Random Discourse – National Defense Duty

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!


  1. Dude, before you knock Hri Kumar’s idea, you may want to understand it first.

    He did not suggest allowing 2nd generation PR sons to “legally escape” NS by paying a tax. He is suggesting imposing a penalty on PR parents who send their sons away to avoid NS. It is fine to say that these sons who run have committed an offence and should be jailed or pay a fine. But what if they do not come back? We hold up our hands and say nothing can be done? The PR parents who made the decision should bear responsibility for that decision. Now, they forfeit a bond (depending on their son’s age when he leaves Singapore) and continue living in Singapore as per normal. Is that fair?

    For foreigners (please do not confuse with new citizens), they have no NS liability at all, and so they give nothing towards the peace and stability which our NS boys afford them. Is that fair?

    1. I think all of you can quit trying to say the same thing in many different way. As I have said more than once, I have never said he is suggesting that he is allowing 2nd generation PR sons to “legally escape” NS by paying a tax. I am saying that the tax itself creates the side effect of “legalising” it because now if I am a PR and I paid the tax, I can justifiably say my son don’t need to serve.

      As for foreigners who have no NS liabilities at all, why does the government need an excuse to raise tax? First of all we already don’t even give them subsidies and we think that’s fair. Similarly, it would be equally justifiable for us to make them pay a higher income tax than a Singaporean – consider a price for the job opportunities our government intelligently created, and also for our hospitality. We don’t even need this excuse of a National Defense Duty to create the unintentional “legal frame work” so escape from NS can be justified.

      The next person who says the same thing in a different way will not get a response (not because he is right, but because I get tired of repeating my points)… unless he tries it in Chinese.

  2. I don’t understand why you are calling the tax legalising NS evasion.

    The fact remains that penalties for NS evasion remains. Soto slap on further back taxes on the parents if their children choose not to serve. So, if you refuse to serve your obligations, you are still guilty of an offence. In a very simple equation it works out to this: Evade NS = Penalties Under enlistment + EXTRA NS tax.

    So your post is wrong.

    Also, it addresses the situation when children of PRs renounce their status as PRs. You cannot do anything about that, because once they are no longer PRs, the Enlistment Act doesn’t bite onto them. His proposal imposes the penalty on the entire family.

    1. What is so wrong is that you chaps are accepting this harebrained idea because Singapore gets some money out of it. So what about children of SINGAPOREANS who have NO AVENUE to renounce? Sheesh.

      I want to ensure that no PR takes advantage of this at all. Money does not compensate the sacrifices a Singaporean male has to make.

      1. How do you intend to ensure that ‘no PR takes advantage of this at all’?

        We cannot expect Singapore to chase after all PRs who have gone overseas. Neither can we stop PRs from giving up their PR status.

        A monetary penalty is really the most practical way of making PRs think twice about evading NS.

        1. Make them pay more for education if they choose to go to our government schools. Tax them more ANYWAY regardless whether their children serve or not.

          There shouldn’t be any reasons needed to tax those foreigners more. Consider a price for the job opportunities our government intelligently created, and also for our hospitality.

  3. This blog is completely wrong. Hri Kumar has said repeatedly that those who are liable for NS (whether Singaporean or foreigners) will NOT be exempted by paying anything. Those who are liable for NS must serve NS.

    His proposal is for those who don’t have NS liability – they MUST still contribute in some other way, and he suggests by paying additional tax.

    As a blogger, your credibility is underminded when you don’t even read the proposal you are commenting on. Where has Hri Kumar said that anyone can be exempted from NS by paying anything?

    1. Oh, so my one blog post which you dislike makes my entire blog wrong. Quite some logic there. Well done.

      Pleasee explain what is meant by: “Those who send sons away before enlistment pay back taxes and penalty”.

      Oh, I know they can already do that right now – sending their sons away before enlistment, without any taxes and penalty. But with this it simply “legalise” sending their sons away. And no, I didn’t say he said “anyone” can be exempted from NS by paying something. I said what he proposes makes it “legal” for some people to do so by paying.

      Verstehen Sie?

  4. Under Enlistment Act, second generation PRs are as liable as local born citizens. There is NO OPTION in the Act. If they do not serve, they can be jail up to 3 years.
    So far NONE of the PR defaulters have been charged.
    Makes a mockery of NS and insult the 700,000 that have already served.

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