A Letter For My Nation: Why Do I Serve?

Dear Singapore,

When I went to BMT many years ago, my PC asked us this question: "Why do we serve?"

Hands began going up into the air and several answers given by the recruits but non of the replies seemed to impress him much.

Throwing up his arms in despair (ok, I made that one up), this was what he said to us, "This, is YOUR country; YOUR territory. Here is where YOUR home, YOUR property, and all YOUR loved ones are. If YOU don't protect her, WHO will?

His answer hit me in the face like a wake-up call. As I lay in bed that night, I keep repeating that answer to myself, "If I don't, WHO will?"

There were plenty more to what my PC said earlier that day under the training shed but these are the most impactful words from him which helped me to survive my two years of conscription.

Boys like me, who had been forcefully taken away from our comfort zone the moment we turned eighteen years old were thrown into a unfamiliar environment where the toughest training awaits.

Of course, there were good times and not-so-good times. At times, when the training gets a little too tough, I would remind myself of the reason why I served.

Now, am I glad to say that I have done my part as a male citizen of this Country and have contributed to the safety of my Nation.

Of course, it does not stop there for there is a ten years cycle of ICT to complete still.

Forty-six turbulent years of Nation-buillding have passed us by and the security we enjoyed today - which many have taken granted for, is made possible only by the sacrifices of the many Generations of Singaporean sons.

I love Singapore and I am even prouder to be a Singaporean!


I am disillusioned.

The beautiful picture I had painted of my future years ago is now marred by the influx of foreigners to the extent that I am beginning to doubt my own identity.

I find it hard to answer when I now question myself, "Why do I serve?"

For whom do I bleed, break an arm or leg for during ICT while the foreigners are taking over our jobs in the office?

Why do I sacrificed two years of my life in National Service instead of going to Poly and getting $200 odds of allowance from MINDEF when I could probably earn five times or even more of that amount outside?

There could be only one answer: I love my Country.

In times of war, I would gladly lay down my life to protect my home, my property and my loved ones.

But what about my foreigner friend? Will he be fighting alongside with me? Or boarding the first flight out of this country?

I do not need someone who has deserted his own country to tell me what patriotism is, nor the significance behind my own Flag.

I want to be able to cook curry in my home whenever I please; whether my foreigner neighbor likes it or not!

No, I am not blaming the foreigners for invading my country; but rather, the policies for allowing them in.

Is the place of my birth where I truly belong?

I find myself losing faith in this land where I was born and have grown up to love.

Please do not make me feel like a foreigner in my own country and that the sacrifices I had put in these years was for nought.

Happy 46th Birthday, Singapore.

No comments: