samedi, décembre 05, 2009

The Teenager has been granted his Exit Permit!

I picked up my mail as usual this afternoon, not even bothering to look at it (usually bills and publicity) and went on to shop for food, cook etc. Then I decided to sort it out this evening and my heart nearly stopped when I saw a letter from MINDEF (Ministry of Defence).

On the Teenager's 13th Birthday, I had written to CMPB (Central Manpower Base) requesting that the boy be granted deferment from National Service (NS) till the age of 21 years, pending renunciation of his Singapore citizenship. They said they would reply in 3 weeks, but it has actually taken 2 months.

My heart was beating really fast as I opened the letter. Then my eyes fell upon this sentence,

"MINDEF has considered his case and is prepared to grant him deferment until he is 21 years old pending renunciation of his Singapore citizenship. However, if he subsequently enjoys privileges of Singapore citizenship, his deferment will be revoked..."

Am I overjoyed? Relieved, yes, overjoyed, no. Relieved that we wouldn't have to post the 100K bond for the exit permit, relieved that he wouldn't have NS hanging over his head for a citizenship that he will probably renounce anyway. This boy is born and bred in Europe after all.

But I feel sad. My connection to my country will end with me. This feels like a part of me has been chopped off, detached. I am bleeding. How do I explain that?

Still, I will remain hopeful, for it doesn't cost anything to hope. I will hope that in the next few years, Singapore may change her citizenship laws and allow dual citizenships under certain circumstances. Then maybe I can persuade the Teenager to do his NS and keep both citizenships.

Singapore has given me much. No matter where I am in the world, my heart remains Singaporean. I am Singaporean. This is the way things are.

Meanwhile, I am thankful that my faith in my country has been justified. That I had chosen to contact CMPB last year to clarify things instead of depending on hearsay. That I was right to believe that for all her faults Singapore is a fair and lawful country.

8 commentaires:

Pris a dit…

OH cool that yr son managed to get deferrment! Hey S.! When are you coming to Stuttgart? Are you coming at all??

Beau Lotus a dit…

Alamak how many times do I have to tell you that?

19/12 We'll be at Reutlingen and 20/12 at Vaihingen. Hub's the one in charge of the Germany part of our vacation (2 days), I deal with the ski part (1 week).

Anonyme a dit…

I think it all depends on how long your son spent time in Spore. If you recall the Norwegian case last year, it was a big hoo-ha in the local papers, cos the Sporean mother & Norwegian father were complaining that their 3 sons were court martialed for going AWOL by Mindef which considers it a serious crime. As a result, those 3 Norwegian young adults will have to go to court & face jail term should they step foot in Spore again.

The key phrase that Mindef emphasized to you is that "if he subsequently enjoys privileges of Singapore citizenship", then he will need to serve NS by that they mean a lengthy stay in Spore. In the Norwegian case, they spent a good 15 years of their life in Spore before heading back to Norway leaving their parents in Spore.

But then again, your ancestors left China a long time ago & so did mine, if you ever head back to China you will realize its not as Chinese as you think it is. The real Chinese are those residing overseas who have left before the fall of Communism. The real Chinese traditions & beliefs are alive & well in HK, Taiwan & of course Spore & elsewhere in SE Asia.

Don't worry too much over this, I think your Teenager has probably by osmosis absorbed Chinese culture subconsciously.He probably knows what ancestor worship is if he visits Spore, what real Chinese dining is like etc.

Anonyme a dit…

Something to add which I forgot above was the article in the The Online Citizen: a community of Sporeans. The gist of the article was that true blue Sporeans born & bred here are dwindling at an alarming rate.

Beau Lotus a dit…

We agree that we are more Chinese than the Chinese who remained in China during Communist rule. That's what I've always told everybody. When I arrived in Paris and met Chinese people for the 1st time, I was shock to see how little they knew of our traditions and customs. And I thought we were westernised.

Precisely, the Teenager was only home for the hols and I made sure he didn't go to the public hospitals or have a passport, NRIC etc. We pay for everything from our own pockets and somemore couldn't claim tax refunds.

I've read about the Norwegian case, they have missed the point, I thought even then. 15 yrs in S'pore is a long time and since they are so militarily-inclined, they could have served the required NS before renouncing their Sgp citizenship, instead of expecting the law to change for them right now. Their parents should also have checked up on the law before packing them off to Norway. They probably thought like most Singaporeans that the coast would be clear when the child turns 18 or 21 - very false idea. That's when you have officially turned army deserter if you have not done the right thing by the exit permit when you turn 13.

Beau Lotus a dit…

And when you have a Singaporean mother, you cannot be impervious to her singaporeaness. We are unique as you may know.

Pris a dit…

What will you be doing at Reutlingen? Or Vaihingen?? Anything special there? Sorry babe, I somehow didn´t get your previous replies! Have no idea why.... Shall we meet on the 20th?

SIG a dit…

S, I truly hope that in the very near future, that our children will be allowed dual citizenship. It has to go that way with so many inter-marriages. If they do not allow that, then they will probably lose a lot of these kids, such as yours who are born and bred overseas.