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“It’s Only Fair that National Servicemen are Paid S$37,500 a year in Allowance”

DORIAN: I am very pleased that our Singapore government holds National Servicemen in high regard, to the tune of S$75,000. That’s the amount that is placed on the heads of young Singaporeans when they travel overseas, in case they zhao lor (run away) and don’t come back to serve their time in army green.

Since the bounty over our heads is so high, I would like to request that the government be fair and pay us as much as it regards us – S$37,500 a year for two years. It’s only fair since that is the price of us not serving our nation (until we get caught and jailed). You can’t create a benchmark, then don’t keep to it, right? That’s called double standards, I believe.

Now, as it stands, the allowance is barely a third of that. I know that in Singapore, men get paid more than women when they start work, but that rule of thumb only applies to working in Singapore. When you find a job overseas, NS counts for squat.

We’re expected to safeguard out nation in times of trouble, and even be prepared to safeguard our MRT stations in times of breakdown (tentatively, but who knows). It’s unthinkable that the government would be willing to pay foreign mercenaries (the super-tough Gurkhas) a handsome fee for their services in defending Singapore, but refuse to offer Singaporeans a respectable allowance for performing security duties all the same.

As I prepare to enlist next month, I would like to request that our government not treat national servicemen as cheap labour, second-rate security guards and NDP funpack packers. Look at the New Zealand kid who refuses to serve NS in Singapore – it’s not worth his time or money. As Singaporeans, we are forced to serve, and in times of trouble, we are the ones Singapore will rely on. So treat us with some respectability and decency.


This commentary was written by Dorian.
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  1. Pat Low

    February 11, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I am from the earlier batches of National Service. As a recruit my allowance then was S$60 a month. Back then, and up to now, I never have and never will complain about the level of pay. I consider it an honour and an obligation to serve. If you want $30,000 pay, then sign up as a regular, or shut up.

  2. Jake

    February 12, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I think that as a responsible citizen of Singapors, one must stop asking what the nation can do for us, but rather, start asking what can we do for the nation. For a successful nation, everyone has to play a part and contribute willingly to his/her best efforts. The government has invested a LOT of resources, into making sure that our country is able to defend herself. These resources include billions of dollars, two years of the prime of young potential entrepreneurs and multiple organizations specially created to support the armed forces. Yes, although we do not face the imminent threat of war, BUT, our armed forces is still needed as it is what is maintaining our peace and security, which in turns help our economy as well. As such, with all that said, I find it extremely selfish when individuals demand from the government more and more, without really considering the impact of their demands. If everyone demands and expect to be given what they want, you would see a nation stop progressing, as people are always trying to change the system. So, I urge the writer to reflect on this and understand that sometimes, one have to take the step back, for the bigger picture to form.

  3. Wayne

    February 12, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    The Singapore government only has 1 thing that they care for: money
    I’m pretty sure you know this as well right? So if there’s anything for the government that requires to give their citizens money, (anything that involves money) don’t even think of trying.

  4. Mika

    February 12, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    To respond to this fair post
    We should up interns pay too
    Lol this post is bullshit


    February 13, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Oh sure, like they would bother

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