NS important issue

December 22, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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As a democratic party and agreeing to look into the problems of the masses, what are you going to do about national service?Many people complain about it, saying it’s a waste of time but many would not complain as our right of free speech are limited, or near none.

My take on it is that we should of course serve our country. But using an excuse like giving back to our country to justify 2 years of conscription that could impede on our youth’s progress and schooling is wrong. We already pay taxes and COE – what else do they want?One year would definitely be all right and many would flock to SDP just because of that reason.

Many will also vote for you if SDP explained the true meaning of democracy and showed Singapore what it can do for us.Although the people who say NS is an effective way of protecting the country, we could do better diplomatically, instead of picking fights with other country. One artillery battery could kill thousands of people in a split second. HDB flats would crumble.

Cruise missiles cannot be intercepted – it would take too long. Of course we have to have an army to defend the country. Using it as a deterrent would help. But killing Singapore’s youth? I am against that! ANONYMOUS

SDP: Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your letter. We agree that the matter of National Service is an important one for Singaporeans.

However, without the freedom of speech to be able to take this matter up with the government (freedom of speech includes a free press not under the thumb of the PAP, the freedom to express yourself in protests along with your fellow Nsmen, etc.) how will you register your unhappiness over the issue? At elections?

The entire system is controlled by the PAP. If you are hoping, under the present elections system where you don’t have free speech, to vote in enough opposition MPs to amend NS in Singapore, your sons and grandsons would have ORD and we would still be complaining about the matter on the Internet rather than have a serious debate in Parliament over the matter.

There are many issues that Singaporeans are unhappy about – CPF, high cost of living, foreign talent, education system, health care costs. NS is one of them. But as we said, without freedom of speech and free and fair elections, how can the people vote in more opposition MPs to pressure the PAP to address your concerns? Wanting to address these issues without paying attention to your political freedoms is like wanting to eat rice without having the means to cook it.

Don’t knock political freedoms. They are your best – and only – weapon to address the problems that you face under a dictatorial system. This is why the Singapore Democrats say: Let us be intelligent in going about these matters and take of the first things first.