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Angry NS Clerk to Jo Teo: Poor NSMen Rather Kena DB than Ask for Gahmen’s Money!

I refer to the recent comment by PAP MP Josephine Teo who said NSmen’s service for the nation cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

I was a clerk in a camp CCO when I was an NSF.

In my 2.5 years there, I witnessed not less than 20 soldiers who had to serve time in detention barracks for Absent without Official Leave (AWOL).

I had to prepare charge sheet, prepare statements, coordinate the Regimental Police so to prepare the AWOLee to face charge in the presence of a Senior Disciplinary Officer. After that was done, I had to tag along with the AWOLee to hand dockets and the relevant documents to Kranji where the detention barracks is located to complete the handover process.

I can confirm that the root cause of more than 70% of the AWOL cases was related to financial problems. These AWOLees came from complicated family and detested SAF because the allowances as a Private was pathetic They needed to work outside to boost their family income. Otherwise, how could the family survive on SAF allowance of barely $350 a month?

I talked to some of them. They book into camp but ended up having to constantly worry about bills at home. Some had ill-parents and younger siblings to take care of. Financially strapped, they AWOLed to moonlight. From their point of view, family should come first, and not SAF who pays pittance under the excuse of national service.

Why didn’t these soldiers seek financial assistance, you may ask. Those who served NS in the Army will know how much red-tape and the “world-class efficiency” in getting things done. One form had to be accompanied by documentary proof that your family is in hardship, and it also had to be passed through the chain-of-command. These soldiers who had problems tend to be storemen and drivers who have bad reputation in the army due to their background and tattoos. The S1 and chief clerks tend to view these soldiers as “gengsters” and “attitude problems”. So it ends up that these soldiers who had financial problems don’t see eye to eye with those doing administrative work which eventually delayed the financial assistance to the poor soldiers, making them more desperate to earn extra income for home.

PAP MP Josephine Teo said a solder’s service cannot be measured via monetary terms because it is a service for the nation.

Let me quote you article 2 from People’s Action Party party constitution: “The Party shall be a national movement dedicated to serving our nation and advancing the well-being of our people.”

The PAP views themselves as servants to the nation. Just like how SAF views its conscripts as servants of the nation.

The only difference one pays themselves millions a month to serve Singapore, the other was paid $350 allowance a month.

If PAP MPs do not know the reality on the ground, they should just keep their mouth shut. PAP MPs and Ministers who are being paid millions to serve the nation are not in moral high ground to dictate how Singaporean sons should spend their time serving the nation.



This letter writer has chosen to be identified as Your Obedient Soldier.
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  1. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Firstly, the lowest pay of a recruit now is $480, not counting in the risk pay of combatants.

    Secondly, NS is about serving the nation, not a job. If you expect the gahmen to pay each NSF 1.8k a month, this country will go bankrupt soon. Furthermore, food is already provided for free in camps and if you don’t smoke, this $480 can solely go to your transportation fee (for the weekends) and your family. Take in mind that you will still be promoted which will lead to increase in pay as well as the bonus pay for being a 1-year soldier, not adding in the combat pay. Also, the gahmen will also grant you money if you do well in IPPT and ATP every year.

    Thirdly, the case you mentioned about the clerk not seeing eye to eye with men is just case to case basis. I was a clerk in a branch and I did my best to get the welfare the men deserved (includes complaining to my superiors to pester S1 branch to speed up on their process). Most of the men who needed financial assistance were granted it. So please do not generalize the situation to all the clerks and men.

    Fourthly, the time you must serve currently in NS is maximum 2 years (unless you were thrown in DB), and 1 year 10 months for those who passed their NAPFA before enlisting. Most of the men I’ve met sought to quickly serve finish and get back to their lives of earning money again. If you are smart enough, you’ll do the same rather than wasting your time in DB and getting no pay at all.

    So please stop complaining and just serve then fuck off and return to your normal lives.

    • Anonymous

      March 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Agree !!!

    • Bokoleng

      March 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

      I agree with your statements! But I would just like to add on.

      Smoking isn’t that easy to just “quit”.

      Non combat fit- means no ippt and no ATP. So no extra money.

      Promotion money only helps by so much. Especially when that person is not a commander. Maybe $500++ as a corporal? And that is towards the end of your 2 years in service. Promotion comes as PTE for 6 months, LCP for 9 months then to CPL. So that’s a long wait for a small increment.

      Once again, if non combat fit, means Pes C and below, it’s an automatic 2 years. No napfa for them. Furthermore, if they are from the mono intake, I think it’s 2 years automatically as well.

      I believe we all have had army mates who were struggling with finances. To my knowledge, consult the S1, as he or she will be best equipped to advise you.

    • Anon

      March 3, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Have you ever tried paying your house electricity bill and water bills with $480? Or do you not understand “financial difficulties”? Let me explain to you in a simpler scenario if your brain is, challenged in some ways. Let’s say that your parents are unable to work; perhaps due to accident, perhaps due to old age, and you are supporting the household, do you think you can survive on $480 for 3? 6? Months to work for that promotion for that measly $700 or $900 to support the whole family for 2 years?
      Appealing to S1 branch to expedite request? Well, that is only if the S1 is willing to view it as important.

      As a clerk, are you doing IPPT and APT? Please note that the world does not consist of yourself and yourself only. There are people out there with genuine injuries and cannot take such test.

      Even the idea of getting promoted is ridiculous, have you really served NS before? Do you think promotion is really based on experience as how oversea military works? We are all just academic soldiers, a military joke. What makes you think that a recruit can definitely become a sergeant? Your argument is full of illogical assumption which indicate your ignorance of the NS system and also your incapability to view the system in a greater perspective.

      • Anonymous

        March 3, 2015 at 11:08 pm

        The $480 is the basic pay for recruits. If a NSF genuinely has financial difficulties, financial assistance and loans granted by SAF will be provided. Even if your S1 does not care about your situation, the underhand method is to approach your MPs during meet the MP session and voice your displeasure. Trust me, things get done thrice as fast when a letter from MP

        • Tou e

          March 5, 2015 at 12:22 am

          See MP get things done that true. You also get unnecessary attention and possible of getting disciplinary action for breaking the chain of command? I think I need not mention about our prime minster son breaking the chain of command and got punish right?

          • HaloHalo

            March 5, 2015 at 9:49 pm

            Well… I don’t think it break the chain of command. Seeking the MP not just for the SAF financial help issue but also other social helps that can be provided to your family. Since you have seek your S1 before going MP, isn’t that following chain of command? Before going MP, it’s best to inform you S1, OC, CO.. etc
            if your S1 not doing anything, you can threaten that you going higher management for help.

      • anony

        August 18, 2015 at 6:20 pm

        As a clerk, you are eligible for service shoot and incentive

        i was downgraded midway in my NSF, ive dont both service and combat vocations. Ive scored both marksmen.

        If you want, you can choose not to book out during weekends (and rent out ur room? maybe?)

        Food, lodging, electricity all provided for

        Electrical bills + water maybe $100+ $200 a month?

        many save money by cycling.

    • yeayea

      March 3, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Some of us don’t get risk pay even though we do jobs that is risky enough to die.
      $480 – compulsory insurance magazine etc. More lIke $450 $430.

      food is provided.. most people rather they gI’ve us the money ownself let us settle food for a reason but nvm. I give u this

      To many, $500 is yes, not bad. But u also must understand many people sot to find jobs to save for school and Being pin down by a low pay pushes schooling term further.. time don’t wait for all of us. Maybe u don’t uunderstand the feeling some of us have about earning peanuts.

      I agree, serving nation is important. Should not depend on money. Tell that to those high payed 50k80k government bodies.

    • wakeup

      March 3, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Dude, if you don’t live the poor people lifes, you won’t understand the difficulties, not everyone has the money to get downgraded to be a clerk like you. You served, now fuck off from judging others.

      • Anonymous

        March 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm

        you tell him not to judge, but then you claim he paid his way into getting his clerical position? right…

      • Anonymous

        March 3, 2015 at 11:05 pm

        I paid to be downgraded? LOL Please. I would rather be a combatant than be a clerk. I was suffering from mild eczema during before army and it worsened during BMT till I can’t continue the course. I would’ve went to OCS if not for the eczema. Yes I’m fortunate enough to not live the poor people lives, but I firmly believe that AWOL is not an option. Why risk going back to DB again and NOT get paid at all. SAF provide loans to NSF if they really have financial difficulties as long as they can provide proofs.
        ‘serve and fuck off” is a phrase my friends (be it clerk or men) always use. Do not waste time in DB, serve properly, do not get into trouble, and fuck off.

    • Brandon

      March 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      If you think 480 dollars is enough to support a family with younger siblings,u are delusional.Maybe u should try to live on 480 per month and see how well u can support your family.Not all people are born in the middle/upper class family.Somefamilies live on less than 2k per month

      • piggypig

        March 4, 2015 at 8:51 am

        If they are in such hardship, then the family should have been on financial assistance scheme, shouldn’t they?

        Yes two years is a long time, but it is also part of the obligation as a citizen. If they don’t go for the help and assistance that are available, then they are just not doing themselves a service.

    • Anonymous13

      March 3, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      If NS is abt serving the nation then the MP’s should be getting the same peanuts since they are serving the nation as well don’t u think??

    • Anonymous

      March 3, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      $480 alone is not enough to pay bills and such.. Compared to the private sector, say, your work a 12 hour shift and your workplace pays you $8/ hr, you work 5 days a week. That equates to $480/ week. Which is roughly $1920 per month. Compared to $480, a free food, which is better? Even if your argument is that if the pay is lower, say $6/ hr you will still get $1440 per month. That’s without considering the sales commission you get if you work as a promoter or free food if you work in a restaurant.

    • Super Anonymous

      March 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Hello friend, don’t wayang lah please. Don’t tall big without doing your calculations. You are a clerk, in what position? DXO ah? Try support a family with 1 lowly paid parent and with 2 siblings that are schooling with the “big” amount that you’ve mentioned. 2 schooling siblings already enough to drain out those allowance from SAF, still dare to even mention other things.

      Talk about serving the Nation. If anything happens, what will the compensation be? Few hundreds of thousands? Civil servants also serving the nation too right? Why does the allowance/salary defers so much in percentage?

