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To overseas Singaporeans sending their kids to SG for NS

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almondi
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To overseas Singaporeans sending their kids to SG for NS

Postby almondi » Thu, 19 Jan 2012 9:38 am

We are a Singaporean family expecting to be staying overseas during the next few years. We are worried about our son adapting to NS/Singapore when he is enlisted 10 years later.

Would you mind sharing your experiences - especially if you have kids who have been overseas many years (i.e. speak with an accent, can't speak chinese, little familiarity with Singapore culture, weather etc)

1. How did you prepare your kids ?

2. Did they encounter any problems during their active service ? E.g. discrimination, bullying

3. Did any of the kids make it to OCS and get commissioned ?

4. Where did they stay during weekends etc.

5. Any other issues >


Thanks in advance for all responses.

leungp22
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Re: To overseas Singaporeans sending their kids to SG for NS

Postby leungp22 » Sat, 21 Jan 2012 10:56 pm

almondi wrote:We are a Singaporean family expecting to be staying overseas during the next few years. We are worried about our son adapting to NS/Singapore when he is enlisted 10 years later.

Would you mind sharing your experiences - especially if you have kids who have been overseas many years (i.e. speak with an accent, can't speak chinese, little familiarity with Singapore culture, weather etc)

1. How did you prepare your kids ?

2. Did they encounter any problems during their active service ? E.g. discrimination, bullying

3. Did any of the kids make it to OCS and get commissioned ?

4. Where did they stay during weekends etc.

5. Any other issues >


Thanks in advance for all responses.



Hi, I am not able to directly answer your questions as I am not a parent, but I did go through NS myself (a fruitful experience) and witnessed how a fellow platoon mate ("John") in your sons' future situation made it through unscathed.

John did not face any discrimination whatsoever even though he clearly had a foreign accent. He was born and bred overseas and had returned to SG only to fulfill his NS obligations. This might have been, in large part, attributed to the fact that he was a generally nice person who did not flaunt his "foreign" upbringing, and also to the fact that we were in a platoon of generally "educated" people. There is an impression that enlistees are sorted by MINDEF in some accordance to their educational qualifications. We also had "educated" and civil instructors who did not discriminate against John's situation. IIRC, John stayed with an aunt's family during the weekends. He did enter OCS and was eventually commissioned as an Officer.

NS is a frightening thought, but in my experience, it was fruitful and rewarding. Every once in a while SG men may lose out to others (if employed overseas) due to the "loss" of what would be close to 3 years, but hey, where does the rat race end.

The BMT period will be difficult and highly mentally challenging as the kids yearn for status quo and the warmth of the family, but my mum and dad helped immensely by always being there, and always having my favorite foods on the table when I went home for the weekends, and during my last meal on Sunday evening (the hardest, most heart wrenching moment). On my part, I packed a tape that played, replayed and replayed again my favorite music as that was the only semblance of "home" and the "normal life" as I put myself to sleep each night. I kid you not, it was not uncommon to see 18 year old men cry themselves to sleep at the beginning.

All the best.

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Postby Mad Scientist » Sun, 05 Feb 2012 6:23 pm

10 years is a long time to contemplate on "what ifs". You may find many things changes over time.
To answer your questions, make sure your child understand from day one that he has to return to serve NS
Keep in touch with the changes at www.ns.sg or www.mindef.gov.sg or www.cmpb.gov.sg
No, you cannot be assure if your child will enter OCS as it depends on his education and its intake cohort itself
Arrangement can be made to have him stay with a relative or rent a one bedroom for him for the weekends which will cost you a bit
Bullying or harassment will always occur in any situation , it is how your child takes it and stand up for his rights. Do not overly worried , he will adjust to the situation easily
This I know as I lead 600 men during my time
The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.Yahoo !!!

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Re: To overseas Singaporeans sending their kids to SG for NS

Postby Koalabear » Tue, 07 Feb 2012 2:09 pm

almondi wrote:We are a Singaporean family expecting to be staying overseas during the next few years. We are worried about our son adapting to NS/Singapore when he is enlisted 10 years later.

