- 'We were having dinner and enjoying the fireworks when suddenly, a projectile fell from the sky and bounced off my daughter's plate,' said Mr Sia, 52.
- Straits Times, 13 February 2009
IN THE last 10 years, fewer than 10 Singaporean sportsmen and musicians were given permission to defer their full-time national service (NS).
These deferments are often sought when these young men want to pursue their studies, training or represent Singapore in international competitions.
However, rarely is approval given because it is vital to uphold the national service system’s strength and integrity by making it universal and fair to all Singaporeans, said Second Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen yesterday.
Also, the national service system provides for Singapore’s national security and survival, he noted.
These factors form the basis of the three principles underlying national service, said Dr Ng, adding that permission had been given for exceptional talent. He was replying to Nominated MP Eunice Olsen, who wanted the Ministry of Defence to be more flexible in giving deferments.
She referred to a Straits Times report last December about Mr Keegan Ng. The 20-year-old had won the Marion S. Gray Outstanding Musician Award at age 11.
He wanted to study piano at the Eastman School of Music in New York, but was told he had to complete his national service first. He has since given up his plan and is now deciding whether to study accountancy or business administration.