SAF personnel not allowed to sit in crowded MRT train while in uniform? - Alvinology

SAF personnel not allowed to sit in crowded MRT train while in uniform?


Innocent question? No I do not think this is funny.
Innocent question? No I do not think this is funny.

My blood boils when I read this.

Some may view this as just a dumb, but innocent question; I think it mirrors how NSFs and NSmen tend to be viewed in Singapore.

It is bad enough that Singaporean men are forced to serve two years of full-time “slavery” (NSF) and at least ten years of part-time “slavery” (NSmen) on slave wages (just $200+ a month during my time).

It saddens me further that not only are we not being appreciated by our fellow Singaporeans, some like this lady here perceives us to be lesser beings, singled out for discrimination.

I am sick of seeing men in uniform being STOMPed and criticised for the alleged “offences” of sitting down in buses, MRT trains, or even eating their meals while in uniform.

SAF personnel are not human beings is it? Must we forever be the ones making sacrifices for everything?

MINDEF like to ask NS personnel – “What would you defend?”

Singaporeans who discriminate against us?

So far, MINDEF’s campaigns always seems to be directed at Singaporean men, brainwashing us on the need to step forward and serve the nation.

What about Singaporeans at large?

Should they not learn to appreciate the contributions of our NSF and NSmen?

In Taiwan, the 阿兵哥 (conscripted soldiers) are treated with respect by the Taiwanese public and are even accorded unsolicited discounts at shops and food stalls at times. In US, the Marines are respected and regarded as national heroes.

In Singapore, I recall instances of being called “Chao Recruit“; given the dirty look when visiting pubs and clubs with my fellow NSFs; being branded as “desperados” by local girls among many other crappy treatments.

Rest assured that when I take public transport, I WILL NOT GIVE UP MY SEAT TO ANOTHER ABLED-BODIED PERSON. In fact, I will make sure I snatch the seat from you unless you are an elderly, pregnant or sick.


  1. Well said, Alvin.

    I felt that why this “small eye” lady is so petty to even complain about small matters like this on Stomp?
    Just because she don’t get to seat??

    Seriously, she needs a life.

  2. Hey Alvin,

    I totally agree with you. We NSFs or NS Men are not appreciated for our efforts to defend the country, unlike in Taiwan, where the locals like what you said, accord unsolicited discounts at shops and food stalls. Sometimes, I feel that we are defending our nation in vain because the locals just would not appreciate it and take security and peace for granted.

  3. Well said alvin! Many people seem to have the assumption of our soldiers being either smelly/too ‘fit’ to need a seat/distasteful. Such misconceptions need to be corrected. After all, these men are giving up 2 prime years and their time for the next 10 or so years to serve. Moreover the pay isn’t really generous. Isn’t it bad enough?

  4. Hi Alvin, this was an interesting read. I agree that Singapore’s military personnel are definitely not treated with the respect they deserve and that posting stuff like this on STOMP is petty, disrespectful, and alarmingly all too common these days. That being said though, being held to a higher standard is something that comes with the uniform–whether you like it or not–and giving up your seat to a lady (able-bodied or not) is the gentlemanly thing to do, IMHO (this goes for all guys, whether wearing a uniform or not). But yeah, it still doesn’t give people the right to embarrass and humiliate the men who are serving their country.

  5. NS men should be able to sit just like any other passangers but they should also like any decent soul give up their seats to seniors and those who are in need. Alvin you neede to get a life.
    Did not your parents teach you about manners ? All that eductaion and what has it done for you ?
    Castiing pearls before swine. You need to grow up. You will get old one day too you know.

  6. It is my honor to serve the land of my birth, through National Service. This I did two decades ago. If I were young and strong I would not hesitate to stand to give the seat to some one else.
    What I ask in return is that the government have a thought for Singaporeans when they put in policies – not about the kuching kurak things of whether I get discounts or whether I get to sit down or not. Rather, the bigger picture needs to be looked at – whether we are being given opportunities to grow, to upgrade, so that we can compete with foreigners.

  7. Alvin, I am with you, that small lil bitch ain’t know what she’s talking about…Seriously, we gave up 2 years of our youth so that these small lil bitches can go to school early and get ahead of us in their career…Whats up man? We don’t deserve a lil time off to snooze or take a lil nap in the train after those long hours of brainless training or physical tormenting within the work week? I too, will never give up my bloody seat to an able-bodied female lest she is pregnant, elderly or disabled. Screw you young punks!

  8. @Francis who either cannot read or do not understand the meaning of the word “unless”:

    This is what I wrote: “Rest assured that when I take public transport, I WILL NOT GIVE UP MY SEAT TO ANOTHER ABLED-BODIED PERSON. In fact, I will make sure I snatch the seat from you unless you are an elderly, pregnant or sick.”

    Blog readers should be able to comment just like any other web users but they should also learn to read things in full and properly before typing a reply that makes them look stupid. Francis you neede (sic) to get a life.
    Did not your parents teach you about manners ? All that eductaion and what has it done for you ?
    Castiing pearls before swine. You need to grow up. You will one day write a blog too (maybe) you know.

  9. All NSmen who have completed their NS deserved to be given priority for public housing without any rubbish precondintions. This is what the country owes them for their SACRIFICE to the nation.

  10. I am a girl, but I feel that there’s nothing wrong with NSF or NSmen occupying seats on public transports. Come on, they are also fellow humans and what more, they are also the ones defending our nation. At the end of the day, is it too much to just sit down on the train/bus while on the way home? Unless there are elderly/pregnant women/disabled in sight, then it’s wrong for not just the uniformed men, but anybody else as well, to be hogging the seats.

  11. I agree with Alvinology. Thanks for the interesting read. And also for echoing what many current and former NSF personnel have felt. I think a lot of people, mostly the people who haven’t been through national service, simply do not understand the sacrifice made for the defense of the country. Well said. And STOMP is nothing but a cess pool of presumptuous people trying to push their narrow-minded views on others.

  12. EDMW is a low taste forum… What do you expect from brats? Besides, $200… who do you think NSmen really are?
    Conscription is law, not an honor! Even those fuckers during NS can tekan anyone, what do you really expect? Unless… ahem… your daddy Tony Tan maybe be a SAF scientist… LOL~

  13. Sorry but Am i the only one who notice that the SAF personnel in the picture is not an NSF/NSmen rather, he is a regular. And they are freaking overpaid to do shit nothing. But that is besides the point, they pay full fare so they have every right to have a seat in the packed trains.

  14. In my opinion, Stephanie is half right because the guy in the picture appears to be playing his PSP. It is only right that he be the gentleman and give up his seat to another who deserves it more than him. He should be allowed the seat if he is tired after duty, injured, or really sleepy.

    Being a uniformed personnel means one should constantly be aware of his/her image. It is a responsibility that comes with the uniform. If you do not understand this concept, then it simply speaks of your poor sense of duty to the organisation. A person with a strong sense of duty to the organisation will ensure that the image of the organisation is upheld, especially in public spaces. One of the ways in which our army serves as a deterrence, is by upholding this image of strength and duty. It is an image that will also give citizens confidence in the organisation’s abilities. I am an NSF and I am not even a commissioned officer, yet I ensure that I do not take up a seat when others around me need it, sometimes even after serving out 24 hours of guard duty. I will sit when there are seats available and stand when others are finding a seat. The very fact that I am still serving the Army means that I must be more resilient than others who are not or no longer serving. I may not be loyal or proud of Singapore but I understand a simple matter of responsibilities and obligations; you are part of the Armed Forces, your duty is to place the welfare of your countrymen above yours.

    There are those who claim that we are more deserving of the seats because we sacrifice precious time for the country. This in my opinion speaks badly of them. You expect members of the public to treat you with more respect, yet you do nothing about the way you behave or work on your attitude and character. Let me further elucidate my point. Just because you went through “hell” does not mean other people are required to sympathize with your hardships. You simply have yet to come to terms with your responsibilities. Now you may argue that these responsibilities were FORCED upon you. You are right. I feel really lousy when I think of that. But if you take a look at what your options are, you will realise that all you got to do is to suck it up and deal with it. Serving NS is not entirely a bad thing. There are things to be gained and learned if you know how to find it. It ironically gives you time to reflect and ponder about your position in the scheme of events.

    The problem with this matter is that appreciation is not being showed from both sides – members of the public and servicemen. If we the servicemen have done all we can to ensure that others benefit from our existence then all we have to do is to wait for this kindness to be reciprocated by members of the public. Even when this kindness does not arrive, it is only right to continue putting in an effort, not in the hopes that people will treat us better, but because we know that such an effort will develop us to become individuals with strong character – a foundation that will give us an easier time in the future.

    I think this culture of self-importance and apathy is Singapore’s undoing.

    1. we didnt choose to represent the saf,and we cetainly didnt choose to book out in army uniform,it was all forced upon us.if women were subjected to this what would they say?we are expected to uphold all of these without proper renumeration,and seeing that all women care about is money,will they really uphold your standards if they are subjected to it?why must men always be the ones to be taken advantage of?

  15. The guy in the picture encik lei, he also lau ah peh ma, he deserves the seat haha. Some more he so good take middle seat never take reserved seat, really with his life hor

  16. GOOD !!! they should make women serve ns also !!
    So then they can understand the hardship all singaporean males go through . Defend your nation ? Defend this kind of ppl ? Dumb ah lian !

  17. Well personally, every time I see NS servicemen standing on the train or buses with their oversized backpacks, I feel really sorry for them. Even when there’s lots of seats on the trains or buses, they never sit down, probably due to the fact that they might get STOMPed. I think it’s alright to sit down, especially since they have so much to carry 🙁 and they have to serve for the nation. I’m actually a school girl and I know how it feels when my bag is so heavy, and I can’t get to sit. We youngsters are always expected to stand in public transport because we are thought to be able-bodied young people and it won’t hurt to stand up. But our bags may be reaaaally heavy, sometimes weighing up to 7kg… and we also have CCAs sometimes after 7 hours of school. It really wears us out and I totally feel for you guys. I hope people will treat you all respectfully and that they’ll soon appreciate what you people do for our country. Jiayou! 😀

  18. Very well said. I’ve randomly came across this article, but yes, the ever-lasting “complaining” and “STOMP”-ing about NSMen I think about 10 years of IPPT in Bedok Camp Fire. I’ve not served Singapore, but I see guys running there whenever I cycle down PCN. And for just random banter about NSMen in a bus or in MRT, – well those people are shy and introvertial to the extent that they can only banter privately in their Facebook pages and via STOMP, they have no common sense to express themselves and as to swap the bag under the seat or free up a seat for a tired auntie etc.
    Very good article, – I’m very happy to see your opinion standing out.

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