Dear All Singapore Stuff,
It’s obviously not very smart to take a video in your bunk showing how you and your buddies have vandalised SCDF property. It’s also clearly not very wise to gloat about it and break stuff right in front of the camera. And it’s definitely just plain stupid to post it up on Facebook for the whole world to see, not to mention how foolish it is to put up self-incriminating evidence.
So that’s a lot of bad decisions for one day. But there are several deeper questions we should be asking, such as: How is it that they even thought they would get away with vandalising SCDF property and leaving such a mess? Are there cleaners who routinely clear up the mess for SCDF personnel? Do SCDF personnel typically get away scot-free when they intentionally break equipment? Where are their superiors?
SCDF will surely come down hard on these guys given how widely the video has been shared. And there is certainly mounting public pressure on the SCDF to take these boys to task for their behaviour. But I think we should also bear in mind that apart from the blatant disrespect for rules, the damage to property was relatively minor. It was not as if they burned down the place. Furniture can be replaced and the mess can be cleaned up.
However, some have suggested that these boys be thrown into the detention barracks. If SCDF does do so, it could leave them with a permanent criminal record. To hurt their future job prospects because of this relatively minor crime would be quite unjust. The punishment ought to fit the crime.
Ultimately, rather than try to save face, the SCDF should look into why this incident happened in the first place. It cannot simply be explained away as the unruly behaviour of a few testosterone-filled young adults. SCDF must ask itself whether this is merely a once-off incident or a part of a longer trend of ill-discipline, perhaps fostered by a culture of poor supervision. The SCDF may very well be partly to blame here. It has a lot to account for too.