Fewer words, more concrete action, please

Chief of Army Goh Si Hou (left) and Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong  at a media conference on the death of Corporal First Class (NS) Aloysius Pang.
Chief of Army Goh Si Hou (left) and Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong at a media conference on the death of Corporal First Class (NS) Aloysius Pang. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Chief of Army Goh Si Hou was reported to have said: "I have told all my commanders that this cannot be business as usual... I have told them we must do better, that we must do our utmost to restore confidence in our training safety and to ensure the safety of all our soldiers." (SAF to lower training tempo to review safety, processes; Jan 25).

I can see the earnest army chief exhorting his men, as any army commander would, to give such orders.

Words, words, and more words.

When was the last time someone said something similar, following a tragic accident involving national servicemen? It's deja vu.

With due respect to the army chief, these are words that came across as superfluous.

It's too sad and too late.

I wished there were fewer words and more concrete actions, with more attention paid to details much earlier on so that death can be prevented, rather than mere words aimed at comforting the bereaved and doing damage control.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2019, with the headline 'Fewer words, more concrete action, please'. Print Edition | Subscribe