Steph's Friend

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Controversial Pianist : Melvyn Tan

In the past, it was Ms Chng Zhenzhi, the female scholar who said that males going through NS whine too much and should take it as a man. Now, it's Melvyn Tan, someone viewed as a "defaulter".

Mr Melvyn Tan, now 49, went overseas for his studies when he was 12 and did not come back for his NS when he was called up. It was a juggle between doing national duty and moving on in his career. He choose the latter. Now, he's a British citizen and a well-known musician (a pianist) and is invited back to Singapore as one of the jury for a competition. He will also be performing in the Esplanade.

NS or National Service is a 2-year training all males above the age of 18 undergo. After the 2 years, there will be 10 years of re-service for each individual. Many see re-service and ICTs (In-Camp Trainings) as something disruptive to their family and jobs. Despite the inconveniences, they still go for it as a proud Singaporean defending his homeland.

That is why many Singaporeans are unhappy as he was let off easily with only a fine that "he can't remember". Being rich and famous, a maximum fine of $5000 would be "peanuts" to him. People in the forums are throwing flaming remarks on him. Some have even begun to question the importance of NS. Is our "sweat and blood worth only $5000?".

anonymouscoward in sgForums said that:

"That's it.. I'm sending my son overseas after his PSLE and he can either stay there or be famous and pay a $5000 fine.

Also, I'm going to boycott every event the National Arts Council is involve in. I do want to associate myself with criminals. Someone should start a petition calling for his removal as judge."

It can be seen that escaping NS is not something seen favourably by Singaporeans. Even more if you come back rich and famous with only a fine that you can't remember.

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