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Singapore Table of Contents


Role in Society

Government efforts to enhance the status of the military profession, particularly in the Chinese community, were only partially successful. During the colonial period, the Confucian tradition that valued scholarship or military service and parental influence discouraged young Singaporeans of Chinese descent from choosing a career in the military. In the 1960s and 1970s, the government attempted to overcome opposition to the conscription system through a media campaign that emphasized the important role of the armed forces. By the late 1970s, the draft and compulsory service no longer were controversial, but soldiers still were not held in high esteem by the general population. Although military service was generally viewed as acceptable within the Malay community, government concerns about ethnic and religious loyalties of Malays in the armed forces made it difficult for them to become officers or to be assigned to sensitive positions.

Data as of December 1989