National Service- Major review of this ‘Sacred Cow’ is needed

National Service (NS) came into being after the National Service (Amendment) act was passed in Parliament on 14 March 1967. NS has often been touted as a “rites of passage” when boys become real men.

However, many feel that amongst national “sacred cows”, this is one that deserves a serious look.

NS a bug-bear for many

For many Singaporean men, NS is a major bugbear as they feel that in the scheme of things, this “patriotic” duty has become too onerous and has even become a disadvantage. The Singaporean man’s life is put on hold for 2 years in the prime of his life ( not to mention the decade of reservist obligations after that). All this time while they are serving their nation, their fairer sex counterparts ( women) and non-Singaporeans are overtaking them in terms of seniority in the universities and at their work-place. Second generation male Permanent Residents (PRs) are in a different predicament but for the sake of simplicity will be treated here together with Singaporean men.

Whether we like to recognise it or not, there are employers who, all things being equal, would prefer an employee who does not have annual reservist obligations.

There is also a special breed of Singaporeans whose chosen careers value youth most eg sportsmen/ arts and culture, and for them, spending 2 years away and not being in touch regularly with their sports or artistic environment is as good as ( or as bad) sounding a death knell for them. Imagine Ian Thorpe or Nadal in uniform for 2 years and you know what I mean. It is more than just allowing one Joseph Schooling postponement of NS as there are many Schooling “wannabees” out there in our schools and perhaps out of 100 talented sportsmen, only a handful will eventually emerge to have the potential to be a champion.

It is (in a way) a numbers game.

Pertinent questions that need answers

Before I discuss my proposals, a few questions need to be answered:

1. What is the optimum size and composition of the SAF, taking into consideration Singapore’s geo-political situation and its demographics? Can either or both of SAF’s active and reservist components be smaller than its present configuration?

2.Is each National Service personnel (active and reservist) utilised optimally? Can we say (hand to heart) that the training schedule (barring unforeseen contingencies eg weather ) has been refined to such an extent that any reasonable person who was to go through the same program would find that the time and effort spent on it as worth the sacrifice

My proposals:

I postulate that with increased productivity and better planning, a smaller but just as effective SAF can exist without compromising national security:

1. NS be shortened to 1 year with BMT of 3 months. For the majority of NS conscripts, the remainder of the year will be to equip him with the skills to be an integral part of a effective unit. Better pre-enlistment planning by Mindef will reduce time wastage before and after NS so that he can go to university with the maximum hiatus of one year.

2. NS allowance should be pegged to market rate, perhaps this should commensurate with what a polytechnic graduate can expect to get ie $1500-1800. This puts his economic status at near-parity with his cohort.
The increase of the allowance to market rate may encourage PR’s who are sitting on the fence to volunteer (first gen PR) or at least deter others from renouncing their PR prior to NS.

3. Those who have been selected ( or volunteered) for Officer Cadet School /senior Non-Commissioned Officer school will need a longer NS liability of 1.5-2 years ( as responsibility is greater) but will be compensated with market rate allowances of $2300-2800 to better reflect society’s meritocratic values.

4. Courses conducted in the NS should be validated by international accreditation bodies (eg ISO) so that any certification is portable for the servicemen’s future be it in the university or the workfloor. This may even shorten university courses or help in career advancements.

5. Reservist training should be short but efficiently administered (Short and Sharp) so that each year’s training is like a continuation of the previous year’s so that a “Band of brothers” camaraderie can be forged over time. This is possible with good commanders and planning.

Implications for smaller SAF ( ie less bodies in each unit)

Are there implications of having less bodies in the SAF units? Of course there are but these are not necessarily negative.

1. Less bodies will make SAF commanders cognizant of the real world and remind them that every soldier is a valued asset that has a definite cost and that these men should never be viewed as just a digit or just a photo in an ORBAT (Order of Battle ) chart. Each serviceman should thus be trained to be a productive member of a closely knit unit or else the unit will be dysfunctional.

2. Less bodies will mean that servicemen should only concentrate on being a part of an effective SAF to fulfil its primary mission of defending our nation. They should no longer be used as cheap labour for sports events or other national celebrations. If there is only 12 months to train a soldier- he is unlikely to spend 6 months preparing for the next NDP- even if his commander is the officer in charge.

I am a Singaporean and proud of it. But SAF can be better.

I have done a 2.5 year NS followed by 13 HK and 4 LK reservist in-camps!

