Clearly the lack of understanding of schizophrenia and the poor coordination within the Singapore Armed Forces were factors in the death of the young man for whom his father had big plans.
I fully agree with State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid that the 14 charges of extra duties would have been a daunting prospect – even for a soldier without any mental issues.
It was also shocking that the supervising officer did not even know what schizophrenia meant. I am sure if she had bothered to learn more about it, Pte Ganesh Pillay Magindren could have been better managed – he was responding well with medications under his parent’s supervision.
All military officers should be equipped with a better knowledge of brain disorders, through training by psychiatrists, experience caregivers and recovered patients.
And perhaps those at risks should be allowed to serve national service in non-military organisations where their skills and creativity can be better utilised, such as in the National Arts Council.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO