Review system for NSmen who fail IPPT

Reading this letter by Keith Wee perked up my morning. I am not the only who think this way:

There is a need to review the annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) system.

Currently, operationally ready national servicemen who fail the IPPT are compelled to attend 20 remedial training (RT) sessions of four hours each. These are held at 6pm on weekdays or 4pm on weekends and must be completed within three months.

Such a system is untenable in current societal conditions and incurs costs that are higher than the benefits.

Nowadays, people typically leave the workplace after 6pm. To attend RT, a person would have to leave the office earlier, incurring huge manpower costs.

Furthermore, if a person did three RT sessions a week, he would leave for home only at 10pm quite often over that period. Much precious time that can be spent with loved ones or enriching oneself is taken away.

Singaporean men already sacrifice a minimum of two years to serve the nation. While I agree with the need to serve the nation, where does the sacrifice end?

After factoring in mandatory in-camp training duties, RT only further removes the goodwill one might have for the nation.

So, why not just pass the IPPT in the first place, one might argue?

The IPPT comprises six stations that must be cleared. I have friends who can run full marathons but are unable to jump 1.6m or do six chin-ups. Does this mean they are unfit?

The current standards for passing IPPT are certainly due for a review.

Keith Wee
Published on 9 Sep, 2013
The Straits Times Forum

I can predict MINDEF’s standard reply – that they have a review committee in place; that IPPT is fair and they are committed to help NSmen train and improve, etc.

What MINDEF fail to acknowledge is the high social cost and opportunity cost taken away from NSmen who fail IPPT. Is this ‘punishment’ excessive?

Not everyone is blessed with athletic genes from birth.  I too hope the government would seriously reconsider the high cost of IPPT to the individual, his family, the workforce and the country as a whole.

Please do not brush us off with “JUST PASS YOUR IPPT”.

It is because some of us really can’t.

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36 thoughts on “Review system for NSmen who fail IPPT”

  1. why whine so much? i used to be unable to do chin ups and jump the required distance for broad jump. after attending R.T., that was rectified. R.T. is of use, although i would have to agree it may not be the case for everyone. that said, how would you like it if in the unlikely event that we are attacked, we have a force full of overweight NSMen to defend us.
    In any case, it is only to our benefit that we are required to keep fit.

  2. Do you think passing ippt and obtain a silver , proof that you are fit, I tell you, you can enjoy that illusion in your mind, you are wrong, a number person who fail the ippt are even fitter than those who pass

  3. “I have friends who can run full marathons but are unable to jump 1.6m or do six chin-ups. Does this mean they are unfit?”

    Can train for marathons but not can’t train to jump 1.6m or do 6 pull ups? Come on… Kenyan long distance runners make better soldiers than a silver ippt unfit singaporean?

  4. alex is obviously one of those arrogant young punks who is still serving his NS and look down on ‘unfit’, ‘unruly’ reservist uncles. Wait till alex pass 30, get married, have to look after kids, nagging wife, and unsympathetic boss while fighting to defend his job from FT who don’t need serve NS or do reservist or do RT. Then he will understand reality.

  5. lol @ the first comment by PAP IB. Come on lah, where got sinkie have such good thing to say about RT one? want to fake also use your brain can?

  6. It’s easy to give criticisms and point out flaws with the current system. But what people do not do is to provide solutions. Why not come up with a better method to determine the soldier fitness before going on about how the current system is all bad. No doubt it has its flaws but until someone figures out a better solution, the current system is probably better than not having a system in place.

    IPPT doesn’t determine combat fitness but seriously, you’d rather go on a 24km route march, combat shoots, obstacle courses, and all the other outfield nonsense than to do some basic exercises in pt kit?

  7. the reason y all SINGAPOREANS must do all this because we are short of manpower.. .. but come on we got our own responsibility. and howabout the foreign workers who work here for years and do nothing and the best part they are given priorities instead of the singaporeans. THINK ABOUT THAT! LETS TALK ABOUT THE FAIRNESS OF THE CITIZEN!

  8. those that are doing “shift work” will hafta kena charge… where got time to clear RT…
    Lao Uncle got point there. it’s either u off work early kena deduct pay go RT, or u dun go RT kena charge…
    being fit doesnt mean u will win at war. there are people who are damn bloody fit but are bobo shooters and vice versa. war = technical ability of troops, not fitness of troops… moreover, nowadays youngsters will flee if war is approaching… even if they damn fit aso no use…

  9. @Kenneth

    I wanted to let the comments flow freely and not chip in, but I had to cos of you.

    People like you harm free debate the most with your pathetic rhetoric. I hate the term ‘constructive criticism’ which is an oxymoron.

    Stop asking people to provide solutions! It is the government’s job.

    If you go eat at KFC and found a lizard in your burger, do you need to give KFC recommendations on how they can improve food hygiene before you complain?

    Following your flawed logic, if I slapped you in the face, you would need to suggest to me how I can control my anger before you retaliate.

    Don’t be a lame duck.

    You compared route march and field camp with IPPT which are totally different things. The latter fall under ICT training. This is one of the most flawed and lousy excuse of a rebuttal I have ever come across.

    Argue with your brain.

  10. i would like to clarify a few points brought up as a result of my opening comment.

    no1: i am not a PAP supporter. i do not understand how politics come into play when it comes to this discussion.
    no2: im not a young punk. I am in my early 30s and yes I am fit. That’s not to say I am arrogant. I was once a zero fighter and am still overweight. but I managed to pass my IPPT and all i am pointing out is the fact that I believe that R.T. has helped me.
    no3: I obviously have went through R.T. I feel the pain of having to spend time away from my family, but at the same time, I feel happy that R.T. has helped me.

    To all those who think that I am some pap supporter or Mindef groupie, get a life and learn to contribute to an interesting debate that the blogger has brought up.

  11. Honestly, i’m relatively young and i’m tall and quite skinny, but i’ve always had a problem with sbj and sometimes chin ups despite me being able to run half marathons. I think a review is really in order, both of IPPT and the RT system.

  12. Its not that difficult to solve/ or at least appease most males who need to take RT. Just pay them more , like at least 10$/hr for the whole session, instead of deciding it based on their ranks during Ns.

    I was in service when I was during NS, yet I had to take IPPT, do combat stuff while not taking combat pay at all. Even the RP at my camp did less than me yet had 100$ extra of combat pay. Now that I have ORDed and need to take RT, I get a measly 9.50$ (was 8.50$ last year) for 3-4 hours of RT, while my friends get more than double of me for doing the same thing. How is this even fair ? Why should we be penalized 10-20 years more just because of that 2 years ?

    And $9.50 is before deducting the transport fee I need to get there, which is a min of $3 to and fro. That makes it just 6.50$!!!!!! not even comparable to a part time job which needs no qualifications.

    If everyone who needed to go RT took back a minimum of 20-30$ per session, do you think people would complain that much?

    And plese don give me that crap about it would dampen the country’s economy, or that its a waste of money. Firstly, these money would go back into the Singapore’s economy anyway since the men still stay in sg (multiplier effect), and everyone who has attended NS knows there is a LOT of wastage anyway during their 2 years.

  13. Ippt n NS is useless. Waste 2 years of NS running like mad dogs. Paid worst than Maids while other men in other countries (same age) are doing so much better.After that still wanna charge us for not attending RT. WTF. WAKE UP MINDEF. We aren’t slaves to you. Give us respect and credit. want to check our fitness level, then go check our Medical Reports. Doctors certify fit. Not your STUPID ippt.

  14. SAF should review.. and out of the 6 stations.. NSman needs to pass at least 5 (including 2.4km).. and that’s it. This allows a hell lot of people to pass IPPT (I bet you)!!

    Does doing 6 chin ups make you a better soldier?? Does it mean that if you cant do 6 chin ups, you can carry your field pack or your rifle? SAF has got to be more open minded and think out of the box. Some of us cannot do chin up is because we are bigger size and we are heavier (damn it). So does it mean that we are less strong or less powerful than our friends whom are small size and weighs much lesser that can do at least 12 chin ups?? Let me ask SAF, who do you want as your soldier? A small looking but yet able to do 12 chin ups soldier or a bigger guy than can do much more work, but just can do his chin ups??

    Similarly, for standing board jump. Do you need to jump far during a war time?? What has SBJ gotta do in helping us prepare for war? During war time, its how many enemies you are going to kill, and how well you understand the plannings and execute the commands. Its not based on your fitness. If you are fit, but you are stupid and you think you are RAMBO, then u might even screw up the whole operation.

    Seriously, we are now already in the new generation. We even have a modern in door firing range. So what are we still so fixated on IPPT standards? If this is indeed true, then why are some of our commanders looking so round and fat as well??

    Seriously, SAF is wasting their own money by asking us back for RT. You look at the amount of people going for each RT session, and each of them being paid minimally I don’t know how much $15?? Each day is $6000?? that’s a fucking lot of money. And our time is lost, the instructors time is lost.

    They should seriously review the IPPT passing grade. Pass 4 out of 5 static station and 2.4km.. that should be more than enough. If its not, then at least all those station that we can pass, lets all aim for 3 points and above.. fair enough SAF??

  15. fitness is an individual issue. why should the government mandate fitness level in singaporean men? if a singaporean man falls sick and is unable to pay for his hospital bill, does the request for aid looked at whether this singaporean man passed his ippt?

