From ‘SAF investigating allegations on Facebook comments’, 14 Feb 2013, Channel News Asia
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) said it has begun investigations into allegations that a third sergeant had boasted about being able to vent his anger on recruits. The third sergeant is believed to have posted the comments on Facebook four days ago.
Screen grabs — believed to have been taken off his Facebook page — have been making their rounds on the internet. When contacted, SAF said it cannot comment further, as investigations are under way.
I thought this was sourced from the SAF Confessions Facebook page, but those are supposedly anonymous, protected and moderated. It’s not clear from this post HOW this guy shows his anger, so it’s rather premature to accuse him of recruit abuse unless it involves physical battering or ear pulling. Maybe he just hurled some vulgarities, stomped his feet or slammed some doors. If you look closer at the text, you’ll see that he’s vague on the source of the anger (‘show my anger when I’m pissed…at the recruits’). He could be pissed with an unrelated personal matter, or pissed off AT the recruits. So ‘venting his anger’, which suggests the former, may not be the accurate term to use here.
Anyone in the position of authority would be naturally inclined to bully, or ‘tekan’ others on a bad day if given the chance. Some teachers, for example, would threaten to sodomise you with a bat if you’re cheeky. But unlike proper professions that invoke authority and mentorship such as educators, nuns or doctors, the role of a sergeant in the army is mainly of command and control. As one who’s been through his own share of verbal abuse during NS, there’s no ‘code of conduct’ among army specialists to speak of, and you won’t lose your ‘job’ if you spend half a day ordering your boys to carry a locker up and down the stairs just for the heck of it. The trick, perhaps, is to act like you’re in foul mood on a permanent basis, so that we can’t tell the difference if you’re teaching us a lesson or your girlfriend just ditched you for another guy because you’re such a angry bastard outside of camp anyway.
Like most viral Facebook screengrabs, I believe this incident has been blown out of proportion. People exploit and abuse each other everyday without being reported about it. Your boss doesn’t approve your leave because his wife rejected sex. Your teacher calls you ‘stupid’ when she’s having her period. Your orientation camp leader makes you do push ups on top of girls you hardly know for no damn reason. It’s even harder to remain ‘professional’ when you’re a 3SG serving your time like the rest of your recruits. This guy got picked on because abuse in the army is a particularly sensitive issue, in fear of causing accidental death, psychological damage or worse, suicide. He also chose to voice what most guys in his position secretly relish inside. At the risk of vengeance attacks, notwithstanding.
The SAF Confessions page contains far worse, explicit depictions of abuse and juvenile tomfoolery if they to be believed. A pissed off sergeant would take a shit on your bed, for example.
Figures of authority are not spared the wrath of their charges though. Some underlings ejaculate into their officer’s coffee.
The army sure does crazy, extreme things to the mind, having to subject oneself to an atmosphere of regimented violence, confinement and blind obedience. I don’t see this going anywhere beyond a counselling session and maybe extra weekend duties at most, but my advice to this guy is to keep a really close watch on his canteen and coffee mug from now on.