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YOG: NSmen become spectators?

Leong Sze Hian -

I was told that the mother of a Natonal Servicemen (NS Men) was griping about her son not being able to attend a family event because he had been ordered to attend the Youth Olympics Games as a spectator.

He will be given an early dismissal from the army camp, to go home to change to civilian clothes to attend a YOG event.

She is rather concerned that although her son would normally already be very tired after a day's training, he would still have to go for the YOG event, which finishes very late.

Does YOG or the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) reimburse such NSmen for their transportation costs, to and from the YOG event?

Are they reimbursed for any meal and drink during the event? Or are they served free food, like the ones that have been highlighted online?

Are their attendance taken at the event to ensure that they turn up?

It was reported in The Online Citizen article - "YOG - Another farce?" (Jul 10) - that the sluggish sales of 320,000 YOG tickets on 26 May mysteriously shrunk to 245,000 on 7 July, of which 80,000 of the more than 100,000 sold were purchased by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

MOE declined to disclose how much they paid for the tickets, or how much the schools and students allocated tickets may have to pay.

Does MINDEF have to pay for the tickets like those bought by MOE?

From brisk sales of close to 50 per cent of the 245,000 tickets sold (or about 38 per cent of the original 320,000 tickets figure), it then became 70 per cent sold on 2 August, according to the report "YOG ticket sales picking up, with 70% sold" (Channel News Asia, 2 August).

Were any of these tickets taken by MINDEF?

If more than 70 per cent had been sold as of 2 August, why is there a need to send NSmen to be spectators?

Are the amounts paid by MOE and MINDEF included in the almost-more-than-four times YOG budget over-run of $387 million?

If not, then what is the additional sum to the total YOG costs?

By the way, I think the media may not know how to count, as every media report said that the YOG budget was three times over-run. $387 million divided by the original budget of $104 million is about four times over-budget, or about 300 per cent over-budget!

Why is it that there have been no media reports about MINDEF taking YOG tickets and the costs of these?

Are the T-shirts given to all ministry staff the same as those given to volunteers?

If they are different, how much do they cost and how many were given away to each of the two groups?