  16. I think we must have a solution, some things RT is good, so good for you go for it. But those who don’t like to go for RT what about them? In Singapore its already so competitive already, in the industries. How is it possible to give birth too many kids when we don’t have time, and in a overstress society? How are we going to compete with the foreigners? House ex, children expenses also ex.

  17. The IPPT system for NSmen should not be a punitive system. The government should reward generously for those who pass IPPT, yet not punish those who cannot pass (or choose not to). We are considered part-timers as it is but the IPPT passing standard is based on a full-time one. I used to be a gold-medalist year in year out in my NS days but a combination of age (I’m 32 this year), niggling injuries and work commitments (I work London hours) have made even passing nowadays a difficult affair.
    Everyone has a different physique and with the view of a more competitive work environment nowadays, it is extremely easy to dismiss those who are unable to pass the IPPT as “not enough effort”. Have we all not contributed enough during the two and a half years to deserve a little more leeway and freedom in the way we want to live our lives? While I won’t go as far as calling the NS a modern day slavery and I believe in all the good full time NS represents, I agree it is extremely frustrating that we are bound by ridiculous military rules, when we are civilians, which only further restrict the Singaporean sons from their daily lives. As we always say in reservist “it is only 3 weeks max in a year”, then is it worth it when we feel that it hinders a good 49 other weeks?
    Finally, I would like to emphasize that different people prioritize different things in life. I for one prioritize making enough for a comfortable living for the family over passing the IPPT. Of course there will be people who think that health is more important than money, but really everyone is entitled to their own opinions. So why is one civilian discriminated over another by being forced to go RT or be charged just because they cannot pass IPPT or prefer to choose their own paths?

  18. I am totally with you on this one. I am a 27 year old and I hate ICTs (Lucky for me, I am excused IPPT due to my PES status. If not, more headaches for me). I like to have long hair, and I hate it when I have to cut my hair due to ICT. I always constantly find ways to siam ICT (I am not ashamed to say this, for it takes at least 6 months for my hair to grow back to the length I want.) And like what your argument said, why should MINDEF and SAF have the right to dictate how long my hair should be after I have already given 2 years of my precious youth? I have regimentation as well, and hate having tell me off as if I owe them something. I totally agree with your argument about the need to review our out-dated NS system.

  19. 20 RT is too much wasting alot of precious time. Its compulsory for nsman to pass ippt every year. what about NSF i dont see everyone passing????

  20. Nice post bro I am 26. I am married already feeling the stress you have mentioned. I have wife and kids also starting my own business sometimes I think I rather get fine but going into jail is too harsh

  21. I dont think adding more money as reward to the system would work. The time can be use with your love ones which is priceless. Or it can be use to build your network sometimes to some peoole they might be able to ckinch a business deal worth 10k to 100k why bother for additional 10 dollaes per hour.

    If the system again raise the reward it will only give more reasons for the mindef to criticise the people like us or rather the majority of us

  22. Seriously, how are all man the same? Look out there carefully, there are man that are gay, there are man that have weak heart, there are man with psychology problems and etc. but MINDEF seen to ignore the fact and choose to see all man as the same ones rather then seeing us as individual. Eg. Is this fair if one has psychology problems and still charged him for not going to IPPT or ICT? Worst still, getting discriminate,scolded and mark by officers. Come on we are human not animal to be called and get forced to serve.

  23. ask elephant to climb a tree or giraffe to swim, cannot right? even in the primate family, a gorilla cant swing from tree to tree as a squirrel monkey. as primitive this analogy is, the ippt is just as primitive. its like making a gorilla, a squirrel monkey. it will happen but the gorilla will be damn pissed off.

  24. 2.5 years of my life made me a better man. I have no qualms over reservist duties. 10 cycles, so be it. 3 – 4 weeks a year. I’m Singaporean. It’s my duty. But when the system gets abused, then we have a problem. When it gets in the way of my career and job security, we have a problem. I get strange callups for strange reasons. 1-day call up each time at 1 weeks notice lately. I get called up to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new Commander of my unit. I get called up for some forum. These guys just don’t realise that not everyone get off work at 6pm. When we keep getting hauled up like that, my angmoh boss isn’t going to like it very much. Does he care about your civic duty? No. He cares about the lost time he has to account for and paying a freelancer to step in to cover your duties for that 1 particular day because you had to attend some bozo scholar’s swearing in ceremony.

    IPPT system needs looking at. Repercussions due to failure should really be looked at. I can understand that it’s in our interests to go back for some training. I’ve got no problem with that. Keeps me fit too. But 20 sessions. That’s too much. 20 sessions is not a scientifically proven number that could help someone pull 6 chinups. 20 RT sessions is some scholar’s suggestion to impress his boss in the ivory tower. 20 RT sessions is the damn KPI that some bozo set for the units to meet if not the CO gets questioned.

