Thursday, March 11, 2010

A holistic approach to National Service in Singapore

Virtually all Singaporean male citizens are required to do 2 years of military service in Singapore once they reach 18. Its a tough ask - as lives are disrupted, gf relationships broken up, and real life plans get put on hold. For many lower income families, the temporary loss of their son, causes tremendous financial hardships - especially for widows who have only that one child who is also helping the family business.

The way I look at it - the whole process needs a serious re-think.

First off - physical fitness. In the past, this wasn't such a big problem. Most kids' leisure time was spent doing sports like football, basketball etc.. Nowadays, kids grow up on a diet of computer games, playstations, and a tremendous amount of junk food. Its no surprise that obesity levels are increasing sharply and fitness levels fall sharply.

The problem facing the military, esp. the infantry, is that the batch of male recruits they get - have a lot of fat kids who are quite simply human sofa chairs who cannot hope to attain the same overall levels of physical proficiency as their predecessors. 

Its really too hard to get a 18 year old couch potato and turn him/her into a fit army soldier in 3 or even 6 months. Thats a bit like getting a student who has spent the past decade slacking off and trying to get him to successfully pass his pre-Uni exams. Yes, a joke.

They need to incorporate the physical fitness of students into the school syllabus in a bigger way and factor it into the national health.

training - truck driving, people management skills

national service = benefits - subsized education health care for family,


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