Back to normal programming – but at what price?

Early test pattern for WKY TV

I’ve just returned from a 2.5 week long In-Camp Training (ICT), and I plan to post up thoughts and whatnot from this experience in the next week or so.

To start off with, I want to emphasise how disruptive and inefficient ICTs are.

For one, it is a STRUGGLE to write something coherent because I’ve not used this portion of my brain for 2.5 weeks.

Besides this, so many tangible and non-tangible resources are not only put into preparing and executing military training – e.g. arranging for colleagues to cover duties – but a lot of time and energy also has to be expended in the transition back to civilian life.

For example, I’m going to have spend quite a bit of additional time over the next couple of days sifting through the deluge of e-mail in my work inbox.

I’m also not entirely prepared for work tomorrow – I don’t have my timetable and I suspect I’m going to have to arrange a couple of make-up lessons over the rest of the week because I’ll need tomorrow to get up to speed re: what has been taught and what needs to be taught tomorrow.

At home, I’ve been cleaning my military equipment, laundering my uniforms, packing/storing them, etc. besides the normal things that have to be done – bills to be paid, e-mail to read, friends to re-connect with.

So I’m not convinced by the feasibility of the current National Service Training System because it consumes more resources than it should, financially or otherwise.

Perhaps the argument here is that this is the price one has to pay for national security and peace of mind.

Fair enough – but I wouldn’t mind it so much if the system were fairer in that the misery is apportioned out equally and no one is exempt from the trouble that all of us go through.

Unfortunately, the suffering is always not distributed fairly.

This is not only evident in the case of Tony Tan’s son, but also in other instances e.g. NSmen who ‘keng’ even though they are obviously as fit (or as unfit) as their fellow platoon mates to serve in the capacity they were trained in.

So while I understand and respect the need for National Service, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I resent having to shoulder more of the burden than other Singaporeans – or worse, other Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who have essentially been bumming off our contributions to the nation.

About the author

Laremy Lee

A versatile educator, writer and editor, Laremy Lee (李庭辉) has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation in Singapore who crafts compelling stories in different genres.

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