National service the duty of every Singaporean son

It is heartbreaking to read about Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng's son being sentenced to jail for evasion of national service, especially as we celebrate 50 years of NS this year (Top lawyer's 2nd son jailed for NS evasion; Oct 12).

In February, Mr Tan's older son was jailed for a similar offence.

It is not the duration of the sentence that troubled me but rather the decision of the family to choose to migrate.

It bothers me, even if they feel they have good reasons for wanting to move, such as a medical condition or an inability to cope with the Singapore education system's policy of studying a compulsory mother tongue language, as reported in court.

Every family in Singapore enjoys the benefits of security and sovereignty. And only with these, can we progress to pursue our aspirations and dreams.

I cannot imagine a Singapore where every father or mother chooses to migrate to another country because sons have challenges.

Who then would remain behind to protect the family and friends left in Singapore?

It was not easy for Singapore to arrive at where it is today. But for this to continue, every Singaporean son has to step up and shoulder the duties that his father has passed to him.

Desmond Teo Mingjie

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2017, with the headline 'National service the duty of every Singaporean son'. Print Edition | Subscribe