Resolving NS-elite sports tensions through a paradox lens

Instead of viewing sports training and national service as naturally opposed, consider how each can complement the other with benefits for both.

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew in the first round of the Hylo Open in Germany, on Nov 3, 2021. PHOTO: BADMINTON PHOTO
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For a country like Singapore with few natural resources, human capital is vital. It is reflected in its top ranking in the World Bank's 2020 Human Capital Index, which measures how well economies are investing in their people. Indeed, the importance of talent is reflected in Singapore's investments in education for children and adults, as well as in national policies on immigration and economic development.

These measures have worked out well, and we see the results not just in international test scores, but also in accomplishments of Singaporeans in fields ranging from the sciences (geography professor Brenda Yeoh), business (Secretlab co-founders Ian Ang and Alaric Choo) and international administration (International Monetary Fund chief information officer Shirin Hamid) to entertainment (singer JJ Lin) and sports (swimmer Joseph Schooling and shuttler Loh Kean Yew).

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