I’m pretty sure by now, you’ve heard about the unfortunate demise of Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) NSF, Corporal (CPL) Kok Yuen Chin.
He was reported to have died in Tuas Fire Station’s pump well after taking part in an ORD ritual.
He was supposed to ORD on Wednesday.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that this incident is unacceptable and they’ll get to the bottom of this.
As with every other incident that happened, people will start stepping forward with their own experiences.
And this time isn’t any different.
Ragging is commonly practised in the SCDF
According to ex-firefighters and medics from the SCDF, ragging is something that’s commonly practised during milestones in a person’s career.
These rituals take place to mark the initiation of newcomers or milestones like the completion of National Service.
‘Kolam’, or Pool in Malay, is Getting Pushed into a Well
An ex-SCDF serviceman told Channel NewsAsia that the challenge of Kolam, or pool in Malay, involves a personnel getting pushed into a well.
The challenger has to jump into “algae-filled water”.
He mentioned that all you have to do is to jump in, get super dirty and get out.
He added that all SCDF soon-to-be-ORD personnel in his service days had to go through the same thing.
Blanket Parties and Shoe Polish Slathering Are Other Rituals As Well
If you’ve served in the SAF before, and now apparently any other places, you’d know what a blanket party is.
It’s basically covering a sleeping person with his blanket and mobbing him.
This, an ex-SCDF serviceman said, also happens in the SCDF.
Other than that, there were also cases of slathering shoe polish on a person’s skin, moving his cupboard up to the roof, locking up the cupboard in a cage and more.
He emphasised that these are activities to humiliate the person, not cause serious injury.
There are allegedly even more dangerous stuff done in the past but are no longer done today.
Another ex-medic, 25, said that as part of their ‘ragging’, they had to get IV drips done by their juniors.
That or get dunked in water.
SCDF Emphasised That Ragging is Prohibited, Has Meted Out Harsh Punishments in the Past
After the incident, SCDF emphasised that such practices have been banned in their organisation.
At foundational courses, recruit and specialist briefings, they constantly bring up the topic of prohibited activities and their risks to all personnel.
They will be conducting briefings in fire stations islandwide. Other than that, they also have a whistle-blowing programme where people are protected from backlash when they report something illegal within the organisation.
Ragging is an Ingrained Culture in the SCDF
An ex-serviceman in his late 20s said that ragging will not be going away anytime soon.
Despite harsh punishments like getting sent to the SCDF detention barracks (DB) or the career standstill of a regular, the practice will still carry on.
He claimed that as long as such activities were done in a discreet manner, some officers would just close one eye to what’s going on.
He believes that ragging is a good-natured way to foster a sense of brotherhood and bring the team together.
Corporal Kok Could Not Swim
According to The Newpaper, Corporal Kok’s aunt said that Corporal Kok knew about the ragging, and that he could not swim. He had even bought snacks for his colleagues so as to persuade them not to rag him.
The police are now conducting investigations, and a Board of Inquiry (BOI) will be convened, in which full details will be made public.
Now you know what Singaporeans are talking about today; do check back tomorrow for another piece of news of the day!