“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

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.”

35 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe all those NS men who had undergone such ill treatment should all write in to d Minister to provide him with a sense of what’s happening. This is to prevent d Sgts n their Officers from presenting a different picture.

  2. The commission must investigate to see if this is a localised or systemic issue in the unit. We send our sons to defend the nation, not die by ill treatment.

  3. I believe now the unit commanders is super nice to the men now! Those who had done wrong to the young men will be trumbling in fear now. punishment must be start from the top. Give the family a good explaination! They deserve nothing but the true! Dont use scare tactics on the whiser blower!

  4. Ever wonder whether NS is really necessary? Who is the enemy and who are we protecting. Are we protecting someone’s wealth? To me NS makes no sense. Why not just have a real army where citizens who are willing to die for their country and be paid for it handsomely so we all do not have to complain as being forced. citizens who are trained professionally and become professional soldiers and not HALF BAKED soldier we have in the thousands. Ooooh I see there is money to be made by the cronies….. supplies of food and many other money making stuff to the Military camps ……. Thank you.

  5. How many ever had 12pm pumping on the road with 30plus degree and rifle on top of hand.
    Palm all kanna blister and got one guy no strength his palm slide across the road and his palm skin gone. Immediately out of BMT

  6. A deeply seated cultural problem in saf just like the smrt. The fish rot from the head. Oneself coi oneself and oneself clear oneself. Then oneself promote oneself

  7. If the claim of the anonymous writer is true that commanders forced him to continue the run despite reporting unwell these inhuman superiors would have their hands covered by Dave’s blood. You are clearly responsible for his untimely demise if allegations are true. This is the time for all who get tekan during NS to come out and tell all for the sake of our sons and grandsons who will be going to NS in future.

  8. Yes more shud be done but not for Dave, instead for his Mom and Dad. Dave is gone forever so nothing that is done now for him will make a difference. A son is gone permanently, who would have most likely supported and taken care of the parents in their old age. This is not happening anymore. All they have now is 19 years of wonderful memory with their beloved son.

  9. I believe that 19, 20 year old 3SG don’t just become inhuman overnight, it’s the pervasive culture in the unit that make these NSF commanders become such. This culture and mindset may come from the senior commanders who set the culture either expressly or implied.

  10. I like the way she speaks ….a brave mother holding well for her son at this difficult time. My deepest condolence. He will be remembered well by all.

  11. As parents, our hearts is heavy and we are grieved together with the family. Our deepest condolences. The loss of one life is one loss too many. Kudos to this brave anonymous writer who speak up. There comes a time when silence is betrayal. We are with the family to demand for the truth to be exposed. Those high up morons if found guilty should be punished severely. If any laps in safety procedures not rectify and the whole NS not revamp, who can trust our children and children’s children to enlist in this!!!!!

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