      • Anonymous

        March 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm

        Hello friend. I’m not wayanging, I’m just stating the facts. Can’t you read? If a NSF is facing financial difficulties, he can apply for financial assistance and SAF will judge how much money his family can receive per month by their conditions.

        I’m upset about the high ministers pay too, but even if they cut the ministers pay and the cut pay gets to be distributed evenly among the NSF and NS men, it will be merely a few dollars.

        I’ve met men trying to feed sick parents and new born babies and have helped them applied for financial assistance, their problems were solved immediately and rarely complained again.

      • Ultra Anonymous

        March 5, 2015 at 12:14 am

        Just talk to your direct in charge ask them let u go moonlight lah. If u do ur work properly and talk to them nicely they will close one eye one leh. Unless u are those who don’t do work and just slack around. Of course u will kena lah. Besides u think ur officers eat full already everyday monitor everyone so closely? Most of the ppl who got awol I know were targeted by their officers for a long time because of bad conduct in camp. Btw I’ve had a number of friends who are allowed to go moonlight by left.

    • Anonymous

      March 3, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      The government also serving the nation. So she said that serving the nation do not need salary, she is serving the nation herself why not she dont take her million dollar salary.
      Talk about country bankrupt. With 600billion in reserve ya brankrupt.

    • lim

      March 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      According to my ns days, not all items are supplied by SAF, many stuff you need to come up with your own money cos of the stupid idea of standardisation taken to the extreme. Plus all camps are located at ulu places, i have friends living in the east pasir ris travelling to old chua chu kang road. Transport cost is ridiculous. Did you really know how to do the math? I got posted as a RP, work two days off one day, travelling really eats up these miserable allowances.

    • Fadhli Jaffar

      March 3, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      I apologise first and foremost but I find your comments ignorant and immature. It is natural for allowances to increase over time. This does not reflect the generosity of the govt, but merely pegging the allowances to periodic inflation and the economy.

      As a working adult and supporting my own family, I empathize with these servicemen as I have gone through a fair deal of hardships without the aid of a helping hand. I would say that the govt have indeed lost touch with the people, especially those in the lower income or families who need to constantly care for family members who are sick, disabled or with special needs.

      If you have a family nucleus of 4 people, a meagre salary below $2000 is barely enough to spend on food, household essentials, commuting, utility bills, education fees, what more spare cash for medical or family emergencies.

      And if it is a natuonal duty to serve, allowances should not be pegged to vocation or rank. Everyone should be paid equally but enjoy different perks and welfare status.

    • Anonymous

      March 3, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      y dun u sign on

    • togi

      March 3, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Good LORD!! Your level of self righteousness, ignorance and ability to think critically is mind boggling.

      You start of your asinine rant talking about the recruit allowance as of 2015……

      The fact that he mentioned that he served 30 months should have given most people who have more than 2 brains cells a clue that he served his sentence in the SAF more than 10 years ago. (Believe it or not, there were people who were born before 1986). I don’t think $350 was enough to support a family back then even when you factor in inflation.

      I’d also like to how far out of financial difficulty the riches afforded to you by getting IPPT gold that you spoke so eloquently about can bring you.

      And just when it seemed that we had witnessed your intellectual bankruptcy in it’s full glory, you provide us with another mentally defunct gem…….

      “Most of the men I’ve met sought to quickly serve finish and get back to their lives of earning money again. If you are smart enough, you’ll do the same rather than wasting your time in DB and getting no pay at all.”

      Well I’m sure these dudes all would have loved to spend time in DB eh? I’m sure that none of them had very pressing financial issues which compelled them to go AWOL knowing what the consequences were yeah?

      Engage brain before mouth.

    • Kayen

      March 3, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      Shut up… Please tell this to PAP who are drawing so much allowance when they deemed themselves serving the nation. How are they different from NS? What makes them so special to draw so much allowance when they should be committed (not obliged) to serve the nation.

    • zac

      March 3, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      If the regulars weren’t paid SO MUCH, they would have had more budget allocated to NSFs. but then again, nobody would sign on if the pay wasn’t good. Pff

    • BlahBlah

      March 3, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      If you say that NS is not a job but rather, it is to serve the nation… Why not you say it to the PAP MPs? They are drawing such high allowance and they do you think it is acceptable? How are the NSFs different from the MPs? We are all humans and serving the nation. Furthermore, the MPs SHOULD be committed (not obliged) to serve the nation. Hence, why are their allowance so high?????

    • BlahBlah

      March 3, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      If you say that NS is not a job but rather, it is to serve the nation… Why not you say it to the PAP MPs? They are drawing such high allowance and do you think it is acceptable? How are the NSFs different from the MPs? We are all humans and serving the nation. Furthermore, the MPs SHOULD be committed (not obliged) to serve the nation. Hence, why are their allowance so high?????

    • Anonymous

      March 4, 2015 at 12:01 am

      $480, LOL. I thought you were pretty articulate and well educated from the way you phrased your sentences and such but I mean come on, just because the pay increases doesn’t change the fact that ALL prices are going up as well, transport fees inclusive. Inflation hasn’t even been considered in slightest bit might I add.

      Secondly, as mentioned in the article as well, how do they provide for their families should they not be in an ideal financial position or have ill parents or relatives that need to be paid for? Ignoring the fact that some parents are bums or those that truly are unable to work, so then what is your solution for their kid? LOL, volunteer go overseas? Have you really even served the army before. All you’re doing is accounting for a fraction of those in financial distress. So what happens if you happen to be physically unfit for the overseas training?

      Lol lame. True not many jobs at that educational background or experience will be able to support sickly parents. So what are they supposed to do? Take $480/month instead and not even try? At least with an extra job outside, they might at least be able to cover a fraction of their medical bills or even other costs. I mean no matter how dumb you sound, if someones parents are really sick until the point they require their son to take care of them; I’m pretty sure they can’t work a proper job to pay for anything.

    • Anonymous

      March 4, 2015 at 1:46 am

      i laughed at your comment. Hmm how bout i get your facts right first dude.

      First; you said $480 for transport on weekends and rest to family. Hmm, so if my camp at tampines i from jurong need take mrt about $1.80 the take bus rebate about $0.30. So my daily transport to and fro i need about $2.10.

      $2.10 x avg of 21 days = $44.10.

      Lets say i subscribe to safra membership + i have insurance + i donate to charity to the poor because i believe in helping.
      So total would be 44.10 +

    • I am Anonymous too

      March 4, 2015 at 3:29 am

      Firstly, the writer stated 2.5 years serve time, obviously, the writer do not belong to the new NS scheme which then obviously is the old scheme pays. So, what are you implying? From my view, you are completely ignorance about many things.

      Secondly, now, basing on the current scheme (due to your own ignorance), $480 to your family is only true if they stay in camp for their entire 2 years. However, it can be hardly true as you book out on the weekend. Which means, you will eat part of the money, like food and transport. Not only that, not all drivers and clerk stay in. Also, most clerk do not have IPPT. Thus, your argument is again questionable.

      Thirdly, you are completely right generalising is wrong. However, your second point has generalised that $480 can be enough for all families. Also, your current point has generalised that the financial assistance can be enough for all families.

      Fourthly, again, you are quoting the new scheme of two years and not the old scheme of 2.5 years.

      – From not so ignorance Anonymous

    • Anonymous

      March 4, 2015 at 7:39 am

      You speak with such good terminologies. Accidents happen in lives. Some people are not as fortunate as you. We are all born different.

    • Anonymous

      March 4, 2015 at 7:58 am

      Talk so much for fuck

    • Anonymous

      March 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Retarded if u didn’t notice that army was 2.5 years a few decade ago

    • Anonymous

      March 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Ehh, a few things to address.

      1. Not all clerks have free food. In MINDEF, there is no cookhouse but a canteen.

      2. Most clerks are in stay-out camps, so yeah transportation costs comprises of the whole week.

      3. The highest rank for most clerical vocations is corporal which is $520-550 per month.

      If the person requires to take train and bus, that’s already $75 a month (concession) and if his camp is mindef or another camp without a cookhouse, then you can expect more costs for food.

      All that, and I haven’t even talked about those with financial problems.

    • XMedic

      March 5, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Surely you should know what “Boys from ALL walks of life” mean right? Even in HQ, I knew fellow NSFs who secretly moonlighted because they needed the extra income to support themselves, their further education and their homes.

      Many of them have had their applications for the financial aid rejected. And these are just those who are considered less privileged. Many of us NSFs are self-supported. If you take a look at the fact that we need to save for further studies and or other peripheries, I would say monthly expenses comes up to easily SGD 500, which obviously supersedes the basic 464 given to us as allowance after all “necessary” deductions.

      By the way, our camp, being the HQ. has NO cookhouse, NO stay-in and definitely NO meal or transport claims. So SGD480 as basic pay for literally giving our lives for those 2 years, NOT WORTH IT.

      It’s a thankless job, a thankless service, for which we did not choose to partake in. Instead, we were forcibly ripped away from our daily normal lives to serve a nation that gives us PAPER APPRECIATION in return.

    • anonymous1

      March 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      This article is mentioning about NSmen, those who have completed their national Service. Those who are called back for In-Camp Trainings. The focus is not advocating for more pay for NSF. For soldiers who do not have a stable income, career outside army, when they are called back for ICT- pay received would be the amount they earned (highest rank attained during their national service).

  2. your ah gong

    March 3, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Serving NS is an obligation. Without a strong deterent force, there want be a free country for one to even work in. The NS allowance given to soldiers is what it is, an ALLOWANCE, not a salary. Most soldiers have lodging, clothing and food catered for during the workweek, so if they’re more prudent with their spending, this allowance can contribute to the family finance.

    Get your facts right, and reflect on your values.

    • ah ma

      March 3, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Ah gong, even if they don’t spend at all. 500 can barely support a family.

      • Anonymous

        March 3, 2015 at 4:54 pm

        then sign on la. How many legal jobs out there a 19 year old can have that will support his family you tell me.

        • your Tai gong

          March 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

          Sign on? Sign on as what? Sign on as clerk? You never work during school holidays before. It isn’t hard to find a job that pays 7 per hour. 19 year old? Even easier, can get driving license go be delivery man. You no real world experience trying to tell people what to do? Let someone who knows better tell you what to do la. Your tai gong suggest you just go enjoy life while papa mama work hard for you. Maybe one day you’ll understand.

