Schooling should be given further NS deferment: Readers
Readers say history-making swimmer must be supported to the hilt
The New Paper raised the issue yesterday and we got people talking.
Should swimmer Joseph Schooling be granted another deferment, or maybe even exemption, from National Service after delivering Singapore's first-ever Olympic gold medal in Rio on Saturday morning?
Along with national teammate Quah Zheng Wen, Schooling (right) became the first Singaporean athlete to be granted NS deferment - in October 2013 - and it is due to end this month.
Yesterday, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said that it is possible that the 21-year-old swim ace could be given another deferment for the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
"I think the whole of Singapore is elated, filled with pride over Joseph Schooling's historic achievements," Dr Ng said, as quoted by the Straits Times, on the sidelines of a grassroots event in Toa Payoh Central yesterday.
"When we deferred him in 2013 so that he could compete - train, compete for the Olympics - it was based on known conditions that I already explained to Parliament.
"And if he continues to meet those conditions, I don't see why not.
"The conditions have been always quite clear and if sportsmen achieve those conditions, we've had no problem in granting (them) deferment."
In 2013, Dr Ng said that deferment from full-time NS may be granted in "exceptional circumstances" to individual sportsmen who are assessed to be potential medal-winners at international competitions.
Individuals will have to show why deferment is necessary for them to train full-time and compete successfully, and they will also be assessed on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
Readers who wrote in to TNP took the unanimous view that Schooling should be given further NS deferment to build on his Olympic success.
Here are some of the letters.
I guess I could be speaking on behalf of most Singaporeans that Joseph Schooling should be exempted from National Service after his historic win in the 100m butterfly final at the Rio Olympics.
At the very least, he should be granted another deferment for at least two more Olympics.
If he has to come back and serve his NS now, it would be detrimental to his progress.
- Sebastian Tan
Should Joseph Schooling get further National Service deferment? Absolutely!
Joseph is already doing NS in a different form and one which has brought unprecedented pride and glory to our nation.
If we want to groom future champions, we need to give them the full support to fulfil their potential during their best years.
What I hope our Government could look into extending NS deferment to more talented kids and those beyond sports such as gifted musicians who could also do Singapore proud.
Understandably, this may be seen as a risk as not everyone can reach the pinnacle as Joseph, but we need change if we want change.
- Genevieve Chua
Joseph Schooling should be granted another deferment till the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but he should undergo Basic Military training by 2020 like all able-bodied males. The remainder of his NS tenure could be "military light", like serving as an ambassador for Safsa.
Through his Olympic gold-medal win, he has contributed to Singapore's "social defence".
Just look at the sense of unity and national pride at the coffee shops and in social media.
We must support Schooling in his swimming pursuits given that he is only 21 years of age. He is our greatest athlete, our first Olympic champion and contributed so much to Singapore through sport.
Let's treasure this gem that we have.
- Tan Gee Shan
My view is that he shouldn't be exempted from National Service. Every able-bodied male Singaporean must fulfil his NS obligations. Perhaps after serving his Basic Military Training, he should be given deferment to train for the 2020 Olympics.
- Elangkovan Kumarasamy
Before I comment on the matter, I must take the opportunity to congratulate Joseph Schooling on his amazing win.
However, I am not someone who can jump on the bandwagon for his exemption from National Service. Serving NS is an obligation for each and every male citizen.
However, I am fully supportive of the idea of granting him another deferment to focus on his training in view of the 2020 Tokyo Games. It would be validated should Joseph do well at those Games, although it is not in any way a necessity.
Giving him the deferment is the best way we can support him while not making an exception to our basic obligation towards the security of our country.
- Manickam Krishnasamy