Necessary for military training to be tough

History is littered with crushed and defeated countries, their populations subjugated and held in thraldom by their vanquishers (Strong, capable SAF needed to safeguard sovereignty: Eng Hen; July 3).

Countries with diplomatic savvy and political alliances, with a strong legacy of fighting warriors tend to survive better in this sanguinary world.

Even as the Singapore Armed Forces today needs to be kinder, gentler, more cognisant of the bodily frailties of its personnel and ready to punish untoward abuse, mollycoddling and over-protective parents should be alerted to the fact that a soft army might as well not exist.

Military training is necessarily stringent and physically tough - it cannot be child's play, replete with creature comforts and mod cons.

Pain, discomfort, stress, provocation and even controlled "abuse" cannot be avoided if we are to prepare ourselves for real combat - where the enemy will not spare us and where deficiency of discipline or physical and psychological vigour will be exposed mercilessly.

Just as there are soldiers with genuine problems and who need to be dealt with in a compassionate manner, there are also malingerers who need corrective discipline to get them to the required combat-ready standard.

Bad soldiers, like apples, need to be weeded out and punished adequately before they spoil the barrel.

The SAF simply cannot allow standards to fall to the lowest common denominator or allow indolence, indifference and apathy to pervade its culture.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2018, with the headline 'Necessary for military training to be tough'. Print Edition | Subscribe