Serving in the military to gain citizenship is not a modern concept. The concept goes all the way back to the Marian Reforms of the Roman Republic in the 2nd Century BC. In fact, this still holds true for the French Foreign Legion where a Legionnaire who has served for 3 years with “honor and fidelity” may apply for French citizenship.
So tying citizenship to military service is not a concept invented by Singapore. It never failed to irk me when I am reminded that certain people such as
penis pianist Melvyn Tan managed to dodge National Service [NS] and was let off with a simple fine, or that second generation Permanent Residents [PRs] who received subsidised education in this country can opt not to serve. Worst of it all is that such people will still have unimpeded access to our country as so-called “Foreign Talents” and their past transgression can be forgotten. As far as I am concerned, any person who feel no commitment to defend the country he grows up in, should leave and never come back. It doesn’t even matter if they find the cure for cancer or invent the perpetual energy generator.
Hri Kumar’s suggestion of a National Defense Duty has to be the most harebrained idea I have ever heard. The idea that PRs and foreigners should make financial contribution for what this country has to offer them is tempting, but not the idea to make it legal for the sons of PRs and foreigners born in Singapore to be excused from NS. If PRs and foreigners preferred their children who are born in Singapore not to serve in NS, then they should have the decency not to send their children into our government schools for subsidised education. They should send their children back to their home countries, or send them to international schools in Singapore. They can choose to pay the price of separation from their kids, or let them serve the country they took advantage of. Simply put, PRs and foreigners cannot expect to have the cake and eat it.
Granted, it maybe a walk in the park for some and NS does not turn every Singaporean male into a elite fighting men or crack troops like the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. But to attach a monetary value to it cheapens the sacrifice in time every Singaporean male has to made, and the great economical cost Singapore has paid in the past 45 years. There is simply no monetary value that can be attached to serving NS. It is an insult to all the men who has served faithfully and steadfastly, even though grudgingly, all these years. On top of which, how are we to justify ourselves to those who were imprisoned for refusing to serve in the past? How are we to face those who lost their sons, brothers and husbands to the service of the nation?
What meaning is there for those who cannot legally escape NS to serve, if second generation PRs are allowed to do so? As far as I am concerned, if certain people can choose to enjoy the privileges in this country and not serve his duty, then there is no purpose whatsoever for anyone else to serve. Why place the burden on some of us to defend our country to the death, while some can choose not to by paying out? We might as well all just roll over and die. After all, who cares when some people can already choose not to defend it anyway?
It made me wonder whether Hri Kumar even understand the purpose of NS at all. How sad it is for our country that such a man is even elected as a Member of Parliament!