Re: Think like a programmer (was Re: Singapore's Military Drafting)

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Sep 03 2001 - 09:26:30 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 03, 2001 at 11:22:23AM +0800, Chen Yixiong, Eric wrote:
> >
> > Singapore faces the problem of compulsory enlistment and (attempts to)
> >solve it by making an compulsory enlistment of all capable young males
> >into its military to serve at least 2.5 years of service. For young male
> >teens like myself, we have no means of to discard of this "obligation".
> Several options spring to mind.
> For starters, do they take insane people? Most armies don't. If you can
> get yourself certified as a manic-depressive they'll probably avoid you
> like crazy.

Crazy is a good dodge: you can always be cured, and you may need to go
overseas to be cured...

A saying I recall from the military: "There's four ways out besides
discharge: you've gotta be crazy, queer, commie, or comatose." Of the
four, I'd say crazy is the easiest dodge (unless you are already
bi/curious). I don't know how they treat commies in Singapore, or
whether that's an excuse to not serve, but if its not harmful to your
health but is a dodge, that's another good way out, you can always
change your opinions later.

Your primary problem, though, is that compulsory military service is not
considered 'repression' in the world of asylum. You won't get much play
from most countries on that dodge, especially since Singapore is not at
war with anybody at the moment. If you can conveniently get one started,
I hear that Canada is a fine place to avoid the draft.

But I think you are thinking about escaping all wrong. Defecting isn't a
tourist experience. It's not supposed to be easy. You don't get to just
go up to a counter and say "I'd like two tickets out of the country
ASAP, please." In order to get the proper defection experience, you need
to stow away: on a boat, a plane, etc. You need fake papers, a new
identity that makes you as either too young or old enough to have
already done your 2.5 years of service.

Last but not least: If you like living in Singapore otherwise, and are
otherwise proud of your country, serve your time. Inconvenience is a
rather piss poor excuse to not serve out a relatively short hitch in a
military that has not gone to war in decades. You may feel that your
country is not worth dying for, but I'm sure there is something in your
life that you do feel that much attachement to: family, friends, the
corner sushi bar, whatever. We all have one thing that truly matters.
Let that be your reason for serving.

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