Singapore is one of the few countries in the world to implement mandatory military service. After 50 years of implementation, military service has become integral to the lives of Singaporeans.
Physical Training and Core Values Strengthening
Singapore’s High Court stressed that the “National Service is about one’s duty to the country, and about placing the nation’s interests above one’s own.”
All volunteers undergo basic military training (BMT) which includes swimming, weapons handling, strength training and battle inoculation. They receive additional skills training depending on the chosen vocation (Armed Forces, Civil Defense Force or Police Force).
Instilling these values and training in NS makes Singaporeans better informed, capable and aware of the roles individuals play in nation building.
NSFs receive a monthly allowance (starting at $560) based on rank. Those in combat vocations also receive additional compensation. In addition, NSFs enjoy free room and board, enabling them to save after their two-year service.
NSFs embark on peacekeeping missions, crime prevention and emergency response, to name a few. They may witness difficult situations, requiring some to seek medical help after their service. Others learn to re-adjust to life outside the barracks. But with an unwavering support system and professional help, these citizens can rejoin civilian life.
Singaporeans who grew up and lived abroad deal with significant life changes before and after conscription. Some had to give up education, careers and being with family to join NS. Towards the end, some are encouraged to stay and pursue a career in the country.
Each volunteer comes out with a different experience; even those who belong to the same platoon can process shared encounters differently. How their lives will change afterwards is a choice that is hopefully rooted in the values they learned in NS.