Monday, June 13, 2005

Blindspots of the critics of NS-complainers

This short entry presents a defence of the 'NS-complainers' (that is, Singaporean guys who complain about various aspects of National Service): they have been too frequently caricatured as unmanly weaklings. Recall how this lady was quoted in the Straits Times saying that Singaporean guys complain about the 'most trivial things' when they go for National Service.

My defence is simple: The national servicemen may complain but at least they do what they have to do - by trying their best to cope even if their hearts are elsewhere and by doing their jobs properly instead of malingering or going on AWOL (absence without official leave). It may be that those who do not complain simply have no need to complain, since they do not (by virtue of gender, medical/PES status, or nationality) have to put up with much suffering at all! Surely being in air-conditioned offices would be much more comfortable than being in the fields, under the scorching sun?

Yet, many people who criticize the NS-complainers fail to criticize the wider societal trend of increasing number of Singaporeans attempting to try their luck at getting medically 'downgraded'. Instead, they target the national servicemen who dutifully perform the combat operations, during NS as well as during the long reservist period which extends over 13 years into a man's middle age! I have seen many soldiers who complain during their resting time but perform excellently and to their fullest abilities when it comes to actual military operations. Should they not be commended and applauded, notwithstanding the fact that they may complain a little as an emotional release mechanism while doing NS or 'reservist'?

And my final point for the critics of NS-complainers is that if nobody complains, then perhaps the Ministry of Defence should really worry, because this may mean that the training isn't really fulfilling its function of stretching the physical and mental limits of the soldiers at all! The training is so relaxing that everybody breezes through it with a laugh - just like a holiday camp!


Blogger jllt said...

The last paragraph rocks! If you don't allow people to complain and you complain about them complaining, then how are they going to vent their frustrations?

Mon Jun 13, 03:25:00 PM 2005  
Blogger tyme said...

i only agree with the last paragraph... you shouldn't really begrudge those with lower PES status.. granted there are those that chao keng, there are others who truly are medically unfit.. PES E status generally means you're seriously ill or have a serious medical problem..
And clerks do not have a very easy life as most people think.. yes they are in air conditioned rooms most of the times, but some still go out field and still have to walk and dig shellscrapes.. plus office politics.. it does get very mentally taxing..
Combat fit soldiers do their job then rest.. clerks usually work throughout the day and night helping the officers plan the next mission.. I believe a lot more has to be said for uncombat fit clerks in the army.. I should know.. i was combat fit for one year, tore a knee ligament and was downgraded.. but my S3 wanted me to work for him, so i ended up as a clerk for another year.. so i got to see from both areas.. and i can tell you.. it's not easy in any vocation..

Mon Jun 13, 03:48:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

hi jllt: thanks :)

hi tyme: I've edited the original post, taking into account what you said. The original post was written with a single-minded focus on how combat soldiers are underappreciated. But you're right, some editing/disclaimers are needed...

Mon Jun 13, 04:28:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Dorothy said...

Hey! :) Your blog is getting very busy *grin* And I'll help you with the advertising when I get the time. Or you should do it yourself! You're good enough after all.

Tue Jun 14, 12:59:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

hi dorothy: thanks, but i'm actually thinking of retiring from the pugilistic world...

Thu Jun 16, 11:01:00 PM 2005  
Anonymous Deqiang said...

this article should be posted in Straits Times!! Well said!!

Wed Jun 22, 12:20:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

Thank you thank you! :) I don't think they will post this article...!

Wed Jun 22, 01:27:00 AM 2005  
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