The local males have an albatross around their necks when they compete with, first, male foreigners, and, second, their female Singapore cohort. Young male Singaporeans lose out in so many ways. They lose out in seniority to the girls, not a few even find our boys downright unattractive, compared to foreigners who come in on the fast track.

(To rub it in, the girls do not have to do reservist training. Local males also lose out to all foreigners because they have to spend much time doing reservist. If they work in the civil service, fine, the gahmen will take care of them.

But out in the private sector, they are at the mercy of their employers; they suffer great disadvantage since they have to spend so much time doing NS. Of course, we hear employers pledging their undying support for the defence of the country but, in reality, they have bottomlines to worry about and targets to meet. Rah-rahs do not translate into dollars.

Even right now, after so many years of NS, I do not believe all male Singaporeans actually do NS with wholehearted enthusiasm. Especially when, deep in their hearts, they know not all are treated equally. It is time for a thorough and open public debate on the inequities of NS for boys.

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