Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mr PM: Please Release Exact Figures

Mr PM: Please Release Exact Figures

Lee Hsien Loong is supposed to have a degree in maths. For someone who is supposed to have studied the subject at Cambridge University, it is ironic that he is incompetent when it comes to numbers. What is hundreds? He never give us the specific numbers or details. It can be 200 or it can be 900. So...confusing. Trust the PAP to be so 'transparent'

Furthermore, how does this stack up against the number of locals enlisting every year? Skeptic couldn't find any figures but he decided to guesstimate based on the figures of live birth in Singapore. Last year there was roughly 39,800 live births in Singapore. Even taking a conservative 1/4 of those births being males eligible for NS when they turn 18, it is safe to say that between 5000-8000 male citizens enlist every year.

So what is hundreds when citizens contribute thousands? Given the fact that more than a third of the population are foreigners the burden is unequally shared.

So the speech about hundreds is misleading. When you do statistics, absolute numbers are meaningless unless you do a comparison with some other data you collected. 100 degrees Celsius is too hot for a room but cold in comparison to the sun. 5 degrees Celsius is cold for human beings but too hot for superconductors. Every thing depends on a proper context and in this case the lack of a proper one is very dishonest.

What does this mean? The majority of foreigners are enjoying Singapore without any NS burden but the PAP fails to address this problem. While it is commendable that some of the foreign born choose to do NS, you have to understand that they are but a tiny minority among the foreign born population.

When you do a rough comparison between the two numbers, you realise that rather than having too many foreign born NS men, we have too few.

Straits Times Sep 16 2009 Many foreign-born do NS yearly

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday addressed a pet peeve among Singaporeans, that new immigrants do not do national service (NS) or are called up for reservist training.Mr Lee said every year, hundreds of foreign-born youths do their NS as new citizens or permanent residents (PRs).'They come from different races and countries, but they have consciously committed themselves to do NS, and march together with Singaporeans,' he said at a dialogue with students of Nanyang Technological University.

In July, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean had said in an interview the number of such youths is in the 'high hundreds every year'. Yesterday, PM Lee also said a 'good number of these new citizens' excel in NS, attending Officer Cadet School or topping their cohort and being awarded the Sword of Honour. Some have signed on to be regulars in the Singapore Armed Forces while others have won SAF scholarships, he said. Mr Lee cited Lieutenant Kok Khew Fai, 21, a Malaysian-born officer, who became a citizen in May 2007. Lt Kok received the SAF merit scholarship last month and will be an air engineering officer after completing his aeronautical engineering studies at Britain's Imperial College. He was awarded the SAF Medal for Distinguished Act last September for shielding a recruit from a grenade blast during an exercise in March last year. Besides defence, PM Lee said new citizens and PRs also contribute in other areas. 'They not only contribute to our economy, they also enrich our society and make up for our population shortfall.' Singapore made sure these newcomers raised the population's quality in terms of education, skills and drive, he added. Mr Lee also urged Singaporeans to intensify their efforts in engaging new citizens, who have different social habits. 'Singaporeans must understand that they come from societies very different from ours. 'In China and India, one has to be assertive and even aggressive to get anywhere. In Singapore, our social norms have become more restrained and considerate.' He noted that there are programmes to help new citizens adjust to life here, such as explaining to them the culture of queuing and other social practices. But Singapore needs to do more, which is why the National Integration Council set up in April will announce new initiatives soon, said PM Lee. The council is scheduled to do so today

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