Reduce food wastage at army camps

Soldiers at a cookhouse in Kranji Camp III.
Soldiers at a cookhouse in Kranji Camp III.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

I witnessed a shocking sight at an army cookhouse recently as my company was a contractor for one of the camps.

The cookhouse vendors were pouring huge quantities of food away, and these included meat products, rice and soups. I was aghast at the level of wastage and from a chat I had with one of the workers, she told me this was a daily occurrence.

She informed me that it was difficult for them to estimate how much food to cook as they have to account for all the staff that worked there, but many of the staff frequently decide to head to the canteen for lunch instead.

Full-time staff had a choice of either having their lunch at the canteen or the cookhouse, but generally, the full-time national servicemen (NSF) do not.

I can only wonder why that is the case. If the food is unsatisfactory for the staff such that they prefer the canteen food, is it good enough for the soldiers?

The Singapore Armed Forces should focus its attention on improving the quality and variety of the cookhouse food and not channel resources into having both a canteen and a cookhouse.

This way, staff and soldiers will together consume their meals at the cookhouse, preventing food wastage, and this will build a sense of camaraderie within the camps.

As of now, the NSFs are forced to have their meals at the cookhouse while the staff have the luxury of choice. We should treat our soldiers as equals to the staff, not inferiors, especially as they are serving the nation.

Luna Raelyn Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'Reduce food wastage at army camps'. Print Edition | Subscribe