According to a Facebook post* by one of his friends, a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) serviceman committed suicide on Monday morning (17 August) at around 1am because of an alleged abuse of authority by his superior, and problems he was facing at home.
The death of the servicemen, who was later disclosed to be Pte Shek Salmin Bin Murad, was confirmed by the SCDF on Tuesday afternoon, . (See here.)
The friend noted that Shek had told him that he had been stressed by the treatment from his staff sergeant and his problems at home.
Shek, in text messages to his friend, had told the latter that he had repeatedly been charged for being late in reporting to camp on several occasions.
When he tried to explain why he was late in reporting to camp, Shek said his superior refused to listen.
On one such occasion he alleged that he was given four days’ detention for being late; and a week or two after he was released from detention, he was charged for being late again.
Shek was supposed to get charged on Monday, 17 August, the date that he committed suicide.
His friend posted a screenshot of a text conversation between Shek and another of his friends that is supposed to have taken place just before the suicide.
In the conversation, Shek said that the message would be the last message that he would be sending to his friend.
Shek shared that he also felt stressed with his family circumstances.
He said his uncle would shout at his grandmother, and the grandmother would nag at him when she gets upset from his uncle’s shouting.
Shek goes on to say that he feels useless in life because he felt he was unable to do anything about his family issues, compounded by what was happening in camp.
Shek ended his message to his friend by wishing him all the best in life.
He also said he had lost hope in himself.
About 40 minutes after that text message, Shek posted on his Facebook page in what seemed to be his last public post.
It is unknown how Shek committed suicide.
The Online Citizen wrote to the SCDF for comments and was asked to refer to the Facebook post published on its fanpage.
The SCDF said it “stands ready to render assistance to the family members during this difficult time.”
“The Division Commander met the family members to offer our support to them during this time of bereavement,” the statement said.
The SCDF, however, did not indicate if it would be carrying out any investigations into the death.
According to the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), a total of 415 people died by suicide in Singapore in 2014, of whom 70.4% were males. Suicide among males increased by 29% from 227 in 2004 to 292 in 2014, while female suicide decreased by 20% from 154 in 2004 to 123 in 2014. This means that for every two females who died by suicide, there were about five male suicides in 2014, up from 3 in 2004.
Those in distress and who need to talk about their struggles can call the 24-hour SOS hotline at 1800-221 4444 to speak to a volunteer or email [email protected] for emotional support.
Care Corner Counselling Centre provides counselling in Mandarin and personality assessment. They can be reached at 1800-35-35-800. Com Care Call is also a 24-hour toll-free helpline for Singaporeans to access social services, and can be reached at 1800-222 0000.
*The Facebook post by Shek’s friend has since been removed.