But it need not be a case of equal misery.

 

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

About:

I am a doctor. Everyone,even doctors,has a say in how Singapore is run. (But saying is one thing and getting someone to listen is something else). For the sake of society, someone has to push the boundaries and seek out the OB (Out-of-bound) markers. So why not me (or is it I)?

* The writer blogs at nofearSingapore .

 

 

Sponsored Content

24 Responses to “National Service- Major review of this ‘Sacred Cow’ is needed”

  • HarderTruths:

    After the millions of dollars spent on this ‘review’, there will be no real changes.

    How else to keep the local men from getting good jobs reserved for the FT? Anyone think NSF not getting good jobs is not planned? Think again.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • LIONS:

    come a time when NON-SGS form 50 PCT OR MORE OF OUR POPULATION here in TINY SIN CITY,conscription of sg boys just dont add up????

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • nicotineeyes:

    NATIONAL SLAVERY – It is designed to take away your youth & opportunities when young to do what you are passionate about…NOT sit in a training shed & hear some dumb-S sergant talk about wartime scenarios with our Muslim neighbors. Protecting this island for who? The ‘elites’, unnatural aristocrats? The government i.e. PAP;PA;Temasek;NTUC?? The FT?? All is a lie to take your future away so that you will remain insignificant & a working slave for a “HellDontBuy” flat that does not belong to you & still force you to take your cpf for all other non-essentials; ultimately to reduce your income for your old age & to retire as a hawker cleaner to be blamed for asking a minimum wage & to be compared to a Bangla who can buy land for S$600. WTFIGO!?! Retrench the ‘circus’ Close them down. Ban them all. Vote for Change.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • nicotineeyes:

    By the way…our BGLEE got to wear a airborne badge but he never did train for it nor had the courage to jump off a plane…even tandem. What a coward. Cannot even shoot straight. Cannot march. But can be BG.
    Uniquely ONLY in Singapore…WHITE HORSE IS ALIVE…Damn!!!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • rukidding:

    I was a OCS instructor in the 80s.

    Was Proud to serve …”then”

    Ask me now again,…I will tell you that “its purpose” seems to have “changed”….and I think , serving NS these days seems to be “cheap labour” and “being make used of”.

    Protect who ?…exactly who are we “protecting” ???

    Wealthy People’ assets ???…our Obscenely paid Ministers and MPs ???

    The amount of Foreigners and even those from “known terrorist infested” countries are all here “inside and within” Us .

    We have already “lost ground” to Foreign “Aliens” in the “Economic war on home ground”…”losing” our jobs and even being “suppressed” ( salary forms).

    Everyone can see most employers and landlords are “benefitting”, as they start to “save” on “salary expenses” due to “cheaper workforce” or “suppressed salaries”,….whilst Rentals were more or less “un-touched” and “not sacrifice” as a Component ?

    I remember in those 80s days,….JTC even “lowered” rentals to “help” growth .

    However,…such “mindset” no longer “exist”….and the New Method is of course….”screwing” te Ordinary working folks with “suppressed” salaries ??

    As result,…Employers and Landlords “Gained”…while the Ordinary folks “sacrificed” and “Lost” ????

    So,…if you ask me again about NS ???….My answer is ..Do NS for what ?….our Government can probably now afford to “hire and employ” FULL TIME, REGULARs instead !

    If Cisco can employ Malaysians,…I don’t see any reason why we cannot Malaysians to be FULL TIME REGULAR ARMY for us ???

    This PAP Government have “lost” their “Moral Bearings” !!!!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • rukidding:

    I wish that our Auditor General can “relook” into the cost spend on printing the NS Pioneer Magazine !!!

    I am in my near 60s of age and yet,….I am still receiving the NS Pioneer Magazine ???

    What ever for ????

    Could our dear Auditor General Office please look into how we can “stop” such “wastages” ???

    “Wastages” as in “wasting ink and paper” and “wastages as in spending extra cost in printing so many more unecessarily copies” and “distributing” to us ??…your good old Dad’s Army ???

    Millions of $$$$ could have been “saved” !!!!

    Do I “smell a fish” somewhere ????

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • opposition dude:

    PAP wants to stick to the old ways of doing things and change as little as possible. NS policy is one of them along with selling overpriced PUBLIC housing and telling us we own our flats another.

    Now, PAP has said that national defence is important since we are small and vulnerable etc etc. They have also said that the NS cohorts are getting smaller with the declining birthrate and so have to turn to technology while reducing NS to 2 years from 2.5.