        • Anonymous

          March 3, 2015 at 11:04 pm

          $480 alone is not enough to pay bills and such.. Compared to the private sector, say, your work a 12 hour shift and your workplace pays you $8/ hr, you work 5 days a week. That equates to $480/ week. Which is roughly $1920 per month. Compared to $480, a free food, which is better? Even if your argument is that if the pay is lower, say $6/ hr you will still get $1440 per month. That’s without considering the sales commission you get if you work as a promoter or free food if you work in a restaurant.’

          Quote someone else. Now use your brain and think. NS or shift work better to support family?

    • Anonymous

      March 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      How’s south africa weather? You must feel rich with your 500sgd.

  3. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Serve and fuck off??…food is free??..can bring home ah??..can feed your family ah??..don’t talk cock can??..

    • Anonymous

      March 3, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      “Serve and fuck off” is a phrase used by my friends, be it clerk of men that means serve properly, do not get into any trouble, then fuck off from NS. This is the fastest way to escape from NS unless you suffered from injuries to be downgraded to PES F.

      Even though you can’t bring home the food, the free food at the cookhouse at least can lessen food expenditure of YOUR own. So that more of your money can be spent on your family.

      Use your brain can???

      • kambimg

        March 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm

        But you’re assuming that 480 per month is enough to feed a family of 3 or more even with subsidies. Put it this way, 1 day 3 meals. $4.00 a meal. 4×3=12. 12x30days=360. Utilities, lowest $50.00. $410. Transport. Another 50? 460. Not taking into account any medical bills, diaper money or any entertainment or even smoking. 460 with 20 dollars to spare, just barely making the mark. Can you live with it?

  4. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Agree.. a lot of my friends when they are serving NS they all moonlight to get more pay. $480 (Recruit) for 2 years is not enough to everyone to survive monthly. It is barely enough to cover either house bills OR phone bills!

    • Anonymous

      March 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Food outside of camp, transport, phone bills, don’t tell me $480 not enough for one person to survive. Of course, if you’re using a phone plan that comes with a lot of data, then you’re going to have to pay more.

      I had campmates who don’t spend much outside of camp, eat camp food whenever possible, still got leftover give their mother pocket money and save some for themselves.

      If you’re moonlighting to support your unnecessary lifestyle purchases, then that’s your own problem.

      If soldiers genuinely need help, financial aid is available. Even without financial aid, there are options to make a living wage while doing NS. Volunteer go overseas long term. LCP also chao chao 1.6k/month. Not enough? Sign on.

      Parents sick, need their only son to support the family at age 19? Short of being a bookie or runner, you tell me how many jobs outside of the army will support the family?

  5. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    “These soldiers who had problems tend to be storemen and drivers who have bad reputation in the army due to their background and tattoos. ”

    Knowing that their family is in financial difficulty, what an “excellent” choice to screw their background over with their affiliations with gangs and such.

    Well deserved.

  6. Real world thinks

    March 3, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Very true, this 2 years is simply seen as a depletion of our youths just to serve as a conscripted deterrence, the story about loyalty towards country doesn’t change the black and white facts in regards to the money one receive vs being able to support a family with on top of all the benefits/financial/army fitness monetary incentives etc

    In simple words: 2years of being forced to work with a average allowance of $500-$900 depends on individual (rank pay) as compared to trade off of earning a living outside for 2years
    Everyone will pick the 2nd option simple as that, the more if one is financially handicapped, himself or family
    We are all smart people, no money no talk nuff said
    P.S: towards this kind of sensitive issues, it don’t have to be mentioned that only people who served the actual full term NS had the rights to comment for the obvious reason of understanding the real shyt of how NS runs and what goes in and out, it’s okay for those who did not serve to voice their opinion but please do be sensible and don’t act as if you know everything

  7. lol

    March 3, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Oh man if government got think of those who alr hv family to support as parents no longer ard this wont even come out in first place as where got enough as food transport so on keep on increasing

  8. khaizero

    March 3, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Agree… the lowest pay in national service is army..

  9. Claude

    March 3, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I am currently serving NS, and I’m a stay out personnel. With Pes C status which means no more than $580 (with meal allowance).

    I can assure you $580 is not even enough to cover my own expenses barely my family. House isn’t paid fully… My parents are no longer working. House alone is $460/mth CASH due to insufficient funds in my parents CPF either way.

    And I also need to pay for my Education Fees. Sorry, I am an undergraduate, currently doing part time diploma (private institute). $120/mth for that.

    Even with financial assistance, it can’t even help that much. My own personal expenses, my parents? Where does it come from? I’m sucking it from my job before NS.. I was just lucky to be able to get paid $5-7k a month before ns…

    And shall I can assure, deduct my private studies… All other expenses and what not am average person would need at least $1.5k to cover house and utility builds and expendature for 3 persons in the house hold (4-room flat)

  10. ahpeng

    March 3, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    if you have financial problems then why are you not paying attention during the few times that the welfare officers and your CO ask who is sole bread winner? the system to look out for sole bread winner was in place as early as the late 80s… so stop that bs and try to turn these ill-disciplined people into victims. during my NS, 95% of these AWOLees just want to run away to join their friends and gf outside.