  25. came across this on yahoo and it def struck a nerve as well. I am currently a student studying in Australia, and after having served my NS years as an officer, had to still ‘inform’ MINDEF i was leaving the country for studies and had to provide ‘proof” of my absence. On top of which, also faced the same issues of having to respond to IPPT and RT trainings even though i wasnt even in the country.
    I agree with a total review of the system. I fail to see why personal life decisions made by the individual [e.g leaving the country, holiday] has got to do with the SAF or MINDEF [after having served a term which is what THEY deem as ‘obligatory’] , when the government themselves import foreigners like cattle (i do not mean this in any derogatory sense, just an analogous in terms of quantity) and ONLY now just starting to realize this and making changes to policies.

    It is about time WE as Singaporean males reclaim OUR rights as individuals and not as salves to a system which is close to half-a-century old.

    Though not totally relevant, if anyone has the time, please watch

    I believe it will begin to reveal many things about our system.

  26. @Alex
    I agree that better fitness is to our own benefits. But why couldn’t I do it in my own time? Maybe you feel that RT has helped you, or those with heart to improve but lacking in discipline, or time, to make actual changes (incorporate exercise into daily life). In this case, I suggest making IPPT/RT optional after ORD.

    If your point was solely based on, better fitness is good for everyone and therefore we should all embrace this system. Then I believe this is a dictatorial system which only enforce its judgement without considering other perspectives. After all, who makes the call as to which is good and better? To have a fitter body up to 40/50 years old; or more time in our life?

  27. I think we need to look at the big picture here…

    Qns to consider:
    1. Do we need an Armed Forces? If no, why not?
    2. If we do need an Armed Forces, what kind of armed forces do we want to have?
    3. Is IPPT truly a good measure of fitness? Is the IPPT system fair?

    My answers:
    1. We do need an Armed Forces, not to go to war, but to be a effective deterrence. I think that’s the very least a sovereign state require. As for the size of this force, I think I have too little knowledge to make a meaningful discussion. However, I do think that we do require an Armed Forces to protect our sovereignty given our geographical condition.

    2. Sure, we all gave our 2 years, and not forgetting the 10 years cycle. Within this period, we are “encouraged” to keep fit, and I think for a very good reason. Do we want to have a group of soldiers who can hardly run 2km? Do we want to send out a battalion of soldiers that look like the first episode of “The Biggest Loser”? Or do we want a group of soldiers who are actually capable of fighting. I think fitness is important to a soldier and keep in mind that this is in the context that we DO need an Armed Forces.

    3. Well… Maybe not the best… but I think it is the bare minimum. Many comments I see gives generic comment like “Can run marathon but cannot do pull up = unfit?”. In my opinion, or rather in the opinion of the army. a ‘fit’ person is probably not one who simply can run a marathon. I believe that being a soldier is not like playing a sport. One has to be fit in a particular way, thus IPPT as a bare minimum measure of fitness to being a soldier. You can be fit enough to run all you want, but if you don’t have the upper body strength to carry a rifle properly, how to fight? You can run all the marathon you can, but if you don’t have enough strength in your legs to jump over a ditch with your FBO on, how to survive? Perhaps I may be wrong, I can only guess that’s the rationale behind IPPT.

    Is IPPT system a fair one? Perhaps one that is too harsh. I believe there really is room for improvement in this one. Perhaps instead of 20 session RT, Army personnel who fail IPPT should be given 2 months free/subsidise access to SAFRA gym whereby one have to visit at least 8 times or something? Just throwing out ideas (maybe not the best one), but this is one thing which I think there is room for improvement.

    Keep in mind that all the above argument falls back to a single question: Do we need an Armed Forces. If one’s answer to that is a resounding “NO”, I think you might be living in your own little bubble. Just my 2 cents worth… and I am in no way related to PAP nor a army regular.. just another Singaporean who finished his 2.5 years and ICT cycle in his 30s 😛

  28. Please la. If everyone wants to keep saying ‘act as a deterrence’ or ‘our significant geographical’ location’, just think of the ACTUAL size of Singapore for a moment. If any of our neighbouring countries [or any other country for that matter] wanted to invade they wouldnt have to do much [plus the kind of technology that weapons are at these days]. A good example i heard while in NS was that, if one family from every island in Indonesia decided to ride a sampan across to Singapore, we would already be ‘invaded’ by a civilain force and we wouldnt be able to do jack shit about it.

  29. on the matter of ‘fitness’, how do you really measure fitness? do you guys really think getting gold means you’re fucking fit?

    idk. i have friends who can run full marathon, but can barely pull to a 6 or a 8, and i myself weigh 70kg, have an acceptable bmi, and i can deadlift 200kg. but my sbj really cui. does that means im unfit? im pretty sure i can punch a fucking hole in anybody’s face who says that.

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