Friday, February 11, 2005

Conscription Part 2/5: Social Anomaly

During social outings involving both guys and girls it is commonplace for guys in the midst of their NS to start discussing about their army bravados. While it may seem interesting to the guys, it is often extremely boring for the girls, since they have never been exposed to the environment and thus do not have a clue to what is being discussed. To keep conversational topics in a group interesting to every participant in a social setting, there should be discussion of a common issue which everyone can identify with.

This is not the issue I wish to address. What I wish to illustrate is the disturbing difference in the social settings of guys and girls of the same age when the guys are of conscription age. Such an age also happens to be the prime age for social awakenings with the opposite sex. Unfortunately, conscription is yet another factor which causes social inadequacies in our society.

Most youths at such an age in other nations without conscription will perhaps share the most common interest during this age, converging from the toy guns for boys and dolls for girls (being stereotypical here but bear with me) to things like dating, networking, music culture, movie culture and other popular common interests.

A military world is very different from a civilian world. As such, a civilian (girl) will never be fully able to empathise with the rigours of military life that a guy goes through. A guy attuned to a military lifestyle similarly finds it difficult to appreciate a viewpoint which in its entirety is restricted to the civilian world. Clashes occur. Of course, this is the time whereby many pre-army relationships are strained. Sadly, many do not withstand the strains of army life and breakup occurs.

Additionally, it is a fact that the 2 years served in army is a 2 years break in progress, whether in education or in employment. Many claim that the 2 years are 'not wasted', rather, they 'teach important lessons in life'. That is a statement more of 'self-comfort' than of reason. Military skill and knowledge has no place in the civil world. Simple as that. As for other 'life lessons', such as learning about bureaucracy, hierarchy and civil skills, the experience could as easily be gleaned if the 2 years were spent anywhere else besides a hermit's hut. Furthermore, in a society such as Singapore, paper qualifications trumps anything else. Experiences which cannot be transcribed into qualifications are as good as thrown into a wastebasket. Thus the only way the 2 years are 'not wasted' is if the 2 years were NOT spent in conscription or a hermit's hut.

So how can this social anomaly be addressed? Now, if both Guys and girls were conscripted, could this solve the problem? Or are there better solutions?
Part 3: Are opinions on conscription divided by sex?
Part 4: Is National Service really a service to our land?
Part 5: Are there alternate avenues to conscription?


Blogger Daniel said...

good one.
NS is killing the social skills of our young males. They are less savvy and have less EQ as a result. No wonder the girls find them boring.
NS is taking away the prime of our lives.

1:22 AM  
Blogger redrown said...

exactly, this is the social cost I am talking about, because ultimately it is contributory factor to our declining birth rates which our gov is so desperate to reverse.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

Actually Slavery makes males more horny.

And the interest convergence already takes place during JC and poly (and indeed, sec sch)

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually.. i don't think you are bringing up any good points.. most of us know all these anyway.

even the 3 mentalities in army could be found in work.. so what's the point?????

2:26 AM  
Blogger redrown said...

Agagooga: I agree with you there; but the fact is that NS disrupts the natural rite of passage which both Guys and Girls will take if there is no disruption. (ie, progressing from sec sch to JC to University concurrently)

About the horniness...well...cant say much about it except that guys have always been horny and unfortunately it is usually during NS that guys 'explore' alternate avenues to channel visits to Red light districts - as compared to mixing with their would be social peers

12:11 AM  
Blogger redrown said...

Anon: I agree that these are widely known to many. I am just writing out what all(most) of us already know in our hearts.

The Point I am trying to put across, which will be more evident once all 5 parts are put, is that :

NS does NOT benefit Singapore, both Society wise and individually Wise;
Conversely the opposite is true.

So we should be spared the preaching of how we should do our part for the nation and how great conscription is.

12:15 AM  
Blogger me said...

I think that guys should at least be given a chance to chose whether they wanna enlist or not. Isn't it better if people do things out of their own desire instead of being forced thus breeding resentment in the future?

Silly silly gah-men.

1:50 AM  
Blogger redrown said...

heheh...but i would guess is that the bulk of males won't volunteer...especially since the degree of competitiveness in SG means that by volunteering they will lose ground on their peers who don't volunteer.

But I agree that current conscription is breeding resentment, enough to expect the gov to sit up and take notice and perhaps provide an adequate response.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok.. in that case, i shall look forward to ur 5th article. yes, i came into army with a good attitude, wasn't selected for ocs, entered some shitty unit and wasted my life there. Gradually i have a Lan Lan attitude, and i am going to ORD with a chao keng attitude. =)

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about u guys briefly share ur army experience? Agagooga? redrown?

3:19 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

My army experiences may be read at my blog. Look for my December 2001 archives, and my archives from December 2002 to June 2004 (my ORD date).

Jan 2002-early Dec 2002 are in the process of being restored.

6:37 PM  
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