Musings on the Malaysian National ServiceI'm sure most of you would have heard of the Malaysian National Service by now. For those who haven't, let me just begin by saying that the NS we have in Malaysia is distinct from the ones run by other countries. They (whomever 'they' may be) have National Service as a way of beefing up national defence with temporary conscripts. We have National Service as a way of promoting harmony and unity between the races.
To quote their website, the objectives of NS are to (1) Imbibe a patriotic spirit; (2) Foster racial harmony and national sentiment; and (3) Build character through moral values. Clearly, civil defence isn't part of the whole deal (unless you count defending civil society from ourselves). So why the heck is it under the ambit of the Ministry of Defence?
Perhaps it's just a happy accident that a wide-ranging program such as this falls under the second largest ministry in the government. You need adequate resources to run it, you need the facilities, you need the trainers and having it under the MoD solves part of the problem.
But it shouldn't make it a military operation, yes? Even with all the military uniforms. And the use of the army camps. And the soldiers now helping keep security. It's not a military operation.
However, I fear that some people feel that it should be run like one. "These kids are too soft," some are probably saying. Let's make them into real men.
You should read what the NS trainees write on their blogs. Most of the stuff are things that you would expect from boarding-school type situations. Hijinks, mucking around, boy-girl hormonal overload. We shouldn't be surprised. But are the adults in charge qualified for this? You wouldn't just want anybody taking care of your kid, would ya?
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