Should artists be allowed to defer NS too?

Should artists be allowed to defer NS too?
"Certain professional artists - classical musicians and dancers in particular - are not unlike athletes and can achieve excellence at a young age," said actress and Nominated MP for the arts Janice Koh.

Young artists can also benefit from deferment.

"Certain professional artists - classical musicians and dancers in particular - are not unlike athletes and can achieve excellence at a young age," said actress and Nominated MP for the arts Janice Koh.

"World-class musicians like (Chinese pianist) Lang Lang or (American cellist) Yo Yo Ma, for instance, found success in their teens and early twenties.

"Active military training for our talented young musicians during this critical period could potentially jeopardise their chances of international success on competitive platforms.

"And while success for a musician might not be determined by a specific event like the Olympics, it should not make it any less important," she said.

DIFFERENT

While the door for artists should not be closed, the difference between them and athletes must be taken into account, said Mr Baey Yam Keng, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Community and Youth.

"Artists aren't fighting for a gold medal. Instead, they work hard to be invited to perform at international showcases.

"But (Joseph) Schooling's deferment could allow for arrangements to be made for the arts and other fields."

Mr Leslie Tan, 49, a cellist with the T'ang Quartet, said national service takes place during an artist's formative years.

He said: "If they could be given time to develop and make a name in the industry, it would be doing the country proud - just like the athletes."

But Mr Alvin Tan, 50, artistic director and founder of theatre company The Necessary Stage, said he would prefer his actors to complete national service.

He said: "I would prefer if my actors quickly complete their national service, join us and not be interrupted after that."


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