An unnamed Junior College-educated National Serviceman shared his dire situation online of being bullied along with two other JC-educated students by non-JC NSFs who allegedly ostracise, taunt and physically hurt the JC boys due to their perceived affluence.
Appealing for advice on what to do, the desperate NSF wrote that he was once even assaulted for accidentally stepping on one of the bullies’ bag strap. When he brought it up to his commanders, he was allegedly told to ‘learn to adapt to their culture.’
The constant intimidation has pushed the NSF to contemplate suicide:
“I’m a first year soldier currently serving in one of the SIRs (not named for obvious reasons). I completed my enhanced BMT (the one that’s reduced to 3 months long) early this year and I was posted here afterwards. Life has been v difficult as I am very unfit, as I hadn’t had much physical training for a couple of years -trying my best to salvage my A’s, which turned out badly anyway- and as a Matador gunner, carrying ~30kg of load is extremely unbearable for me. But even aside from that, the bigger issue I’ve been facing for the last six months is: the constant bullying.
“You see, aside from me, there are only two other JC students (both my bunkmates) in this company. The entire battalion is a mono intake batch, and while we on our part have not distanced ourselves but instead tried to mingle with them, they don’t just outright sideline us, but pick on us often as well. When volunteers are needed, it’s almost always one of us who is ‘offered as tribute’. They also like to get physical with us, by shoving us around, poking or touching us in inappropriate areas. We continually tell them to stop, but they refuse to, and yet when we complain about it to the commanders, they just say it’s a joke, and that they’re just playing with us. And then they resume, in greater force this time.
“Personally, I was assaulted in the toilet because I accidentally stepped on another guy’s bag strap. I tried to hit back, but him being way bigger than me was no help. The issue was brought up to our commanders, but they simply brushed it off, and said things like ‘learn to adapt to their culture’, ‘watch yourself more’, ‘suck it up’ etc etc. They also often just take any extra snacks we have (we have since refrained from bringing too much food into camp), claiming that they’ll return it, or that we ought to share because ‘we should bond more’, but when we ask for something, they tell us to ‘go buy yourselves la, rich JC kids’.
“It’s gotten to a point where the three of us are constantly in fear of mingling with most of the people, and the thought of shooting myself in the head has crossed my mind on many occasions. I don’t know if this will get anywhere, but I really wish I could get some advice on what I or we can do about our dire situation.”
Support poured in from netizens, even though the NSF’s post and account were deleted shortly after the post was uploaded on Tuesday. However, it appears the NSF was monitoring the response via a different account as he posted an elaboration of events in a comment:
“Hi, very surprised the post blew up, didn’t expect to get anything. Just gonna be clarify a bit more on the details.
“Of the three of us, two of us have been here since after POP, the other guy just came in a couple weeks ago (recently up-PES because his condition recovered). Want to clarify that right from the beginning, we were already getting mocked and judged by the other people. Our attempts to make friends were simply us trying to be friendly with the other people who hadn’t started to kajiao us yet, but it was all in vain. We did befriend a couple of them, but those guys told us that they used to be the ones getting bullied until we came in – likely cause of their looks i.e. not very fit or bulky, bespectacled etc.
“The guy who’s been going through this shit with me since day 1 has kind of just gotten used to it, I guess because he doesn’t get as much shit as I have, so he’s not doing much about it. The new guy was already on the brink of asking his parents to write in right off the bat, and I advised him to come and speak to my PC with me. Wasn’t the first time I talked to my PC about it, and he already knew my situation, yet the advice he gave was the same – that I had to change myself, be stronger, and essentially suck it up. I told him that I’ve been trying to stand up for myself -telling them to fuck off when they cross the line- but seeing me get worked up just motivates them to push further, and he told me that I’m not being fierce or firm enough.
“I don’t know if he spoke to our CSM or OC about it, let alone our CO, but their attitude is similar to our PC, except most likely way less sympathetic (none of them came from JC batch). At this point, I’ve kind of given up on trying to reach out for help through my commanders, and am trying to see if I can get through to the MO.
“I personally have been trying to get a psychiatrist via being referred by polyclinic, but the response was that since I’m an NSF, I have to go through MO – and what most people have told me is that going to MO is likely to have me referred straight to IMH aka permanent record, and I really wish to avoid that. Right now, I got a memo from the polyclinic doctor to get help re: anxiety disorder from the MO, waiting for my medical review booking.
“Hopefully it works out, because otherwise I have to try the SAF hotline again – and the last time I did, it was of not much help. Not sure if I just had someone unhelpful who took my call that time, but he just told me to talk to my commanders and then suck thumb.
“Lastly, my unit has a strict policy against statuses, where they are not only stripped of any and all privileges, they are also subject to more weekend guard duties, less sleep (need go outfield be store party, come back need clean whole company’s rifles), and overall looked down upon by pretty much everybody. Have one friend who down PES because of permanent injury, his life was this hell for two months, before MMI high rank official managed to convince our CO to have him transferred to the battalion HQ side (administration people).”
Netizens urged the NSF to not make any rash decisions and bring the issues up to his Medical Officer again or call the NS Hotline once again. Some also recalled their own horror stories from their National Service stint and told the boys to just get through their mandatory conscription since “everyone goes through this shit.”