And the papa cries
A young man dies. He was a jovial and easy going person. ‘He was very active and we would always look out for each other when we played soccer,’ said his schoolmate. Muhammad Fahrurrazi died when on active service as a NSman, in Brunei.
The Defence Minister wrote a personal letter of condolence to his father. A general presented his father with the nation’s flag and his(Muhammad's) beret. He was given a military funeral with honour. But the young man died. These niceties were only awarded when a soldier dies in service.
What would the NSman get in return should he not die and live till is ORD? If he joins the civil service, he may get two increments in salary. Oh, he will get some income tax deduction if his income is high enough to be taxable. He may get some handouts into his CPF which he may not see or touch for a long time to come, or not at all. He would risk losing his girl friend while doing his two years in NS. He will lose two years of employment and the full income he deserves. And if things did not turn out right, he will lose his life, like Muhammad Fahrurrazi.
Has the sacrifice of the NSmen been really appreciated by the policy makers? So many young men have lost their lives for the nation. And many faded into oblivion as forgotten soldiers. In Muhammad’s case his father only had this to say, ‘I regret not meeting him the last time he returned to Singapore…He was just carrying out his duties.’
The citizens have accepted this cruel fate of life, quietly, and their sons making the ultimate sacrifice. Many have taken this for granted as the fate of being a Singaporean man. What should they expect? What do they think they should be entitled to for this sacrifice? No, nothing, no sacrifice. It is part of being a Singaporean!
And the mama cries.