Monday, April 26, 2010

Why SAF Officers have fast track promotions
By BL on 12 Mar 2007 1:15 PM

The headline "US soldier takes potshots at SAF" by Loh Chee Kong (Today, 12 March 2007) examines several themes in an research journal article "The Roar of the Lion City: Ethnicity, Gender and Culture in the Singapore Armed Forces" (Armed Forces & Society, 2007, 33:265-285) and the rebuttals from MINDEF in response to several issues raised in the article. The piece was written by Sean P. Walsh, a graduate from United States Military Academy currently assigned to 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany.

In the article, Walsh explored several themes such as ethnic diversity, professionalism & civil military relations of officers and role of women in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). While most of his sources are cited as private interviews, it is difficult to ascertain the quality of the interviews, given that we only know that one of the interviewees is a United States army officer stationed in Singapore.

One issue of interest revolves around the fast track promotion and professionalism of SAF scholars. Walsh asserted that some SAF officers see that their military careers as "a stepping stone to other careers in politics, business, or the civil service" and inferred that there is a lack of professionalism at the institutional level.

We offer a hypothesis to show why the policy makers in SAF have decided to adopt such a policy of fast track promotion of military officers, particularly the overseas SAF scholars. The basic reason is to prevent military officers from consolidating too much power such that a military coup is possible in Singapore. In fact, by adopting such a policy, it reinforces the culture of the military being integrated with the civilian government. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew once mentioned the possibility of a military coup if a freak election result happens, "Without the elected president and if there is a freak result, within two or three years, the army would have to come in and stop it." (Reuters, 16 Sep 06). That adds to another dimension in asking the question, "Is a military coup possible in Singapore given that there exist such a mechanism to stop the military officers in acquiring too much power?" (see this article Apr├Ęs nous, les militaires by Alex Au). Of course, that is an extremely complex question which we can leave it to another day.

More flexible NS deferment policy can help sportsmen

I READ with disappointment last Saturday's report, 'Jumper not allowed to defer NS, will miss 2 key junior meets'.

I feel the disappointment of long jumper Matthew Goh, whose dreams of winning a medal at the World and Asian junior athletics championships in July were dashed after the Ministry of

Defence (Mindef) rejected his appeal to defer his national service stint.

I understand that Mindef has to follow its rules and guidelines, but I wish it could be more flexible in this case as Matthew has already qualified for both meets and he is asking for only a three-month deferment.

I wonder if the people who decided not the grant his appeal know the impact their decision has on his life? I cannot understand how a three-month deferment would have any impact on Mindef's operational readiness.

Mindef should learn from the government of Cyprus - a small country with a big heart that exempted professional tennis player Marco Baghdatis from otherwise mandatory national service so he could concentrate on playing tennis.

I hope Mindef can reconsider its decision as it should not just be the job of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports to nurture local sports talent - other ministries need to chip in too.

Cheryl Tan (Ms)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NSman dies of heat stroke

Apr 13, 2010

NSman dies of heat stroke

A FULL-TIME police national serviceman died of heat stroke two days after an IPPT trial at the parade square of the Home Team Academy, a coroner's court heard.

Mr Roslan Saharo, 18, had complained of having a fever to two squad-mates on the day of the 2.4km run on May 13, 2008.

But he did not tell the squad's field instructor that he was unwell, and carried on running.

At an inquiry into his death, the court heard that trainees were supposed to run three to four rounds around the parade square.

During the run, two squad-mates noticed Mr Roslan - who weighed 93kg - to be unwell but he indicated that he was fine and continued running.

Subsequently, another trainee saw him run diagonally towards a block and collapse on a sheltered pavement.

Mr Roslan picked himself up and continued, but but fell down again after a few steps.

When the field instructor realised what had happened, he ran over to Mr Roslan who threw up twice.

He received medical attention at the clinic but when he became restless and disoriented, he was taken to National University Hospital.

He remained in intensive care and died two days later of heat stroke which caused multiple-organ failure and left him brain dead.

In recording a verdict of misadventure on his death, State Coroner Victor Yeo said it was an unfortunate case where his death could have been avoided had he reported first, to his instructor.

He also urged all trainees to take good care of themselves and their fellow squad-mates during training, and to keep a lookout for one another.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

SCDF NSmen at fire stations to serve 18 days for in-camp training

SCDF NSmen at fire stations to serve 18 days for in-camp training
By Satish Cheney & Teo Xuanwei | Posted: 09 April 2010 2211 hrs

SINGAPORE: NSmen with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spend eight days when it comes to in-camp training.

But from this month, those attached to fire stations will have to serve 18 days instead.

This was outlined in the SCDF workplan.

The move is to ensure that these men can be deployed in immediate response teams for fire and rescue operations along with regulars and NSFs.

Speaking at the Workplan Seminar, Law Minister and Second Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugan said it is also essential for the SCDF to use new technologies to enhance its capabilities.

A new drive for public education is also necessary, said the Minister, adding that SCDF's successes also depend on whether it is able to continue to rely on strong public support.

"As a further extension of its current outreach efforts, SCDF will be conducting Emergency Preparedness Awareness Training Programmes in the heartlands from this year," he said. "This is a new partnership with the People's Association to teach grassroots leaders and residents essential emergency preparedness knowledge."

The SCDF also plans to introduce a Demerit Point System to track and act against those who repeatedly commit fire offences.

- CNA/yb