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Monday, May 22, 2006
My take on Ike -vvw

If you haven't heard, Ike See is a young talented musician who was offered a rare opportunity to study in a prestigious music school (Curtis Institute of Music in the US) but could not attend due to National Service. So far, Mindef isn't giving this guy any deferment even though he had promised to return to serve if he is allowed to defer.

There are those who think Mindef should let him defer and there are those who think otherwise. I belong to the former. Since I prefer to prove other people wrong rather than prove myself correct, I shall attack the arguments against deferment instead of building a case for it. Besides, many people have already pointed out why Mindef should let Ike defer and most of the points are about how he is such a great talent who can bring glory to Singapore.

Some people said that in case Ike See couldn't defer, serving NS wouldn't be so bad because National Service
1) brings you out of your comfort zone,
2) makes you mature,
3) teaches you leadership skills, responsibility, discipline, etc.
If you've said this based on personal experience, you should know that some of us already had such benefits before enlisting. I spent many years in a marching band in school and I can tell you that compared to band, the discipline and regimentation in the army is a joke. I am confident that anyone who was in a uniform group or any competitive sports CCA will probably agree with me on this. Moreover, even if one is an irresponsible, useless brat before NS, it doesn't mean that he will always be one if he doesn't go for NS. The various people skills learnt in the army can easily be learnt in any workplace in the civilian world. Of course, there are also the counterexamples of people who completed NS as the disgusting spoilt brat they were before. Therefore, the claim that disallowing Ike to defer benefits him is utter rubbish.

Then there are those who suggest that he continue his musical studies after NS. Perhaps these people do not know that getting accepted into Curtis is not like signing up for a course at your nearest community centre. Only 5% of applicants are admitted each year and I am sure the average applicant is not the average busker you see at the bus interchange.

I am a mediocre amateur pianist who plays only recreationally (no hardcore 4 hours per day practices for me). When I returned home after two weeks of BMT, my fingers felt significantly stiffer. Imagine what 2 years of NS can do to a musician of professional standards. That's assuming he doesn't get injured. And then there is also the age problem since Curtis only accepts young students.

The worst people are those who wants Ike to serve just because they themselves could not disrupt or defer. If one is not an excellent musician, it is nothing to cry about. Not everyone is a prodigy. The world is unfair. But to deny another the chance to develop his talents because one has no such talent or opportunities is just plain selfish. These people need to stop abusing words like "fairness" or "national security" to make others suffer with them. Is Singapore really gonna be less of a deterrent because there is one less guy in MDC?

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
4:59 PM


Ns is lame...they should let him go lor.. such talent cannot be wasted.. i agree with u.
By Anonymous jiangzheng, at 9:01 AM  

Typical of Mindef and SAF. Just need one joker (ie THAT pianist) to come and SPOIL market, then now everybody also kena this stiff ruling. Does the public really care or give a shit about it? Probably not so much now. Really, MINDEF should stop being so reactionary and be consistent about their policies.
By Anonymous Shuquan, at 12:35 AM  

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