Sunday, August 13, 2006

Another NS Fatality

A Commando regular officer died in training on Tuesday. We are either seeing more NS mishaps recently or Mindef had become more open these few years.

These stories always upset me. I had never felt any value in NS training. For those who say NS builds discipline, you should see the amount of "siam" that takes place in the army. Some say NS help them become a man. I am sad for people like Hugh Jackman and Viggo Mortensen, who, because they did not go through NS, are lesser men than the average Singapore male.

That is not to deny the merits of NS for some Singaporeans. Keeping them away from the Internet for a while might be good for their overall development. However, it is also a precious 2 years of their time. When the citizens of other countries are taking these 2 years to discover the world around them and themselves, our boys are charging at some imaginary enemies and trying to figure out how to 'siam' certain duties. While there would undoubtedly be some self-discovery for some, I am sure there are better alternatives to NS. For example, by taking a year out, working and earning your keep, learning to work together as a team in the real world. I am sure these lessons are far more valuable for later life than the skills picked up at NS.

What worries me is that with an increasingly 'softer' generation, NS training may take its toll on more boys in the years to come. I will not be looking forward to more such news from MINDEF.

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