The most optimal age for men to serve national service is 18, before they go to university and fulfil obligations in the real world.
A dilemma arises when, at that age, individuals are presented with opportunities to embark on promising careers. These may not necessarily knock on their doors two years after they have fulfilled their obligations in the army.
To solve this dilemma, all young men should be allowed to serve NS up to the age of 30. Football player Ben Davis' situation could have been avoided if the mandatory cut-off age for sportsmen to return to serve NS was set at 30 (No NS deferment for Davis: Mindef; July 16).
In this case, both parties are at the losing end. Ben renouncing his citizenship could set a precedent for other Singaporeans to follow suit, putting national interest and national security at stake in the long run. Ben would also be breaking the rules if he fails to return to serve NS.
Ian Poon, 14
Secondary 2 student