As excitement from the 2018 World Cup died down, the Ben Davis footballing saga breathed to life. The 17 year old had just signed a 2 year professional contract with Fulham Football Club, but the Ministry of Defense were not willing to grant him the national service deferment needed to fulfill it. This puts Davis in a proverbial catch-22 situation. And either path he takes will bear costly consequences.
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Davis’ story has shone a light onto Mindef’s strict deferment criteria. Edwin Yeo of the Singapore Kindness Movement wrote a viral article that criticized this and the “transactional mentality” that it served. Hopefully however, given the difficulty of Davis’ situation, more can see the larger impact that Singapore’s NS obligations has on young individuals.
Davis’ story is only surfacing due to the prominence of the English Premier League and the popularity of football, but what about the countless other ambitious young individuals? Might we have more entrepreneurs, coding wizards, or sporting stars if we didn’t have national service? Might we have greater innovation, ambition, or ingenuity?
While the pragmatic will always say that military defense is a necessity for a country as small as Singapore, it is nevertheless still worthwhile to discuss.
What do you think about the Ben Davis saga and NS in general? Your thoughts and comments will be very much appreciated.
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Image Credits – Today Newspaper