In the above email, I have deliberately obscured a few details, (as you can see with the "XXXXXX" and "YYYYYY") in case some overly clever person at Mindef decides that he must do some investigation to ascertain who Lim is, and have him charged under the notorious, all-encompassing Section 25 of the SAF Act.
Hi Mr. Wang,
My name is Lim. I'm a normal [XX]-year old graduate working in a normal company and living a very normal life. Basically, I'm a nobody.
I'm sure we're all familiar with National Service and Reservist and how we positively hate how the gahmen still manages to intrude into our personal life even after we've served our NS liability.
Here's my story.
After I left the army, I became unfit and unable to pass my IPPT. I knew I had to pass my IPPT in order to avoid remedial training which is 8 sessions of physical training. Thus I started running and getting some exercise.
My birthday falls in [XXXXXXX] and I started training somewhere in [YYYYYYY].
By [XXXXX] I was confident of passing my IPPT. Unfortunately, I pulled my
hamstring in [XXXXX] and I was unable to do the test.
( I know at this point Mindef will point out that's just an excuse and I could have done the test earlier. Even a medical certificate would have been rebuffed. FINE. Not going to argue).
I was hauled down to Mindef and slapped with a S$100 fine. (Not going to argue).
So they sent me to this lady who told me to select dates for my remedial training. I had 3 options (twice a week)
1) Monday 6pm to 10pm / Sat 10am to 2pm
2) Wed 6pm to 10pm / Sat 4pm to 8pm
3) Thur 6pm to 10pm / Sunday 4pm to 8pm
Note that they assume everyone can get off work at five (You have to be there half an hour early). I think they got us confused with Australia.
Here is the catch, you can only pick one of the options. You can't under any circumstances mix and match the dates. For example I can't take Monday evening from option 1 and put it together with Wed evening from option 2.
All the options were bad for me, due to work / family commitments but I simply had to pick one (FINE, not going to argue).
I suggested to the lady if I could just take my test, pass it, and avoid all of this nonsense. And she replied with a smile "I'm sorry, our system won't allow you to take your test until you have completed your RT". (A system designed by scholars no doubt).
So basically I HAVE to do the RT no matter what. EVEN if I can pass the test. Here's what really irritates me. (sorry I'm getting there).
1) The S$100 fine is to punish me. (or they just want my money)
2) The inflexibility of the schedules is insipid, why can't they let us choose which dates we can do the RT? After all, if we do it twice a week it shouldn't matter at all. (So i guess, its just to punish me since i'm at fault)
3) I have to attend the RT, even if i'm willing to take the test immediately. If I miss a single RT date, they'll fine me again (Who saw that coming? An opportunity for them to make more money)
My question is: Are Mindef simply interested in making us 1) fighting fit or are they just trying to 2) punish us and 3) take away our money.
Maybe all of the above since I'm a terrible citizen for missing my IPPT. I deserve it.
P.S I know this is a rather unimportant issue compared to the other sociological / economic issues on your blog.
NSmen, if you have any other issues or problems with the Remedial Training system, please feel free to provide your feedback in the comment section. If there are enough substantive comments from you readers, I will collate them and pass them to the Singapore government.