Raymond's letter on the above idea is published in the New Paper today, Wednesday 30th June 2010, page 16.
I have been following the exchange of views about women doing national service.
It is troubling to read reports of our teens getting in trouble with the law, the elderly being abused, the increase in divorce cases and families falling apart as they try to cope with the pressures of our fast-paced society.
Singapore is also seeing one of the fastest ageing populations in the world and measures have to be put in place so that our old folks can have a better quality of life in their twilight years.
Instead of our girls doing military service as part of national service, I would suggest that once they turn 18, they be enlisted for social service for one year, with three months of basic training – running alongside the national service scheme for our males, but modified where applicable.
Our hospitals and nursing homes need more staff to tackle the growing needs of the sick. Our elderly need a range of home-help services that could include meal delivery, cleaning services and befrienders.
People with mental illness are often isolated and left to fend for themselves. The volunteers at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) have been bringing joy and comfort to long-staying patients who are often isolated and lonely.
I am sure IMH could well do with more resources, given that with more public education, more people are coming forward for treatment.
Performing community service not only instills discipline, but can help our girls to feel for the less fortunate.
Once this sense of caring for another human being is ingrained in our young trained females, they will be able, at a later stage, to pass on such virtues to their own families, colleagues and friends.
Ultimately if you have love in your heart, procreation can come naturally.
If our young female trainees get a feel of community work, they might also want to consider a career in the places that the are attached to.
If we build a nation of citizens who know how to care for one another, wouldn't Singapore be the best home to live in?
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO