Our collective NS experience

You know our kids love SAF’s toys, be it the Navy, Army or Air Force 🙂
Boon Wee will be serving his duty in 8 years, and Daddy wonders whether he will still be as ON enthusiastic nearer to 2021.

[ Experience ]
When we talk about National Service (NS), it is a topic which brings back memories for the guys, the Mrs will never understand why the guys have so much fun reminiscing their memories, over and over again.

Favourite topics include “Sadistic platoon Sergeant”, “sabo king”, “Mount Biang1”, “凶 (xiong1) training”, “we are poorest or/and fittest during NS”. Even “guard duty supernatural tales”, and the famous “rush to wait, wait to rush” will strike a chord with most chaps.

The friendships we form during NS lasts a lifetime, we trust our buddies whom we bash through thick and thin together. Singapore is a multi-racial society, but for many of us, National Service period is where the idea really sinks in. Everyone work, live and bond together, race and religion does not matter.

[ Sacrifice ]
2 years of National Service followed by 10 cycles of reservists Operationally Ready NS (ORNS) training. Most understand the reason why recalls are necessary, but NSmen’s sacrifices does have an impact on the economy and family.

Daddy remembered how challenging it was when he went for ORNS trainings. Mummy has to take leave on some days so that she can pick up the kids from childcare. The kids will be asking “Where is Daddy?” or “Why Daddy cannot come home everyday?”

Everyone from enlistees, recruits, active servicemen, NSmen have our own aspirations and responsibilities. We each have our own challenges, be it starting our own career, pursuing our education or starting a family.

When the guys go for training, the women-folk’s workload also increases. We should appreciate and acknowledge the Mrs’ sacrifices too.

[ Feedback ]
National Service has an impact on everyone.

You can be a father at your son’s enlistment sendoff, a wife who will not be seeing the husband for the next two weeks due to in-camp training, maybe you are a father who cannot defer even when your child is only a week old, or the employer who cannot find a replacement.

Most of us understand why National Service is crucial for Singapore, but can we enhance the experience?
– Can we improve the workflows efficiency?
– Will our commanders be willing to consider more pro-family recommendations?
– Is it possible to minimise inconvenience to our daily routine?
– Women are already serving as regulars, can we accommodate women volunteers if they choose to serve the nation?
– will SAF consider deferring NS for those who wish to pursuit Sports, Music, Academia?
– some women are asking whether flexible hours are feasible, the Dads can run some errands in the morning to alleviate family workload
– can we give more recognition to those who have served before (not only tangible benefits like NS45)
– Can we shorten the National Service period?
– Maybe NSmen get a shorter queue for flats?

– can we improve Safety SOPs? Everyone is responsible for Safety, Shout when we know something is wrong. Unfortunately, some Singaporeans have the “let other people do it” or “none of my business” mentality.

Personally, the most beneficial change for Daddy was the shortening of ORNS cycles from 13 to 10. The three years discount allows Daddy the luxury to spend more quality time with Boon Xin (born 2009May).

A committee has been set up to solicit and seek our feedback. The website is over at http://StrengthenNS.sg. Chaired by the Defence Minister and top military brass, Daddy is the only blogger in the committee.

To quote from the “Committee to Strengthen National Service(CSNS)”

The CSNS will recommend measures to strengthen NS as the critical institution for Singapore’s continued survival and success. A strong defence and security protects our sovereignty and way of life. The measures should further:

a. Motivate National Servicemen to give of their fullest in performing their duties;

b. Help National Serviceman balance these duties with family, career and personal commitments;

c. Strengthen support for NS from families, employers, schools, permanent residents, new citizens and the broader community; and

d. Promote recognition and appreciation of the contributions of National Servicemen.

More details here.

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Our feedback matters, what we highlight today might affect tomorrow’s soldiers.
A sampling of feedbacks are available here.

We welcome your feedback.
–> http://StrengthenNS.sg