    Now, since we are small and vulnerable isn’t it common sense to have new citizens serve NS or reservists? Why the need to separate true blues from new citizens with the ultra wayang SAFVC? Why are these new citizens given the option to VOLUNTEER and RESIGN from the SAFVC but not the true blues? Why such BLATANT discrimination? I’m surprised WP nor the NCMPs have never asked this question, I guess NS isn’t high on their agenda.

    Another thing mentioned by the good doctor above is the salary for NSFs. There is no way in hell that non officers will ever be paid $1500 unless NS is drastically shortened to maybe 5 months or isn’t compulsory anymore. Just imagine how much money a month PAP would have to pay recruits up to sergeants since there are thousands of them as NSFs at any time of the year.

    Might as well pay them peanuts while using the grand excuse of service to nation right?

    Let’s be frank, none of our generals have had any real war experience. All are just book smart people but theory won’t cut it in the real world.

    And lastly, with the recent spate of NS deaths in the last few years alone do you think it’s worth dying just like that when the organisation does not give a shit about it?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Dr. Chan:

    For those who do not want NS for themselves or their family members just remember to vote/kick out the evil PAP regime. It is a no brainer.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • NS For What ?:

    I was an NS Officer in the early 70s and I was willing to die for the country becos our Country Leaders have both high IQ as well as EQ. Now the new bookworm leaders do not have any EQ at all and make a lot of blunders and still move on.

    Back then, under Dr Goh Keng Swee if any SAF officer committed any fatal mistake, he will either be sacked or even be jailed especially when soldiers lives are lost. Now these officers only have their promotions delayed. The Defence Minister is not a military man and do not understand that morale of the soldiers are very important if you want to win a war.Fairness and Justice are the keywords to have a very strong Army.

    I remember an American soldier once said that their Generals are in the 60s or 70s and all had experienced War. He was surprised that our Generals are in the 30s and do not even have an experience of bullets flying over their heads. All are bookworms and only good at playing theory War Games on Sand table or PCs. Our Government believe that high IQ is important to win the War.

    There were no foreigners back then until Lau Goh sold our soul away. Now after two years of NS many could not find a job easily becos of these cheaper foreigners. So why serve NS and protect the country when our government is not looking after the welfare of NS men ?

    Who are we protecting now ? The Elites and the very rich who own factories, bungalows, businesses or the foreigners or are we protecting our HDB pigeon holes which which we do not own anyway ?

    There are more than a million Reservists who are trained killers. I cannot imagine what they will do if they are being pushed to a corner.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Perspective:

    NS destroys talents at the first sign of bloom; NS sets local male citizens back in their studies and careers; NS discriminates against local male citizens. Why should local male citizens have to make the sacrifice when foreigners get to enjoy the benefits without having to serve – first generation, no NS; second generation remain PR and then leave country just before reaching enlistment age after having enjoyed all the benefits? Btw, what is the latest on the young British-Thai-Sg footballer?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Bapak:

    Ours are not for war against enemies. They are ‘bought’ over for control to citizens in case of civil disobedience, revolution and not surprise even with legal regime change. One Old Hack already comfirmed they are willing & ready to send in the army on its people. The one who everyone thought is all these while doing good for SG is also the one who’s willing to use the army to destroy SG – IF YOU GUYS DON’T SUPPORT HIM.

    Did you read their body language?

    NS For What ?:
    I remember an American soldier once said that their Generals are in the 60s or 70s and all had experienced War. He was surprised that our Generals are in the 30s and do not even have an experience of bullets flying over their heads. All are bookworms and only good at playing theory War Games on Sand table or PCs. Our Government believe that high IQ is important to win the War.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • NotMyProblem:

    NS for what? you asked. Well here’s the reasons;

    To brainwash the 18-year old, no question asked and yes sir only.

    To provide an army for scholar generals.

    Un-auditable spending by the government.

    To delay University study for NSmen so that foreigners can have a place in our universities.

    Do you want more?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • social compact was so differen:

    //I was an NS Officer in the early 70s and I was willing to die for the country becos our Country//

    hahahaha. sad to say. the social compact was so different then as compared to the present where the higher white idiots garvorn (thinking of all ways to rent-seek in the name of this and that).

    sinkie land is now becoming (or became long time ago) sort of ‘corporatized’ (e.g sinkie INC right ?) to the point that patriotic allegiance has become more like a transaction (do it becos it is mandatory and quickly get over with it rather than do it with pride which really pulls your hearts).

