Not all heroes wear capes. Or armoured suits. Or wield a lightning hammer.
Some, like Military Expert (ME) 3 Ng Jaan Woei, third sergeant (3SG) Delwin Tay, and ME2 Muhammad Zulhilmi, are simply decked out in their green Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) uniforms and armed with nothing but their medical knowledge.
And a big heart.
So, while thousands of Singaporeans may have flocked to the cinemas on Wednesday (April 25) to catch the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor in Avengers: Infinity War, it was a nondescript group of SAF personnel who proved to be the true heroes of the day instead with their public-spiritedness and display of compassion.
According to a Facebook post by the Singapore Army, Ng, Tay and Zulhilmi were on the way to an outfield exercise with a group of servicemen from SAF Medical Training Institute’s (SMTI) Combat Medic Specialist Course when they came across a road accident at Mandai Avenue.
The accident – the result of a school van crashing into a lamppost – saw two of its four child passengers suffering from cuts to the head and limbs.
So, instead of simply keeping to their orders to get to the location of their exercise, the group did what heroes would do: they stopped to render assistance to the casualties.
Ng, who made the call to stop the convoy “after seeing…four children crying and the driver at the side of the road at the accident scene”, proceeded to treat one of the boys who had “sustained a bad cut on his forehead and cuts on his legs due to the shattered glass from the school van”.
Tay, too, went on to provide first-aid treatment for another boy who had cuts on his forehead and left elbow.
Reflecting on his actions, Tay explained that he felt a responsibility to not only “care for soldiers”, but to “care for civilians as well”.
He added: “I’m a medic, and I know I need to get my job done. My job is to treat the ones who sustained injuries and take down information so that there will be a smooth transition from us to the doctors.”
Meanwhile, Zulhilmi mobilised the rest of the convoy to help remove the fallen lamppost from the road in order to free up traffic congestion, thus making it easier for the ambulance to travel to the accident site.
A 14-year-old boy was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital while three children, aged between 10 and 12, were taken to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Unsurprisingly, netizens were quick to heap praise upon Ng, Tay, Zulhilmi and the rest of the SAF personnel involved in this incident.
After all, they had demonstrated initiative and selflessness by going out of their way to help those in need.
They were able to keep their cool in what must have undoubtedly been a chaotic situation to apply their skills and knowledge effectively. Having served as a combat medic during National Service (NS) myself, I know for a fact that this is easier said than done.
In addition, I am heartened to see how their actions have helped to shine the spotlight on the importance of a vocation which is not always accorded the respect it deserves.
So, I would gladly and proudly add my voice to the chorus of commendation that Ng, Tay, Zulhilmi and the rest of their group have deservedly received in the wake of this incident.
Yes, they didn’t do any avenging.
But you can be damn well sure they’ll keep seeking, saving, and serving.