Aloysius Pang – Is National Service the problem?

The recent death of local actor, Aloysius Pang, has led to renewed calls for National Service to be cut short or shut down. Some even called for those in leadership positions to be held accountable for their actions.

This is frankly disappointing. Especially since some of these commenters are men who have gone through NS themselves.


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Is NS safe today?

The SAF has had it’s fair share of accidents and training incidents since its inception, but I can confidently say that the number of such incidents have been greatly reduced over the years.

Some of the safety precautions are more than rock solid, they’re overkill.

Parents who have children heading to NS soon, be assured that adequate precautions are in place. Some of the safety precautions are more than rock solid, they’re overkill. Here are some of them:

Heat injury – We now conduct “water parades” where trainees consume 500ml – 1L of water before, at regular intervals during, and after training.

Vehicular Accidents – Compulsory vehicle commander beside the driver, who has to disembark from the vehicle everytime they need to reverse


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Training Incidents – Dry runs, dry runs and dry runs. Before ever firing a rifle, a soldier needs to do technical handling (TH) training, a test, and another TH training before the actual range shoot. They will then go down to the range, and walk through to familiarize themselves with the range.

Medical Coverage – A duty medic + vehicle on standby per company, a medical centre notified and ready to receive any medical emergency, and safety briefings (think nagging)

Oh, did I mention the required 7 hours of uninterrupted rest?

(Inb4 someone says this is for show: If you’re confident you didn’t get 7 hours of rest, you can raise it up to your superiors without fear. This rest includes time spent chatting with the bae etc…)

The amount of safety precautions in place make any sane person go WTF. And we can be sure that the number of safety precautions will go up after this incident.

With training, we minimize human error and misjudgement, but it is inevitable that this “safeness” leads to complacency.

At the present moment, we cannot say for certain what happened to our fellow soldier, and we should avoid further speculation.

The common factor between training incidents in the past and now, are humans. Human error, human misjudgement, and human complacency. With training, we minimize human error and misjudgement, but it is inevitable that this “safeness” leads to complacency.

To my fellow NSmen, every time you take the easy way out, skip scheduled training activities, consider this:

NS is not the problem, you are.


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