.

Thank you.

Regards,

Ms. Wong Sang Hua

Staff Officer NS Feedback

National Service Personnel Department | Singapore Civil Defence Force

91 Ubi Avenue 4, Singapore 408827

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Editor’s note: Ian has since been discharged from SCDF on medical ground. The email was first sent to SCDF and forwarded to us.

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One Response to “Mother seeking compensation from SCDF for NS negligence”

  1. Sungod666 says:

    Carena doesn know how to write letter. telling story from your point of view show how amateur you are of the laws and rights accorded to you. If i were SCDF, i would ask this small timer and fly kite. a templated reply is an overkill for this auntie… to think that she actually thought she could get money with this kind of letter.

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