Teenager raised in US didn’t let his ang moh accent stop him from serving NS
In a bid to remind Singaporeans it is not okay to escape serving National Service just because you’ve been raised overseas for a long time and it is highly inconvenient to return here, the Singapore Armed Forces has made an example out of one of its enlistees, 19-year-old LTA Shemuel Ong:
The Air Warfare Officer with the Republic of Singapore Air Force was raised in California since he was three but returned to serve his NS obligation last year when he was 18 and is staying with relatives.
Most recent figures revealed by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Parliament in 2012 showed that in 2011, 259 NS-liable men either failed to register or enlist, or did not come back to Singapore after their exit permits expired.
Seven in 10 of them were Singaporeans who mostly live overseas.
This is in comparison to about 26,000 men who were drafted into NS that year.
Under the Enlistment Act, anyone who fails to fulfil his NS obligation can face a fine of up to S$10,000 or up to three years in prison, or both.
This punishment is double the previous maximum.
Sentencing guidelines have since been laid bare in graph form in February 2016, after a 25-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to six weeks jail for evading NS enlistment for more than six years.
This is so as the law sanctions individuals who defer their NS in order to further their studies or other life pursuits as such individuals are able to gain an unfair advantage over their peers who would have to postpone such pursuits in order to fulfil their NS obligations, thereby violating the principle of universality behind NS policy.
Sentencing considerations also include whether the defaulter can still serve NS, how many reservist obligations he can fulfil, how well was his NS performance, his age when he returned, if he turned himself in to the authorities and if he benefited from the Singapore system.