Tuesday, October 08, 2013

One in ten Singaporean women willing to do full-time NS?

It may be cliched but it is true when people say that there are three types of lies with statistics being one type (the other two types being lies and damned lies).

This old saying came to mind as I looked through the survey findings done by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on Singaporeans' perceptions and attitudes towards National Service (NS) and how Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported the findings.

CNA entitled its report about the findings: "Study shows one in 10 S'porean women willing to do full-time NS". This perhaps gave the impression that 10% of Singaporean women are willing to do full-time NS.

However, if you took the time to read the report, you would read that "Less than a quarter of respondents recommended a two-year full-time NS option for women. Among the women who said yes to that, 9.3 per cent of them said they will take up full-time NS."

This would mean that for a survey size of about 1200, less than 300 agreed with full-time NS for women. And of these people, there was an unstated number of women, of whom 9.3% were willing to do full-time NS. This is a rather far cry from "one in 10 S'porean women willing to do full-time NS", isn't it?

In fact, if you looked closely at the survey findings, you would realise that there were about 600 women surveyed (Slide 38), of whom about 20% agreed with full-time NS for women (Slide 29). Doing the maths, you would further realise that about 120 women agreed with full-time NS for women and of these 120 women, only about 12 were willing to do full-time NS.

The sceptic in me suspect that there is an effort to push the idea that there is support for women becoming part of the NS "pool" and this (intentional?) over/misrepresentation of how many Singaporean women are willing to do full-time NS could be part of such an effort. This is in view of how with a decreasing local birthrate, there would be less Singaporean men available to serve NS. Although numerical strength may no longer be that essential, it remains an important factor, in my opinion, for the effectiveness of a combat force. There is thus a need to find solutions to this potential decrease in combat manpower in the future. Besides outsourcing non-essential & non-combat functions (for example: physical training instructors), including women into the NS "pool", even on a voluntary basis, could help to alleviate this potential issue. So do not be surprised that at the end of this review of NS in Singapore, a finding would be increasing the ways which Singaporean women can take up full-time or part-time NS.

Of course, this is just the sceptic in me speculating.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the same crowd that said they will move to the back of the bus and will queue for MRT

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