Written by Mertice Ho

What happened?

The Ang Mo Kio Women’s Executive Committee (WEC) has organised the first ever “Women’s Boot Camp”. Opened to all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 13 and above, this camp will give women a glimpse into what national service (NS) men go through. The camp will take place between September 1 and 2 at Maju Camp and cost $55 dollars. At this campparticipants will take part in a 3km route march, try combat rations and fire a SAR21 rifle.

How has the reception been?

Well, with over a thousand women signing up even though there were only a hundred positions offered, it seems that many women are enthusiastic to learn more about what their male counterparts have to go through. The youngest participant is 13 years old, while the oldest is 64, with an average age of 29.

Amongst netizens, some commented that a 2 day programme was not enough for an individual to fully understand the sacrifice of 2 years in NS. They worry that at best the camp would misrepresent NS, and at worst would discount the 2 years as ‘easy’ to endure. Others joked that learning to use the SAR21 would take up the full 2 days leaving no time for anything else. Each “recruit”  will be partnered with female military regulars and volunteers from the SAF to guide them and ensure their safety.

There are other ways for women in Singapore to experience NS, such as the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) that will provide women with four weeks of training. They will then go on to perform their duties for 14 days each year. For many of the participants, the bootcamp is a way of satiating their curiosity about what NS life is like without committing to the SAF.

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