During 1965, Singapore was going through a period of great uncertainty due to the consistent conflicts with the Communist insurgency and Indonesian Confrontation. Even though it was difficult at the beginning, Singapore went through a huge transformation due to the National Service.
Playing a major part in these 50 years of development is one of the major institutions gaining the secured space for Singapore’s huge growth. This institution is the National Service.
What Is National Service (NS)?
NS is a national policy of Singapore. It is statutory law and according to it, all the male citizens of Singapore and second-generation permanent residents would have to compulsory serve in uniformed services.
This law was introduced first in 1967 for assisting Singapore’s military forces as soon as it got its independence. This has later expanded to add civil defence and police officers too.
As soon as they are enlisted, male Singaporean citizen and second-generation permanent residents would serve 2 years in active duty and that too as full-time NSFs (National Servicemen) in Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) or SFP(Singapore Police Force). After the active duty, they would be transitioned for an operationally ready reservist state and called as operationally ready national servicemen (NSMEN).
Nowadays two-months of reduction is provided in full time in National Service for pre-enlistees. This is purely based on their ability to pass the three-station Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) which had been modified recently.
This IPPT test consists of sit-ups, push-ups, and 2.4 km of running along with a minimum of 61 points. Previously, this IPPT consisted of six single stations, that were roughly about 2.4 km run followed by pull-ups, sit-ups, sit-and-reach stretch, standing-broad jump, and shuttle-run. Most of the NSFs who are serving in the Army are part of the SAF. Now the major reason for this is due to the relative manpower that is required for the army compared to the air force, navy, SCDF, and SPF.
In addition, compared to the army, the navy (RSN) and air force (RSAF) are small armed services that are filled with regular servicemen. Since the manpower needs of the RSAF and RSN are more specialized, there is the regular periodic turnover of the NSF and this thought to be disruptive.
Is Training for National Service in Singapore Necessary For Teenagers?
Regarding this matter, mandatory military service is great for the country. It will promote unity in the country in various ways. Here firstly, it will allow citizens to practice and train with each other as a team. Also, teenagers can, later, share the experiences they had in serving in the military with other and going-to-be teenagers.
Plus, this would greatly provide the required understanding to other people including teenagers regarding how the army life would be, what needs to be done, and what kind of work is needed to do, for protecting the country. Most importantly, it will help citizens to have a good understanding of military people and make them have a good appreciation for the services rendered by the military for their nation.
Many experts feel that these experiences and aspects will bring people together, especially when they are dealing with a cultural or political threat from other countries. Also, military life will teach kids and individuals how to shoot or salute in a straightway.
Here the training provided will be far beyond the technical skills that they would require for getting the job done. Most of the people working in the military having pursued a career in other non-military workplaces have mentioned various other skills and other major work-related behaviours that have helped them to be excellent in their position.
Here these would be including teamwork, responsibility, diversity, initiative, global awareness, and stress management. Not only that other individuals would get used to the habits of healthy living as well as discipline in terms of their skills for self-defence. Here the mandatory consumption would really mean that no individual would be spared from going to the war.
People are stating that such aspects violate teenager’s free will to take part or not in military services. This is not like voluntary soldier training where people join for serving the nation.
Difficulties Teenagers End Up in Coping With The National Service in Singapore
Unluckily, most of the teenagers are poorly prepared, mentally as well as physically. Some even end up with avoidable injuries due to the lack of proper knowledge of exercising. Experts feel that teenagers are still learning the ways of exercising and they need to be trained in gaining a good understanding.
Most health experts feel that and often see many of the national servicemen especially teenagers suffering from regular injuries. These are especially related to lower limbs and back. Here the major cause for such injuries is due to the inadequate physical preparation and the lack of fitness just before embarking or enlisting for intense training.
Teenagers Need to Prepare Early
Health and physical experts recommend that the preparation for the NS listing should be started at an early stage. They feel that it is not too early for doing any kind of exercise. One must consider it as a habit rather than something tedious or just done for namesake.
Most importantly, regular exercise will help in improving the physical fitness of teenagers. The preparation in terms of exercising by teenagers has shown to help them prepare for academic excellence in a better way. It even helps them to have a better body image and improve their mental health. Frankly, these are necessary issues for those who are in their late teens.
Here these kinds of preparations are commonly neglected by teenagers that are enlisting. They feel that it is better to spend time on socializing, schoolwork, or online. What they never realize is that all it takes for them is 35 to 60 minutes each day to exercise and that too three to five times a week. All this is for preparing physically.
Now those teenagers that are active in sports would need just four to six months of the period for exercising or getting fit. In regard to kids that are on the sedentary level, they must begin the preparation just nine to twelve months before enlisting.
