Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An open letter to Dr Ng Eng Hen- Singapore’s Defence Minister: Give adequate recognition to women who perform NS and to citizens who come up with good suggestions/ideas

There has been much discussion in the media and on the internet as to whether women should perform National Service (NS) for our country.  Some feel that NS should be restricted to male Singaporeans while others feel that foreigners who take up permanent residents must be made to do NS to show their commitment to Singapore.

We can either make it compulsory for girls who turn 18 to be conscripted or give them to the option to volunteer their service to the nation in other forms, such as in social service.

Women can perform NS for the country in non-military areas as such in hospitals and nursing homes – an idea which I mooted to the press way back in June 2010.

(See my proposal to the press on 30th June 2010)

But to encourage and motivate and inspire women to undertake national service in whatever form, the Government needs to provide incentives that records their appreciation and recognition to those who take up the challenge.

One way to do this is to offer jobs to women who have performed well in their NS obligations.  During my NS days, MINDEF had a Job Placement Centre (JPC) that assisted NS men to find suitable jobs and every recruit was motivated to give their best performance. I benefitted from JPC’s assistance and went on to have an illustrious career in broadcasting that spanned 31 years.

The same principle could be applied to women who serve in the social sector.  Fresh out from school or university, these young energetic women who serve in hospitals, nursing homes or any government agency that requires more manpower, these women can be offered career paths in the organisations where they undertook their NS obligations.
Singapore is facing an acute shortage of doctors and nurses and it would be an added incentive if scholarships are offered to those who perform their NS duties with dedication, commitment and a sense of caring for our citizens.  It is a definite win-win situation.

Our teachers and principals are under a lot of stress and it would help if they  receive more admin support so that they can focus on their primary task- teaching.

Secondly, the Government needs to accord some sort of recognition/rewards for citizens who have come up with useful suggestions/ideas that helps to make this country a better place to live, work and play in.  This idea which I thought of should not go unrecognized, for it is IDEAS and PEOPLE that make a nation.

In building a better future for Singapore, let us be proactive and courageous to test out bold and even radical ideas.

I would like to hear from MINDEF, Dr Ng.



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