Would you mind sharing your experiences - especially if you have kids who have been overseas many years (i.e. speak with an accent, can't speak chinese, little familiarity with Singapore culture, weather etc)

1. How did you prepare your kids ?

2. Did they encounter any problems during their active service ? E.g. discrimination, bullying

3. Did any of the kids make it to OCS and get commissioned ?

4. Where did they stay during weekends etc.

5. Any other issues >


Thanks in advance for all responses.


As someone who went through NS after completing my high school outside Singapore:

1) Just do some basic cardio exercise and muscular endurance regimen. Seriously, the physical education classes in overseas schools are much tougher than what I went through in BMT.

2) Just do what your platoon mates are doing and don't stand out. Never witnessed bullying unless your method of doing stuff is un-Singaporean.

3) Yes. I know one personally.

4) My Grandpa's house.

5) Not much issues but try to sharpen your political sense so you can watch out for backstabbing or learn to backstab someone else at the right time and right place.

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Re: To overseas Singaporeans sending their kids to SG for NS

Postby Tau Beta » Thu, 08 Mar 2012 1:21 pm

almondi wrote:We are a Singaporean family expecting to be staying overseas during the next few years. We are worried about our son adapting to NS/Singapore when he is enlisted 10 years later.

Would you mind sharing your experiences - especially if you have kids who have been overseas many years (i.e. speak with an accent, can't speak chinese, little familiarity with Singapore culture, weather etc)

1. How did you prepare your kids ?

2. Did they encounter any problems during their active service ? E.g. discrimination, bullying

3. Did any of the kids make it to OCS and get commissioned ?

4. Where did they stay during weekends etc.

5. Any other issues >


Thanks in advance for all responses.



I haven’t been here for while….

I probably share the same concerns as you except with a whole different country. MS said it well - time will change everything. Like your son, my boy is born and raised in the U.S. and due to immediate ties with families; he will get full Taiwanese citizenship. For that, he'll have to serve boot camp with the Taiwanese military at 18. He has to deal with the language differences as his Common-language (Mandarin) is rustic but he speaks fluent Taiwanese with a white-man accent. Good thing is that he spends every summer in Taiwan since the day he's born. 18 is fast catching up in a few years for him. He knows Taiwanese streets and cities like his own hometown here. Apparently, he tweets and face book (using part Chinese/English) with his bunch of friends from Taiwan over the years just like his friends back home. Like you, we’re worried but we set the expectations for him that it is his privilege to be granted full citizenship from the land of his heritage (being an American boy) and that he doesn’t get motherland for free. I think he understands but probably not liking it.

It might be a good idea to bring your boy back to visit SG more often. This way, he understands his ties to the country. If he is SG citizen, more so he needs to know.

I’ve learned that many Taiwanese American boy did well serving with the Taiwanese military and many enjoyed the experience and were treated well despite the language and cultural barrier.

I suspect your boy would perform well when it’s time to serve – if it's only a few years away.

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Postby tougoucu » Mon, 12 Mar 2012 8:10 pm

I am also interested in answers to these questions. Since I have never lived in Singapore and haven't been there very often, I will most probably renounce my Singaporean citizenship. However I haven't made any decisions on this issue yet and I have been granted NS deferment, so I still have some time to think about it. Since I don't know my relatives in Singapore very well and I wouldn't want to be a burden for them, I would like to know, if there are any other accommodation possibilities during weekends (which are affordable for someone serving NS).

Thanks in advance and best regards!
(and please excuse my bad english)

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Postby Mad Scientist » Tue, 13 Mar 2012 9:22 am

tougoucu wrote:I am also interested in answers to these questions. Since I have never lived in Singapore and haven't been there very often, I will most probably renounce my Singaporean citizenship. However I haven't made any decisions on this issue yet and I have been granted NS deferment, so I still have some time to think about it. Since I don't know my relatives in Singapore very well and I wouldn't want to be a burden for them, I would like to know, if there are any other accommodation possibilities during weekends (which are affordable for someone serving NS).