  11. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    $480 alone is not enough to pay bills and such.. Compared to the private sector, say, your work a 12 hour shift and your workplace pays you $8/ hr, you work 5 days a week. That equates to $480/ week. Which is roughly $1920 per month. Compared to $480, a free food, which is better? Even if your argument is that if the pay is lower, say $6/ hr you will still get $1440 per month. That’s without considering the sales commission you get if you work as a promoter or free food if you work in a restaurant. Best of all, you can use the rest of the money to pay off utility bills and phone bills if the bills adds up to at least $200. ( Considering phone data plan is $42/ month, electricity and water and waste disposal fees ~ $150) , $180 on food PER person (On a 2 meals a day in a month, $3 food price basis) All these, without considering any other expenses like mortgage, loans, transport… – Even transport cost at least $27.50 / month for students if they bought concession. If not, it’ll be $60 / 20 days on a $3 daily transport expense. FYI, both transport fees & utility fees can be minimised whereas the eating expenses cannot be avoided.

  12. badass

    March 3, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    these ppl talk easy only.u try surviving ur whole family n bills with that miserable 400+ then talk. and pls…if u r a lady who do not nd to serve all the more u shl shut up.right after graduation u get a job,but guys got to go thru this shit.

  13. Seet

    March 3, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    very valid points raised. sometimes we do forget there are many in our midst and have problems seemingly small to us but exceptionally heavy on the them.

    you know, life is all about bullshit. people says all things in their favour. if ministers bullshit, it should be tested at the ballot box.

    in Singapore, unfortunately, money is more important so selfishness is most evident; including supposedly well-intentioned politicians.

  14. elation

    March 3, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    you don’t need aging parents or handicapped family members to realise that $500/- a month is just insufficient to survive on if you’re taking care of your family.

    NS takes a guy out of his life and plonks him into an obligation he may or may not want to serve for $500 bucks a month.

    they may be earning $2k (or something) and suddenly have to make do with $500 p/m? i knew a division mate who refused to eat so that his wife could buy his newborn baby enough milk powder. he survived on his wife’s cooking of rice fried with frozen peas.

    that is not a situation which is “acceptable” in any rational mind.

    in my time, what i know is that the criteria is especially stringent when it comes to applying for financial aid. ANY form of “luxuries” would instantly cause you to fail the application.

    own a tv? application rejected.

    have a computer? application rejected.

    air con? ho ho ho.

    if anyone thinks its fair that a guy who’s barely a man should be in a situation where he has to support a recovering wife and a newborn child with only $500 a month simply because his flat has an air con unit…

    … you are beneath human.

  15. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    NSF in MINDEF DOES NOT HAVE FREE FOOD DAILY, NO FREE LODGING, NO FREE TRANSPORT. So should those NSF posted to MINDEF be given extra meals money?

  16. whoseyourdaddy

    March 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I used to be in a combatant unit when I was serving my ns.I served only 1year 10mths and I earned the max 600bucks I have my mum,dad and sister to take care of as im the oldest and i have a kid family was not financially well to do and i always suffered the pressure of paying bills and errants furthermore the cost of baby accessories were no the end i chao keng to moonlight to meet the necessary needs and now im doing stable with life after I left the army.I understand how those men who also have financial issues and family problem so to those who say 480 is enough either you are living in your family money and saved that peanuts money to buy your miserable girlfriend valentines present or you got some under table lobang..So please dont come talk cock!

  17. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Ok mp whatever ur name is…. since u also serve the nation… y not bring home $350 instead and not $80k… talk also no action for what?

  18. KwanYinKwanYou

    March 3, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Very simple – vote pap out and change the constitution where NS is concerned.

  19. crazy

    March 3, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    We have too many problem, why don’t use other angle to see? if we all don’t serve the nation! then who? Singapore so peaceful because of you guys, regardless in what post we are doing. Govert in this few year had review the NSF pay a few time. I understand some of them really have the problem. But we have the rule the follow. some even not bother to try already said they won’t help or can’t help. When u really have problem, how may of u guys will go to seek for interview? If not wrong, most of them will choose keep quite, and try to use his way to solve the problem. Than make himself more problem. S1 is the write person to solve this, but ur direct Sup need provide all the evidence or support document to support the case. Other then camp outside MP also can help to write letter to support the case. Now a days Govert, also set up some branch who need financial help. I believe with this we have enough to cover what are the basic need. of course we don’t talk about buy all the lux item and use all the expensive data plan or so on. i m not siding with govert, How many people committed in their nation service, during their ns time? Not much, which i can say.

    In camp we have so many benefit, accom, food, clothing, leave, off, sub.for see Doc, dental , courses and so on. If u can pick up the right thing or experience from ur senior. In future u will be say thanks for the year in my ns life .

    I have a instructor, he pay 900 but which he can save 700 per month. which is deducted his personal phone bill and daily expenses. Everyday he stay in camp and eat his meal in cook house. Maybe, once a week, he will go for night off. So per week he spend about 50. So is 480 is it enough for you own spend? Which i think that is enough.

    All is your mind, if u are using high data plan on phone and always talks to your girl friend, or always eat out side food or canteen, even-though i give u 1500, also not enough, All of us have their own problem, just see urself how to handle with it.

    First, is ur mind set. how u think.
    Second, ur comfor zone has been taken away. and your lifestyle been force to change. which u don’t want to let go.
    Third, u have restricted by the organisation, which a lot of thing u can’t do. which u don’t like.

