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Home Defense System

A house can be protected by four walls and a padlock on the door. But how does one defend an entire nation? In this episode, we look at mandatory military service for men in Singapore and the way it both defends and produces the nation as home. Recent NUS graduate Abi reflects on her childhood fascination with the army and how the institution of national service (NS), which some young men dread but all must complete, fortifies the idea of Singapore as home. We also hear from Stanley and Jia Han, who relate their experiences in NS and the ways the experience has shaped their connection to Singapore.

Read the transcript

Sound effects from Music from

Stanley Chow (second from left) with his friends from National Service at their Passing out Ceremony
Jia Han’s Commissioning Parade

Image credits:
Ray Lee, Co-founder of
Our scriptwriter for the episode, Abi, celebrating National Day as a young child

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – References – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Featured Videos

Diary of a Nation (SBC 1988) – 27 February 1967: National Service (NS) [Link]

Every Singaporean Son – Episode 5: How Far? [Link]

NS50: From My Generation to Yours [Link]

RSAF Open House 2016 CH-47SD Chinook Landing [Link]

Why We Serve; Our NS Stories (Episode 1) [Link]


Useful Literature

2013 report on Singaporean Attitudes towards NS; Sample Size 1250 [Link]

The Role of the Singapore Armed Forces in Forging National Values, Image, and Identity in Army Journal [Link]

Published in Podcast Episodes S1


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