Blogger Alvin Lim launched a tirade on his blog, Alvinology, in which he compared National Service (NS) to slavery. As expected, the post got a lot of comments, Facebook shares and page views. What I did not expect was that so many people seem to agree with the post.
To these people, I have a few questions. Are you guys nuts? Did no one watch Django Unchained? That's slavery. No matter how you dislike NS, how in the world can you compare it to slavery? These two aren't even in the same league! More importantly, did any of you actually read the original BBC report that prompted the tirade?
Look I don't like NS either but guess what, we have things we have to do even though we dislike doing them. It's called a duty. Mr. Lim was moved to post his distaste for NS after reading a BBC report where a Mr. Alex Liang renounced his Singapore citizenship to settle in the United Kingdom. Mr. Liang pointed to NS as his primary reason for doing so. Mr. Alvin Lim agrees with him and wrote on his post how much he hates NS as well.
I actually read the BBC report in question and frankly I fail to see how that BBC report could morphed into a anti-NS tirade. The BBC report was actually a follow-up report on Americans who renounced their American citizenship to avoid taxes in the U.S. As many people knows, the American government is coming down hard on people who moved their money overseas to avoid taxes. Singapore has "benefited" from these people as well, and now a lot of them are looking to renounced their American citizenship to avoid the American I.R.S.
The BBC report is a follow-up where they asked a whole host of people from around the world why they renounced the citizenship of their birthplace and switched nationality. Mr. Alex Liang commented that, "I was born and bred in Singapore but moved to the UK when I was 21 and eventually naturalised as a British citizen after seven years here - I am 37 today. I left Singapore because I had no faith in the government there. Singaporean males were discriminated against by the government because of the compulsory national service and many years of reservist obligations afterwards. That is compounded by the fact that the Singapore government is actively wooing skilled migrants to Singapore. Their "foreign talent" program gives these migrants all kinds of advantages that locals are not entitled to. I gave two years and four months of my life to serve in the army and my reward is to be treated like a second-class citizen. I wasn't prepared to fight the system, so I simply left and settled in the UK instead."
The problem with what he said is the fact that he moved to the UK when I was 21 and he is now 37! He left 16 years ago, well before the Singapore government open the floodgates for foreigners. Also he said that he was naturalized as a British citizen after seven years in the U.K which means he became a British citizen at 28; 9 years ago! Were we flooded with foreigners 9 years ago? No, we were not. That only started about 5-6 years ago.
I don't want to call him a liar but does a guy who left 16 years ago be someone who could complain about foreigners flooding into Singapore? Also, isn't he himself a foreigner who flood into the U.K? Does Mr. Alex Liang really has a right to complain about the issue? I strongly advise readers to read the original report from the BBC and then ask themselves the same question I did; is that report something that could or should prompt a tirade against NS?