Extend 2.4 to 3.2km? I couldn't even run 1.5km

Extend 2.4 to 3.2km? I couldn't even run 1.5km

SINGAPORE - Like getting recalled, I'm going back to the army again for this week's column.

Last week, I cited an analogy I read online which compared full-time National Service (NS) to being "betrothed to a fat and ugly woman, and you must have sex with her every Monday to Friday for two whole years".

A reader e-mailed me to complain that in my article, "thought has not been given for the 'fat and ugly' females in our society".

He wrote: "We have been cruel towards parents of such girls by such description. "I don't wish to derive fun out of the innocents, despite your wonderful writing skills."

Uh... I'm not sure how I should respond to this.

Should I apologise to the "fat and ugly females"? Or to the parents of such females?

Or should I thank the reader for highlighting my "wonderful writing skills"? Ahem. I hope he wasn't being sarcastic there.

In my defence, the analogy wasn't mine.

It was an online comment by someone else which I thought captured the very male resentment against NS.

It also made me laugh.

In the week following the article, there was a slew of NS-related news.

Swimmer Joseph Schooling was granted a deferment.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Government is looking into giving NSmen a chance to choose their vocation.

But the biggest news, at least to me, involved a number - 3.2.

For a while last week, that seemed to be the new figure that would be dreaded by the thousands of operationallyready NSmen.

On Wednesday, The Straits Times reported that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) was "looking to change" the dreaded Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT).

One supposed change was that instead of the dreaded 2.4km run, it would soon be the dreaded 3.2km run.

This was like a whole new world. For generations of servicemen, the 2.4km run has been as much a part of NS as "stand by hair" and booking in by 2359.

For those who dreaded the annual IPPT before, they now had 0.8 more reasons to dread it.

But within hours, SAF released a statement that "there has not been any decision to change our IPPT system".

So it's back to dreading the 2.4km.

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