3 NSmen Stereotypes Debunked

3 NSmen Stereotypes Debunked

A stereotype is an image or an idea that the majority holds about a particular type of person or thing. It serves as an identifier and is widely understood by many. Stereotypes can easily circulate through the word of mouth. They then become a part of our daily conversations so when we read the news, we would immediately relate and connect to them with the perceptions we already hold in our minds.

But whether good or bad, stereotypes are cliché and should not affect the way we view the world and express ourselves. This is why when news regarding certain issues break out, it gets people talking which may even spark off debates. While that benefits the public to be a thinking and progressive society, the internet today has also become a fast breeding ground for negativity in heated discussions. This is often due to more of an emotional connection rather than factual and rational observation which may stem from the already existing stereotypes that we know.

Photo sourced from stasiareport.com

National Service (NS) is a mandatory obligation for all young Singapore men and for two years, they go through Basic Military Training (BMT). The year 1967 saw its inception after recognizing the great need to build up Singapore’s own defence since the independence from Malaya. Our nation has always been dependent on the people in the absence of local natural resources and our Army is one example.

National Day marks the nation’s pride in their military defence and the inspiring story of our growth as a country. So when news would cast a bad light on NS, it often causes a major uproar because it holds a special place in our hearts especially of those who have gone or going through this duty to the country. But with the internet constantly evolving, unpleasant news would surface and be passed around quickly. Some may even start to view our NSmen and NSFs differently simply due to this.

In an effort to debunk these dated unfair perceptions, we gathered a list of three of the most common ones about our NSmen and NSFs. It’s time to shake off these stereotypes!

1. Recruits don’t respect the uniform enough

Photo sourced from yimg.com


It is nothing new anymore to see pictures of our NSmen doing inappropriate things while wearing their uniforms especially online but every time a new one pops up, the public is quick to jump in with the defence. Their criticisms stem from the disappointment in the lack of respect young Singapore men show for the uniform and this is rightfully so.

In 2011, there was a set of pictures sourced from Facebook that depicted a young man in green with his maid carrying his field pack while walking behind him. This then sparked off a debate on whether this generation of recruits are too pampered.

But do all NSmen act and behave the same way?

TRUTH: No. It is important to note that context is key. Pictures may speak a thousand words but judgment lies in what you don’t see and if you don’t see it, you don’t judge. There are several issues here; the poster, the lack of context and the emotional connection between the pictures and the viewers. So be mindful of what you say or post online and if you see something like this, stop before you make a comment. A little skepticism won’t hurt.

2. Recruits are all misogynistic and insensitive to women.

Photo sourced from asiaone.com

The controversy of the song “Purple Light” caught the attention of the whole of Singapore last year November. The crude lyrics of a particular verse were brought up by Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) in a Facebook post that outraged many who have gone through NS. The song is an age-old tradition during route marches and may have been modified over the years. Countering the backlash on AWARE were many who supported the call for ban and even gave a sweeping statement of a misogynistic culture within the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). In the end, MINDEF did not ban the song but instead would be monitoring the groups to ensure the offensive lyrics won’t be sung.

So are all NSmen misogynistic?

TRUTH: No. In this case, the internet helps. Social media, particularly Facebook, allowed fast responses from the public about their opinions towards the situation. Among those who voiced their agreement with AWARE were men who also felt uncomfortable with said lyrics.

3. NSF sergeants always vent their anger on recruits.

Photo sourced from picdn.net


Close to one year ago, a SAF sergeant made a post about venting his anger on his recruits, referring to it as the “only good thing” about his job. While there is a Facebook page called “SAF Confessions” that lets users share a personal story anonymously, the sergeant in question did not make the post there. He did it on his personal Facebook profile. Following that facepalm-worthy moment, the post gained a lot of attention and had even gone viral. Even on the SAF Confessions page, there are similar stories that may have taken a serious blow to the reputation of the NSF.

But do all NSF take advantage of their jobs like that just because they are having a bad day?

TRUTH: No. Needless to say, stress comes with every job and even more unfortunately, there will always be that one or two in the office who tend to take their frustrations out on somebody else at work. However, such behaviour simply cannot be applicable to everyone in all positions. Furthermore, MINDEF had reiterated on their “cyberpioneer” Facebook page their expectations of their servicemen which included having strong ethics and care for the soldiers.

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