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Nat Geo apologises for NS publicity stunt

SINGAPORE — The National Geographic Channel (NGC) Singapore has apologised over a publicity stunt for its new television programme about National Service, which was criticised by some members of the public for being insulting to National Servicemen (NSmen).

The channel hired actors who donned SAF uniforms and marched around Raffles Place yesterday, inviting passersby to deliver drill commands to the ‘platoon’. Photo: National Geographic Channel Singapore

The channel hired actors who donned SAF uniforms and marched around Raffles Place yesterday, inviting passersby to deliver drill commands to the ‘platoon’. Photo: National Geographic Channel Singapore

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SINGAPORE — The National Geographic Channel (NGC) Singapore has apologised over a publicity stunt for its new television programme about National Service, which was criticised by some members of the public for being insulting to National Servicemen (NSmen).

The channel had hired actors who donned Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) uniforms and marched around Raffles Place yesterday, inviting passers-by to deliver drill commands to the “platoon”.

In a statement issued last night, the channel said the event was an initiative promoting Every Singaporean Son II: The Making of an Officer, which was made in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

Stressing it has “the highest regard” for NSmen, NGC said it had intended to showcase what officer cadets go through in their training. “We didn’t intend for it to come across as devaluing our army officers,” it said. “We seek the forgiveness of all Singaporeans who were offended by our marketing activity.”

Through its Cyberpioneer Facebook page — which had publicised the event the day before — MINDEF clarified it was neither run nor sponsored by MINDEF or the SAF. It also did not endorse the use of SAF uniforms.

A statement on the Singapore Army Facebook page said it was “very disappointed” with the NGC. “The stunt using our army’s uniform was disrespectful of our soldiers and undermines the dedication and commitment of all our soldiers who have served dutifully in the defence of our country. Our army was not informed of this publicity stunt nor the use of our uniforms,” it said.

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