Teach importance of NS from a young age

I read with concern that a Singaporean man had evaded national service (NS) ("28-year-old jailed 16 weeks for evading NS"; Feb 3).

This is not the first case of NS evasion here.

Only last year, a man was jailed for 11/2 years for a similar offence.

NS was set up when Singapore was starting out as a nation.

It has not only been important for national defence, but has also instilled discipline and values among the young, as well as brought people from all walks of life together.

Children could be educated more about the importance of NS from a young age.

Doing this will ingrain in them the importance of serving the army, so that by the time they are in their late teens, they will not attempt to avoid their responsibilities.

More could also be done to reward Singaporean men who are serving NS.

For example, NSmen can be given more recognition, other than on days like SAF Day or Total Defence Day.

This will allow them to feel a greater sense of importance as they sacrifice their time training to defend Singapore.

The punishment for NS evaders can also be heavier, in order to prevent others from following suit.

If the consequences of such irresponsible behaviour are not tough, they will not serve as a good deterrence to potential offenders.

Toh En Qi, 16,
Secondary 4 student

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline 'Teach importance of NS from a young age'. Print Edition | Subscribe