Two pre-enlistees and their dream vocations
NS pre-enlistees can soon indicate their preferred vocations. MARIAN GOVIN (firstname.lastname@example.org) asks two young men what they would ask for
He wants to become a medic when he serves his national service (NS).
Mr Muhammad Faris Ilyasa Baharin, 18, a student, says he hopes to fulfil his mother's dream.
The eldest of three brothers says: "My mother has always hoped that one of her sons will become a doctor."
Mr Faris is studying at Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah but plans to pursue a degree in medicine.
He believes that by being a medic, he can apply what he has learnt in school and gain even more useful skills.
He adds that knowing his job scope in advance would also make him "better prepared".
"If I get to be a medic, I would be ready for all the studying and hard work, such as learning about different medications and their uses."
From next year, NS pre-enlistees will be able to indicate the vocation they are interested in. They can put multiple choices to increase their chances of matching success.
They can select from up to 30 vocations. These different roles will be explained in videos on the Central Manpower Base website at www.cmpb.gov.sg.
The list of vocations has yet to be announced.
If their aptitudes match their choice and if there are no operational caveats, such as a medical injury, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will try its best to assign the pre-enlistees to their preferred choice.
It is not known if this vocation matching would increase the chances for those of minority races to join more sensitive branches in the military.
But Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has said it will be a win-win situation if someone who is trained in a certain vocation in school is assigned to a relevant vocation in the army.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at the annual SAF Day, Dr Ng said: "You probably will have good scenarios where somebody who, for example, trained in ITE and polytechnic in a particular field, say aerospace, and for his vocation, he chooses to be an air force technician.
"If you can match it, well, that is wonderful."
Mr Lloyd Mok Qi Qian, 20, hopes to get into the air force and later sign on full-time as a warrant officer.
The ITE graduate says he used to be worried that his education level would affect his NS placement.
"But with the scheme, I hope my education background will not affect it as much," he says.
Despite the benefits of this new vocation matching system, Mr Mok and Mr Faris agree that there are some disadvantages.
Mr Mok says: "All those who are lazy would be able to choose the slacker options like storeman or driver. Who is going to defend the country?"
Mr Faris adds: "We might not know what the exact job scope of the vocation is, and pick the ones which look easy."
Dr Ng, however, has confidence that young Singaporean men will make the right choices.
"I am very proud of young Singaporeans. Some of the tougher vocations are also our most popular vocations. I think that is a good sign," he says.