JR8 wrote:Why does Singapore have enlistment? Is it like being sent to re-education camp for the pampered masses? The family, with the maid carrying your bag, can't make a man and puppet of you, so the state will have a last shot?
What is the point? Has any Singaporean fired a shot in anger since WW2? Are the Malasysians honestly going to stream over the Causeway and invade. Won't you just dial up for the US 6th Fleet in any case?
And yet here the state is demanding every young man give perhaps two of the potentiually more productive years of his life for nothing. Talk about 'opportunity cost'.
Wouldn't it be cheaper to employ a professional army of Ghurkas, rather than force a local enlisted 'troop' of D&G clad pooftas to flounce around a field for a couple of years?
i don't speak for the singapore government. i don't like the idea of NS much either.
but i do feel the threat from singapore's neighbors are very real, purely from a geographical standpoint. this is a ridiculously small country, and its safety is mostly ensured through ridiculously high quantity of dollars spent on defense.
many small but real "push and shoves" happen on singapore's territorial borders; especially out at sea. these cases that test singapore's patience and boundaries are not reported in any newspapers, and you can be sure neighboring navies and military forces will continue to test the boundaries (especially depending on who their head of governments are).
whether or not the US can send troops to assist singapore in the event of an emergency is moot - what is important is how quickly a response can be mounted, and no response will be quicker than that from the singapore armed forces.
time, and possibly pre-emption is of the essence for a country of singapore's size.
however "unprofessional" or "uneffective" the make-up of national servicemen, we know they understand the basics of soldiering and can handle a weapon from "flouncing around a coupla years." wouldn't you take them over untrained civilians any day?
3mil, 4 mil, 5 mil... whatever the population count, you can also be sure that the true number of available "singaporean males" to help defend their country is not as high as the government would like. reservist training keeps them up-to-date with tactics and in-touch with fellow citizen soldiers.
additionally, singapore's national service is more than national defense or militarism. they also make up a big number of police officers and paramedics/fire-rescue personnel.
not everyone would willingly take up such roles, and unlike sanitation, these are not roles that can NOR should be easily filled by foreign labor...
such as ghurkas. they are indeed foreign labor force that makes up part of the singapore police force, however they are not directly hired by the singapore government as i understand it - the head of the ghurka contingent is an englishman on loan from... well, england. there is an agreement for england to allow singapore to use these ghurkas.
as such, it is better to liken the contingent to a detached paramilitary force than to assume they make up a large part of the police department.
further, there are reasons (for the government) to not deploy them in larger numbers; as it stands, the ghurka community has been advised to have minimal contact with singaporeans and to live within the fences of the full-service ghurka village (?) that has been purpose built for them on mount vernon.
i believe the government MAY feel that ghurkas are good only as professional paramilitary men, and if that identity is shod, the nepalese (sic?) do not add value to the local labor pool and thus should not be retained past their contract. (of course, some do manage to stay, but this is never an easy task)
a foreign-born and bred singapore police force, even in the command of a singaporean commissioner, will NEVER WORK.
the idea of a national police force filled up with foreign nationals will never sit well with nit-picking fussy singaporeans, no matter how alike the country is to a dictatorship... the government must ALWAYS maintain a semblance of democracy and peace.
with the shrinking pool of candidates available for both full-time (compulsory) national service and regular service, changes have been made to accommodate them - in part to reflect the complaining and questioning nature of singaporeans, and in part to entice them to sign up for regular service (be it in the military or civil defense force).
these necessarily include a shorter service period, higher pay, and a clearer understanding/education of the WHYs behind a command (in both sense of the word). life "within" the service needs to be better ALSO because... singaporean parents are probably worse fusspots than their offprings and they must be kept reasonably happy! (SimCity comes to mind here)
be it 2 years, 2.5 years or 3 years, national service is a necessary evil and an acceptable solution for many states (even very "peaceful" ones).
i don't like it, but i will accept it.