When Stephanie Tan told her parents she wanted to undergo Basic Training under the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps, they didn’t say 'yes' to her.
The Polytechnic student in international business wanted to invest two weeks into the army, serving the people through the SAFVC. Her parents, however, did not think she has what it takes to survive. They think she is too ‘demure, vulnerable and feminine’ for such volunteer work.
Tan’s parents had a natural reaction; after all, parents worry about their daughters handling rifles and doing ‘manly’ work when they undergo volunteer training in Singapore. Would it make their daughters less of a woman?
On the contrary, it will transform them into stronger women.
Abilities Over Gender
As long as an applicant qualifies for the position, gender should not be a deciding factor. Today’s society does not limit women to household work only; they are free to explore their options. In Stephanie’s case, she was free to try her hand at basic soldiering skills and knowledge.
The SAFVC’s recruitment and training standards benefit both men and women volunteers. In fact, the additional training doesn’t only build strength; it teaches them valuable expertise and decision making skills.
SAFVC volunteers undergo the two-week Basic Training programme, which provides them with understanding and appreciation for the country’s military ethos and values. Women volunteers, in particular, will benefit greatly from the military knowledge offered by the programme.
The field camp will unleash a stronger side to female recruits, giving them military readiness to defend themselves in any situation.
Stephanie served her country by volunteering last 2016. She believed that her decision unveiled a ‘stronger’ side of herself — a reality that other women can also achieve.
Teasing from her male friends did not hamper her decision. The SAFVC volunteer shows that as long as one believes in what one is doing, no one else’s opinion matters.