In reply to questions from MPs, Minister Ng Eng Hen has basically put out any flicker of hope that MINDEF might relent with regards to Ben’s appeal for defer his NS so that he can play professional football for Premier League club Fulham FC.
MINDEF also took the opportunity to educate the public and clarify all misconceptions surrounding the NS deferment scheme.
The key takeaway any sportsmen need to know is this, “To preserve equity for all national servicemen, MINDEF will only defer individuals very selectively if their deferment serves Singapore’s interest first and foremost, never their own.”
MINDEF did not allow Ben Davis to defer his NS because the application for deferment is to further Ben’s career first and to the longest extent possible, adding that there has been no indication or commitment as to how the deferment would help football standards in Singapore, i.e. zero national interest.
Harvey (Ben Davis father) did not tell you that:
(i) Ben is playing for Fulham FC as a British national. On Fulham FC’s website, it states that his nationality is English. I mean after all he has three passports – British, Singaporean and Thai. How convenient for him! No need to apply for work permit, delay NS indefinitely, generous tax breaks for JSSL. Seems like Harvey just want the best of everything and is keen to exploit all loopholes to achieve it
(ii) Harvey has never given a timeline when Ben will come back to serve NS, if deferred. How can liddat? Even white horse also don’t have open cheque book like that! As my BMT sergeant used to say, “Eh this is not your father’s army understand?” Or maybe Ben thinks it is?
(iii) Harvey also already has gone ahead to sign the professional contract with Fulham. So MINDEF haven’t give green light for deferment then go ahead to sign contract? Might as well give the middle finger to MINDEF and every Singaporean Son. Observe how Harvey skillfully publicized his son’s unsuccessful deferment in the media with hope of swaying the public to his course. It worked, the petition for Ben Davis garnered thousands of signatures,
All in all I think NS deferments are great for EXCEPTIONAL talents. But is Ben exceptional?
Not many fans have heard of him before this saga. Yes, scoring a professional contract for an EPL club is no small feat. But Ben has not even been capped by Singapore at national level. Sundram barely mention anything about his talent at all.
Isn’t it wierd that Fulham FC have also remained silent thus far. Imagine Tottenham Hotspur keeping quiet if South Korea recalls striker Son Heung Min for military service. I don’t think they will diam diam if their prized asset is taken away.
As Ng Eng Hen noted in Parliament, Ben can follow the examples of Irfan Fandi, Ikhsan Fandi and Saifullah Akbar who have all completed NS. Irfan and Ikhsan have upcoming trials with Braga, a top tier club in the Portuguese league, while Saifullah will do so at CD Tenerife, a second division club in Spain. And you know what, Ikhsan and Saifullah asked to be enlisted early. What makes Ben so special then?
We were all 18 once. We all had big dreams. All of us put our lives on hold for 2 years so that we can do our duty. for the country. Although we grumbled, we went ahead and did it. It’s called national duty.
Ben Davis, you are not the Special One. Come back and serve your NS lah.