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
CALLING YOUNG READERS: If you are 21 or below and want to air your opinion on any report or letter in The Straits Times, e-mail your letter to email@example.com, with the header ''Voices of Youth''. Do include your age, school level and contact details, and the headline of the report/letter you refer to.