Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

May 2, 2008

So, I was supposed to be enlisting for National Service (2 years of compulsory army for all Singaporean guys). When I applied, one of the papers mentioned that my enlistment should be within 6 months of my application. When I went for my medical, the person there told me that I would be enlisted by either March/April or the at least by June/July. And that I’d only get my letter a month or so before.

Because of that, I haven’t been able to do much all year. I didn’t know how long I had before enlistment, so I couldn’t really commit myself to anything. And yesterday, my mum went down to the Central Manpower Base to check, and was told that my enlistment would be in September.

I’m seriously really pissed off about this. Firstly, and most importantly, they lied. I was told I’d be enlisted by June/July, and that didn’t happen. I know that circumstances change and all, but if that was the case, they shouldn’t have told me as if it was a fact that I’d be in by July. They might be the government, and there’s probably nothing much I can do about it, but it’s still really annoying to be lied to. Maybe I’m over-reacting. But even though they’re the government, they still shouldn’t make promises they can’t keep. Rather, especially since they’re the government, they shouldn’t. I’ve seriously lost trust in them because of this.

The second reason, albeit less important, I’m pissed about this is because it’s wasting my time. It’s wasted half a year of my life waiting. I’m now rushing and struggling to find a summer program/internship to do. So if anyone has any suggestions or offers, let me know, yeah? (I have no qualms about travelling, if required.)

If I had known from the start that chances are I’d be enlisted in September, I wouldn’t be pissed. I’d have planned accordingly. And I’d still have been able to do a lot. I would probably have applied for Seth Godin’s internship (I’m not saying I would have definitely got in, but I’d have loved to at least had the chance to try). I would have gone to California with my mum earlier this year. I would have applied for a summer institute. But because I was told that I would be enlisted by July, I didn’t. And I’ve missed lots of opportunities.

I guess it all comes down to this. It’s not really about the date itself. It’s about what I was told – what I was led to believe and expect. Don’t tell me something and not deliver on it. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.