Voices Of Youth

Be open-minded over NS deferment

I am very disappointed with the Ministry of Defence's rejection of the application for national service (NS) deferment from Ben Davis, a Singaporean who has been signed on by an English Premier League club - the first such opportunity offered to a Singaporean (No NS deferment for Davis: Mindef; July 16).

In 1998, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong set a target for Singapore to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Twenty years on, Singapore is ranked a lowly 169th, far from the lowest-ranked team in this year's World Cup, Russia, which is at No. 70. Why is this so?

The popular belief is that parents want children to focus solely on their studies.

Ben Davis is yet another missed opportunity, alongside other local sports gems of the past, and even some in the music field, who have had to make the difficult and cruel choice at a young age between national interest and lifelong passion.

Sportsmen can be considered past their prime after NS, and may miss the boat in being selected for age-specific European clubs.

Ironically, Singapore's marketing tagline is "Passion Made Possible".

I hope the Government can be more open-minded and allow more talents to develop their potential and be given every opportunity to do our nation proud in different fields.

Justin Chua Jun Jie, 13

Secondary 2 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2018, with the headline 'Be open-minded over NS deferment'. Print Edition | Subscribe