I still remember that moment 7 years ago. I sat at the window seat and stare out at the open sea. My mind wasn’t thinking about my destination or what I’ll be doing there. I was thinking about the gal I left behind. I know I will miss her. I hate to leave, but I have my duties to fulfill.
It was a very short journey, but I know I’ll be away for quite some time. Within less than 10 minutes, I could see my destination. The buildings are beautiful, but I know I should never judge a book by its cover. We alighted the boat and were greeted by a large signboard that says “Welcome to Pulua Tekong”.
That’s when I know my 2 1/2 years of National Service has just begun. Yes, today is the 7 anniversary of my enlistment to army. 7 years! Time really flies. It’s amazing that I can still remember that day so clearly. In fact, it seems like yesterday.
I was glad that I was given the chance to give back to the nation. I’m grateful for the peace and security it has given to me. I’m grateful for all the educations I’ve received. It’s time I do something for this nation in return.
I got quite a number of friends who are permanent residents but decide to give up their PR status once they reached the age to serve NS. They only think about themselves and has forgotten what the nation have given to them. Yes, nobody wants to waste their 2 1/2 years of youth. But if everyone thinks this way, would Singapore still be able enjoy the peace and stability it has now? I know some of them would say that NS is not the only way to contribute back to the nation. Yes, but if everyone decide to contribute back to the country using other ways instead of NS, then who is left to defend the country?
Sometimes, I question the government’s pro-foreign talent policies. Why are we giving them so much benefit? How much have they contributed to the nation? Why not give those benefits to our own citizen instead? I don’t mind if the foreign talent decide to stay and take up Singapore citizenship. In fact, I respect those who decide to stay in Singapore and contribute. But I hate those who just use Singapore as a stepping stone and leave after everything is over.
2 1/2 years is a very long time. I could have done a lot of things in 2 1/2 years. I’m sure everyone could find better use for this 2 1/2 years. Everyone of us put down our studies and come together to serve the nation. Some left their love ones behind. Some put their dreams on hold. Everyone sacrificed something for the nation.
But the time spend in NS aren’t wasted. It’s a little price we paid so that we and our children can continue enjoy freedom on this land. 7 years later, I still report for my reservist annually. My next reservist is coming this September.
I always said “We take some, we give some”. How many people will understand the sacrifices that every male Singaporean made?
I still remember one of the songs we sing in the army. It fully expressed the feeling of every guy when they take the boat to Tekong.
Far Far Away in the South China Sea
I left a girl with tears in her eyes
I must go where the brave man die
A soldier has to fight the front because he loves his land
A soldier has to fight even if he has to die
Coz we’re the ones who fight the front!
And we’re the ones who hold the guns!
We are mighty warriors of our land.