Monday, January 16, 2006

Of Draft Dodgers Disruptees and White Horses

Couldn't resist putting these up here.

From Today:

(Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean) added: "The concept of self-sacrifice must be an inherent part of NS. There must be equity in not just making sure that everyone serves but when an individual does so. There's nothing to stop Singaporeans from doing their postgraduate studies after NS. The morale of the troops will go down when some are granted deferments while some are not."

My initial response - What about the Delta Company in OCS? Ask those non-scholar cadets (and other NSF trainees in the units and training schools) how they feel when they see their PSC scholar peers disrupt for overseas undergraduate studies while they have to continue their sai kang with the military.

On White Horse treatments:

ST: Jan 16, 2006
VIPs' sons given special treatment in 1999

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Ms Ho Ching's manifestation of humility, as described by Mr Lionel De Souza in his letter, 'Day I witnessed PM and wife's humility' (ST, Jan 12), is certainly awesome and refreshing.

This contrasts with my own experience in December 1999 when my late son was enlisted.

In the same intake were the sons of a government minister, an MP and a former MP.

The moment we arrived at Pulau Tekong, a few instructors asked frantically who the minister's son was.

As we were ushered into the auditorium for the briefing by the school commander, the minister introduced his son to the commander.

Then, as we queued for the buses to ferry us to the cookhouse for lunch, a military vehicle pulled up and whisked the minister, his wife and son away, probably for lunch elsewhere.

I could see the look of envy on the faces of many enlistees and their parents, including my son, who happened to be a good friend of the minister's son.

When it was time to leave Pulau Tekong, we had to queue to get through the turnstiles.

A few military personnel cleared a path for the minister, the MP and the former MP and their wives, hence avoiding the queue.

The experience left me, and I am sure many others, with an extremely poor impression.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

and contrast to this:

(Cedric Foo, Minister of State for Defense) in Nov 2003: ‘White Horses’ are sons of influential Singaporeans and these influential Singaporeans include ministers, member of parliaments, ex-ministers, ex- member of parliaments, nominated member of parliaments, ex-nominated member of parliaments, doctors, senior civil servants like senior SAF officers above the rank of Lieutenant Colonel or senior police officer or SCDF officers above the rank of deputy assistant comminsioners. And also a very big group of people who earns S$9,500 a month or more.” anywhere in society, there will be some people who are more prone to bootlicking, but let me say categorically that no one and no commanders will misinterpret this system although it does not exist now. It is certainly not something that we will look too highly upon. In fact, you must scrupulously not to treat them better and not to be seen and perceived as if you treating it. If you look around, very few armed forces would have been able to do what the SAF did. I mean, in the region, which is endemic to corruption, you will not find this level of commitment to fulfil its mission.”

Have you ever seen the OC of a BMT company (as well as ALL his support staff) coming down to greet an ACGS (Assistant Chief of the General Staff) because his son was in the company? And how he was allowed to leave early for the weekend on Friday (his dad actually drove up to the company line to pick him) when others could not?

Incidents like these make me fume, even after so many years.


oikono said...

Let's all sing

'In the army, we'll love them white horse kings...'

ted said...

Hur hur, meritocracy huh..hur hur hur.

Anonymous said...

if you're born in singapore, but lived your whole life abroad.. what do you owe singapore? this whole notion of self-sacrifice will be less appealing in a globalised world. why serve 2 years when some other country can give you a better life?

One thing I've learnt in the university - don't waste the best 2 or 3 years of your youth. certainly.. 18 to 21.. is a great time for youth. A great transition. A time to learn and discover. Not to be confined to the stupidest of boundaries

the saf tries to keep everyone as stupid as possible, so that obvious lapses won't be notice. besides... if you're stupid.. you won't question stupid orders from stupid people...

its very sad.. the whole saf is more about wayang.. more about being a paper tiger than anything else...

so much just to get the next promotion and bonus. everything is a show. after all.. no one wants to be farked and have their standing ruined both above and below.

besides... isn't the morale of the troops at a freakin' low point now? And since its considered "a rite of passage".. isn't it just another wayang of some sort? All this talk about morale is garbage. It doesn't even exist.

Zyl said...

I'm sure all of us who served NS have stories like this. In a perverse way, NS is probably good preparation for working life - there is plenty of flowery upper management platitudes in any workplace but the reality often is a stark counterpoint to such rhetoric. Why are we so disappointed when politicians don't live up to their words when we don't expect them to in the first place?

Anonymous said...

I'm turning 19 this year and I am caught in a dilemma.... mayb u all can give some advice?

I am in my 3rd year of my degree (yah i kinda started uni at 17yrs old) in a certain country (a bigger island than Sg), and soon I will be going into honours and further studies.

As this whole draft-dodging thing brews back in Sg, the most important question still remains in my mind: to dodge or not to dodge?

most pple in my situation wun have much to worry about and would head to Tekong for 2 years after their degree..... but I have other factors....

1) if i go back straight after honours/basic-degree, i will lose my opportunity to apply for PR in this country (since local applications are processed much faster than offshore ones, bec when one is offshore, the immigration department can take their own sweet time)

2) without PR, Uni fees for further studies will be the same as International skool fees. (PRs in this country pay alot less, even FREE for PhD studies!)

3) without PR, getting a govt-funded scholarship (no bonds at all, plus $1500 per month for the next 3 years for PhD studies) will not be possible at all, since it is only offered to Citizens and PRs.

4) if i go back straight after honours/basic-degree, I will lose the 'advantage'. you see, honours/PhD is all about projects and the supervisors; if the supervisor knows you, most probably (confirm plus guarantee) that you will get the PhD/honours position....that is compared to someone from faraway (eg., Sg) who sent a C.V. over applying for the same position. if i leave now, i will lose this advantage, and it will be so much harder to apply for further studies in this country after i get out of NS.

5) further studies in Sg require the sitting of the GRE (an entrance exam, as if grades and projects done in degree is not good enough), which is not needed at all in this country.

6) (for example, if we look into R&D as an industry), this country has 39 univerisities, and each uni would have least one research institute in your desired field, and also, each state has its own publicly-funded research institute too. This is in contrast to A*STAR. thus, this country would have hell lot more career opportunities than in Sg.

Let's also put it that the bond for NS works out to be the equivalent of 3 years of postgrad studies (as an international student). so if i dodge, *i think* it would be like paying the skool fees upfront!

so here it goes. please give some advice here. Thanks!