It is a good gesture on the part of the government to accord recognition to more than one million of our men who enlisted in NS (National Service). I am pretty sure all these men – past and present, will look forward to the S$100 voucher that can be used at selected retail and F & B outlets, and the activities that are being planned throughout the year.
All males who have undergone NS have benefited from the rigorous training and it is always a pride and joy to serve the nation
NS changed my life in that I’ve learnt many tools needed to succeed in life and even to build second careers. The army taught me self-confidence, the value of teamwork, dedication, perseverance, resilience, self-discipline, interpersonal communication, tolerance and determination.
The first few batches of trainees who served NS would now be in their 60s and 70’s and some of them, due to old age will have health issues. While some of them could secure medical benefits through the pioneer package or even better still if they are on the pension scheme, there will be those who have to struggle with medical costs which does not come cheap these days.
As a gesture of goodwill, perhaps the Ministry of Defence in collaboration with the Ministry of Health could offer some medical benefits to our elderly NS men who do not qualify for the pioneer or the pension scheme.
When the Ministry of Finance gives out GST cash vouchers to Singaporeans to manage inflation, there is a provision for those who do not really need the money to offer it to the needy.
With the S$100 voucher that is being given to our NS men, could there be an option to give these vouchers to any needy person or charitable organisations? Many of our seniors being out of work have little recreation and spending power and hardly can afford to go out for a good meal. These vouchers could be passed on to those who have done NS or their immediate family members like wives or parents who although did not serve NS, played a supporting role. We have to bear in mind that when our NS men did their part to protect this nation, it was the wives or parents who spent many lonely days and nights, especially when training was done overseas.
The vouchers that can be transferred can also handed over to the Residents’ Committees or Community Centres and the Grassroots Adviser who is of course the Member of Parliament can decide who the vouchers can be allotted to. If there are many, perhaps a lucky draw can be carried out.
Another way to accord recognition to our NS men is for the MPs to organize a ‘Thank you’ reception for all NS men through either an informal tea session, a lunch or a dinner.
Interviews with NS men can be published in the CC or CDC newsletters through a series.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO