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SAF Confessions: Of Officers, Specialists, And Men

This is part of my month-long “Brevity is Clarity” endeavour, inspired by a friend’s Facebook post (here) which reminded me of the importance of getting points across cleanly and clearly. 160 words, 5 points, 1 issue. Check out the complete collection (here).

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1. Over the weekend, on the SAF Confessions Facebook page (above) and across a number of other platforms, there were a number of posts highlighting the supposed disparities between the officers and the specialists. I have two points.

2. Ranks, appointments, and the hierarchy do matter for full-time national servicemen, but not as much as some have made it out to be. There are so many different permutations, roles, responsibilities, experiences; yet, I reckon it is more important to be proud of what you – individually, or with your buddies – have accomplished.

3. Significantly, we should break a “tradition of nastiness” that has permeated some units (I should know, from my stint). Besides grappling with strict regimentation, many men deal with unreasonable, unconsidered requests, or deliberate attempts to make life difficult for two whole years. Without compromising the rigour of training standards, to-be commanders – especially those who had been at the receiving end of such behaviour – should treat their men fairly, and with respect.

Happy New Year, everyone! And to all our servicemen who are spending this festive season in key installations and camps, stay safe, and thank you.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.


6 thoughts on “SAF Confessions: Of Officers, Specialists, And Men

  1. I kinda feel that humans in general, esp guys, don’t have the ‘oh I was in your position before and I suffered so I don’t wanna do the same to you now’. It’s more like ‘I lived through such shyt and now it’s your turn. If now you get to don’t suffer then before I suffered for fk?!’ Well may be kinda childish but you get what I mean.

    Posted by IGoCrazyBecauseOfYou | February 11, 2013, 1:31 pm
  2. Officers tend to be treated differently from other ranks. Officers are given much more leeway when it comes to regimentation as the enforcement is typically by sergeant majors who are of lower rank than officers. Officers are also officially or unofficially given other special treatment. I remember an ICT where the officers got to sleep in bunks while the other ranks were told to just find somewhere to spend the night. There was another ICT where the officers were allowed to cut the queue to outprocess from the ICT in front of the entire battalion of 400 men. I can think of many other examples of unequal treatment.

    Posted by sporescores | February 13, 2013, 6:41 pm
    • Apologies for the late reply (catching up on older comments now).

      I would think that there are many such instances. And while we acknowledge that differential treatment are inevitable, it would be meaningful for the SAF to hear on-the-ground feedback about how conditions are like. These soldiers are the ones with the first-hand accounts of how things can change, or be improved.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | March 11, 2013, 6:30 pm


  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 13 Feb 2013 | The Singapore Daily - February 13, 2013

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