There is no running away from the fact that national service is a physically demanding period in any young enlistee's life. But a new initiative announced by Safra and the Defence Ministry last week, which should be applauded, aims to make the process that much less physically taxing. And it would be beneficial for national service pre-enlistees - those who have registered but have yet to enlist - to make use of the opportunity being opened up to them.
Under the initiative, eligible pre-enlistees will, from next month, be given free access to facilities in six Safra gyms in Jurong, Mount Faber, Punggol, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun during off-peak hours once their applications are successful. Getting fit for the two-year national service stint means that recruits, when enlisted, are in better shape and are far better prepared mentally for the rigours and varied demands of basic training. It will go a long way to reduce worries about injuries from strenuous activity and allow recruits and their instructors to focus on the tasks at hand. Training ahead of enlistment with friends from the cohort who will start their stints at the same time can also build and strengthen camaraderie - an important element in the course of national service duties.