Results so positive, they had to relook NS study

Results so positive, they had to relook NS study
Members of the Singapore Armed Forces during the march pass at the SAF Day Parade at Safti Military Institute on July 1, 2013. The primary mission for National Service is to instil discipline and values among the young, according to a new study on perceptions on the rite of passage.

SINGAPORE - Hearing stories from her two brothers was the closest she got to life in the army.

One was in the navy and the other was a commando.

But being part of the team for a study on Singaporeans' attitudes towards national service (NS) - a 46-year-old institution here - helped bring Institute of Policy Studies' (IPS) associate director Yang Wai Wai closer to Singaporeans' psyche about NS.

She was roped in to join IPS' senior research fellow Leong Chan-Hoong and senior research analyst Henry Ho Mun Wah in the study commissioned by the Committee to Strengthen National Service.

Madam Yang, who is in her 40s, said with a laugh: "I think Chan-Hoong roped me in because I was a woman. I think he kept trying to bounce ideas off me."

From the results of the study, conducted from July to September on 1,251 Singaporeans, both male and female, the trio found a "positive perception and support of NS".

Initially, they were so concerned about the possible scepticism towards the generally positive data that they had to relook their study.

But the "rigorous methodology" that they had adopted, following international standards as much as possible, set them at ease.

One thing which struck Madam Yang was that the younger NSmen - those who have not completed in-camp training - considered NS training to be safe.

Referring to the media spotlight on accidents and deaths of national servicemen, and netizens who were commenting on the online stories, the mother of a 16-year-old son said: "I was so surprised because we've been reading about it so much in the press.

"When we saw that, we were like, 'Oh, wait a minute, we have to go back and check.'"

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