What does lower training tempo translate to?

I am deeply saddened by the loss of yet another national serviceman, all within a span of less than two years (Actor injured in SAF exercise in New Zealand dies; Jan 24).

As a mother of an only son who will complete his national service stint soon, I was just beginning to feel some relief that the worst had not come to pass these two years.

However, Mr Aloysius Pang's death brought home to me the realisation that it is not over. There is still reservist training for my son for many years to come.

I believe the question at the back of the minds of most parents of children currently in or going in to NS soon is: Who will be the next casualty? Could it be my son?

It is timely that measures will be taken to reduce the pace of training to restore confidence in the Singapore Armed Force's (SAF) safety procedures.

As a parent, I want to know what the reduction in tempo of training translates to in real terms. For example, does it mean shorter training hours per day? More rest hours?

Confidence and faith in the SAF is of supreme importance for, without it, NS may well run the risk of having NSFs and NSmen merely going through the motions. There may be an increase in NS evasions. Cases of malingering may also rise.

Besides attempting to restore public confidence, NSFs and NSmen themselves must feel motivated and committed. This may be compromised if they feel that their safety is not of paramount importance.

In times of war, I believe they will step up. But in times of peace, it is heartbreaking to see a promising, young life cut short prematurely.

Thus, I agree with Mr Tew Woon Chong that it is time to consider erecting a memorial to remember the brave sons of Singapore who have lost their lives for the country, of whom we are proud (Have memorial to remember soldiers who die in service; Jan 25).

Let their names be etched in stone for future generations to see and remember them.

Low Siew Hua (Ms)