Friday, September 2, 2011

Proud of national service precisely because it is a sacrifice

Proud of national service precisely because it is a sacrifice

Sep 2, 2011

MS SERENE Wong ('NS is no burden'; Aug 22) was wrong when she rebutted recent presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian ('Kin Lian: Make NS a privilege, not a burden'; Aug 20).

How can military training that prepares a person for the highly complex and dangerous task of defending one's country not be a huge load to bear?

If it is no burden at all, I would question the quality of our military training.

Usually, the only ones who feel little or no burden are those in non-combat positions.

If Ms Wong remains unconvinced, she should ask why first-generation naturalised male citizens are not required to perform national service.

The Government is fully aware that it is not a small load and it does not want to deter potential new citizens from choosing to sink their roots in Singapore.

[Not just that. A new citizen may be a military spy or saboteur, or he may have divided loyalties. If we should have a military action against his former country, his loyalties would be unduly tested.]

I applaud Mr Tan for standing up for national servicemen.

His call for greater recognition of the sacrifice servicemen make is worth serious consideration by the Government.

Without that sacrifice, nationhood for Singaporeans would quickly become a thing of the past.

We should highlight the fact that national service is indeed a burden.

It is precisely because it is a burden - and defending our nation the responsibility of citizens - that servicemen are proud to be called upon to bear it.

Michael Ang

[But it sounds self-serving to ask for more recognition for National Service. TKL is wrong to do so. In asking for more recognition, he is in effect asking that we compensate NS men more completely, but it can never be adequately compensated. it is not a commercial transaction. The reason army speaks of duty, and honour, and loyalty and pride, is because these ideas drive and motivate people. If you replace it or attempt to compensate for these burdens of pride and loyalty, you exchange a sense of duty, with a sense of mercantilism. When your Sarge asks you to "Take that hill!" you're supposed to say, "yes sir!" not "How much?"

Men do march to war because they were paid well. Men do not face death because they will be amply compensated for their death.]

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