My letter to The New Paper (TNP) on the above matter was published on Monday 13th May 013.
The Government is exploring ways to sustain commitment from the younger generation of national servicemen. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who chairs the Committee to Strengthen National Service, has invited views and suggestions from the public, and I am responding to that call.
Many of our youngsters may be worried about securing jobs after completing NS, especially with more foreigners landing on our shores.
During my NS days, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) had a Job Placement Centre to help NSmen who had performed well to find jobs. I benefited from this scheme and so did many of my NS colleagues.
MINDEF should be helping the younger generation of today in the same way.
If these servicemen know that the Government takes care of them, they in turn, will take care of the country.
And once NSmen have started working, their commanders should be able to send a performance assessment to their employers. This could become a factor in their staff appraisals and play a part in their career path, encouraging NSmen to give their full commitment and loyalty to the state.
And once they reach a more advance stage NSmen who took their training seriously could be asked to serve as mentors to younger ones. They could be invited to motivate, inspire and give encouragement to young trainees through talks and workshops. A token sum can be paid to these mentors in recognition of their time and effort.
The rising cost of living coupled with high medical fees is a concern of many older Singaporeans. So perhaps, higher subsidies can be given to all NSmen once they hit 50.
More attractive cash incentives can also be given to our silver-haired NSmen during periods when the economy is doing well.
Older Singaporeans have made significant contributions to the country’s stability and security. They need to be appreciated and valued. Seeing how this is done will, in my view, motivate younger servicemen to perform well.
These suggested rewards can also be extended to the spouses of NSmen for the many sacrifices the wives make when their husbands are away on training. Such a scheme may even encourage marriage and procreation
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO