I was attending this course and somehow the talk turned to NS. One lady started relating her son’s story and the lecturer added in with her own son’s woes. There were a lot of negativity about it with the main complaint being that their sons were being “victimised” and how bad it was. The lecturer’s son even told his mum that NS was National Slavery!
Is NS really that bad? I have been through it more than 30 years ago. My son would have completed his by now had he not signed on. I daresay NS during my time was a zillion time worse than what it is now. After all, I have my son who can keep me in the know about current NS life compared to what we went through 30 years ago.
Those days, we had change parade (now banned). We also had to do star jump (banned), full battle order obstacle (no more), unlimited number of push up (now restricted to 20?) per time. I also understand now the soldiers have to wear arm guard, knee guard when doing field training involving crawling on the ground! My son told me during his BMT, whenever it rain, they have to walk under shelter, and if they are sitting in the field and it gets too hot, the instructors have to move them under shade. And where got such thing as Cat 1 lighting in our days? Recruits no longer have to wash their own plate, do camp area cleaning etc etc and I can go on and on and on.
So what is it that makes it more tough nowadays? If not the physical part, the mental? Anybody who think the kids have it worse mentally have never met the crazy instructors from the SAF Boys school or the Hokkien spewing instructors where every other word is a reference to some body parts. Try carrying an oil drum (empty no doubt) running to the nearest tree and kissing it! Just like my predecessor before me said NS life during our time was heaven compared to theirs, I think what our kids have now is akin to a holiday camp. Ok maybe boot camp or Outward Bound School.
Nowadays the kids can complain about everything and they got mummy to talk to the PC, OC and even MP whenever they have to do duties, take extra or burn their weekend due to training. My son related to me about one of his BMT mate who cried when he was assigned to do duty on his birthday! My course mate said her son was being victimised and she had to talked to the OC but the bullying got worse after that so she went to see somebody who knew a minister and the bullying ceased after that!
NS has not become tougher. Kids nowadays have become softies. They are so pampered at home and never subject to any punishments or even scolding that they cannot take the rough and tumble life in the military. And with mummy trying to cover their assess whenever something cropped up, I fear for the day when Singapore has to fight a real war. Can we count on these softies or do we have to depend on our pool of Blanga cleaners and Pinoy maids to fight our war?
And oh, please don’t tell me NS is a waste of time because Singapore will never have a war. Can anybody dare to say never ever? Try telling that to the Kuwaitis who thought they were good pals with neighbour Iraq until Saddam Hussein decided to steam roll his way into their country!