Wife reminded me to apply for an Exit Permit and I gave her a grim, "Ok." Grouchy when it comes to such matter.
I should be thankful to her for the timely reminder, for I once got into trouble for clean forgetting about it. Last year, when I return to to Singapore to for a Reunion Dinner with my family that I missed for two years since I left for Perth, I was handed over a carbon printed slip which I recognised too well.
Of course it was a love letter from Mindef. I tell ya, nothing good comes from them. As far as I'm concerned, even some companies that usually send you bills every month will send you something pleasant once in a bluemoon. Like a birthday voucher, or a loyalty discount offer to extend your contract. For Mindef, the receiver should count his blessing the letter wasn't about informing him he was to report to X camp to be charged with X offence. The other usual shit will be returning to camp for ICT or something. I know many NS men actually like that. They enjoy returning to the army for ICT and even go as far as calling people like me "chao keng." When I asked them why they like going back for ICT to roll in the mud, they told me, "Good what, no need to face my boss and I get paid." Ok. So the fucking work chao kengers were calling the likes of me a fucking army chao kenger. Sure, tell me about serving the nation. That'll usually come after you get caught out within your flawed logic as a form of smoke bomb so that you can remain looking holy. Tell ya what boys, I'll let you occupy your moral high grounds, if that makes you feel better.
Folks like those will be telling me that it is perfectly logical for people who have emigrated to another country permanently to carry on their obligations to Mindef, such as in this case applying for an Exit Permit annually. To furnish Mindef of my overseas residential address and contact number. I struggle to think of a logical reason to do this. So that I could be called back to fight when Singapore is involved in a war? I wonder if Scoot actually flies from Perth to Singapore during war. I hope so. Else I regret to inform that the SAF only taught me how to cross a river not a bloody ocean. So tell me if there is a better reason for keeping contact other than "in case of war" - which I will not be able to return to Singapore in time anyway? To send me Pioneer magazines?
Even at middle age as I am, I am still being treated like a juvenile like Amos Yee, reporting to Bedok Police Post or something on regular basis. I feel like a criminal released on probation having to report to an authority on regular basis.
Look, I am not arguing for nothing. It is important for Mindef to know how many reserve soldiers they can call back at any time. Only with accurate figures, can we make the best decisions and deploy the correct course of actions. All the more, Mindef should be not be deluded thinking they have more soldiers at their disposal than they think. The way Mindef is conducting their overseas notifications tells me they are certainly into skewing numbers for a false sense of gratification.
If there is an option for me to click "Forever" in the "to" field of my Exit Permit, I'll hit that hard, twice, just to send the message across once and for all. But no - I am still required to do this once every year or two. If "forever" isn't an option, then 10 year block would be nice. No, forget it. a 5 year block will be good enough, lest Mindef is reminded of a 10 year COE and start charging NS men $60,000 to apply for a 10 year Exit Permit.
Initially, I posted this screenshot on the blog, tagged under the "Information" label so that I can refer to when I have (inevitably) long forget the expiry date of my permit. When the uneasy nagging feeling that someone back in Singapore are typing a letter to charge me for not applying for an Exit Permit, I'll search for the post, get my date and extend my permit. I thought I would publish the post with no words but look what happened. I guess I have too much bottomed inside.