SINGAPORE: A man took to social media complaining anonymously about his National Service experience.

In a post to popular confessions page NUSWhispers, the man wrote: “When the average Singaporean son sacrifices 2 years of his life for the country, he firstly and foremost protects the interests of people in positions of power and wealthy elites, as a matter of fact. And he gets little in return”. He opined that he could not apply what he learned during his National Service to a corporate job. He also felt that it “delays 2 years of your career progression while others have already graduated when you begin your university”.

The man wrote: “Don’t you love it whenever the topic of NS is brought up, there’re many people who’ll say, “yeah it’s the duty of a Singaporean son”, “you gotta give back 2 years for the prosperity of your country”, etc. Prosperity is not just defined by the GDP or GDP per capita of a country, it’s how happy the average citizens are, not just the wealthiest or the most well-connected citizens. When we talk about Singapore getting more prosperous, are we talking about our average salaries going up? Our standards of living improving? Our society getting more harmonious and trusting? Our healthcare services and education quality improving?”

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Netizens who commented on the man’s post said that a number of his views only applied to him. One wrote: “Oh well look at the bright side. It toughen you up for afew years. You have access and able to handle some military hardware that is off limits to others. Free food, medical care & exercises. You get to travel to other countries for training. And you have very close buddies. If we don’t have a fighting force to safeguard the country. Very soon you wouldn’t have a nickel for your grandma to buy herself a ang gu kuieh”.

Read related: Lawrence Wong: The world is more dangerous now; Singapore must sustain commitment to national service

At the opening of the SAFRA clubhouse in Choa Chu Kang on Thursday (Nov 23), Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong underlined how important it is for Singapore to maintain the strength of its armed forces, given how turbulent and divided the world is today. He noted that while conflicts exist in other parts of the world, Asia has been relatively peaceful. However, this situation can change very quickly.

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DPM Wong added that in Singapore, because of generations of individuals who have taken their responsibilities seriously, the armed forces are a “credible deterrent force,” with operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) playing an important role. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, they assisted by operating checkpoints and supporting the healthcare system.

Mr Wong underlined this further in a Facebook post from Thursday afternoon. He noted that what sets SAFRA clubhouses apart is that Singapore’s NSmen build them for the NSmen themselves. /TISG