“The hugs and kisses, the way we held hands – that is something we will never forget”: Family of 19-year-old NSF speak to the press

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The family of a full-time national serviceman (NSF) who passed away on Monday spoke to reporters at a press meet today.

Their son, Private Dave Lee Han Xuan, was conveyed to Changi General Hospital (CGH) on 18 April after an 8km fast march at Bedok Camp. The Guardsman from the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards fell into a coma and spent 12 days at CGH’s Intensive Care Unit as his condition worsened, before he passed away at 5.32pm on Monday, a mere 10 days after his 19th birthday.

Dave’s mother, spa manager Mdm Jasmine Yeo, addressed reporters today and said about her son: “He is really a very good boy. He is always very respectful, he will put in effort to help the family whenever he can. Of course, he will try his best, as you all can see, to achieve whatever task is given to him.”

She added: “One of you actually asked what is the most memorable thing that we can remember, having been with him. It’s the hugs and kisses we always have whenever he comes back…and of course, as a mother, the way we held hands together when we go shopping — that is something we will never forget.”

Mdm Yeo, who revealed on Monday that her son’s cornea has been donated, said of his organ donation today: “We really want him to contribute his best at his last moments…A proud thing that my son has done, a proud thing as a parent.”

Accompanied by her husband and another lady, believed to be a family member, Mdm Yeo said that she and her husband are reserving their comments on the investigation into their son’s death at the present moment: “We reserve our comments. It is not the right time. We need to settle Dave first. That is our priority.”

Parents of late NSF Guardsman Dave Lee speak to the media

The family of late full-time National Serviceman Dave Lee Han Xuan spoke to the media for the first time on Wednesday (May 2) afternoon. His mother, Mdm Jasmine Yeo, described Corporal First Class (CFC) Lee as respectful and helpful. "As a mother, the way we held hands together when we go shopping — that is something we will never forget."She confirmed that his family has decided to donate CFC Dave's corneas. "We really want him to contribute his best at his last moments," Mdm Yeo said."(It is ) a proud thing my son has done, a proud thing as parents. We really wish that the person who receives it will continue to see the world through Dave," she added.Commenting on the investigations into her son's death, Mdm Yeo said: "We reserve our comments. It is not the right time. We need to settle Dave first. That is our priority."STORY: https://tdy.sg/2KtKUiJ

Posted by TODAY on Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Last night, Brigadier-General Siew Kum Wong, Chief of Staff – General Staff confirmed that Private Lee will be accorded a military funeral and will be awarded the Guards and Recon military tabs, as well as the Guards beret he had been training for. He added that Private Lee also received posthumous recognition of the rank of Corporal First Class.

When asked whether more could be done for her son beyond this, Mdm Yeo said: “I can’t answer your question. What is enough when the boy is not making his way home?”

Another family member, 28-year-old Mr Pong Jun Wei, told reporters that Dave was a kind and jovial young man who was planning on either furthering his studies or signing on as an army regular, after completing his National Service.

Mr Pong shared that Dave was a “good and filial son” who would help his father – property agent Dennis Lee who suffered a leg injury in an accident – with his crutches. Dave also never failed to support Mdm Yeo in caring for his father, according to Mr Pong.

Mr Pong – an operations Officer with SilkAir – is also hoping for further clarity from the Singapore Armed Forces, like Dave’s aunts who are appealing to the authorities to release a full, public explanation into what caused Dave’s untimely passing.

This, after a letter by an anonymous soldier detailing what allegedly happened that night began circulating online. The author of the viral letter claims that Lee was “forced” to complete the fast march even though he showed clear signs of severe heat exhaustion.

The alleged soldier also claimed that “the commanders did not follow the proper protocol for a soldier in heat exhaution” and “to add insult to injury, the sergeants were just surrounding him, talking cock and laughing and cracking jokes around him, obviously thinking the soldier is trying to keng.”

Sharing that their extended family was a close knit one who would often travel abroad together, Mr Pong revealed that more than 50 people comprising of family members and friends congregated at CGH during Dave’s last moments. He recalled:

“We thought it is just a simple heat stroke. Having been through the army… I didn’t see it as so severe until I saw him in bed in the hospital.
“He’s so young. Nineteen years old with a bright and long future ahead of him.”