Friday, February 13, 2009

NS Part III - Responsibility

Here's the last instalment of my thoughts on NS. The last instalment turned out to be harder to write than the previous two, mostly because I've been distracted thinking of other breaking news about the Job Credits Scheme (which I think is a good idea, but not for the reasons the ministers give) and various ministers putting their collective feet in their mouths.

Anyways, here it is.


The final aspect to consider about NS is the amount of personal benefit an NSMen derives from service. Here is where things get most complicated. The Powers that Be would like us to think that NS is an opportunity to grow up, a rite of passage etc. We who serve likely think the opposite, and that we pick up bad habits along the way, i.e cursing in colourful Hokkien, smoking, drinking cheap tiger beer, etc.

I think couching NS in terms of personal benefits is completely misconceived. NS is a circumstance of Singapore life, much like PSLE, applying for a HDB flat and CPF. It's very difficult to judge the effect of a set of circumstances on a person, because people react to circumstances differently.

Simply put, you and I can go through the exact same NS training and come out different people.

With this in mind, how is it that MINDEF can spout the same drivel about making our youngsters more mature year-in, year-out? Why is it our female counterparts can become mature in university without the need for NS? What about the generation of uncles that came before us? Are they any less mature for not having gone through NS?

This cannot be correct.


If what I have written above is true, then the flip side must also be true. Insofar as NS is a dangerous, shitty, time-wasting circumstance, it is still the individual's responsibility to ensure that they get some personal benefit from it.

It must be up to us to get gold from the shit, so to speak.

Of course NS has it's share of keng-sters who will dump their work on you because they can get away with it. Who's to say that you won't get this in future when you are working? Learn to deal with it, ESPECIALLY if it's a superior officer doing this to you.

Of course NS has it's share of mindnumbing admin to do. Who's to say that you won't get this in future when you are working? Learn to deal with it, ESPECIALLY because mind-numbing admin happens everywhere and your future expense claims, leave and performance reviews may be linked to these.

Of course NS has it's share of dangerous circumstances. Who's to say that you won't get this in future? Learn to deal with it, because if there's one thing NS taught it, it's that nothing in life can be taken for granted.

And there you go. Personal benefit, personal responsibility. It can't work any other way.


-ben said...

NSmen should also learn to keep their eyes on the ball.

Sometimes, the ball may be in the other court.

Play ball!


Stay well, Ant.

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