    We should appreciated what we have. Yes, sometime we need to voice up what we are concern, Some of us only want more from the organisation, and refuse to perform in his duty. Is that fair to organisation. Don’t blame others, try to do some reflection for yourself first then u will see thing more in difference way.

  20. Nsf

    March 3, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Funny sia u all qurrel abt this dun u found that stupid
    Josephine u try go in ns lor and u will feel the pain
    Those people say serve and fk off right easy to say dun u dare say
    When u in army u never complain the pay to less ?? Funny kid talk funny word

    Josephine have her word cox she have a great pay just think abt u in jail now n u have 500 per month to support ur family and u will the pay

  21. Anonymous

    March 3, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Agree with the author, even for myself I am forced to stay out. and everyday have to take 2 hr bus to camp and the transport cost around 90 dollar per month already, Food is only catered for lunch, breakfast and dinner is not provided, even if i eat one meal outside per day it cost around 5 dollar which sums up to a 150 per month, not to say weekends there isnt even lunch…..As for the rest of the money…..I just say i salute to those struggling with their life cause of Ns’s low pay….Those who don’t come from poor family won’t know this feeling…

  22. alipapa

    March 4, 2015 at 1:07 am

    … Trust me, those that can talk big here are ONLY SUPPORTING THEMSELVES with the pathetic $400-900++ the garmen. This 2 years of youth taken away from us is more precious than anything else! Tell me we serve to protect our country, serve to have freedom? BS! With this 2 years wasted, those foreign talent are stepping on top of us when we enter workforce! I could be using this precious period of time to fight for my career! Think about it. I don’t see foreigner having to serve the ns to get citizenship! But what are we singapore-born singaporean doing?

  23. Anonymous

    March 4, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Sorry as i was saying $88.20 + $36 + 12 + 10 = $146.20 every month. so i deduct from 480 = $333.80

    So you telling me us $333.80 can do u a lot every month? POOR people cannot even enjoy much of these 333.80 due to household bills. Dude your making us laugh. Oh and for your info, concession for bus + mrt for NSF is $90.

    Thirdly, you probably seem like a wayang dude who tried so hard just to get promoted by sucking up to your officers.

    Fourthly, talk is cheap. You think society is a stand still and everyone is equal like your platoon mates/ friends? You think everyone share the same problems? What about those who can’t pass their NAPFA? Don’t give me shit like it’s their fault.

    Lastly, dude your lucky your household income is strong enough to support you and your family. You think your tough. You think you are a know it all in society. Hey dude, wake up your bloody idea. Fuck off and serve?. Yeah, we will. But first its because of bullshits like you who don’t feel empathy for others. Thats why our society is so bias to the poor.

    Im not here to rant or shit on your. I’m just here to tell you the hard truth people dont say to your face. Also, your comments are really laughable it makes me wonder, do u always lan lan suck thumb or suck it up to your bosses? No wonder u can never make it to the top if u dont think otherwise.

  24. Lester

    March 4, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Lol this Anonymous dog just doesn’t know when to quit. Find it very amusing that he consistently defends his personal views even though majority of others like me think otherwise. It seems obvious to me you are the minority pap/government lapdog (even if you insist otherwise) on the internet trying to oppose our “group mentality” hate on the gahment.

    TLDR: damn entertaining. Anonymous, please continue, you self-righteous prick of a cunt

  25. Anonymous

    March 4, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    whoever says 480 is enough to survive , i hope your parents gets cancer and tell me how you’ll survive with 480 plus the financial assistance , blah blah blah. pfft

  26. M.Goh

    March 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I’ve skimmed through the comments and most replies follow the line of argument that $480 per month is not enough to tide the entire family through.

    You know what? That is 100% true! I think even $1000+ is insufficient and cruel. But if the entire household is, for legit reasons, depending solely on that $480 (i.e. both parents and all siblings incapacitated), they just about qualify for every grant the country, not just the SAF, has to offer!

    Furthermore, I am from the S1 branch myself and I can tell you very, very confidently that by “financial problems”, most of them do not mean hardships related to “sustaining the family” (go figure what it could be). How do I know? 1) quarterly house visits and interviews with the families of AWOLees and 2) profiling (barely 20% have registered for financial assistance – and don’t bother scapegoating/criminalizing other servicemen like S1s or chief clerks as if they are all a**holes). The best part is, most AWOLees surrender precisely because they are out of cash!

    If you issue is with the low pay, I can fully empathize because I believe it is a reasonable request considering the cost of living (the middle class don’t have it easy too). But the ridiculous title of the article (poor NSMen Rather Kena DB than Ask for Gahmen’s Money!) and the sweeping accusations against the S1 branch unjustly glorifies most AWOLees who have made life tough for themselves and their loved ones (by this I mean their family).

  27. JustORDED

    March 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I have just ORDed 3 months ago. During my time in the army, I have seen many things and met many people.

    I met a friend (CPL rank) whose parents give him a $1000 monthly allowance. He saved up all his army allowances over 2 years, saving about $15k in total.

    On the other end, I have met storemen who have been in and out of DB and changi prison. The oldest one i knew enlisted at 18 and ORDed at 27.

