Ah, 14 years old.
When I was 14, I hoped that by the time I reached 18, the Enlistment Act would have changed, and male Singaporean would no longer need to serve NS. I prayed every day for that to happen, and guess what?
Still wear green for two years, and another ten years of paid chalet.
But of course, not everyone is as gungho as me: a secondary two student decided to write a letter to Straits Times and suggested something that I’m sure every NSman would baulk at: raising the enlistment age to 30 years old.
In other words, one can enlist (and defer) until 30 years old.
Here’s his argument for brevity’s sake:
- At the age of 18, people might be presented with opportunities on promising careers
- He cited an example: Ben Davis
Of course, he mentioned that it’s up to 30 years old, and not at 30 years old, but let’s face it: there would be people who defer and defer and defer until 30 years old out of fear or simply due to a common problem: procrastination.
In any case, NSmen (if you’re confused, here’s a brief lesson: NSFs are people serving the two-year NS while NSmen are people who have completed the two-year service and are doing their annual ICTs) would be able to counter that argument easily.
Because at 30 years old, let’s just say that priorities would have shifted: survival becomes the top priority followed by so-called promising careers.
Because my dear Sec 2 friend, bills would become a reality and you’ll start to have commitments way beyond your imagination.
The Reason Why The Letter Got Viral
Firstly, the reason why people should serve NS before they start work is to prevent a gap period when one already has commitments to fulfil.
Imagine you’re working well in a company, drawing a salary of $4,000. All of a sudden, at 27 years old, you’re called to serve the nation and would receive an allowance of $800 a month.
At 27, you probably need that $4,000 to buy diapers for your kids, pay for your house and car, and also contribute to the household expenses. The sudden drop in your take-home pay without any changes to your commitment would be significant.
I won’t expect a Sec 2 student to understand that since their lives could all be about Instagram Likes instead of bills, but anyways.
Also, not many companies would wait for you for two years and offer you the same amount of pay when you ORD. That means one would need to restart his career – disrupting not just his career path but also the skills that he might lost during the two years.
While I applaud the Sec 2 student for voicing his opinion through a recognizable forum, it’s one argument that would piss off many NSmen.
But Don’t take My Word for It
The post has garnered well over 1.1K Shares and 309 comments, and judging from the comments, it seems like they agree with the first thought that comes to my mind.
Though, this comment makes perfect sense, too.
Our 14-year-old friend might not understand the reality of how life works, but at least he has the courage to voice out in an open forum instead of being a keyboard warrior, who usually has no argument to back up his or her claim.
So cut him some slack and encourage him instead lah.
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