Widen recruitment net for SAF

It is highly commendable that the Ministry of Defence has introduced the SAF referral bonus scheme ("SAF's referral bonus is a hit"; Oct 22).

Perhaps this scheme could also be extended to recruitment by operationally ready national servicemen officers, senior non-commissioned officers, and retired regulars.

By casting the net wider, a better selection can be carefully scrutinised, especially when the SAF requires professionals with high-tech experience and backgrounds useful in our modern-day armed forces.

Madam Goh Mei Lan trading her sales job for a military career is an encouraging sign that women can also be good soldiers, sailors and pilots ("Mum trades sales job for military career"; Oct 22).

It is right that they should undergo basic military training but, dependent on their physical and mental fitness, it should not be implied that they could be deployed as foot soldiers to potential combat zones.

There are physical differences between Asian and Western women. There are also connotations related to women sent to battle, including the natural tendency for male soldiers to focus on protecting their female comrades when in combat, and the serious problems related to women when captured by enemy forces.

The progress of the SAF Volunteer Corps should continue to be highlighted and its recruitment efforts extensively promoted. These volunteers, like those in the past, are usually highly motivated and dedicated to their units, and willingly serve the nation.

This was proven during World War II, when the British Singapore Volunteer Corps, comprising Eurasian, Malay and Chinese troops, defended Singapore against the Japanese invading force.

Also, during Konfrontasi (1963-1966), officers and other men of the Naval Volunteer Reserve (Singapore Division) served on board ships patrolling the Singapore and Malacca straits, and volunteer women, billed as Swans, or Singapore Women's Auxiliary Naval Service, manned coastal radar stations scanning the waterways for infiltrators ("Pioneer navy unit marks 80th anniversary"; April 29, 2014).

We still need this kind of volunteers who serve with pride and distinction. Creative promotional recruitment could be considered so as to continually attract volunteers from both the public and private sectors.

Adrian Villanueva