The Straits Times
Published on Nov 26, 2012

The perfect thinking soldier


WHILE the thinking soldier should obey all lawful orders, he should raise his hand to stop a wrong instruction issued by his commander - in this case, when an unlicensed soldier was asked to drive a vehicle ("NSF deaths: Tell us not just how, but also why"; Nov 17).

Singapore's thinking soldiers should be challenged to perform what was once taught as "situational analysis" in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

Taking the case of the smoke grenades, the first grenade released would have established if the soldiers were in the downwind direction of the blinding and choking smokescreen. And no more grenades should be discharged until the soldiers have moved upwind or the grenades released in another direction.

Which brings me to what famed American football coach Vince Lombardi once said: Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

The SAF motto: Yang Pertama Dan Utama (First and Foremost) is adjudged by extension to include an acceptable safety culture, first and foremost.

Chen Sen Lenn