As quoted from the Straits Times:
Mr Tan left Singapore in 1969 when he was 12 to study music at England's Yehudi Menuhin School. In 1974, he won a scolarship, funded by the Straits Times Press, Nanyang Siang Pau and the Lee Foundation, to further his studies at the Royal College of Music.
As the course would take him beyond the age of 18, he applied for and was given a deferment from the NS for 3 years. His parents also provided a $30,000 bond.
However, Mr Tan did not return when his deferment perios ended in 1977. He asked for further deferment to do a master's degree in music.
The Ministry of Defence said "no" as it did not allow deferment for postgraduate studies.
When Mr Tan's exit permit expired and his bond was forfeited, he was publicly named as an NS defaulter in the Government Gazette.
So, he bacame a British citizen in 1978 and applied to renounce his Singapore citizenship.
Over the years, Mr Tan made several appeals, including one to then Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong in 1995. He asked to be allowed to return without being charged for his NS offences.
Mindef's position was that while he was free to return to Singapore, "he would have to answer for his NS offence in court".
For more info on this issue. Read this and this.
In fact many ministers have asked that Singapore should be more compassionate if it aims to be a gracious society. In fact, by doing so, it would also serve as a pull factor to attract our local talents back instead of them "escaping" to another country just because they have dafaulted on their NS obligation.
Some ministers were even rather sacartic (as what I deemed as), they even mention whether it is just about seeking "vengeance" or could it be a plain desire to exact a "pound of flesh".
Gosh, what a crude way and short-sighted way of seeing things.
Even me, a lady out there knows the meaning of responsiblity. How can these defaulters be let off so easily just because they've got other greater and more imporatnt things to do in life. Like as if the other boys don't have their dreams to fulfil eh?
It was even mentioned that what is the defaulters are none other than Bill Gates or Einstein. Would the outcome be the same?
To me this is just another desperate way for those against the imposing of stiffer laws against NS defaulters to "reason" their way around. Don't they even get the meaning here? Its not who has defaulted the NS obligation, its more of the law that it is mandatory for all male citizens who are 16 years of age or above to enlist for NS. This law has been in place for 38 years (since 1967). What makes those people who has "bigger dreams" to fulfil, sometimes even in the name of bringing honour to the country (what an absurb excuse) think that they could get away with it lightly for not viewly this law seriously.
Like I've said earlier and would like to emphasize it again. Big dreams are meant to be fulfilled. But never use this as a reason for not serving in the NS. Think about it, without a country which is prosperous and defended for, then what is there to talk about bringing honour to your country when it is no longer in exited or in a mess. Unless all the so-called reason mentioned is all bullsh*t as it actually boils down to one's own SELFISHINESS.
P.S. For how deferment from NS for a certain period, read this (For you guys to see that the Mindef is not as inflexible and in fact rather fair with those who has "big" dreams to fulfil)