S$100mil goodies to thank NSmen for contributions
by Dylan Loh
The government is giving out 100 million dollars in goodies to recognise the country's protectors.
They'll come in the form of vouchers - of between 50 and 100 dollars each - to be used for groceries, dining, recreation and at petrol stations, among other things.
These will be handed out next year (2013) to over 900,000 National Servicemen, and come as Singapore marks 45 years of National Service.
Service to the nation is hard work.
The government wants to say 'thanks' for decades of blood and sweat from Singapore's servicemen.
So vouchers given to them are meant to provide some perks.
Full-time National Servicemen will get 50 dollars each.
Operationally Ready ones will get 80 dollars.
While those who have fully completed their National Service cycle will get 100 dollars.
The vouchers can be used at recreational clubs for servicemen.
SAFRA has five clubs across the island while HomeTeam NS has six.
In addition, a free one-year membership at these clubs will be given to all who have already completed Full-time National Service.
The benefits are a one-off initiative to appreciate those who have made conscripted service to the country possible.
The Defence and Home Affairs ministries say this gesture adds to the various measures over the years to recognise servicemen for vital contributions.
Operationally Ready National Serviceman Captain Indrashah Muhammad Isa is happy to be getting this extra recognition:
"Since we have this, I take it as bonus, as something more, so I'm grateful that we have this as part of them recognising our contributions."
For Full-time serviceman like Corporal Wong Zeng An, it is all about serving the country:
"National Service itself, we shouldn't just go running on the logic that there must be carrots or incentives given to us all the time. But rather, we need to see beyond that and understand that National Service is present because of the importance of contributing to the defence and the security of the nation."
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who announced the perks at a dinner marking 45 years of National Service, also launched a book with stories and pictures of servicemen.
He paid tribute to the critical role NSmen have played in ensuring peace and prosperity for Singapore:
"Every Singaporean son is precious. It is our duty to provide our servicemen with all the equipment, training and support they need to carry out their mission. But newer weapons, better welfare or comfier amenities are only part of the solution. What is most important is our Singapore spirit:"
Awards were also given out to 15 people who attained high standards in training and contributed positively to their units as military servicemen.
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