Monday, May 24, 2004

National (Service) Identity

Listening to: Sorrow - David Bowie - The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974
I was reading someone's blog entry about how Singapore was totally devoid of any history or culture or national identity worth talking about, when I felt awash with indignation. The government had to invent national symbols, she wrote! Ignoramus! The lion city wasn't named for nothing. The lion came out of the jungle and scared the crap out of the visiting prince. Our citizens still do. Only we take your crap and recycle it, then open a visitors' centre dedicated to showing you how we scare the crap out of you, recycle your crap, and make a show of it, and ask if you'd like a drink of the stuff. I shit you not. Common adversity is often the glue that bonds societies. Be forced to drink crap together and be a Nation. How else can you get 4 million folk from diverse ethnic backgrounds* to forge common traits? I'm writing the following with a straight-face. I like the subject matter so much it is embarrassing. Yes, National Service. Every Singaporean male loves it but only a handful admits to it. Every Singaporean female hates it when her boyfriend bumps into a 'camp-mate' and begins an hour long catch up session, mostly reminiscing about what Sergeant Tan did when Corporal Lim shat his pants in the Armoured Personnel Carrier. Darling, an Armoured Personnel Carrier is like a tank, but it carries troopers like us who storm out of the Armoured Personnel Carrier all guns blazing, to fight the enemy. Isn't that right, {insert army nickname of campmate} ? While we'll forever dispute the actual purpose of National Service in terms of national security, the one thing that's turned out useful and dare I say, good, is the generation of men, after 36 years of compulsory conscription, who are truly homogenously Singaporean. Run out of things to say when you meet another guy? Ask what reservist unit he's from. Excused from reservist? Which full time NS unit he served in. Excused NS? Say, 'Whaddafuck? You lucky bastard", and continue to talk about your own army experiences. Yes, I am glad for National Service. There, I've said it. Off my chest. *75% Chinese, 20% void-deck dwellers, 3% Serangoon Road jaywalkers, 2% overpaid arrogant Caucasians who steal 70% of our women.


Blogger cokecat said...

of course NS was fun...endless boasts at coffee shops with friends

6/16/2004 02:46:00 AM  
Blogger Mr Miyagi said...

Add one more thread to coffeeshop conversations - "In my time, Full-time NS was 30 months. What's this 24 month shortened stint thing? Marder Cheebye! They're turning out softies, not soldiers!"

6/16/2004 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger cokecat said...

i'm young but not young enough to have escaped with 24 months
in fact, i even had to do the extra time cos i was (and still am) a fatty

reading your blogs are pretty good in remembering stuff i wanted to write about man

6/16/2004 05:02:00 AM  

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