    Without a doubt, the saddest thing I saw in my 2 years of service was this storeman (CPL rank) who would pack a few dinner rations every day before booking out. One day I asked him why he was doing this. He told me that, at the age of 24, he has a wife and a child to feed at home.

    I believe that NSF allowance should not merely be increased across the board, for the mere fact that that every NSF comes from a different financial background. I disagree with the current system of rewarding commanders with more allowances. Coming from JC myself, I daresay it is usually the more educated kids who are well to do and therefore do not require the extra allowance.

    The best solution, in my opinion, is to review the current system of SAF financial support for needy soldiers rather than an across-the-board increase in NS allowance.

  28. Anonymous

    March 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Doing a simple breakdown on common thing:

    $100 Utility Bill (Average)
    $40 S&CC (Assuming 3room flat)
    $25 Mobile Bill (Cheapest Plan in SingTel)
    $52 mio Home Plan (include internet, mio TV and home line)
    $90 Concession transport

    Total: $307
    SAF contribution: $500
    Remaining: $193

    For parent who still able to make home cooked food:
    ($30 per week (Avg cost for ingredients from NTUC) + $1.50 (Transportation to buy ingredient to and from)) x 4 (to make it a month)
    = $126

    For takeaway food:
    ($2 (Cheapest chicken rice) + $1.50 (Transportation to pack food to and from)) x 2 (Parent) x 30 (WeekDays + WeekEnds)
    = $210

    Above excluding medical charges, outstanding hdb cost, own food consumption on weekends, insurance, saving for further education purpose and etc.

    So how to survive? Easy!

    1) Live in void deck. Save on Utility Bill, S&CC.
    2) Use coins for calls. Save on monthly mobile bill.
    3) Visit Community Center everyday for free TV and Internet Kiosk. Save on internet and entertainment bill.
    4) Walk to camp. Save on Concession.
    5) Become believer and ask for free food. Save on food cost.

    Let me give you a tight slap for those who said its enough to live with $500.

  29. Anonymous

    March 4, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Doing a simple breakdown on common thing:

    $100 Utility Bill (Average)
    $40 S&CC (Assuming 3room flat)
    $25 Mobile Bill (Cheapest Plan in SingTel)
    $52 mio Home Plan (include internet, mio TV and home line)
    $90 Concession transport

    Total: $307
    SAF contribution: $500
    Remaining: $193

    For parent who still can make home cooked food:
    ($30 per week (Avg cost for ingredients from NTUC) + $1.50 (Transportation to pack food to and from)) x 4 (to make it a month)
    = $126

    For takeaway food:
    ($2 (Cheapest chicken rice) + $1.50 (Transportation to pack food to and from)) x 2 (Parent) x 30 (WeekDays + WeekEnds)
    = $210

    Above excluding medical charges, outstanding hdb cost, own food consumption on weekends, insurance, saving for further education purpose and etc.

    So, how to survive? Easy!

    1) Live in void deck. Save on Utility Bill, S&CC.
    2) Use coins for calls. Save on monthly mobile bill.
    3) Visit Community Center everyday for free TV and Internet Kiosk. Save on internet and entertainment bill.
    4) Walk to camp. Save on Concession.
    5) Become believer and ask for free food. Save on food cost.

    Let me give you a tight slap for those who said its enough to live with $500.

  30. Anon

    March 4, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    The reason why its so hard to increase the allowances for NSFs, very simple. Don’t just think individually. Everyone serving receives money, not just you.
    So lets say on average $500 each, you multiply that by the number of people in your camp. Then multiply again to the number of camps all over Singapore and the final amount if not including the food and other miscellaneous items like utilities.
    Private sectors obviously can give out higher pays because they don’t have as much ’employees’. The amount of money pumped into our local Army is already quite a huge sum. You can say our government alot money, but hey, they have other areas which also require monetary commitments as well including financial aids and our economy to name a few. As to address some people’s concern on the high income our leaders are earning, I believe high responsibility jobs deserves high pay. Not that i’m totally happy about it either. To put into context, managerial roles in companies also earns the most money. Changing the ruling party doesn’t necessarily change anything cause the pool of money they can work with and allocate is only that certain amount anyway. NS pay could increase but other areas have to be neglected like healthcare aka polyclinic subsidys.
    I can emphatise with those low income families, but many are suggesting to abolish NS and such. So who is gonna serve? With so many threats appearing lately like ISIS and such, are we gonna rely on other countries for our safety like we did in WW2? We all know how that turned out. Allowing some individuals to not serve NS with just give others another reason to not serve. If its given as a choice, i am sure most people wouldn’t serve anyway.

  31. Wen

    March 4, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    NS is for a greater cause and not just to earn a living for yourselves. I can’t see how I can be safe in my home when we have men (or rather, childish boys) who always have the thoughts of evading national service. I suppose only a small percentage of singapore men are spoilt brats who would leave the defence of our nation to….. (Come on, who else but ourselves?)

  32. ....

    March 4, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I find it abit funny that people keep on talking about financial aid, financil assistance n other financial bullshit. I mean why go through all the trouble of doing paperwork and asking questions and waiting months for processing when you can just up their pay and settle with less people complaining and asking for financial assistance. If you just up their pay to 1k for example, Im sure they will be glad enough and at least try their best to put in effort to work their finance out.

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