Sunday, October 4, 2009

Singapore's national service deserters

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It should not come as any surprise that Singaporeans are deserting the army. I am getting numerous Emails such as this, and here is one. I have disguised his Email. He is another one young Singaporean who has just about had it with Lee Kuan Yew and Son:

RE: Freedom please.
Sunday, October 4, 2009 4:03 AM
From: "Erik W....."
Add sender to Contacts


I finally got to thinking it over and am seriously considering defaulting on national service and heading over to the states. Only, what would the US officials be inclined to do if they do happen to find out that I bailed on national service? Would they have to deport me?

What status can I claim as a conscious objector? I read the universal declaration of human rights article 4 (regarding servitude), article 14 on (everyone having rights to asylum from persecution-of Males in Singapore through conscription) and finally article 2, which says there should be no distinction made on the basis of international status of a country or a territory to which a person belongs to. Please advice.


Dear Erik .......,
Thanks for your Email. Unfortunately avoidance of National Service is not a reason for asylum. However there are many other reasons you can use to get asylum from Singapore. When you reach the United States, please contact me.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Your letters are welcome. We reserve the right to publish your letters. Please Email your letters to And if you like what I write, please tell your friends. You will be helping democracy by distributing this widely. This blog not only gives information, it dispels government propaganda put out by this dictatorial regime.


Anonymous said...

Feel sorry for males in Singapore that have to do national service. Their peers in Australia, USA, Scotland, Canada ... can start college at age 18, and get a Bachelor's degree in 4 years. (In England they can complete it in 3 years.)

In today's fast changing 'Internet', 'flat', 'global' world, getting real world experience in vital. You can try things and take risks at 22, e.g start Facebook. You can complete your Masters by 24 and maybe a Ph.D by age 26.

But the poor Singapore males ...

What happens to someone who refuses to serve? Are they jailed? Can they ever work in SIngapore?

Gopalan Nair said...

It is a matter of personal opinion. I am not against national service in principle. It can make a man out of a boy. As for spending 2 or 3 years of one's life for it, one is not any worse for it. In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew's main intention is to promote blind obedience and submission and putting them on a leash for the next 13 years by reservist duty. This is difficult to swallow, since a Singaporean has no pride in his country with million dollar ministers literally stealing the wealth of the nation. And where people are treated as slaves deviod of any rights. In such a situation, it is difficult to have any loyalty to Singapore which is a condition precedent for accepting national service.

Anonymous said...

What happens to someone who refuses to serve? Are they jailed? Can they ever work in SIngapore?

Anonymous said...

Well, it's been nearly 21 months since I enlisted into mandatory National Service, the bulk of which occurred in 2009. I felt quite "left behind" as my counterparts who went on the junior college track had already started on their degrees, leaving me, the polytechnic kid, behind still serving the nation. =.=" I received my "Out-of-Training" (OOT) status during my first week of Basic Military Training in Pulau Tekong due to my pending medical appointments. Subsequently, I was posted out and became first a storeman, then an armourer (small arms technician). My current role in camp is multi-faceted though, and thus not as dreadful and monotonous as before - I help out in many areas including administration, inventory, maintenance of weapons, projects, presentations, videos, and more.

I still remember I was extremely reluctant and negative towards NS during the first few months. It's not so much of a reluctance to serve, but more of a question of "Am I serving the nation to the best of my ability?" - which I would sordidly reply a "No" to. In fact, I had actually already passed the auditions and was waiting to enter the Music & Drama Company (MDC), which I did not get into because my PES (Physical Employment Status) was still "B" - simply meaning I was too medically fit to enter MDC (I had to be medically unfit - PES "C" or below). The manpower side apparently introduced this directive recently due to manpower shortage in many combat units; they didn't want combat-fit soldiers flooding in to dance and make music.

I found the manpower directive absolutely absurd and needless. It all boils down to the existing vocation system, which unfortunately posts a soldier based on manpower/organizational needs and his individual PES. There are many talented young soldiers around that can potentially contribute much more to the organization (and the nation), IF only they are placed in the "right place". One example: a soldier with an Aerospace Engineering diploma would expectedly fare much better in a relevant vocation like an aircraft technician (being already a "Subject Matter Expert") as compared to a medic, for instance. What is the point in "retraining" someone with a set of new skills if he can contribute much more effectively in his field of specialty (taking into account his current background and skill set)?

Anonymous said...

Professionalism is one of the SAF's core values - it's essential to continually strive to improve and set high standards, especially when the "client" at stake happens to be your NATION. Realistic and reasonable standards should, however, be expected of soldiers serving NS - for many of them, it's a whole new skill set they're picking up. In my case, us technicians are often expected to perform exceptionally well as "experts" - after just half a year or less of training. I wouldn't exactly term a soldier who has served NS for 2 years as an "expert" in his vocation - if that were the case, by the time I hit 50, wouldn't I already be an "expert" in around 20 areas?! Truth is, expertise takes INTEREST, DETERMINATION, and SACRIFICE to develop - heck, I've already spent SEVENTEEN YEARS (along with a diploma, and relevant certificates) in my field of expertise and I still consider myself a "semi-professional". No point forcing a cat to chew a bone. (??) (You get the gist?)

"Force-posting" someone to an irrelevant vocation, as is often the case currently, may even incur negative effects. Taking my peers in camp as a point in case, they are simply unmotivated and reluctantly carry out orders and work. Lethargic, "can't-be-bothered" attitudes abound, and work is tediously done with the expectations of rewards of time - either an early dismissal in the afternoon, or "offs" that can be cleared subsequently. Escapism (a.k.a. playing punk or "chao keng" in the Hokkien dialect) is an oft-used technique to get excused from events/work, appearing in various forms like RSO/MC (reporting sick outside - and thus getting a Medical Certificate) and MA (medical appointments - some of them have one appointment every FEW DAYS, so sick or feign sick?) Perhaps the popular adage sums it up best: "Act blur, live longer." Often, I have to take up the bulk of the responsibility and do the bulk of camp work (which shouldn't be the case just because I'm one of the most senior among my peers), while the rest hide in rooms or play their PSPs, for example. Some of my peers hardly "appear" in camp (often on MC or MA); and even when they do - hardly do anything constructive - almost equaling their absence anyway. What then, is the need to have (on the surface) sufficient manpower strength, when only a fraction of them are working efficiently? If each individual had been thoughtfully posted to a relevant vocation in the first place, potential problems and negative attitudes could have been avoided. So much for striving to be a first-class organization.