Strengthen NS by Respecting It

So we’ve been hearing all sorts of suggestions on how to “strengthen national service“: more cash-type handouts, priority for education and housing, parades in our honour. Some even suggested a national defence duty for foreigners, or a flexible NS system like Finland has (I love Finland).

It’s all well and good, but the first thing I want for my fellow Singaporeans who have served NS is respect.

I want an end to people who say that “saving babies” can substitute NS. I want to put a gag on PAP groupies on Facebook who sneer on segments of our servicemen. I want to tell lowlifes who demand that NSFs stand in the MRT to “talk to the hand”. I want those people who stand by and criticise the way SCDF servicemen risk their lives fighting fires to hang their heads in shame.

I want respect for all of us, whether we bashed through the jungle or sat in the Police HQ for two years. Whether we were clerks or commando officers. Whether we served with distinction or ate snake whenever we could. Willingly or unwilingly, we gave our lives in service of our nation – we did our time. Respect that.

I would love for it to be illegal to denigrate a man’s service to his nation. I want people to know that there are lines they should not cross when talking about the national service that they didn’t do. If my brothers-in-arms would like to whine about how much they hate NS, I will hear them out (and perhaps rebut them), but criticism from the outside must be respectful and discreet.

There is a portion of military law that makes it an offence to speak or behave in a way that brings disrepute to the Armed Forces (SAF Act Cap.295, I think). How about we have this in force in civil law as well? Any action that disrespects our servicemen courts the wrath of the law. Any NS-belittling douchebaggery will be met with swift recriminations (or at least strongly worded government statements) for the offending individual. We will find you. We will scold you. In public.

Our NS needs to be strong, and that strength will not come primarily from handouts or perks or social benefits. It will come from a high view of the price we have had to pay to keep this nation safe. NS will be strong when NSmen are respected.

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7 thoughts on “Strengthen NS by Respecting It

  1. Daily SG: 14 Mar 2013 | The Singapore Daily

  2. All well and good. But a PAP MP already said it best when he said no money where got respect?

    That attitude is basically the attitude of 90% of all people in S’pore, citizens and foreigners.

    Which commands respect more? A piece of law that tells people to respect NS and which will probably not be fully enforceable.

    Or a proper pay system that pays recruits $2000 per month, sergeants $3K and 2LTs $4K, plus lifetime basic healthcare at govt hospitals and polyclinics??

    • Hey ABC,

      I’m not against monetary rewards, but I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that that MP was dead wrong about what makes a man respectable. If 90% of the people in Singapore think that way, then 90% of the people are wrong and we will have to work to change that. 🙂

      I do realise that a law may be heavyhanded. What else can we do to uphold the respect due to those who have given 2 years or more of their lives to serve our nation? Will we have a media that will publicly name and shame people who disrespect NS personnel? Will MINDEF roundly and publicly condemn those who bring the SAF into disrepute? Will the same go for the SPF and SCDF?

  3. Do we think of people who do national service as people who are doing their nation a service? Or are these people seen as servants of the nation, in which case it is unsurprising that they are treated with the low level of respect typically accorded to servants. I feel that most people in Singapore adopt the latter mindset.

  4. Well said- but why stop at just NS? We should have a law against anyone denigrating this country: foreigner or local, or whatever their political inclination. There are groups on both side of the divide that are fond of heaping scorn on Singapore and Singaporeans, not just NSmen, to score points at each other’s expense; Heather Chua is only one example. Whatever your opinion of the government there is no excuse for bashing the country.

  5. I won’t push for it to be illegal, as it goes against my personal belief that free speech is more important. However, I support the spirit of this post – the need to respect a man’s military service – taken as a whole.

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