Singapore: Debate on ‘Pampered’ Soldiers

Are Singapore soldiers ready for battle? This is one of the many questions raised by netizens who are reacting to the photo of a young serviceman whose backpack is being carried by someone believed to be their family domestic helper.

The photo was first uploaded on Facebook and immediately caught the attention of the media. The serviceman has since then expressed his remorse over his behavior and is now being counselled.

Senang Diri points out that the photo confirms the perception that Singapore soldiers are ‘spoilt softies’:

(The picture) sums up what the SAF’s detractors have long argued and what local authorities have taken pains to correct – that Singapore’s national servicemen are soft city boys. Spoilt softies, pampered by mummy and daddy, fussed over by a domestic helper, unfit for battle, potential liabilities in combat clearly not up to the mark for the rigours of warfare. You don’t need a picture caption to figure this out, do you?

rogerpoh blames parents for the poor discipline of Singapore children:

The root of the problem in part lies in the poor school discipline prevailing in our schools. A soft approach to discipline in our schools is breeding generations of spoilt and ill-disciplined students seconded by their parents.

Loh and Behold drafts this satirical letter to illustrate his point:

Our dearest Wussy darling,

You are famous!

Your picture is everywhere!

And our entire nation is waiting with bated breath for you to turn around and show your face but son, daddy and mummy suggest that you press on and proceed without flinching.

Keep those losers guessing son, and don’t you ever dare carry your own backpack!

For your future is bright, dear Wussy, and daddy and mummy, for your own sake, cannot bear to see you get hurt or injured by such trivial, menial tasks as carrying your own backpack, loaded full with fortifying goodness like ginseng, bak kwa, chicken essence and several cans of abalone for your midnight snack. (The can opener is in the side pocket on the left, darling son.)

Mr. Brown urges the public not to be “too harsh” on the boy:

I think we should not be too harsh on the boy. He is, after all, doing what Singapore likes to do: getting foreigners to do work that we don't want to do ourselves.

Want some tau huay? also blames bad parenting but also asks why 18 year old Singaporeans are considered mature enough to hold a rifle but too young to vote:

Yes, the boy is in the wrong in asking the maid to hold his field pack, but the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the parents.

The argument is that since 18 year olds are already taught to hold a rifle (18 is the age where Singaporean males are conscripted), why can’t they have a say in Singapore’s politics? I hold firm to this argument. But pictures like those above doesn’t help people like me in our quest for the voting the age to be reduced.

Singapore Kopi Tok believes that the soldier’s photo damaged the image of the army:

This soldier has done the SAF a disservice. It may be only one case, but it has damaged the reputation of the service, and all others who don the uniform with pride.

To all serving SAF national servicemen. Carry your own field pack and polish your own boots; a soldier’s pride demands no less.

Vicky's Writings thinks the boy belongs to the generation of schoolchildren who grew up with maids carrying their school bags:

He is probably one of the thousands of boys and girls who had grown up having their maids carry their school bags. I had written in my blog here before, of a boy in my neighbourhood whose maid had to carry his school bag from his house to the school bus waiting at the gate, barely 10m away. (Shake my head as I recall.

My boys are due for enlistment next year. I showed them the news and they were adamant that we are making a mountain out of a molehill. What’s wrong with that? Adults like to complaint about every little things we do.

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