Why I Strongly Believe in National Service Even Though I Hate it

Recruit! You see that tree over there? Go touch it and come back!”. “ Recruit, knock it down! I can’t hear you! Samura!”. “All of you stand by bed in 5!”. “Recruit, what is this string doing hanging from your Uniform? Go report to CSM, sign an extra duty, you are not booking out this weekend!”

I hated my BMTC. Only a sadistic bastard would have loved such treatment. I used to dread taking that bumboat back to Pulau Tekong. My Platoon Sergeant was a piece of work. That man had watched too many war movies. Full Metal Jacket his favourite. He spewed out every line in that film at some point during my BMTC. But those words were expressed towards me instead of an actor and the fear was not contained in a TV set, it was real.

During that time, I remember speaking to some closest friend about my BMTC experience. All of us went to different companies in Tekong. Our experiences were very different. We would meet during the weekend, and these guys were full of smiles, but I was not. My platoon sergeant made my BMTC experience miserable. He was part of the reason why I hated my NS.

The Two-Tear Lie

Time commitment is another reason why I hate NS.

NS is longer than two years. Taking into consideration all the IPPT session, and if I failed 20 RT sessions, plus the yearly In-Camp Training (ICT) that could last from anywhere between 1 to 3 weeks at a time. I sacrifice a lot of time.

For example, I hate how I have to play catch up with all the work that I’ve missed while during my ICT. Some NS men love going for ICT. Many of them have told me that it’s like having a free vacation. They take time off from work to relax. For them, the camp is like a free resort. For me, however, I don’t like it when the holiday resort I’m staying at is gated with a fence and barbed wire. It’s just me.


Although I hate many aspects of national service, I accept it and believe strongly in it. In case you didn’t know, you can hate something and still believe in it. One just needs to adopt a macro outlook.

For example, some people hate taking the train to work every morning at 8 AM from Monday to Friday. They still do because they believe that this job will get them that BMW, condo, or whatever they want.

Another example: Some men hate the amount of work and dedication that goes into having a six pack, like eating clean food, not having cheat meals, having to force down six meals a day, not missing a gym session, not being able to enjoy alcohol on the weekends, etc. By making these hard sacrifices (even though they hate it), their body will eventually shed the excess fat to reveal their ripped abs. Depending on one’s belief system, some might believe that their six pack might help them attract girls, or boys, more easily at the beach. Which I can most definitely say is true a majority of the time, but I will talk about that I another post.

Why I Believe in Serving NS

There are plenty of good and valid reasons for serving NS. Here are a few:

Mental training

Even though my BMTC Platoon Sergeant was a ruthless bastard; he did turn me into a better person. I lacked discipline before NS, I was cocky, I had anger issues, I hated responsibilities, I hated pain, I hated sacrifices, I had no patient, the list goes on. That changed after BMTC. It is pretty incredible what a few month of brainwashing can do to a young man.

I liked how NS strengthened me mentally. This mental training has also spread across all facets of my life, professionally and personally. Mental training is necessary; it’s a tough world out there.


Many men feel that NS is a waste of time. You sacrifice time, yes, but you do not waste it. It may seem like you are wasting your time but it is only because you have not yet applied what you have learned in a real-world situation.

Imagine training to be a cop for two years. As soon as you complete your two-year training, you get posted to a 9 to 5 desk job, not having the opportunity to apply your training, like hunting down for that murderer, rapist or drug dealer.

If I were in that cop shoes, I would question my need for training in the first place. Why waste all that time training me to be a cop when all I do is send emails all day?

Another analogy may be this: Training to be a professional MMA cage fighter but never getting in a real cage fight.

Nevertheless, it is important for the MMA fighter and cop to be prepared. Because when shi*t goes down, and it’s time to perform, they better bring their ‘A game’; it can mean life of death.

This is the reason as to why I go for ICTs; preperation. Like I said before, I hate it because of the time I have to commit and sacrifice, but I always remind myself to look at the bigger picture. It is important for me to hone my skills and be prepared, especially in current times, where terrorism is such a huge threat.

Terrorism & Unpredictable Neighbours

On 17 August 2016, Abu Bakar Bashir was given a reduced sentence in Indonesia.

Who is Abu Barak Bashir?

He is a spiritual leader of the terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah. That group was responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002 that killed 202 people. In addition, Abu Bakar Bashir has also been linked to funding ISIS.

The reason behind Abu Bakar prison sentence reduction: To mark Indonesia’s Independence Day. So, Indonesia, our neighbor, celebrates their Indepence day by reducing incarceration of terrorist? Amazing.

In 2005, there was another terrorist attack in Bali, which left 20 dead and over 100 injured. The bomb maker that helped orchestrate the terror attacks served ONLY a nine-year prison sentence.

And to think that only two weeks ago Indonesian authorities said that they were investigation a new terror plot on Bali when police found high impact explosives during a raid on one of the suspected terrorist house.

Hey Indonesia, how about stricter laws or longer sentencing for terrorists? You pass laws to execute drug dealers but not terrorist? Unbelievable!

Then, of course, there was the whole incident about the terrorist plot to hit Marina Bay. Judging from Indonesia experience in sentencing terrorist, I would like to know how the six terror suspects that were arrested are going to be dealt with. I hope Indonesia will not just give them a couple of years behind bars then let them off to plan their next terror attack on Singapore. But then again, looking back at their history in dealing with terrorist, this might probably be the case.

That last reason (terrorism and unpredictable neighbours) is why I wholeheartedly believe in serving NS and giving my time for reservist training. I don’t blame my government for implementing NS at all. I blame the evil that surrounds us as act as a potential threat to this land. I hate them more, WAY MORE; then I hate sacrificing my time to serve National Service. And when that time comes for me to perform my duties, I know I’ll be prepared.



I am a Singaporean blogs for leisure at iamasingaporean.com.

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