Reading this letter by Keith Wee perked up my morning. I am not the only who think this way:

There is a need to review the annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) system.

Currently, operationally ready national servicemen who fail the IPPT are compelled to attend 20 remedial training (RT) sessions of four hours each. These are held at 6pm on weekdays or 4pm on weekends and must be completed within three months.

Such a system is untenable in current societal conditions and incurs costs that are higher than the benefits.

Nowadays, people typically leave the workplace after 6pm. To attend RT, a person would have to leave the office earlier, incurring huge manpower costs.

Furthermore, if a person did three RT sessions a week, he would leave for home only at 10pm quite often over that period. Much precious time that can be spent with loved ones or enriching oneself is taken away.

Singaporean men already sacrifice a minimum of two years to serve the nation. While I agree with the need to serve the nation, where does the sacrifice end?

After factoring in mandatory in-camp training duties, RT only further removes the goodwill one might have for the nation.

So, why not just pass the IPPT in the first place, one might argue?

The IPPT comprises six stations that must be cleared. I have friends who can run full marathons but are unable to jump 1.6m or do six chin-ups. Does this mean they are unfit?

The current standards for passing IPPT are certainly due for a review.

Keith Wee
Published on 9 Sep, 2013
The Straits Times Forum

I can predict MINDEF’s standard reply – that they have a review committee in place; that IPPT is fair and they are committed to help NSmen train and improve, etc.

What MINDEF fail to acknowledge is the high social cost and opportunity cost taken away from NSmen who fail IPPT. Is this ‘punishment’ excessive?

Not everyone is blessed with athletic genes from birth.  I too hope the government would seriously reconsider the high cost of IPPT to the individual, his family, the workforce and the country as a whole.

Please do not brush us off with “JUST PASS YOUR IPPT”.

It is because some of us really can’t.