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National Servicemen Deaths: The Limits Of Outrage And The Regular-Commander-Man Experiential Divide

The seemingly templatised response of the government to the deaths of national servicemen – the fourth training fatality of the Singapore Armed Forces in the past 18 months, including actor Aloysius Pang as the latest casualty – through its communications strategy, the work of the Committees of Inquiry, as well as the promised changes or punishments which follow, is similarly matched by a templatised chorus of outrage, even before the facts have been established: Calling for “accountability” through punitive measures against perpetrators and the immediate resignation of generals and ministers, for organisational improvements and guarantees of no more peacetime deaths, and even for a reassessment of Singapore’s need for National Service (NS).

Missing in this back-and-forth, however, is a more holistic and rigorous understanding of the NS and reservist experience for the average serviceman. Put otherwise: What does the average soldier go through upon conscription, and does he think are the areas for improvement? Continue reading

Six Resolutions For 2019

I review my 2018 resolutions, and look ahead to 2019, with six resolutions for the coming year. Continue reading

Call For Interviewees (December 10 to 28): Youth Contribution And Community Service In Singapore

Singapore has a strong tradition of school­ and community­-based contribution or community service, but little is known about how contribution or community service is generally understood by young adults, or the voluntary and civic activities they are engaged in. This qualitative study proposes to explore how young adult Singaporeans understand contribution or community service, and also to describe motivations for and the types of school­ and community­-based voluntary and civic activities they are or were involved in. Continue reading

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