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1/17/2006

ns defaulters: what is fair?

i watched the censored version of the debate on tv last night. not much of a debate actually. just some brief cuts here and there. the main issue from those for punishment is to make it equitable as ns is a vital national institution that cannot be undermined. the other side of the argument is to treasure every singaporean, defaulters or not defaulters. the latter group even go to the extent to saying, 'just tell me how much and we will pay' to default and escape ns. but there are the feelings of more than 700,000 ns men to contend with, and more along the way. any thought that anyone can buy themselves out of ns is a no go. i can appreciate the need to welcome back the prodigal son. no one shall be condemned to be exiled. the thought that the country may offer the route of pr for those who have taken up foreign citizenship and be allowed to return did crop up in my mind. be kind and generous and let them return in a different form, but not as a citizen. this option is good only if citizenship is so desirable, that citizenship comes with plenty of privileges, that people are craving to be citizens to be favoured by the nation. but unfortunately it is not. citizenship comes with a heavy burden and a big personal sacrifice. the cost of being a citizen is very high. a ns man actually gave away 2 to 2 and a 1/2 years of his life to the state. during this period he is owned by the state and have to go through all the training, regimentation, sleeping on dirt, braving the weather, playing with fire or weapons, and in the process, risk losing his limbs or life. and what did he get in return? pittance from the state that he probably had to ask his parents for pocket money. then another 20 years of reservist liabilities when his life can be disrupted by the call of duty. ippt, in camp training, overseas training, silent recall, on standby etc. and don't forget the military punishment, detention, extra duties for breach of discipline. can all these pains be worth it? is a fine of $10,000 or 3 years jail enough compensation? why would a man choose to pay so dearly for a title called citizen when he can enjoy practically everything a citizen has by just being a pr and without having to go through ns? is a $1 million bond good enough to pay? after going through the sacrifices a ns man has to go through, i think the new punishment is still not enough. there is no privilege being a citizen except the right to vote. to protect the institution of ns and the defence of the nation, the nation would have to live with losing a few prodigal sons. unless citizenship is so attractive that just being a pr is so disadvantaged that people would want to volunteer for ns. only then can the nation be generous enough to offer a pr route for singaporeans who still want to remain here and avoid ns. that is, when pr is a second rate resident while citizenship is first class with first class privileges.

14 comments:

Speedwing said...

The way I see it, nothing less than jail sentences can deter people from defaulting. Financial penalties will never be enough. Even $1 million to some people can be considered peanuts. If a millionaire does not want his son to spend 2 years in NS, it would be worth his while to cough up the $1million fine. However, for a poor family, even a fine of a few hundred dollars can be a great deterent. So, financial penalties will not be an equitable solution to this problem. Only a jail term will work. After all, even if you are a millionaire, the thought of your son in prison would be quite unbearable.

redbean said...

hi speed,

it is in the mentality of the rich singaporeans where everything can be settled by 'how much?'

sometimes i wonder whose fault it is to drive a people to think that money can settle everything. everything and every man can be bought.

maybe lky shall stand up and say 'my two sons both served ns as every young man did. so why so anyone be so exceptional to be exempted?'

Speedwing said...

Don't you see Redbean? For 40 years singaporeans have been looked after, cared for and are taught that evreything revolves round money, assets and wealth. Being competitive is what made Singapore as rich as it is today. You must take the rough with the smooth. One one hand you have a rich nation and on the flip side you have a typical Singaporean who thinks only of money, wealth and assets.

redbean said...

i still remember the 10 year old boy who was lost in gunong pulai i think. and when he saw some locals, the first thing he said to the man was something like you take me home i give you some money.

wonder to laugh or to feel offended. it is the singapore's money culture. that's why i was quite shock actually, to see mps speaking in parliament and telling the minister, 'just name me the price, how much?' well....

this sickness is more serious than the bird flu i think. it is affecting the whole population. very infectious.

Speedwing said...

Hi Redbean

The crave for money is very infectious. The majority of Singaporeans have already been infected, sorry to say.

I have just been informed by my good wife that the parents of a certain person in the news lately have come into a fortune because their terrace house in the Orchard area has been selected for en bloc ( correct spelling?). They are 80+ of age. The windfall is worth $3 million. They will sell up and collect the $3 million. My wife said their daughter will "take them in" as the son is in a foreign country.

I object to the phrase "take them in". Like this old couple are so poor that they have to be taken in. I hope I won't live to be so old that I have to be "taken in" by someone.

What is the world coming to? Another cherished tradition down the longkang!!

Matilah_Singapura said...

NS, and any form of conscription is unjust and immoral, and EVIL

I urge all young S'porean men and their parents to do whatever it takes to keep out of NS.

If enough people do it, they will have to repeal the law.

Regardless of what the political or social circumstance is, the state has no right (nor does anyone else) to force you to sacrifice yourself - for whatever the cause.

Everyone OWNS his own life. Military service must be completely voluntary

Any parent with any sense would plan the "escape" of their male children as soon as he is born.

I will continue to urge all male youths to get the fuck out - spend their years in primary and secondary school in discovering new and creative ways to reclaim their lives, and the RIGHT to live as they choose.

I applaude every male who has dodged NS. Good for them!

Speedwing said...

Hi Matilah, if you are a Singaporean and living here on this island where you have your home, your family and all your friends, how do you defend all that you love when you come under attack. Please do not say that no one would. You can never be sure.

redbean said...

this i must agree with speed.

maintaining an army is not cheap. and our history said that our defence is our responsibility and no one can be trusted.

every citizen has to contribute his share, hopefully to protect his hdb flats and not those of foreigners. but protecting foreigners properties while protecting their own flats at the same time, no big deal. just incidental.

it will only be a problem when singaporeans do not even have a roof to protect. then they will ask why are they putting their lives at stake, for what and for who.

this basic principle of having a stake in the country and protecting that stake is slowly being forgotten.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Has Singapore ever been attacked? Has there even beena "real" threat or have most people fallen for the myth that Singapore is vulernable?

Even if S'pore is vulernable, what about the idea of a professional fighting force. What makes you so certain that NS can solve the issue of defense??????

Ah. You have many unexamined assumptions

I have made this point before - years ago on the now defunct STIC forum (when the discussion was, surprise, surprise - NS)

I will defend the lives and property of my family and friends in a heartbeat. And I will do it in the 2 countries I live in : Australia and Singapore.

I don't have to be forced by the state to do it. And I am sure (absolutely 100% certain) that I'm not alone when I say this.

My point has always been about govt interference when it comes to voluntary associations between people.

NS is an abomination because it forces people to sacrifice.

Only a state run and ruled by monsters and evil fucks will do that. Those who respect individual choice and the right of every individual to direct his own life would never support conscription.

I this applaude and encourage more young men to get the fuck out before they are required to sacrifice... oops I mean serve.

If more and more young men and their parents did this, the system will have to change.

Since everyone (excluding me) is so fond of democracy, I have offered a democratic solution - civil disobedience and uncompromising defiance.

Got balls?

redbean said...

hi matilah,
this is one issue which our views are quite far apart. history first. forget about temasek days. singapore was first raped by the british. then butchered by the japs. when we were in malaysia, the malaysian govt sent our 2 regiments to sarawak during confrontasi. and in turn they sent in the malay regiments to occuppy the camps of our 2 regiments.

when confrontasi was over, our regiment returned and had to camp at farrer park because the malay regiments remained in their barracks. if the malay regiments refused to vacate, we will be lan lan.

that is the fear of a small nation like singapore. can we afford a professional army? definitely too costly. even we ns, it is still very costly.

agree that ns is very unjust and unfair. it is a price that every male citizen has to pay. we can only hope that the govt does not forget this debt it owes to the people called 'citizens' and do not degrade their values and take their sacrifices for granted.

Elfred said...

DB never put an end to AWOLs.

And I don't see how many more dodgers have us than AWOLs cases when the latter commands the jail terms and the dodgers got fined...

Just check how many AWOLs on monthly basis as compare to the 100 cases mentioned by Mr Ong Chit Chong...

Come on Speedwing...

redbean said...

elfred,

the nature of awol are of different degree. some are just a few hours or a few days. and somehow, the culprits actually knew what they were doing and were prepared to accept a little punishment.

but defaulting ns altogether is a very serious issue.

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean,

My point is that male citizens (and their parents) DO NOT have to pay any price on a "transaction" they never agreed to ;-)

They have the CHOICE to dissent, which is why I am encouraging them.

Let's look at this choice: If you are of NS age and migrate you can get started on your life 2.5 years sooner than someone who has "surrendered" to the state. You can own a car, probably start Uni or a career and have a mortgage whist people are still firing mortars and running up and down Peng Kang hill like bloody fools.

If you live in Canada or Oz, they have whoop-ass fighting forces - paid for by your tax dollars. And no one need live in fear of conscription.

Any skirmish can be dealth with a voluntary fighting force or militia. You'll be surpirsed how well people can organise if they have to defend their family, friends and property.

NS is an idea built on a philosophical MYTH. For years people and the gov thte support have lived under this LIE. The time has come to face up to the truth, and to adopt a "respect the individual" mentality and morality.

or else it is:

MATILAH SINGAPURA!!

redbean said...

hey matilah,

you know what a democracy is like. bills passed in parliament becomes law. no need the citizens' approval or approval is implicit in your elected representatives.