One of the major signs of strength of a nation is its military might. The biggest collective armed forces in the world belong to China, while Japan is not too far away from the United States’ war technology. As for the other first-world Asian country, Singapore does not boast a commanding army or a proud history in international conflict.
What they lack in fighting experience, the Singapore military makes up in service of their people. That is why getting into the SAF Volunteer Corps is not a daunting task for anyone. Many countries in South America, Africa and other parts of Asia have or had a military force that got too strong and started to take a greater role in politics.
In Singapore, however, a civilian-military fusion is present and is the envy of the world where service over gunfire is the nature of the game.
Raising Boys to Men, Without Force
In 1967, the Singapore government want to build an army even with their small population. Without influencing the turn of events, national service suddenly became a duty rather than obligation for Singaporean men. Even more, one of its effects was very unexpected and forever benefitted the relations of civilians and military in this small Southeast Asian country.
After two years of training, every man in Singapore is a reservist until the age of 40 and trains 40 days a year to be operationally ready. This meant that almost every family in the country had one or more military men. It also helped that military service is normal for Singaporean men, even a rite of passage for many of them.
Blend of Military and Civilian Experience
Civilian and military life differ greatly and that is why these two groups tend to clash if put in one place. Singapore is an exception to this rule, where regular people and army men coexist naturally. This is possible because of the philosophy that built the foundation of the country’s national service.
At the top, there is a mixture of civilian and military rulers. What is more is that not all persons who served in the armed forces lived the army life. Many of those who got top governmental positions have excellent academic credentials rather than fighting experience.
This current setting will not guarantee military action in the future. After all, it is what they trained for many years. Nonetheless, while no conflict is present, their soldiers are serving the people in many ways rather than waiting for the next war to break out.