So two pieces of army-related news broke out in Singapore over the past couple of days. A YouTuber-turned-movie-actor was sentenced to 9 months in detention barracks (the army’s version of prison) for smoking weed, while a platoon sergeant escaped jail time for killing a private.
Hmm, strange huh?
For my international readers and those who aren’t quite up to speed with the matter, here’s a bite-sized summary of the whole incident thus far:
21-year-old private Dominique Sarron Lee collapsed after his commander, Captain Najib Hanik Muhammad Jalal, decided to throw more smoke grenades (six) than he was allowed to (two) during an urban obstacle training exercise in April 2012. The former went on to suffer an allergic reaction from the excessive zinc chloride in the smoke (as certified by the Health Sciences Authority) and died in the hospital shortly after.
Then-Defence Minister Mr Ng Eng Hen agreed in Parliament that safety breaches led to the deaths of Private Lee. The Committees Of Inquiry also believed that “if the Training Safety Regulations had been complied with, Lee and his platoon mates would not have been subjected to smoke that was as dense as that during the incident”.
Despite the evidence, lawsuits filed against the Singapore Armed Forces, the platoon commander, and the chief safety officer of the exercise for negligence on their part were subsequently thrown out of the court.
And as if losing a son to his superiors’ utter incompetence isn’t enough, the courts decided to stick its finger to the Singapore Kindness Movement and ordered the victim’s family to pay the legal fees of all three parties involved, which amounted to around $22,000!
Talk about rubbing salt on the wounds.
Click on the link below to read more.