Being Prepared Mentally
One thing you might have to keep in mind is that preparing for national service is not just all about being physically prepared. You must be prepared mentally and this at times requires a certain change in mindset.
Most experts feel that physical and mental preparation is necessary for successful national service. If a person can understand the challenges, then they can anticipate and prepare for it.
Well, it would be simple if one is aware of the pitfalls and get prepared for that. This will help in avoiding all kinds of crises and personal conflicts. At times, teenagers would have to survive socially and learn the art of dealing with superiors. Along with that a healthy diet and fewer intakes of alcohol and fat would help in the successful military stint. Military doctors state and encourage that besides regular exercising, developing best eating habits will allow the bodies of teenagers to adapt and recover better, especially from the mental and physical stress.
Types of National Services in Singapore Teenagers Can Apply For
1) Military Service
Regarding the military training, in Singapore, there are various kinds of BMT (Basic Military Training) done by the SAF at the BMT Centre located in Pulau Tekong. This is an offshore island located on the north-east coast of Singapore.
Sometimes the training would be done at chosen battalion units that directly draft the mono-intake recruits. Here teenagers who are combat-fit NSFs having higher education end up going through nine-weeks of enhanced BMT program. In addition, the NSFs along with other educational certificates as well as mono-intake recruits will be undergoing similar kinds of a program like the standard BMT program. It contains a less Situational Test (SIT Test) that helps in assessing recruits when there are in the selection posting for command schools like the SCS (Specialist Cadet Schools) and OCS (Officer Cadet School).
An interesting aspect is that a handful of the top candidates would be transferred to the Singapore Police force for getting the faster-advanced training as Inspector of Home Team Academy which is for nine months.
2) Police Service
Most of the teenagers would be serving in the SAF as a part of their National Service, still, a number of the enlistees would be serving their NS years at the SPF (Singapore Police Force). These teenagers that are studying in the SPF will be undergoing training at the Home Team Academy. Here they would be studying the Penal Code and the various standard police protocols.
After they are trained at the Academy, they will be posted in various departments of the SPF like Logistic, SOC (Special Operations Command), Land Divisions, APD (Airport Police Division). In addition, those teenagers who are posted at the PCG (Police Coast Guard) or Police KINS would have to undergo further training.
3) Civil Defence Services
Like most of the defence services, the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) is an emergency force that provides rescue, firefighting, and ambulance services. They are one of the three major National Service posting since 1972.
Here teenagers enlisted in the SCDF must undergo 12 weeks of intense training at the BRTC (Basic Rescue Training Centre). They would be given basic rescue training (BRT), get exposed to the regimental discipline, and trained in a proper way for maintaining the best level of fitness that is necessary for all the NSFs present in Singapore.
Similar to the SAFs of the SPEC course, the chosen NSFs are sometimes posted in the CDA (Civil Defence Academy) for undergoing FFC (Firefighter Course) or the ERSC (Emergency Response Specialists Course) and that too within the first two weeks of the BRT stage. They would be passing out as Firefighters for the FFC trainees and as the Fire & Rescue Specialist for the ERS trainees.
Perspective of Teenagers In Impending Military Conscript
Of course, the perspective of teenagers and youth must be taken into consideration while they are entering for military training. Adjusting to the military service might be tough for them at the beginning and they are conferred with four major issues. These are family issues, unmet expectations, person-environment fit, and military-related attitudes.
Most importantly, these youngsters have a great issue in adjusting to military life. They have realistic and positive expectations regarding joining the military and once the reality is in front of them, most of them get disappointed.
Nowadays the youth’s perspective regarding military services is deeply influenced by various combinations of personal factors, social factors, and ideological factors.
What most teenagers never realize is that military life would make them more disciplined and gain an in-depth understanding of how to live. At a young age, they would be trained for understanding how they need to live their life and their mannerism changes, making them become a complete adult.
The best part is that the training and exercising will provide them with the required knowledge about the bad effects of smoking and drug abuse. Their disciplined life will make them have a good understanding of how to serve their country and fellow citizens.
Also, Singapore is a diverse country that has people from various other countries, these so-called second-generation citizens would feel closer to the roots of the country where they were born. It will make them understand a lot about the culture and traditions of Singapore and get them to become a first-class citizen.
Frankly, not many countries provide such kind of opportunity to second-generation citizens. And Singapore indeed has made this compulsory, so that its residents feel more connected with the government and the country’s situations. War can happen at any time, and in this way, every citizen can contribute to the war-front and show their respect and alliance to their country.
We at Ezfit run programs to prepare teenagers for BMT training. If you are a concerned parent, drop us a line to enquire further how we can help you.