The point Mr Yam trawled up would be familiar to readers of this blog: Fatal Friday was mentioned a year 10 months ago in a post titled "Singapore Armed Forces training safety audit: SAF deaths from 2001 to 2010".
The January 2011 post said: "In the decade just past, 42 servicemen and women died serving their country.
"Friday proved the deadliest day for the SAF. Why? I have no ready answer. From 2001 to 2010, 14 SAF servicemen died on a Friday. Could the promise of a weekend out of camp make SAF personnel let their guard down on the last day of a work week?"
In the Singaporean Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Yam said:"Since 2001, 16 SAF servicemen have died or encountered accidents on Fridays. Is it possible that safety is lax because this is the last training day of the week?"
What is more surprising than hearing Internet noise repeated in Parliament was the response from Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen.
He said:"About Fridays - I have to check that up. But if it's true, I think that's a useful point."
As Mr Yam, MP for Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency, sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence & Foreign Affairs, it is likely his access to defence data goes beyond what you and I can get our hands on.
But why does it take a debate on deaths of Singaporeans in the military to bring up a point netizens mulled over and debated nearly two years back? Are we a society that acts decisively only after somebody dies?
The MIW's views on Internet commentators have never been flattering. Netizens have been accused of making more noise than sense. Bloggers are said to nurse partisan views.
If that's the case, I would be most keen on learning why the dear Member of Parliament's personal research - assuming he compiled the death statistics by himself - mirrors the training audit timeframe cited in this blog? Why not take it a step further by astonishing us with research that stretches from the first year of compulsory National Service (NS) to the 45th anniversary of NS, which is this year?
The lives of Singaporeans and the need to tighten safety in the SAF are surely worth that extra research, is it not?
Why has Mr Yam's observation about Fridays come to light only now? Anyone who googled "SAF" and "training safety" wouldn't fail to find this blog.
What is more baffling is the Defence Minister's response. Don't his staff officers update the Minister on trends in death statistics?
Granted, a blog on Singaporean defence matters attracts only a niche audience.
But surely the subject of SAF training
As the author of the January 2011 post, I am quite happy even if the post inspired a thought driver for a point raised in Parliament. Am also assured that the baseline research proved accurate.
One nonetheless hopes that the nagging suspicion that the original post was
Whiter than white? Hrmmm.....
You may also like:
Singapore Armed Forces training safety audit: SAF Deaths from 2001 to 2010. Please click here.
Singapore Armed Force Training Safety Audit 2001 to 2010: A look at training halts. Please click here.