An entrenched rite of passage despite repeated warnings

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that the incident which led to the death of a Singapore Civil Defence Force full-time national serviceman was unacceptable and two regular officers have been put under arrest.

Throwing firefighters into water at important junctures of their training is a tradition passed down over the decades in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

The practice, often involving pump wells, stems from a belief that firefighters should be comfortable with water. Some personnel go to great lengths to observe this, and it has become a key part of a ragging culture in the force, despite regular reminders and warnings from their commanders not to do so, former civil defence servicemen told The Straits Times.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2018, with the headline 'An entrenched rite of passage despite repeated warnings'. Print Edition | Subscribe