I thought I had said all I wanted to say about that absurd dividing line -- Dec 31, 1949 and Jan 1, 1950 -- that separates the presumed Pioneer Generation (PG) from "the rest" of Singaporeans. Anyone with any brain will agree that if such a new label has to be invented, the dividing line should be the prewar generation and the post-war baby boomers.
The post-war baby boomers form a distinctive group -- many come from large families and still have elderly parents or even elderly siblings for whom they are the caregivers; at the same time they have Gen X and Gen Y children who, let's put it this way, have a "different mindset". The issues faced by baby boomers are not confined to Singapore, as even those in the USA grapple with them, as summarised by this blurb on an article on American society:
So why am I revisiting the PG issue? There must have been other voices of disquiet, for Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean to want to attempt an explanation for the cut-off criterion:
I think his reasoning is flawed. The first batch of NSmen -- and I presume he means that very first batch -- is indeed deserving of special recognition. No issues there. I do not think they are a huge number, though. Certainly, not the 190,000 that make up those (men and women) born between 1945 and 1949 and who are still living. So why not just include this special group of NSmen? [Update: There are only 900 of these full-time NSmen; they enlisted in July 1967. Sunday Times, Feb 23, page 3.] Why the need to include all 190,000?
Incidentally, someone like me -- born in late 1950 -- ended up doing both police national service and military national service (among the people I know, not many had to wear two types of uniforms). The first call-up came when I turned 18 and the second one when I was accepted into university and had to wear army green first before I could start my first year at uni (ie, many of the females in my pre-university cohort and the males who did not have to do NS were final-year uni students by the time I and other NS-enlisted males got into first-year uni).
After this blog entry, I really shall not want to have anything to say about this PG thing, except to wonder if those figures -- 190,000 and 450,000 (all the living PGers) -- have significance vis-a-vis political mileage.
One property developer -- spotting a chance to score on advertising mileage? -- certainly wasted no time in coming up with a PG-themed ad!...