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • KNN:

    “There are more than a million Reservists who are trained killers. I cannot imagine what they will do if they are being pushed to a corner.”

    They will either suck PAPies dicks or keep quiet, put their heads between their legs. Hard truths of Sinkies in Sinkie-land.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • rukidding:

    Out of 6 million people here…at least half are NOT LOCALs here !

    Why, “screw” own locals and make their sons “loose” 2 .5 + 10 yrs of their lifespan to “defend” who ???

    Abolish NS and GO Full Time Regulars lah !

    If 50% of the Population here are not True blues,…why “expect” being “protected free of charge” ???

    Just IMPOSE “Defence and Personal security Tax” on all these Foreigners,..be it Tourist, PRs, Work Permits holders …etc

    Just CHARGE a nominal fee per day ,..ie $20 per person per day ,MANDATORY TAX to enter and stay in this dot !

    I am sure,…with 2.5 million to 3 million Foreigners + short term visitors paying at $20 per day,….this Government could easily have the most Powerful “Mecenaries” on hand !

    Time to abolish NS !!

    If our G can chare $36 levy per entry on foreign cars entering because of “road space constraints”…why can’t we also implement $20 per entry per day for “Personal safety and protection”???…afterall,…we are also having “constraints” in finding Cheap NS labours ???..rite ???

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Rejoinder of the General:

    “By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder — infinitely prouder — to be a father.

    A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life.

    And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, ‘Our Father Who Art in Heaven.’”

    - Douglas MacArthur

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • White Horse is alive?:

    nicotineeyes:

    Uniquely ONLY in Singapore…WHITE HORSE IS ALIVE…Damn!!!

    -
    Papaya declared – “to identify sons of influential persons to ensure such enlistees were NOT given preferential treatment.”
    -
    NSman was recently asked – “Have you seen one?”
    Answer – “Sure, they have one in our camp.
    Even in the dark, it is highly ‘visible’.
    Various preferential treatments.
    Does any Commander dare to ‘touch’ him?
    Not, when he wants a smooth career.
    -
    Remember the Ballot Box !

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • a good patriotic reason:

    //Why, “screw” own locals and make their sons “loose” 2 .5 + 10 yrs of their lifespan to “defend” who ???//

    aiyoh. defence is a good patriotic reason – it will easily hit the sinkie emotional soft spot for the country ? who does not love one’s own country.

    secondary reason may be to indoctrinate unquestioning loyalty (discipline) to the higher white idiots (aka to be scared of the authorities). well we have 4 to 10-star generals as holding high position in garment position hor ?

    long term, it could be ‘unhealthy’ for daft sinkies as it is ‘constantly’ reinforced with the ‘fear-factor’ by the white idiots (that w/o the white idiots, sinkie land will ‘collapse’) ?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • 尻川紅紅【小紅】紅紅無害人:

    @ rukidding

    Are you kidding???

    There’s got to be, at the very minimum, two-thirds of them non-sillypooreans (true blue, born-and-bred locals) going about life on the crammed little sinking-through-ponding-effect Sinkingpore! With the last third, even if pink ID card-carrying “locals”, probably opportunistic Economic New Citizens (from tiongtiongland & the dark subcontinent of kacang putih anek mamas), too!

    And definitely NOT the official “60% local, 40% foreign” mix those evil floodgate masters have been claiming and trying to shove down your voiceless-getting-silent vocal tract!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Bapak:

    Don’t forget they use taxpayers’ money to provide free education, housing plus monthly pocket money to attend uni here. These foreigners are given special privileges (no need to serve NS some more) when they apply for jobs. Whereas, locals have to work till you die to send their children to uni.

    Local – no money, no uni us.
    Foreigners – no money, got uni for them.

    I am surprised Singaporeans keep voting such government to disadvantage themselves. So damn stupid until heaven also gives up on this group of SINKIES.

    rukidding:
    Out of 6 million people here…at least half are NOT LOCALs here !

    Why, “screw” own locals and make their sons “loose” 2 .5 + 10 yrs of their lifespan to “defend” who ???

    Abolish NS and GO Full Time Regulars lah !

    If 50% of the Population here are not True blues,…why “expect” being “protected free of charge” ???

