S’pore guy serving NS says parents called him ‘gu niang’ for becoming logistics quartermaster

He was such an embarrassment, apparently, that they told him to lie about his vocation at family gatherings.

Matthias Ang | July 14, 10:35 pm


Many parents in Singapore have many, often high expectations of their children.

But how far can that disappointment be taken when their children fall short?

In the case of an anonymous confessor on NUSWhispers, a platform for anyone to confess random thoughts, regardless if one is or was from the National University of Singapore, failing to live up to parental expectations in his National Service purportedly resulted in him being labelled as a “姑娘” (pronounced “gu niang”, meaning “sissy” in Mandarin in this context).

Parents disappointed he didn’t get selected for a “hero” vocation

In his post, the author said his parents had initially been supportive of him during his basic military training phase when he enlisted, calling him at night, picking him up from Pasir Ris, and buying him snacks for the week, among others.

However, things changed once the author was given his vocation — that of a logistics quartermaster, at the rank of specialist, which is a non-combat post.

The author added that this came as a disappointment to his parents who were hoping that he would go to one of four others they perceived as “hero” vocations:

  1. the Guards Formation,
  2. the Commando Formation (CDO),
  3. the Officer Cadet School (OCS), or
  4. the Naval Diving Unit (NDU).

He further alleged that his parents even tried to leverage their connections and make requests to various places to change his vocation to no avail.

Vocation berated as “useless” by parents, encouraged to lie to extended family

The author further alleged that his parents labelled his vocation as “useless” and berated him for being in such a “sissy” job.

He added that his parents allegedly stopped giving him emotional support, greeting him with hostility on his days out of camp.

The hostility, he wrote, entailed questions of “why are you home so early” rather than a welcome, comparisons with his cousins, as well as questions of why he was unable to live up to family standards.

He said he was even told to lie about his military vocation at family gatherings in order to avoid bringing embarrassment to the family.

Cut out of family inheritance; will not show up for specialist graduation parade

The author also alleged that his parents told him at one point that he would be cut out of inheriting anything from the family, on grounds that a “sissy” is not a breadwinner of the family.

He added that this remark was particularly cutting as he had neither intended to ask about any inheritance-related matters, nor was he eyeing their money.

His parents also allegedly informed him that they will not show up for his specialist graduation parade, which he said was the last straw that triggered his decision to put up a public post about his struggles with them.

He concluded, however, that he still loves his parents, stating:

Mum, Dad I love you both and should the time come, I would die for you. Is that not enough to constitute what a ‘man’ should be.”

Parents slammed

Netizens who responded to his post were generally sympathetic.

Some slammed his parents.

Source: Screenshot from NUSWhispers Facebook
Source: Screenshot from NUSWhispers Facebook

Others told him to take pride in his vocation because of its importance as the backbone of the army.

Source: Screenshot from NUSWhispers Facebook
Source: Screenshot from NUSWhispers Facebook
Source: Screenshot from NUSWhispers Facebook

And it appears that a parent was also sympathetic to his situation.

Source: Screenshot from NUSWhispers Facebook

Here’s his full post:

Top image from The Singapore Army Facebook page

About Matthias Ang

Matthias is that annoying guy whose laughter overshadows the joke.

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