Thanks in advance and best regards!
(and please excuse my bad english)


You've been here or occasionally or never. You cannot say "haven't here very often? Make up your mind, will ya!

There a few place that you can accommodate yourself. Renting a HDB room since you are Sger or go flatting with someone else you reduce the cost of living. Or stay in the army bunk during weekend. It is free
The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.Yahoo !!!

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Re: To overseas Singaporeans sending their kids to SG for NS

Postby taxico » Wed, 04 Apr 2012 9:49 pm

almondi wrote:Would you mind sharing your experiences - especially if you have kids who have been overseas many years (i.e. speak with an accent, can't speak chinese, little familiarity with Singapore culture, weather etc)

2. Did they encounter any problems during their active service ? E.g. discrimination, bullying

3. Did any of the kids make it to OCS and get commissioned ?

4. Where did they stay during weekends etc.

5. Any other issues >


i enlisted more than 10 years ago early in the year with a lot of overseas-based singaporeans. in fact, some of them have even completed their bachelor's degree and held proper jobs before coming back to complete their NS obligations.

depending on when you are enlisted, it is probable that CMPB will try to put the enlistee with other like-minded and qualified recruits... no guarantees, but you can figure out when these periods are by calculating backwards from OCS intakes.

the system in NS (army, in my case) is such that there are always discreet avenues to raise up any bullying or unfairness with the commanders. said commanders (officers and section leaders) are trained to identify "problem recruits," pick them out and talk to them. safe to say, no crazy hazing or beatings. being ostracized... is another story! (do read on)

discrimination happens to a certain extent, just like in any country, but again, it is usually paired with the enlistee's attitude/behavior.

yes, many overseas-based singaporeans had been posted to OCS and been commissioned successfully - this is the result of their education, leadership abilities and interviews, not because of their family background.

i know of a soldier who tried to stay in camp as much as possible, before finding an aunt who put him up at her home. our platoon commander helped facilitate this unofficially (so that there's food available to him on weekends, etc). commanders will try their best to help recruits out, is what i'm saying.

most of the issues these singaporeans face are with culture shock - because they've been away from singapore and because most of their commanders will be singapore-bred singaporeans. some such commanders have a problem with overseas-bred singaporean... either because of the way they speak or the inability to understand some local lingo.

the other, is also because of culture shock - because they don't know what regimented life is about prior to getting enlisted. whether or not an enlistee can push through this is up to himself and his determination/discipline.

there was an australian-bred indian singaporean that had A LOT of trouble fitting in because he had a better-than-thou attitude and holier-than-thou demeanor. he hated being barked at and didn't like hard work. his ethnicity didn't help as the demographics are such that there are fewer fellow indians around. other australian-bred chinese singaporeans (there were many) tried to rally around him but gave up in the end, IIRC.

such inability to adjust usually leads to malingering and/or depressive behavior, which may or may not be a good thing and again, depends on each individual.

i made good friends during basic military training, wherever they're from. the system and the commanders know these recruits' situation and will temper expectations accordingly, but recruits are expected to adapt and conform. it's probably even more so now than during my time!

weather - hydration is #1 and lightning strikes/fatalities are probably unheard of due to the well oiled system in place. weekends may see recruits hanging out together. inability to speak chinese is also not an issue during BMT, but knowing malay MAY BE a little useful in understanding drill commands which are all in malay. recruits will pick up NS lingo and some singlish during their stint... for sure!

finally, the ability to speak asian languages/chinese dialects while not essential, WILL come in handy after training when the soldiers are posted into their jobs at a unit. this is because you will meet other soldiers with a more varied background at the unit than during BMT...

such language skills will help get things done better or foster relationships a little quicker. not essential, but nice to have.

good luck!


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