there’s a quirk in Singapore – a physical meme that plays itself out every single day, laughing at Singaporeans.
at 18, men go into the army and women carry on their lives as they see fit. let me adjust that statement – S’POREAN men go in to do their national service, whether they like it or not.
I’ve always been for National Service. I believe in serving, I just don’t really enjoy it. That’s fair , isn’t it? It’s like eating your vegetables – sometimes you know you just got to do it. We’re a small nation, blah blah usual arguments. This post isn’t about that.
What this post is about is the loss of rational thought. I think Singaporeans are an amazing bunch of people – we’re used to adversity, we’re used to competitiveness and we’ve been built to think. Yet, in all arenas of social thought, I find that we are still severely lacking. Has our society accepted that they have soldiers in their community?
Singaporean Men play a difficult game – they balance their lives as soldiers and civilians , like a lion on a tightrope. In camp, they are expected to be ruthless, lacking of cowardice, and able to call shots within the instant. Yet the moment they leave the guard-post they are subjected to society’s condescension on them.
A vulgar word slipped out is blamed to a lack of character. A lapse into rattling into “Army Lingo” is attributed to ignorance and not being considerate. An inclination to make decisions quickly is pointed as being chauvinistic and un-democratic.
Granted, we’re playing a game of degrees. There are people who are in the extremes, and certain evaluations can be made with justification. But what I don’t get is how people who haven’t served immediately make a stereotype of the rest of Singaporean men without understanding the context.
University students don’t like dating ORD-ed men because they’re still reeling from Army Relapse. Aunties make judgement calls on what we ought to do and what we ain’t ought to do. People comment that we don’t train hard.
This is an age-old argument, we’ve justified how we behave time and time again. We do try to fit back into society, in fact, we want to. Thanks civilian friends , for enduring us at times when it’s get difficult.
Yet, we must remember when we look at Singaporeans and their relationship with National Service – we shouldn’t blame. We can look for a justification. The response must be “I get why he’s like that. ” Understanding isn’t just acknowledgement – it’s about really figuring out the emotions that went alongside the battles he fought, the complications he faced when making decisions and the sacrifices he made to get where he was.
As Singaporeans, shouldn’t that be an active part of our identity? Sometimes, it’s difficult knowing the people on the outside aren’t even interested in our lives on the inside, as if we’re a granted.The response shouldn’t be “Eeyer, why are you like that? NS? ”
Commandos and clerks have two different lives – to each their own. The challenges and benefits differ but struggles still exist. Some get it better off, but it doesn’t mean the rest live a good life. Let’s be rational when we say what we say. Let’s think it through before we make a judgement call on our soldiers, our responders and our police.
Emotions, sentiment and inclinations are all part and parcel of life. I think it’s fair if a girl says she’s more “attracted” to a foreigner than a Singaporean. But to say that you would rather date someone from overseas because you think Singaporean men are sub-standard is total diss at what her citizenship stands for. The same goes for friends who revel in their life outside and comment “Too Bad”. And I think that’s just sad.
We can’t be absorbed by it – our duty is to our country. To me, I’d fight to protect my family. I can’t see myself migrating, I’ve built a life here. To look for appreciation is to look for grass in the desert. It’ll be there, but just hard to find.
All I’m saying is this – next time we decide to say something like “Eh don’t be so rude, God, I hate how you guys swear” after it’s just a singular utterance, or remark “you guys are not up to date – where have you guys been” , let’s follow it up with “It’s alright, I understand . NS right? Let’s move on”
Rational thought – let’s understand what we’re doing.