The behaviour of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel who were captured on video wrecking their dormitory is out of sync with the rest of the force, said its spokesperson today (April 28), who stressed that the matter is being taken “very seriously”.
Two short clips uploaded in the past two days show a trashed dormitory where SCDF personnel sporting close-cropped hair were flouting rules, such as smoking. The videos have attracted criticism of the bad behaviour from members of the public.
But Colonel Abdul Razak Abdul Raheem, director of the SCDF Public Affairs Department, stressed today this was “an isolated incident”.
“It does not reflect the culture, discipline, decorum and conduct of SCDF officers and men, be it our front-line National Servicemen and regulars, or even our Operationally-Ready NSmen,” he told reporters in Joo Koon Crescent today, where firefighters put out a factory blaze. There were no reported injuries in the incident.
“As you can see in today’s fire, this is what we do day in, day out, putting ourselves in harm’s way, taking calculated risks to mitigate incidents, to minimise damage to property and save lives. This is SCDF.”
Col Abdul Razak added that investigations into the incident are ongoing and “will leave no stone unturned”.
The SCDF has said “disciplinary action will be taken against those who are involved”.
The two clips appear to be of the same incident.
The clip uploaded to YouTube today showed an individual using his boot to smear the dormitory floor with what looks like black shoe polish. Like the previous clip that was circulated on Monday night, the new video captured bunk beds and cabinets toppled over in the messy dormitory, with mattresses and litter strewn all around.
Shouts of “POP lo” could also be heard in the background. The acronym purportedly refers to “Passing-out Parade”, which is the graduation ceremony from training.
Firefighters interviewed by TODAY on condition of anonymity acknowledged that emotions can run high when trainees graduate, but said they have not seen such behaviour.
One of them said it is inevitable that trainees will “let loose and get a bit rowdy, but definitely not to this extent”.
He added: “It’s sad because there are so many people in the force who work so hard and selflessly to save lives and keep the country safe, and then a video like this surfaces and our reputation gets bashed.”
Another person who has been with the force for eight years said it was the first time he had heard of people celebrating by destroying the place they had been sleeping in during their months in training: “It’s definitely not the norm. We are quite taken aback because this affects everybody; it’s representing SCDF as a whole.
“The video spread quite fast, and we were told by SCDF today not to continue spreading it around, and not to let it affect our morale,” he added. “Officers said they will investigate and deal with it by the book.”
A third firefighter agreed, saying: “There’s quite a thick line between stupidity and bravery. It’s disappointing to see their actions.”