It is telling when a senior leader such as SM Goh was not able to answer such a question when asked....surely he must know what is of such great value to Singaporeans that they are expected to sacrifice their life for. We have put hundreds of thousands of fine young men through national service expecting to risk their lives when the time comes....but what is it that is worth dying for? How come SM Goh was unable to say ...?
Freedom....throughout the ages men have fought and died for freedom. Many have died fight against dictators and tyrants who ruled and exploited them. Your forefathers fought against British colonialists. Why? They fought for the freedom to plot their own destiny, the freedom to choose their leaders and freedom to speak their minds and be heard. If you're fighting for your freedom in Singapore, who would be fighting against? Not an invading army but a system of control put in place that limits your liberty and takes away your rights. I'm sure elsewhere leaders would not hesitate to tell people to defend their freedom with their lives....but in Singapore it is hard to say that.
Defend your family. When the 1st missiles fall on our soil, where will your family be?....
"My parents called a family meeting in their bedroom soon after Saigon fell. My father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Singapore’s Prime Minister, told us: ‘Mama and I will stay here to the bitter end. Hsien Loong is already in the SAF and must do his duty. But the three of you need not feel obliged to stay." - Lee Wei Ling, Straits Times, 1 Feb 2009.
Thanks to the honesty of Lee Wei Ling, we now know that when Saigon fell, (part of) the Lee family was considering leaving the country. Hey, Saigon is a long way from Singapore and Thailand + Malaysia would have to fall first and no bombs were falling on Singapore, yet they considered leaving. That is afterall the practical thing to do. What is the point of risking the life of your family when you can afford to buy them air tickets to get out. That is the logical thing to do especially for the wealthy who have homes all over the world. In many poor countries, people actually fight to defend their families because they can't move them out of the country...they have to leave by foot and as refugees to escape the invading forces which is dangerous so it makes sense for men to defend the country for the sake of their families.
Defend your HDB flat & assets. Although this may seem a little funny at first but it makes a whole lot of sense. Many Singaporeans spend a large part of their life servicing their HDB loans and a large part of their net worth is sunk into HDB flats...for some people losing their HDB flats is like losing everything....that surely is enough motivation for people to fight. The problem with Lim Zi Rui is he doesn't have a HDB flat and have not had the experience of paying for it over many years so he finds it hard to answer his own question. The problem with this notion is many HDB flats are now owned by PRs....I don't think PRs will be around to defend their HDB flats - they will probably depend on you to preserve their assets.
Defend your way of life. Suppose you have a happy life - a good retirement to look forward to, no worries about medical care, good work environment, great friends...all possible only because you live in a good country...one that cares about its citizens....a way of life that you want for your children, nephew and nieces. You think it is worth defending? I'm sure some people would think so. Suppose you live in a country where you're afraid to get sick, where there is no retirement and you have to work for your whole life, where the pace of life is so stressful, all you think about in your spare time is how to emigrate, what do you do when you're asked to defend this way of life with your life?
Imagine on of the first thing to happen when the risk of war is imminent is the departure of the foreign workforce. Given our high dependence on them, everything grinds to a halt and the psychological impact of seeing hundreds of thousands of people leaving you behind will quite devastating to those who are thinking of staying behind and fighting.
Defend your fellow Singaporeans. There is a reason why all of us haven't left and are still staying put. Many capable Singaporeans who have the ability to leave for countries with better weather, better healthcare, higher incomes, better opportunities, choose not to do so for the simple reason that we consider Singapore our home. We like living among other Singaporeans, people speak the same language (Singlish) as us, people who have gone through the same good and bad times as ourselves, people who can understand us. ....we, Singaporeans, have a unique identity something that you can never remove from a true-blue Singaporean. Human beings feel a certain duty to help and defend people they can identify with.
“When I was younger, I was very proud of being a Singaporean. But that was about five, ten years ago. Five years later, with all the changes in policies and the influx of foreign talent, I really don’t know what I’m defending any more.."- NTU Student, Lim Rui Zi
When excessive immigration start to destroy this unique identity, this sense of duty to defend your fellow Singaporeans is also destroyed. Everyday, you go to work in buses crowded with foreigners speaking languages you don't understand and when you get to your workplace, more foreigners who are more at home with each other than they are with you so much so you feel rather foreign in your work place. You get home again to be surrounded by foreigners because your Singaporean neighbors couldn't take it and emigrated to New Zealand. You'll start to feel like Lim Rui Zi - you will still do what you can for Singapore but you won't be able to understand why you're doing it and the danger is one day when you search your heart for reasons and none exist, you may not be able to what Singapore needs you to do.