SINGAPORE, November 6 – It was to be a celebration day, but last Saturday it became tragic for the Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu Kai family when they received news of his death during a workout that morning.
"We were expecting my younger brother to come back in the afternoon, but my birthday became the day he died," one of his two older sisters told reporters in Mandarin today.
She, along with CFC's father Liu, was talking to reporters at CFC Liu's wake in Woodlands.
The family declined to reveal their names or ages.
The only youngest son of the family, CFC Liu, 22, was killed in a field training exercise in Jalan Murai near Lim Chu Kang when a Bionix armored vehicle entered the Land Rover.
The transport operator at the Singaporean Armed Forces Western Transit Center (SAF) was pronounced dead by medical officers about 25 minutes later.
CFC Liu will have a military funeral and will be cremated at the Mandai Crematorium today.
Commenting on the moment the family learned of his death, his father said stoically, "Our hearts ached a lot. To suddenly receive this kind of news about his son, his own son, I could not accept. But it is the duty of every citizen to do the National Service (NS) ".
He added: "We were waiting for him to come home to celebrate (his sister's birthday). We usually celebrate as a family – he was someone who loved the family. "
He had a "very good relationship" with his mother and told her everything, Liu said.
His only son would remind him to take care of her, as his wife was diagnosed with thyroid cancer around April or May this year. She is now recovering but remains fragile.
Liu said the family of five people had migrated from China to Singapore for more than 10 years, and permanent residents were in the process of applying for citizenship in Singapore.
She added: "We never expect this to happen. (CFC Liu) really wanted to become a Singaporean and represent Singapore. We are proud that he sacrificed himself for his country. "
CFC Liu was a "very kind and cheerful" man who used to study at night, and also helped his friends to review their schoolwork, Liu said.
When they needed help, he encouraged them to see things in a positive way.
An active member of the church attending Sunday services every week, CFC Liu planned to bid farewell to NS next month to travel to northern Thailand on a missionary trip to help local children. He also planned to enroll in the university after completing his NS in April 2020, and he wanted to work as an engineer.
His fellow soldiers liked him like he never complained, even when training was difficult, his sister remarked.
"He always felt proud to serve (NS). He really enjoyed being in the army – he always invited us to the ceremonies, to take pictures, "Liu said.
Both CFC's father and sister Liu declined to comment on the incident until the investigations of an independent Commission of Inquiry (IOC) and the police are completed.
The IOC will investigate the circumstances leading up to the incident before releasing your report.
Ms. Liu said the family believes "they will give us justice," and they did not seek monetary damages from the Ministry of Defense, or SAF.
Following the death of CFC Liu, a photo allegedly showing the scene of the incident circulated on social networks.
When asked about this, Ms. Liu said, "I hope everyone does not listen to anything on the Internet. (They should) just believe what we or Mindef say.
"We hope that all Singaporeans, because of what is being said on the Internet, do not understand some things. Do not misunderstand Liu Kai.
Turning to the end of the interview, she added, "We hope all Singaporeans can go to Liu Kai's memorial tomorrow and let Liu Kai see, for the last time, the people of Singapore."
Security "of the utmost importance"
Yesterday afternoon, Army Brigadier General (BG) chief, Goh Si Hou, extended the army's condolences to the CFC Liu family.
Goh, who visited the wake early in the day, said: "He served with pride … his commanders remember him well for his dedication and commitment in service, and I must add that he was well-liked and respected by his colleagues for his positive attitude and being always willing to help his fellow soldiers. "
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a field visit to Sungei Gedong, where he observed soldiers in training, Goh emphasized that security was "of the highest importance" to the army, and that zero training accidents "should be our goal."
He added: "Any death training is too much. This unfortunate training accident should not have happened. "
Goh also urged members of the public "not to jump to conclusions" and that the investigations take the proper course.
An indefinite security deadline, summoned on Saturday after the incident, will extend to both local and overseas training, the Army chief said. The Trident exercise, a bilateral exercise held in Rockhampton, Australia, is due to start on Tuesday.
During this period, soldiers will undergo trials and exercises, such as retreat exercises, for example, in armor formation.
Goh said, "At the level of coaches and commanders … to make sure we have adequate supervision and security on the ground. At the system level, we are also taking the opportunity to review all high-risk training to ensure everyone our training, as well as safety systems, are in place. "
The same applies to the Trident Exercise, he added.
The death of CFC Liu is the second vehicle incident in just over a year involving a Bionix armored vehicle.
On September 17 last year, third-sergeant Gavin Chan, 21, commander of the 41st Battalion of the Singapore Armored Regiment (SAR), died after the Bionix infantry fighting vehicle was guided off difficult terrain overturned during an exercise abroad. Australia.
When asked about this, BG Goh emphasized the need to allow investigations into the incident involving CFC Liu to "take its course."
"Safety in training is important not just in training," he said.
"It is important in every part of our army, and we will take this opportunity to relook, and make sure that all security systems are in place for the army, not just the Bionix systems."
Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen had told Parliament in May – after all investigative proceedings, including the Queensland authorities – that the tough ground and 3SG Chan's decision to position a "significant part of his body" outside of Bionix. commander were among the factors that led to his death. – TODAY