Volunteer or Don’t but please leave your cynicism at the door.

The Singapore Volunteer Corps is a long dead organisation that recently has been resurrected as the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps to provide Singaporeans both new and old the opportunity to be part of an intrinsically Singaporean male experience, that of National Service (NS). When it was first proposed it was met with much derision, cynicism and overall scorn, and I couldn’t understand why people would feel that way. Having served 2 years in the army, both enjoying it tremendously and hating with a passion, I couldn’t see what people had against a program where citizens could volunteer to go through what we went through during NS (albeit a watered down version of it).

“People who volunteer at the recycling center or soup kitchen through a church or neighborhood group can come to feel part of something ‘larger.’ Such a sense of belonging calls on a different part of a self than the market calls on. The market calls on our sense of self-interest. It focuses us on what we ‘get.”         – Arlie Russell Hochschild

Personally I would welcome anybody that would want to volunteer to join the army and protect this country that we love together. With Singapore’s native population declining and aging rapidly, it would make sense for us to actively look at ways to train and empower new citizens and non-male Singaporeans to actively add to Singapore’s defence. Since the announcement last October I’ve been eagerly waiting to see whether people who remain disengaged or be enticed to volunteer and serve their country or adopted country. I was not disappointed.
“The moment you put on your uniform and proclaim that you are ready to be deployed, we will expect you to uphold our ethos and military professionalism,” said Col Tan at Maju Camp, where the unit will be headquartered. – as reported in TODAY
The first batch of people that volunteered was almost 900. While that number is not huge compared to the population or even the number of boys that get drafted each year, it’s indeed a promising figure for a program that is completely untested and where the uncertainty of deployment is unclear. This I believe to be a good start to what can ultimately turnout to be great program, potentially (though not likely), establishing a basis for National Service in the future where people who don’t want to go through NS when their younger can volunteer to go back when they are older.
  • Of the 900 applicants 85% were eligible = 765.
  • Of those 765, 150 of them have been selected for the first cohort which will be broken down into 3 intakes.
  • 51% are Singaporeans.
  • 33% of the volunteers are under the age of 30.
  • 10% are above the age of 40.

To the haters, disbelievers and people who generally think that every government program is a waste of money or is terrible. I can’t help you. It’s irrational and ignorant to judge a program that hasn’t started or simply because you dislike other government programs. Cynicism can be a destructive force, and I do hope that people can move past that emotional phase and ultimately judge the program on its results.

– #thebumblingtechnocrat

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