He was happy in the army and had a lot of friends, says mum

Corporal First Class David Lee Han Xuan's parents, Madam Jasmine Yeo and Mr Dennis Lee, and his sister Joey Lee called a press conference yesterday at the void deck of their block, where CFC Lee's funeral wake (below) is being held, to ask the public
Corporal First Class David Lee Han Xuan's parents, Madam Jasmine Yeo and Mr Dennis Lee, and his sister Joey Lee called a press conference yesterday at the void deck of their block, where CFC Lee's funeral wake is being held, to ask the public for privacy as they settled the funeral arrangements.ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE
Corporal First Class David Lee Han Xuan's parents, Madam Jasmine Yeo and Mr Dennis Lee, and his sister Joey Lee called a press conference yesterday at the void deck of their block, where CFC Lee's funeral wake (below) is being held, to ask the public
Corporal First Class David Lee Han Xuan's parents, Madam Jasmine Yeo and Mr Dennis Lee, and his sister Joey Lee called a press conference yesterday at the void deck of their block, where CFC Lee's funeral wake (above) is being held, to ask the public for privacy as they settled the funeral arrangements.ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE

Full-time national serviceman Dave Lee Han Xuan, who died on Monday after being warded for heatstroke, was a respectful boy who did his best in any task he was assigned, including those in the army.

Madam Jasmine Yeo, whose son received a posthumous promotion from private to corporal first class, told the media yesterday he enjoyed his training as a guardsman in the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards.

"I think he did his best in whatever task he was given. I'm proud of him," said Madam Yeo, who declined to give her age.

The family made the decision last Friday to donate Corporal First Class Lee's organs, but only his corneas could be donated, she said at a press conference in the void deck of their Jurong East home, where the wake is held.

"We really want him to contribute his best in his last moments... We really wish that the person who has received it will continue to see the world with Dave," she said, adding that she and her husband, property agent Dennis Lee, were proud that their son was able to make a final contribution.

Madam Yeo, accompanied by her husband and daughter, undergraduate Joey Lee, 23, said the family called the press conference to ask the public for some private time to settle CFC Lee's funeral arrangements. When asked how she felt about her younger brother's last moments, Ms Lee said: "He did his best and we are really proud of him."

CORNEAS DONATED

We really want him to contribute his best in his last moments... We really wish that the person who has received it will continue to see the world with Dave.

MADAM JASMINE YEO, mother of full-time national serviceman Dave Lee Han Xuan, on the decision to donate Corporal Lee's organs. However, only his corneas could be donated.

Theirs was a close-knit family, said Madam Yeo. There were hugs and kisses when he returned home or before he left to report to camp. They would hold hands when they went shopping. "These are things we will never forget," she said.

The 19-year-old, who died almost two weeks after he was warded on April 18, had said he was happy in the army and that he had a lot of good friends in his platoon, said Madam Yeo. However, she declined to comment on his relationship with his commanders.

On Tuesday, a Facebook user claiming to be from CFC Lee's battalion published a post purporting to describe what had happened the night before, as well as during and after the march that preceded his collapse. The post raised questions over whether safety measures were carried out in full. A woman who said she was CFC Lee's aunt then shared the post and asked the Singapore Armed Forces for clarity.

When asked about the account purporting the events that preceded her son's death, Madam Yeo said: "Let's leave it for now. It's too early for us to comment on that... My first priority is to settle my son first. They (SAF) are already conducting investigations."

CFC Lee will be cremated on Saturday. He will be accorded a military funeral, Brigadier-General Siew Kum Wong, SAF Chief of Staff (General Staff), said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

Madam Yeo said the family has received support from the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and had taken up its suggestion to accord her son a military funeral. However, when asked if she felt the support was enough, she said: "What is enough when the boy is not making his way home?"

CFC Lee was admitted to Changi General Hospital almost an hour after first showing signs of distress, and warded in intensive care. He fell into a coma and his condition worsened, Mindef said in a statement on Monday.

CFC Lee, who studied at Jurong Junior College and Yuhua Secondary School, enlisted on Jan 5 and completed his basic military training on March 11.

In the statement on Tuesday, BG Siew said CFC Lee will be awarded the Guards and Recon military tabs, as well as the Guards beret he had been training for.

BG Siew reiterated that an independent committee of inquiry, chaired by a senior civil servant from outside Mindef or the SAF, will investigate CFC Lee's death.

"Should there be training safety violations, the personnel responsible will be held accountable," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2018, with the headline 'He was happy in the army and had a lot of friends, says mum'. Print Edition | Subscribe