Ladies and Gentlemen,
The following is an Email I received last month from a serving soldier, US Army Afghanistan. It is both tragic and ironic that a young man such as this, from no fault of his own, a model citizen anywhere in the world, serving his country USA proudly in time of war, is actually a criminal under Singapore law, liable to arrest and imprisonment if he ever steps foot in Singapore for being a national service deserter.
A stupid law. A stupid country.
I have stated his name and his Email address as he wrote to me. He did not express any objections to that.
Attorney at Law
Disbarred from practicing law in Lee's Singapore, imprisoned and refused entry to the island for criticizing Singapore's judiciary in this blog (see blogpost May 29, 2008 Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court)
Actively practicing law in California and in good standing at the California Bar.
Member in good standing as a lawyer in England and Wales (Barrister).
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
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November 30, 2011 9:40 AM
I hated typing the above subject line.. It made my stomach curl. The reason being, that I type this email from Balkh, Afghanistan, where I am serving my fourth combat tour as a Non-Commissioned Officer of the United States Army. I am no coward and my eight years of service have far exceeded anything demanded of a typical NS term.
I am an American Citizen born on Singaporean soil; to an American father and a Singaporean mother. I moved to the US as a toddler, but returned to S'pore at the age of eight when my parents underwent a very messy separation. I am a child of two nations. Both great in there own ways, but now I find myself only accepted by one. My crime? I answered a call to war. 9/11 struck me deeply on an intensely personal level.
At age twenty, I left Singapore to enlist as an American Soldier. I have trained, travelled and fought alongside some of the toughest warriors imaginable, against an enemy that is tenacious, devious and virtually undetectable.
....yet part of me still misses the home I left behind. Woodsville Primary, St Gabriel's Secondary and Lasalle SIA are all a part of me. I can still taste the food and picture the sights. I miss the family and many friends I had to leave behind. My fate is doubly ironic as I was once a (very) minor TV celebrity, hosting a few "Kid's Central" series as a teenager. Apparently, they still air from time to time though I'd never again be permitted to return.
My voluntary military contract ends in Mar 2012 and I will be pursuing a BS in International Relations, an interest that was sparked during my service as a liaison to the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have every intention of continuing to serve my chosen country. My only regret is that I was forced to chose at all.
In short, Sir, I understand your anguish...because it is my own.
Staff Sergeant Mayhall, Randall Scott
US Army, Balkh, Afghanistan