Patriotism Shouldn’t Be Forced, Say Redditors
With National Day just around the corner, a contributor on Reddit wanted to find out if Singaporeans are becoming more or less patriotic over the years.
I mean, Singapore does spend a ton of money and resources on campaigns every National Day, hoping to instil pride in us — surely the result would be positive after months of conditioning?
That was not the case, sadly. In fact, the thread quickly became overwhelmed with negative comments on national service (NS) — ironically, since we’re marking 50 years of national service this year with all sorts of campaigns including an album that our defence minister is singing on.
NS The Chief Demotivator?
Sure, netizens cited other bugbears as well: lax immigration policies, being forced to sing National Day theme songs, and various controversial sagas over the past year — including the City Harvest sentencing, 38 Oxley Road saga, lack of accountability from SMRT over breakdowns, and the reserved Presidential Election, among others.
But for many, NS seems to be the chief reason behind Singaporeans feeling less pride. Read our article about some untold stories of NS.
What’s Being Said?
Right from the start, the top comment delivered a stinging criticism of the politics and incompetencies plaguing the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
Many complained of career disruptions due to reservist duties.
No one likes being threatened with disciplinary action should they refuse to download an app on their phones.
As we move down the thread, it became apparent that no one likes sacrificing 2 years of their prime years while their female counterparts and foreigners get on with life.
Defences Shot Down
Some did try defending National Service, claiming that soldiers gain valuable skills that can be used later when they enter the workforce.
They were quickly shot down by netizens who felt that the politics within the SAF is making newer recruits lose sight of its objectives.
Perhaps a little common sense from the higher-ups would have been appreciated?
Although the majority of the thread was filled with netizens recalling their negative experiences during NS, some of them provided useful tips and unpopular opinions on how to tide themselves over the 2 years.
1. Gauge how much effort to put in
2. Be open-minded
3. Think of Migration
While the majority felt their patriotism shrinking, a few said quite the opposite — because they spent some time living overseas, and have grown to appreciate what Singapore offers that other countries don’t.
Grow Patriotism Organically
While Reddit users represent a small percentage of the Singapore population, it is still startling to read such negative comments from former servicemen at a time when patriotism should be running high.
If the authorities stumble upon this Reddit discussion though, they should recognise a silver lining: It’s evident that most Singaporeans appreciate the positive points of living here, but not many appreciate nationalism being shoved down their throats.
If we truly want a population that is patriotic, more needs to be done to address the needs of citizens and the concerns of those serving our nation, instead of just forcing people to do stuff and manufacturing “fake” patriotism.
Fix the damn MRT and we’ll be halfway there.