That the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is adopting a zero-tolerance approach to the abuse of soldiers is encouraging. In addition to the development of a comprehensive safety management system over the years (ST, Jul, 11), however, the availability of safe communication channels to report transgressions – for full-time national servicemen (NSFs) in non-commanding positions, in particular – is important. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen mentioned in parliament that new recruits are briefed on how they can make reports through unit supervisors or feedback units, yet two questions follow: First, how many reports are actually made, and how have the figures changed with time; second, the extent to which such reports have translated into disciplinary action or policy changes. Continue reading
The success of the upcoming national conversations depends if “naysayers” and less-privileged Singaporeans participate in these discussions, as well as the extent to which they can set the agenda and to extend their participation beyond these one-off endeavours.
And having participated in the Our Singapore Conversation series in 2012 and 2013 and the sessions by the education and defence ministries, and having benefited from the interactions with different Singaporeans, the risks of running over the same old ground and of selective engagement must be noted. Continue reading
Put otherwise: How much do we know about our NSFs and their time in service? Continue reading