No one can be fully prepared for a terror attack

No one can realistically profess to be "prepared" for any terror attack. Even countries which have experienced attacks cannot avoid panic, stampedes and chaos.

So I disagree with the report which states that Singaporeans still have some way to go before they are ready to deal with a terror attack here (4 in 5 Singaporeans unprepared for terror attack: Poll; Sept 24).

I think it is more realistic to ask if our security agencies, such as the police, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Singapore Armed Forces, are prepared to handle the mayhem and chaos right after a terrorist attack has occurred.

The 2013 Little India riot showed that reality can catch us off-guard, even though we may be well trained.

Simulation exercises and training provide only an artificial scenario, and will never be able to provide a realistic picture of what will happen.

The truth is, no one knows what will happen. We must recognise this and never be complacent.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'No one can be fully prepared for a terror attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe