Here, I’d like to continue questioning the writer’s reasoning:
The writer says friendships are “forced” is an insult to many of us. “Forced friendship” almost sounds like an oxymoron. One can still be enlisted yet do not “learn to accept people who are different from you and you will learn to accept and embrace them”. If you do not like someone, you have to co-operate but no one can get you to become”friends”.
And many of us generate real friendships in the army, one that lasts a lifetime or beyond.
I’m looking forward to attending the funeral of the politician that proposes women be enlisted.
What about when the Army equips inadequately skilled people with real skills: drivers, storemen, clerks, leadership, diplomas for engineers? What about an opportunity to sign-on as a career? For the struggling family needing his son to work several jobs, conscription is hardly able to strengthen this family unit. Nevertheless, how about this: the son is now not dependent on the struggling family. The son now gets an allowance and all living expenses (including accommodation, food) taken care of?
Conscription only in wartime
This idea reveals that the author is being naive. You do not have time to train, you can’t build up a deterrent and moreover, it is an open secret that the Singaporean army is not a defensive army. Singapore is too small to defend at a last minute and war cannot be brought here. It is an aggressor army and must strike first should the need arise.
The writer also cites many articles, but those are curiously not written in a Singaporean context.
Shortening of NS liability
Many proposed the shortening of this already short 1.8-2 years liability to the most favored – 1 year. Although it sounds great on paper, lets analyze it a bit deeper.
Physical fitness – No matter how good our Physical Training studies are, we are not going to leapfrog and accelerate the time we need to achieve competent physical shape.
Vocational Training – Basic Military Training takes about 3 months. Basic. Thereafter there is still specialist vocational training, should it be artillery, armour (tankee), commandos, guards, NDU, Admin Support Assistants(ASA) aka Clerks, Storeman or Drivers, Commandos, NDUs, Guards, Officers. Officers also have to go back to their unit for GCC and COCC (Guards Conversion Course), (Commando Officer Conversion Course). Some vocations typically take 1 year to complete (and already in an uncomfortable shortened period). With the shortened period to 1 year, how does one expect to complete realistic, sensible training and be operationally ready in time?
For those who have served NS, maybe we might want to ask ourselves whether we are (more) prepared to fight a war after 2 years, or after 1 year of training? Guys: Do you recall when you were a fresh recruit and thereafter into 1 year into training? Did you feel fighting fit then?
Today we have a sizable army (people to army ratio), on call at a moment’s notice. With 2 years of full time experience and up to 10 years of annual training, forced fitness through IPPT/RT/IPT training and the ability to call-up almost a million soldiers on demand.
There is no love of conscription or enlistment. But let us conclude with this parting quote: