Well, that’s if young Benjamin Davis decides to stay a Singaporean, and not change his citizenship. The 17 year old just signed a two-year professional contract with English Premier League side Fulham, becoming the first Singaporean to do so with a top-tier English club. However, like every Singaporean son, Ben Davis has to serve NS this December, which could scupper his development. Last Sunday, MINDEF has released a statement rejecting his request to defer NS, citing that it would “not be fair to approve applications for deferment for individuals to pursue their own careers and development”. (Funny, considering all other possible reasons for deferment…) MINDEF told the media that deferments in sports are only granted to athletes who are potential medal winners, but the public has not taken to this well, especially when DPM Tharman just praised France for its footballing system – how can Singapore produce a starlet like 19 year old Kylian Mbappe if they have to serve NS at 18? As of today, close to 7,500 people have signed an online petition calling for an NS deferment for Ben Davis – hopefully enough for the government to change its stance.
Written by Lim Jin Jie