Since my previous posts on National Service generated so much attention, I feel obliged to blog about the recent slew of news from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
To recap on the conversations, read my previous posts:
The government has granted Singapore top swimmer, Joseph Schooling’s request to defer his National Service obligation, enabling the 18-year-old to focus on training until after the 2016 Olympics. He is due for enlistment in 2014 but has been granted deferment until 31 August 2016.
I think this is the first time such a deferment has been granted and I applaud MINDEF for making this decision. I am very happy for Schooling and I believe it is a step in the right direction for greater flexibility in deferment.
Mixed feelings on this one. We asked for a review of the IPPT system and we got it. The 2.4km run has been upgraded to 3.2km. Be careful what you wish for… to be fair, details remain sketchy on the exact amendments. Running a longer distance, but with a more reasonable timing for non full-time soldiers may not be a bad thing and may be a fairer assessment of health level. Not everyone is a Spartan, but I do agree a minimum level of fitness is good for everyone.
I have no qualms on setting high standards for IPPT for full-time NSFs and regulars who signed on for a career in the army on their own accord, but I think the expectations for NSmen should be fairer, taking into account that we are just part-time conscripts, not career soldiers.
My utmost respect goes to those who step forward and volunteer. I am highly skeptical that the number will be even more than a 3 digits figure though.
Overall, I do get the impression that MINDEF seems to be making some efforts to improve itself and the whole NS system.
The one thing I really wish MINDEF can look into is to shorten the ten ‘work year’ reservist system. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Singapore has the longest reservist and IPPT system in the world for conscripts. Is this really necessary?
What can we do in the meantime?
Just suck thumb and hope for the best and that MINDEF really gets it this time.
I am not going to complain anymore in case another surprise like the 3.2km upgrade for IPPT pops up again.