Overthinking It

Goodbye Shek Salmin – You were gone too soon (SCDF NSF Commited suicide)

Reading the last messages for Shek Salmin, it sent chills down our spine. We could almost feel his exasperation before he decided to end his life. Shek Salmin would have turned twenty in two months’ time

milan shek

Netizens were quick to point out that his superior at the SCDF (where he is serving his national service) is to blame. Charging him ever so often for petty mistakes. They claimed that he was ‘pushed over the edge’.


Now, we do not know either of them but we are sure of the experiences we had gathered when we were serving our National Service.  During our two years serving the country, discipline and regimentation were drilled into us daily. We have to greet our officers, we have to have an ironed uniform at all times, we cannot smoke in camp and we have to be punctual for everything (even canteen breaks). Failing which, we were made to do push-ups, run rounds or even extra guard duties (for repeat offenders).

Yet despite the regimentation, there were also good times to reminisce, periods of ‘luxury’ they called it- time off work, extended canteen breaks and company outings. For other matters such as family problems or financial issues, there were Councillors on standby that could help us with financial advice or even ‘make’ the request to accommodate to our special needs – e.g special time off for personal matters.

You see, suicide thoughts do not come over night, they come in bits and pieces, when you least expected it and are accumulated over time. It is the result of a accumulation of factors which involves the family members, peers, lifestyle, etc that puts you into a state of depression before ‘pushing you over the edge’

What makes this situation dangerous is that it is very difficult to detect.  Robin Williams was an award winning comedian and was practically always smiling and laughing before he hanged himself in his bedroom.

Endless nights of sorrow, loneliness and bitterness – cleverly masked, going undetected; even by close members of the family. Unless, the victim calls for help, it will more often be unnoticed until it is too late.

The Encik that charged Shek (after multiple verbal warnings) never stood a chance – he was trying to instill discipline into an NSF that nobody (not even his family members) knew was on the verge of a frightening nervous breakdown.


A report earlier this year shows that suicides among men have increased by 29 per cent from 227 in 2004 to 292 last year even though the total number of suicides has continued to dip. (source)

Ms Christine Wong, executive director of SOS, a non-profit suicide prevention centre shared that males feel the continuous pressure to solve issues faced on their own and suppress feelings of distress. The male stereotype encourages self-reliance and self-control and they fear stigma and embarrassment should they have to approach others for help.

Reading her words now and using it to try and understand Shek Salmin’s death provides very little respite –  It is like crying over spilled milk –  Shek Salmin is dead.

Take a look at your friend a little bit closer. Make the effort to ask a bit more about them. Pat their shoulders when they have their heads down and encourage them. Your concern, your smile, your care, might mean the world to someone like Shek Salmin.

From Shek Salmin last messages, it seems that he found solace and comfort among his friends and that their company made him forget his woes for however brief that moment was.


 (Click here to play the montage)

Take a look at the friend next to you and tell them that they are doing a hell of a job.

Most importantly tell them never to give up.

Rest in Peace Shek Salmin – your were gone too soon.


(Image frm Shek FB – his last message )


  1. Vijay

    This is a more balanced view on this unfortunate incident. Suicide is never the only option. Seek help early and let’s lend a listening ear to anyone who needs it.

  2. A person, who commits suicide, does so believing it an escape from his crisis so he ends his life willing to bear a moment of pain and may throw himself of a cliff. Yet this hadith shows that he actually brings upon himself that pain not just momentarily but again and again in Hell-fire.

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