    Just IMPOSE “Defence and Personal security Tax” on all these Foreigners,..be it Tourist, PRs, Work Permits holders …etc

    Just CHARGE a nominal fee per day ,..ie $20 per person per day ,MANDATORY TAX to enter and stay in this dot !

    I am sure,…with 2.5 million to 3 million Foreigners + short term visitors paying at $20 per day,….this Government could easily have the most Powerful “Mecenaries” on hand !

    Time to abolish NS !!

    If our G can chare $36 levy per entry on foreign cars entering because of “road space constraints”…why can’t we also implement $20 per entry per day for “Personal safety and protection”???…afterall,…we are also having “constraints” in finding Cheap NS labours ???..rite ???

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • do not have information:

    //I am surprised Singaporeans keep voting such government to disadvantage themselves. So damn stupid until heaven also gives up on this group of SINKIES.//

    aiyoh. becos many many sinkies do not have information / knowledge on their wayang lar (154th standard shitty time lar which is to spew out propaganda in support of the white idiotic policies rather than to educate the citizenry with important information which may change the views / opinions on such idiotic policies).

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Malaysia encroach sg space:

    No amount of high tech weapons can make a person brave if he is Kia si.

    Singaporeans have been ruled by law.
    Many dare not voice up.

    Now Malaysia is testing how Singapore wl react if it’s sovereignty is challenged.

    Look at this news :
    https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Malaysia-in-transition/Singapore-and-Malaysia-tangle-over-air-and-sea-sovereignty

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Bapak:

    Don’t worry bro. I believe Singaporean NS soldiers are smart enough to protect themselves. Do you remember the story of four Generals from different countries (including Singapore’s) ordered their soldiers to shoot themslves to prove their loyalty? The other countries shot themselves dead. SG soldier shot the General dead. BECAUSE WE ARE THE MOST KIA SI PEOPLE ON EARTH!

    Malaysia encroach sg space:
    No amount of high tech weapons can make a person brave if he is Kia si.

    Singaporeans have been ruled by law.
    Many dare not voice up.

    Now Malaysia is testing how Singapore wl react if it’s sovereignty is challenged.

    Look at this news :
    https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Malaysia-in-transition/Singapore-and-Malaysia-tangle-over-air-and-sea-sovereignty

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Khaw Buay Wan:

    To show my loyalty to the cuntree that adopted me and treat me as one of its own sons and given me a dream career beyond my wildest expectation$
    I will be the first here to volunteer to take up arms against my land of birth and be the first man to charge across the causeway to secure Istana Iskandar and then the whole of Johor State for my dear Singapore!

    Do not worry, my fellow Singaporeans, I am not doing so to never the first to go in and kowtow to His Majesty in order to surrender or to beg for forgiveness for my change of allegiance to Singapore in my younger days or to beg The Agonggong to pardon my family clan in Penang, so please rest in peace, my Singapore.

    I mean, rest assured, sorry.

    Yours in perpetual comradeship
    Swearing never to ever jump ship
    Khaw Buay Wan·吠未完/哭不完

    GD Star Rating
    loading...

Leave a Reply

 characters available

Member Services
Self-SupportMembers LoginSelf-Support
Sponsored Advertisement

Search On TR Emeritus
Sponsored Advertisement


Most Recent Comments
  • Chill, man: @ Have Guts, Sink Their Ships ?: How astonishing that the ostensibly elite of all aristocrats fail to...
  • rukidding: Our BEST HOPE for PEACE is to get our “Satay Macik” from Istana to “served” some...
  • Change We Must: They re intruding the cleaners privacy, who would want to work there?
  • Change We Must: DR M going around the world to ask for money lah! Singapore is skeptical about the loan so old fox...
  • rukidding: Go ahead,….please , be the FIRST again.! “start” the “ball rolling” with the...
  • Change We Must: Yes, we have to be united as one people.
  • Change We Must: I don’t know what the writer is talking? Our territory is hijacked by Malaya. If you are...
  • Change We Must: In this kind of crisis, we have to be united to protect our country put the difference in political...
  • apek: Wanna fight ? Then fight la… Like a little brother talk here talk there swing your arms here and there...
  • LIONS: From Ah Long to Kee-chiu is like from toilet bowl into SHIT-HOLE. Now,he is too shy to kee-chiu,he shake head...
  • What ?: @ We should not talk like the bodoh people up there. They can survive only with special privileges. bmagine...
Announcements
Advertisement
Visitors Statistic
Latest Statistic
Advertisements