NS for women a hot topic among youths at Singapore Conversation

Giving women the option to serve National Service (NS) emerged as one of the top ideas for forging a stronger national identity at an Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) session on Friday night.

As many as five who stood up to air their views on the subject supported the move in one form or another - including 16-year-old Raffles Girls' School student Heng Jia Min, who insisted she and her fellow Singaporean women were no less "willing to die for the country".

A sole dissenter, Mr Azri Zulfarhan, 26, felt that women were already making significant contributions without serving NS.

The 110 young people - representing schools and other youth groups - gathered at The Grassroots Club for a discussion on Singapore's national identity and volunteerism. The session was organised by the People's Association.

After breaking up into small groups of eight to 10 to converse at length on the two themes, participants voted for ideas that appealed to them most.

NS for women turned out to be one of the most hotly discussed question when the debate was opened to the floor, with the 'Yes' camp dominating.

The discussion was moderated by Dr Janil Puthucheary, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, and also touched on such topics as how special needs children can be better helped, and how local food culture can be promoted.