Can Singapore's military fatigues be worn as casual wear?

Reader Tan Pin Ho wrote to askST, noting that in Singapore, "it is illegal to use our National Flag for any other purpose other than to represent the country or during a national celebration. People from many other countries print patterns of their national flags on their T-shirts, shorts, even their underwear.

"However, I am not so sure about our army fatigues. Can we use them for casual wear?

"Most of the people I asked said we are not allowed to wear any form of army fatigues unless we are on active military duty; but many were unsure."

Defence correspondent Jermyn Chow has the answer.

The SAF uniform should be worn only for military parades, training exercises, SAF operations and SAF-approved events or functions.

Under the Decorations and Uniforms Act, anyone who is caught for the unauthorised use of any part of the naval, military, air or police forces uniform, including badges and medals, can be convicted in the Magistrate's Court. If found guilty, you can be fined up to $400 or jailed up to three months.

But such convictions are almost unheard of.

In 2013, the Singapore Army came out to publicly denounce the use of its fatigues in a publicity stunt organised by The National Geographic Channel.

Aimed at promoting the second season of a documentary on National Service here, called Every Singaporean Son 2: The Making Of An Officer, actors dressed as soldiers marched and took commands from passers-by at Raffles Place.

The campaign caused a public furore. People found the stunt inappropriate and demeaning to Singaporean soldiers.

The Singapore Army said on Facebook at the time that it was "very disappointed" with the stunt, because it was "disrespectful of our soldiers, and undermines the dedication and commitment of all our soldiers who have served dutifully in the defence of our country".

It added that the army was not informed of the stunt or the use of its uniforms.

This article was first published on June 8, 2016.
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