Wednesday, February 16, 2005

So You Want To Be A Soldier?

It's Wednesday! For some reason, I seem to like Wednesdays. Maybe because I feel it marks the turning point in the week that the weekend is finally coming.

Like usual, I'm supposed to be doing my darn Final Year Project which is due on February 28, but I'm procrastinating by blogging and blog-hopping.

And I came across Deus Ex Machina via Singabloodypore.

National Service is a miserable failure (click to read the whole post)

I realise that this is my second post about this topic but it is a great source of interesting material. The last week was quite a reflective one too. You know how the government always says that NS will instil patriotism, right? Well, it has failed terribly. Before NS, I actually used to like Singapore. Our standard of living is decent; the education system actually suits me etc. This has totally changed within 3 weeks of serving the country.

It's quite foolish to think that NS will instil patriotism. It all comes down to whether you enjoy the experience or not. The majority of my squadmates and me pretty much hate it. It's a freaking waste of time. Sure, shooting and Law lessons are fun as hell, but I will rather not go for it at all, my freedom is too valuable. Think about it: If a man comes into your house and slaps you a few times, then tells you that the slapping will make you like him, will you call bullshit on him? It's the same concept; no one will like a country more when said country is forcing him to do things he doesn't like to. The country becomes associated with suffering, loss of freedom and oppression. Definitely not good for making patriots.

In NS, I met the first true patriot in my life.

He also has another post that talks about his NS experience.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not agreeing with his views nor am I disagreeing with them. I'm in no position to do that because:

1) I haven't done National Service
2) I'm not eligible for National Service.

The thing is, I've always been curious how NS is like as well as how the people who have gone through it perceive it to be. And since I'll never know (not that I want try, just being curious) first hand how it's like, I've always been interested in the views of the people who have gone through it.

Sometimes my older friends talk about their army stories when we meet up. I listen to all the good, funny memories they had and it seems like NS isn't such a bad thing after all. But when I ask a few of them if they would voluntarily serve their NS given a choice, and most of them answer no. They say that 2.5 years of your life is too much time wasted serving the government.

And now that my friends my age are going to go in for their NS soon, I can tell that they're dreading it.

"Eh, you got your letter already or not?"

"No la. I'm not eligible for NS what."

"CB, you damn lucky sia."

I heard from my dad, that in the Philippines they don't have National Service, but in high school when around 16, it is compulsory for the men (or should we call them boys) to attend a basic military course called ROTC. (Don't ask me what it stands for. I don't know.) If I remember correctly the whole course lasts for 6 months. But the good thing about it is that it's held during the weekends so there's no need to forgo your freedom during the week. I guess that's their version of Basic Military Training (BMT).

Maybe having a system like this to replace NS in Singapore might work for the part in equipping every man with the skills to be a soldier, but then an important question remains, will enough people volunteer for the army? Will there be enough people willing to defend this country? I think the obvious answer is no. Becoming a full time soldier isn't exactly a dream job over here, nor does the salary make it one either. And the academic qualifications that the average guy has certainly are enough for him to get a decent job, so why risk your life and your body?

Well, these are just some of my views. So what do you guys out there think about National Service? Of course all the ladies are more than welcome to comment as well. =)

Time to go for my sushi buffet now! Crap. I haven't done any work.


Blogger Jayaxe said...

I want to repeat what your friend said. "CB, you damn lucky sia."!!!!

Okay, to be fair, army was fun in some ways but no, I rather miss out this kind of fun. But hey, Malaysia's NS might really be fun leh, only a 3 months camping trip!

8:41 PM  
Blogger Bubblemunche said...

I enjoyed mine :)

12:55 AM  
Blogger Zen|th said...

Jayaxe: I'm just glad that I have 2.5 years more of my life than my other friends. Haha.

Bubblemunche: Too bad I'll never get to find out it if NS is fun for me or not.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous dawn said...

Im the first ger to comment on this!! lolx! well i have always been fascinated by the whole nS thingy..and with my frens enlisting..the conversations seems to move only around SAF. haha to me, the many funny stories are really hilarious and i believe that frenships bonded in the NSF life would be a milestone in ur life. Im a ger so i cant gauge the physical tough-ness..but well MM LKY thinks that conscription is the way to go..u guys juz have to accept the fact. on the bright side..2.5 yrs has been cut down to 2yrs! lolx..

11:47 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

But NS give you nice stories to tell your kids! My bro has to go back to Singapore to do his NS though. Troublesome.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Lam's Creation said...

Don't deny the waste of time bit ... but if you are creative, can still make use of it for personal development. Anyway, I was a clerk, I better shut up.

12:10 AM  

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