marcus ng
Picture taken from Straits Times.com

Marcus Ng Yi Loong, 21, is going to the detention barracks (DB) for insubordination. Many young men get sentenced to go DB all the time, but why is Marcus getting so much media attention – including a front page headline on evening tabloid, The New Paper?

Marcus is a well-known child actor.

He is better known for playing the role of Aloysius, Phua Chu Beng’s son in the hit Channel 5 sitcom, Phua Chu Kang.

As reported in Straits Times:

FORMER teen actor Marcus Ng Yi Loong, 21, began his one-week jail term on Tuesday after he failed in his appeal to get his sentence for insubordination quashed.

The High Court on Tuesday upheld the jail sentence meted out by a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) court martial in July last year. He was also reprimanded by a Military Court of Appeal for being rude to his superior.

This is the second time he has been hauled up since he started his military service in September 2006.

Ng, who holds the rank of Private, is perhaps best-known as the rebellious teen in the TV sitcom Phua Chu Kang.

Ng’s troubles in the SAF began in October 2006 when his superiors at the SAF Medical Training Institute slapped him with four charges for offences including not obeying orders.

In February last year, while he was being investigated by the SAF legal process, Ng chased and argued aggressively with a 50-year-old woman Warrant Officer in his unit’s Operations Room.

A Master Warrant Officer, a trained Commando, saw the altercation and intervened.

Ng rudely shrugged off the Master Warrant Officer’s hand when he tried to calm the Private.

For this, Ng faced two more charges: one for insubordinate behaviour after the Operations Room argument, and another for improper conduct.

Last July, an SAF court martial found him guilty of these charges and sentenced him to seven days jail at the SAF Detention Barracks for each charge.

Unhappy with the sentence, Ng lodged a Notice of Appeal – a legal right for all SAF serviceman to seek redress – and was granted a hearing by a five-person panel chaired by Justice Choo Han Teck.

In the meantime, Ng was fined $500 for two of the earlier charges and acquitted on the other charges.

On Tuesday, Ng’s defence lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong from Drew & Napier, said a jail term was ‘the harshest punishment I’ve ever seen for this sort of offence” and urged the panel to quash the convictions or impose a fine instead.

But Mr Luke Tan, head of Military Law at the Ministry of Defence, argued: ‘This is akin to a case where a person is on bail. Has he learnt anything from it? No, he goes one up and goes after two other officers.’

‘It would be inappropriate to give a little slap on the risk by imposing a fine as that would be of little consequence to him.”

Some 25 people, including Ng’s mother, Madam Florence Tan, 58, were in court when the panel reached a unanimous decision to uphold the first charge and reduce the second sentence to a reprimand.

He appeared teary-eyed when led away to begin his sentence.

Sigh… after reading the report, I reckon Marcus would not have gotten all these unwanted media and public attention if he did not choose to engage a lawyer and contest his charges. Wrong move dude. You can never win the SAF.

Actually, all Singaporean men have to go through NS, whether they like it or not. Those who read my blog regularly should know how much I hate NS and reservist – yet I still guai guai fulfill my obligation.

True, there are some very unreasonable superiors in the army whom all of us would like to scream in their faces or throw resignation letters at – this is entirely appropriate if you were in the work force and all that is at stake is your own rice bowl and personal reputation. You have a choice.

For the army to function properly, choice is a myth. Orders given, just follow. The Thinking Soldier aspiration is only for those in the upper ranks and probably the regulars who have to fight for their career advancement. For NSFs and reservists, just follow law lor. Not like we are going to be stuck there forever. It’s not hard actually – just switch yourself into a robot mode when you are the army. Whatever orders come, just follow. Easy.

忍得一时之气,免得百日之灾

Take care Aloy, it’s just one week in DB. Time will fly pass very quickly.

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