National Service Runaways.
According to a press report a total of 11,874 did not show up and notices have been sent to their registered addresses since May 4. Their names will also be printed in newspapers on Tuesday. A council statement said they would be given until July 17 to turn up. Ho hum (yaaawn) so what's new? None of the kids and most of the parents are really not bothered with such empty threats. Ever since the council attempted to set an example and one poor fellow was charged, things haven't worked out the way the authorities had hoped. The one who was caught for being AWOL happened to be a real poor, poor guy who had to work merely to survive and the government came out of that one looking heartless. After that they beat a hasty retreat and have now surfaced more determined to get these shirkers.
The objectives of the National Service Programme are laudable:
- Develop a young generation who are patriotic and with love for their country.
- Enhance unity among the multi-racial communities in the country.
- Instill a spirit of caring and volunteerism among society.
- Produce an active, intelligent and confident generation.
- Develop positive characteristics among the younger generation through good values.
However the programme has its problems and its detractors. After the 2004 pilot batch completed their National Service, the youth wing of the MCA, on behalf of themselves and 8 other Chinese-based youth organizations, issued a memorandum to the National Service Training Council calling for more non-Malay trainers. They also criticised the lack of counsellors, imbalanced diet for the participants, poor communications among the various secretariats and no code of conduct for camp commandants or directors, trainers, facilitators and supervisors. Despite this somewhat diplomatic language it is clear that there is a problem with bullying by Malay NCOs and Officers, a lack of cultural sensitivity by the organizers, and a reluctance to provide a proper diet for the mainly Buddhist Chinese Malaysians and Hindu Indian Malaysians.
In 2005, concerns were raised in Parliament that youth were being taught to use firearms, namely M-16 rifles, in National Service. The Deputy Prime Minister, stated that this was merely a pilot project. However, a DAP Member of Parliament claimed that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity and National Service had not been informed of the project.
Since 2005 the sessions are being exclusively held in camps, since all of the universities involved suffered losses due to trainee vandalism. After the lessons learnt in 2004, security is now tightened. Stricter rules are also being enforced. The canvas tents of 2004 have now been replaced with brick walled barracks.(Wikipedia)
Conclusion: All in all it is a very good programme that parents should accept and actively encourage their children to participate. Anything is better than the present segregated lives we lead in the country and still have the temerity to call ourselves Malaysians when we are overseas. Shame on us!