A 19-year-old New Zealand-Singapore dual citizen is demanded by the Singapore government to serve National Service or face jail sentence up to 2 years. Brandon Smith was born in Singapore with a Singaporean mother and a New Zealand father. He was raised in Singapore until the age of 8, where he left for Dunedin and has been living there ever since.
When interviewed by the media, Brandon pointed out that he doesn’t have a sense of belonging to Singapore and that he doesn’t speak Chinese. He also believe he will be treated as an outsider even if conscripted.
“I don’t see the point of it, really. It’s sort of a waste of time to go there and just come back anyway.”
Under the Singapore law, Brandon is not allowed to renounce his Singaporean citizenship until the age of 21 years old, which he admitted he will definitely renounce if he does not need to serve NS. Brandon has sought help from Singapore MPs and authorities, but he has been brushed away with bureaucratic replies like “he has to serve it”. The New Zealand Dunedin South MP Clare Curran however spoke up for her fellow citizen and even wrote a letter demanding a response from Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry:
“We have a 19-year-old who has left school with his life in front of him, he considers himself a New Zealand citizen and has no identification with Singapore and yet he is expected to do a national service. I think it’s a really good case for New Zealand to be sticking up for its citizens.”
Singapore’s draconian laws demand all Singaporeans born in Singapore to serve NS, but new citizens above the age of 21 are exempted from NS. The default penalty of National Service for being born as a male in Singapore has caused many Singaporean males to leave Singapore. The penalty includes 2 years of NS on a S$500 wage, and annual reservist training which disrupts employment and life opportunities.
However, many Singaporean males who have gone through National Service are vindictive and demand new citizens with no affiliations like Brandon to serve NS. They believe NS is good for them and that they become “a real man” only after NS. Many of them have bombarded comments online demanding “equality” and made brash comments telling Brandon to “suck it up”.