Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lets be equal

Recently, some news that doesn't involved me much happened
SINGAPORE — Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the Defence Ministry is considering giving more recognition to NSmen by giving them a bigger stake in the country, such as in the areas of housing, healthcare and education.
He also expects the Committee to Strengthen National Service — formed last March to recommend ways to strengthen National Service — to wrap up their recommendations by June.
The Committee has engaged nearly 40,000 people so far and their report is expected to be released in the second half of the year.
Dr Ng was speaking to reporters on the offshore island of Pulau Sudong today (April 24) where he was observing Exercise Golden Sand conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
The Exercise involved a 450-strong NSmen guards unit, as well as Armoured Personnel Carriers, disembarking on the island from naval fast crafts while receiving support from Apache helicopters.
About 350 personnel from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) also took part in the Exercise, which will last from 14 to 28 April.
 As you see, I have done my time, got the letter and that I no longer need to worry that I forgotten to inform MINDEF where I fly to since last December.

However, I saw this response
Every person deserves access to housing, education and healthcare, because these are basic requirements for human sustenance and social participation. AWARE disagrees strongly with any link between support for fundamental needs and an individual's status as an NSman, especially when the military may not be suitable for many people, regardless of their gender. AWARE has long maintained that military service should not be held up as the single gold standard of citizen belonging - an approach which this proposal threatens to intensify, creating different tiers of people with different social entitlements and worth.

and I just have to respond. In an age where we have people questioning if NSman should even sit in the MRT train, it is no longer an issue of what this will denies others, male or female. But rather the dues given to the NSman.

It is enshrined by law that National Service is something that is necessary and that failure to comply is illegal, this is not saying that people sign up at the age of 18 just so that they can get ahead in life, get bigger house faster or cheaper, or are given $8 heart bypass.
This is a matter of duty. It is not negotiable, unless of course you are not fit for duty. Which simply means that if you don't perform the duty, you don't get the dues, simple as that.

Now, in case someone is wondering how their cheese are moved, lets just say that  Servicemen and Women do put themselves on the line. To be called back when the duty calls or when the call sign pops up on the screen. This is real, this happens. Not to say that it is not without its risk, despite thick books been written to ensure safety, Servicemen and women had lost their life in the line of duty.

So, really, I don't really see the hue and cries that bemoans the fact that being in military service becoming the GOLD standard of citizen belonging. It does not. Nor will it ever be the only reason to apportion basic needs such as Housing, healthcare and education. It does not.

We have seen that, as of today, there are more scholarship open to non-Singaporean than they are Singaporean. In fact, we were told that the best scholarship we will get is a loan from our parent's CPF, of which we have to pay back (most likely with interest incurred)

And that, we have seen how previous rewards worked. It goes to some vouchers and membership to SAFRA, while I am not complaining, I think more can be done other than to credit some sum of token amount to 1's CPF.

And in case someone thinks that it is unfair that only man can serve NS, I am looking forward to the day that AWARE actually actively lobby the motion that women should serve NS as an act of gender equality.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Let them have their day

To be in all honesty, I have some bad experiences with Filipinos in my workplace.
The same apply to Indian nationals, Chinese from China, Malaysians and Singaporeans.

So, I will not be quick and brand all Filipinos as bad people or scums of the earth. I believe that there are scums on earth no matter where you are, which is why no country is without Police and jails.

Now, neither am I entirely against the idea of having the Filipinos celebrating their independence day in Ngee Ann City, but I do appreciate that they could have been less creative in the use of the Singapore skyline and that if they can use Embassy ground to have it done.

While some of my detractors can say that we celebrate Singapore days in other country, let me clear this up by stating that, no, they are not celebrated on National day. And if you must know, Bastile Day is celebrated in the French residence in Singapore and the Independence day are celebrated in Singapore American School.

I guess what is eating at Singaporeans or rather, those who are vocal against it are not so much a feeling of Xenophobia or bigotry. To put it in a simpler term, there is a feeling that the city is under siege and that there are no longer anybody except them to defend it, if not to the bitter end.

I do not, for once, condone the name calling and that calling the organisers vermin is not helping the cause. But one must looking beyond the name calling to understand where this siege mentality comes from.

To look back, we recently saw us up in spade to have 2 foreign vessels named after armed personnel in the acts of terrorism set up and bombed Mcdonald house, which is somewhere along the shopping belt, far away any military installation. In olden days, that is called asymmetrical warfare, to quote some american, that is an act of terrorism in modern context. and after all the posturing, our minister of defence decided to take the apologies which was later being retracted as it was allegedly taken out of context, at face value.

Coming back to where we are, we are seeing spades of advertisement, first from STB, which was being pulled off air after criticism, and after which, another from Singtel which seems to be pandering to a certain demographics, and with the recent act, seems to have up the ante.

And this is the time, where people would have look to the leaders for leadership, and the leaders; chided the people and brushed away the concern, shaming those who raised the concern.

And if this does not put one into a state of Siege mentality, I am not sure what will.

Please stand at attention

Seriously, Standing and MRT are 2 things when combined, something that I don't Like.
That is until I recently read this post about standing in MRT, and I find it amusing.
That it is suggested that NSMEN should stand in a crowded MRT train.

I think that it is simply amazing that because the writer spotted 3 servicemen sitting in a crowded train, the rest of the servicemen, must hence forth stand in the crowded train.

Now, first of all, there is a need to define crowded. is it crowded when the writer has to stand in the train. Hence, the servicemen is not allow to sit?

As for the need to re-instill pride, good bearing and decorum to their men. Or do they want me to give that pep talk on their behalf?

I am not sure about pride, but good bearing? where they slouching unbearably? or mayhaps sleeping?
I supposed that they should have at least sit ramrod straight or if the writer have his way, stand at Salang Diri from point A to point B? And to pep talk on the Chief of the services behalf, sorry, I don't know what is his rank, but I am guessing probably a senior officer or a few star at least

I think that nobody in a camouflage smart 4 is thinking of hiding, at least I don't see them applying any tactical cover or remove their rank, unit and name on their uniform. This is to say that they did not feel that they did something wrong. 

Which is coming to the next thing, to write a directive to tell the servicemen that they are to stand in a crowded train, come, may I also suggest that in order to enforce that, MPs and RPs are supposed to enforce that. 

Which comes to another point at the end that the writer mentioned about the NCC days in school. Now, I hate to point out, NCC is a CCA and that it is done once a week or maybe longer during school vacation.

NSMEN serves not a day a week, they serve for 2 years and after that, until 40 or until they complete their cycles, they get called back, for days if not weeks. 

I hate to tell someone that it is work, and sometimes it is hard work. and unless it is clear that the servicemen took up a reserved seats and refused to give it to someone more needy, I think this is plain nitpicking, pure and simple. 

All the talk about appreciating our servicemen comes to naught when we have people who picks on them as such and takes the high horse with little more than NCC experience to boot; That, is an insult to the person which answered the call to protect the nation, who are citizens like you and me. And may lose their life  in the line of duty.

Back for a short while

Haven't been writing for a long time here. So, I am back in case someone starts to look at me at Bright Hill or Mandai.
No Idea how long I will keep this on.......