Speaking to new recruits in the 50th anniversary of the Singapore Armed Force (SAF) at Pulau Tekong, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen ramp up on conscription propaganda claiming that National Service (NS) defines the Singaporean identity:
“National Service has, over the past 50 years, become an institution through which Singaporean males define themselves in their formative years and a crucial period where close friends are made for life; where values and character are deeply forged. National Service is part of the Singaporean identity, part of being Singaporean.”
Minister Ng Eng Hen said that Singapore cannot depend on other countries to rescue and defend it, and that Singaporeans must defend the country by itself. Pertaining to the detained Terrex vehicles episode, the Defence Minister suggested that Singapore is able to defend against a big country like China:
“We cannot change the fact that we are a small country, but today, after 50 years of NS, we have built an SAF capable of defending Singapore. From time to time, relations with other countries may not be completely smooth, but our relations with big powers like the US, China and India are fundementally sound and healthy,” said the minister, adding that “the responsibility to defend Singapore ultimately rests on Singaporeans, and Singaporeans alone.”
There is however no mention of the economic benefits enjoyed by foreigners, permanent residents and new citizens in Singapore. The Minister also did not address why new citizens are excused National Service even though they are healthy and combact-fit.
Also announced is a peanut S$100 voucher and a free one-year SAFRA club membership, that will be given to all NS servicemen.
NS is a source of cheap labour in Singapore, and an important phase to brainwash impressionable young men into being subservient to the ruling party government. During NS, conscripts are constantly fed propaganda about the importance of the ruling party and a siege mentality to perceive neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Malaysia as enemies. NS always bring down overall unemployment rate as NS-serving males are considered “employed” as part of the government manpower statistics.