Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Will, Who Will?

I Will, Who Will?
Next year’s Total Defence Day will carry the tagline “I Will” on 15 Feb 2010 – the 68th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.

It is meant to coax Singaporeans to think about how they will defend what they hold dear (

In follow-on campaigns, perhaps the tagline could be “Who Will?”.

Rough straw polls have shown an appalling lack of awareness, especially among foreign-talent-turned-new-citizens, towards Singapore’s 42-year-old National Service (NS) system. If new citizens do not know who has to serve NS, it takes no great vision to realize that they will also be clueless about the warfighters who will defend them.

A recent street poll by The Sunday Times showed that only 21 out of 50 people knew who has to serve NS (see question 8 in the article above).

The pathetic score underlines the amount of work needed to educate people in the Lion City about NS. It also goes to show that 42 years after the first Singaporeans enlisted for NS, people in this country do not seem to know, care for, or appreciate the efforts of those who bear arms to defend the city state.

The fallout from such ignorance will hardly be felt during times of peace.

But during the planning before hostilities, enemies of the state can be expected to exploit such ignorance to their advantage. Imagine how Operationally-Ready NSmen might feel if enemy psyops played on ignorance towards NS to shake the resolve of citizen soldiers.

Nobody likes being taken for granted. The notion that Singaporean NSmen serve an indifferent populace should concern defence planners. Numbers alone count for nothing if soldiers feel they will die for nothing or put their lives on the line for a populace that doesn’t care a hoot.

You don’t have to go far to find an example of a battle lost by a numerically superior army. Our forefathers paid a price in blood learning this lesson when Singapore surrendered to the Imperial Japanese Army on 15 Feb 1942.


|-|05| said...

Yea, who will remember once its all done and dusted?I know quite a few 2nd gen PR's who don't serve NS, there's apparently some loophole or some method to get out of it.
Not that it matters much to me though, i didn't do NS for recognition

HaveAHacks said...

I don't know... depending on how strictly they scored the answers, a lot of born & bred Singaporeans wouldn't know either. The part about "second-generation PRs" especially is not exactly widely trumpeted by SAF. Who knows what is a second generation PR ? There are a lot of intricacies about PR and renunciation of citizenship and so on which are carefully obscured. Which ironically means that only the well-connected make use of the loopholes.

Anonymous said...

Why is General Boey serving the casino instead of the nation? He should be writing for the national propaganda paper.

FIVE-TWO said...

Anon, He Was.

|-|05| said...

to be perfectly honest, i have no idea what % of singaporeans live in HDB flats and neither do i know what's the land area of mainland singapore.
Also didn't know NJC was the oldest JC.
The population part is also abit effy because when i was in sec sch about 8 years ago it was 3++ nearly 4mil.Didn't think it cld have gone up so much so fast lol.

Anonymous said...


80% lives in public housing. It's gone up over the years.

The land area has been steadily increasing. It's now over 700 sq km.

These are two floating numbers and have changed over the years. It is reasonable that people wouldn't have an exact figure.

Like you said, the population bit is also iffy. It is a changing number. Unless one works for the statistics board...

FIVE-TWO, I know. He should really go back to write for that rag. He would be more effective there.

Alex Tan said...

I hereby pledge that if I were ever given a choice, I Will Never Serve National Service.

serve NS to protect foreigners and the PAP while our fellow Singaporeans face inflation, zero retirement, unemployment, depression of wages, denied freedom of speech?

I Will Never support NS.

FIVE-TWO said...

Alex, you can't seem to distinguish between a nation, the society and its citizenry, from the ruling party of the day.

So, presumably you having grown up in peace and stability, in part afforded by all citizens who have served the necessary, we now cannot count on you to do the same so we can have peace in our old age?

dtwn said...


you do have a choice. You can choose not to serve NS, you just have to suffer the consequences. And as 5-2 has mentioned, there is a distinct difference between a nation, the society, and citizenry from the ruling party of the state.

Anonymous said...

I hope I m too late to give my part on this issue. I told my wife this n I share tis wif u. If ever a war breaks out between S'pore n our northern neighbour, SAF shd not expect me to risk my life defending the PRs and foreign talents the majority of whom I know shun NS and have nothing good to say about it. Why should I ?

Piper said...

Hi all,

As a Singaporean and NSman, i'm the least worried about foreigners / PRs not embracing NS.

First - OPSEC, too many foreign 'fighters' among our ranks isn't a good idea no? Getting 'fragged' isn't on my agenda

Second - When the shit hits the fan, who says 90pct of the PR/Foreigner will stick around? They will go home, their govts will bring them home.

Third - Those without foreign passports, this island is where you're gonna stay (provided if u fancy some refugee camp?). Its only here that we get to talk the talk and walk the walk. No use ranting and raving against PAP cos we voted for them in the first place.

Ultimately, we fight for those whose lives and futures depend on Singapore, who stayed back for Singapore (even if they are PR/Foreigner). We will only know who they are when the time comes.