The topic of national service has been in the news recently, not just because of the release of a national survey but comments made by some who hated their experience.
My own attitude towards national service has changed over the years.
I recall what it was like for me when I turned 18 - we had all arrived in a three-tonner at Sembawang Basic Military Training camp and assembled at the parade square.
An "officer" soon came around and started talking to some of us. He then came to me and asked: "Who are you?".
I straightened my shoulders and replied: "Ravi, Sir!"
The "officer" looked sternly into my eyes and said: "I have two things to tell you. One, I'm not sir - I'm corporal. "Two, you are a @# per cent recruit. Got it?!"
Before I could even fully comprehend what he had told me, he moved on to chat with the guy next in line.
That was in the late 1980s. I did not particularly enjoy national service. I'm a free spirit and felt the strict regimentation stifling. I hated performing guard duties.
In fact, I did not even know what they were for. I did not understand the logic for checking in at 2359 hours. Six months before my actual ROD (run-out date - now it's ORD), I started counting down. When my ROD finally came, I celebrated!