a little bit tempted to reply. some of allan ooi's friends/peers/colleagues were my seniors in the military... i note here that it's a pretty "prestigious thing" (among the middle/upper-middle class) to be awarded an LSA (Medicine).
his peers that have stayed on (also air force MOs that have completed the Dip AvMed) have been lite-cols for at least a few years by now, and if he had stayed on beyond his first 6 year contract, he would have completed his (non-surgical) fellowship about 2 years ago - all on the government's dime.
sure, you give up your freedom as a military MO, but that comes with the territory. nobody forces a medical student to accept the LSA and it's pretty much in demand, regardless of whether it's "Medicine" or not. and beyond having your schooling expenses covered (tuition, lodging, laptop grant, etc), you get PAID a decent salary while you're at med school!
i do not disagree that they don't let go once you've signed on (they continue to dangle carrots while you're serving), but they have made it known from day #1 what the "tradeoffs" are.
many medical students choose to pay for their studies themselves... and they would STILL have to serve a 5-6 year service commitment (5 years SC, 6 years SPR) at government hospitals/polyclinics... this does not include resuming NS for about 1.5 years (after studies), about one year of which is spent serving as a military MO.
together, combined, is about the length of the LSA (medicine) bond. if you sign on as a military MO, the MOH bond/service commitment runs concurrently with your MINDEF bond.
while i don't think any ONE party is entirely to blame, i feel it would only be fair to at least bring MINDEF's perspective into the picture...
http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/press_ ... t.img.html
Posted: 08 Apr 2009, 0800 hours (GMT +8)
MINDEF's Forum Letter on Issues Concerning CPT (Dr) Allan Ooi
We refer to the letter published in the media between 31 Mar and 2 Apr from the family of the late CPT (Dr) Allan Ooi. MINDEF would have preferred to keep these exchanges private out of respect for the late CPT (Dr) Ooi and his family. Nonetheless, as the letter has raised several issues, it is necessary for MINDEF to provide some factual clarifications.
The six-month Aviation Medicine course that CPT (Dr) Ooi attended in the United Kingdom (UK) from Jan to Jul 2008 had a three-year bond, which was to be served concurrently with his 12-year Local Study Award (Medicine) bond. This was explained to CPT (Dr) Ooi when he and his two sureties signed the deed for the course on 19 Dec 2007 before he left for the UK. On the same day, MINDEF also sent an email to confirm this with CPT (Dr) Ooi. He acknowledged receiving the email and thanked MINDEF for the clarification. The three-year bond is completely within his 12-year Local Study Award (Medicine) bond. It is thus untrue that his 12-year bond would be "prolonged by another three years for one six-month course".
CPT (Dr) Ooi returned on 7 Jul 2008 from his course in the UK. Sixteen days later, on 23 Jul 2008, while serving at the Aeromedical Centre, he informed his superior that he was unhappy at work and was considering leaving the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). According to MINDEF's records, CPT (Dr) Ooi wrote to Head of Manpower at Headquarters Medical Corps on 12 Aug 2008 (not "Jul 2008" as stated in the family's letter), expressing his wish to resign from the SAF. The Head of Manpower replied on 20 Aug 2008, informing him how he could obtain the application form for early release, and explaining the process involved. But CPT (Dr) Ooi did not apply for early release.
On 3 Oct 2008, CPT (Dr) Ooi's superior interviewed him, and offered him the option of a posting to an appointment which would interest him. He asked CPT (Dr) Ooi to indicate what posting he would like. CPT (Dr) Ooi thanked his superior and promised to respond in two weeks' time. However, instead of doing so, CPT (Dr) Ooi went Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) on 15 Oct 2008.
All officers who join the SAF and take up sponsorship know that they have a moral obligation to serve out the full period of their bonds, beyond their legal obligation to pay the liquidated damages if they do not fulfil the bond. The SAF invests substantial public funds and time to train these officers. Officers can serve in a wide range of leadership and specialist roles that cater to their different interests and aptitudes while fulfilling the SAF's needs. On their part, officers are expected to do their best to fulfil their obligations to the organisation, unless there are strong extenuating circumstances like medical reasons that prevent them from doing so.
CPT (Dr) Ooi's family asked for an inquiry into MINDEF's policies and processes, on the premise that this would avert a similar tragedy. MINDEF had convened a Board of Inquiry on 11 Mar 2009, which concluded that matters related to the late CPT (Dr) Ooi's service with the SAF had been managed appropriately. While the late CPT (Dr) Ooi had expressed unhappiness with his job in the Aeromedical Centre and stated his wish to resign, he had subsequently gone AWOL despite being informed about other job options.
MINDEF expresses its sympathies to the family of the late CPT (Dr) Ooi, and will continue to be as open and helpful as possible to them. MINDEF will also provide the facts of the case to the public while respecting the privacy of the family.
Colonel Darius Lim
Director Public Affairs
Ministry of Defence