The Singapore Army removed a photo of a conscript looking really reluctant on its Basic Military Training Facebook page, after the photo went viral.
Singapore’s National Service is compulsory only for Singaporeans born in Singapore, while new citizens are exempted. The two-year conscription acutely disrupts Singaporean sons’ productive years, effectively putting off university admissions, careers and developments.
Singaporeans who came out from NS will continue to be cumbered with yearly reservist training of 10 cycles until the age of 40. Restrictions on emigration and overseas travel movement are also enforced on Singaporean males who served National Service. The only way to avoid yearly reservist training is to be employed overseas.
Till date, the SAF face increasing negative publicity because more Singaporeans today oppose National Service and question its necessity in today’s international political climate. Calls to shorten NS have been made by many but to no avail. As a result of falling birth rate, the number of recruits have also reduced and placed the Singapore army in a manpower crunch, with the need to outsource specific support units to government-linked private contractors like Singapore Technologies Kinetics.
The SAF is also a political tool used by the ruling party PAP government to mine scholars for PAP MPs and Ministers. Currently, there are 6 Ministers with military background including the Prime Minister himself who became the youngest Brigadier General whom many believed is due to nepotism.