In a news report today, Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the Defence Ministry is considering giving more recognition to NSmen by giving us a bigger stake in the country, such as in the areas of housing, healthcare and education.

Ask any Singaporean men and they will tell you this is long overdue.

Two years of full-time NS and over 10 years of “part-time” NS (reservist) is a long time to keep sacrificing, especially in a country where Singapore-born males who have to serve NS are a minority compared to our female and foreign-born counterparts who do not have to serve.

Singapore’s women advocacy group, AWARE, disagrees. 

Pic via AWARE's facebook page

Pic via AWARE’s facebook page

This is what they posted on their Facebook page, in respond to the Defence Minister’s comments:

“Every person deserves access to housing, education and healthcare, because these are basic requirements for human sustenance and social participation. AWARE disagrees strongly with any link between support for fundamental needs and an individual’s status as an NSman, especially when the military may not be suitable for many people, regardless of their gender. AWARE has long maintained that military service should not be held up as the single gold standard of citizen belonging – an approach which this proposal threatens to intensify, creating different tiers of people with different social entitlements and worth.”


My good friend Siti is given a cake by our neighbour because she helped to clear the trash for him for two years. Siti do not like clearing the trash, but she did so out of a sense of duty. The cake is to reward her for her work. I did not do any work, but I went around telling the whole neighbourhood that Siti do not deserve the cake. It should be given to everyone, including me (but of course, I don’t really want to clear my neighbour’s trash, I just want the cake).

Fair? Well, this is what AWARE appears to be saying.

A case of sour grapes.

Should I oppose the Pioneer Generation Package because I am not in the age bracket to receive it?

Before opposing this move to give better recognition to NSmen for our contributions, AWARE should call for the government to allow women to serve NS first in the name of gender equality. After that then we talk about the cake.

Why don’t AWARE do a poll and see how many women and foreigners are willing to serve NS and reservist in return for all the “wonderful benefits” Singaporean men are getting out of it?