Loved Ones Of NSmen Share: What Makes Them Proud

The families of NSmen on how they feel about their loved ones doing National Service.

By Mandy Lim Beitler      29 July 2021

It may be individuals who wear the uniforms and boots, but their families and loved ones play an integral part in serving our nation too. We get their take on National Service.


“I remember I was in tears when I sent him off to NS in 1995. It was a mixture of feelings. A part of me was worried whether he could adapt to military life. The other part of me was proud that he had come of age to serve his country.

Serving NS toughened my son. It made him a man. It made him the strong and compassionate person he is today. We must always be grateful for the peace and prosperity Singapore has given us, and we should never take her sovereignty for granted.” – Lena Ong, mother of Gilbert Ong, CPL, 195 SQN

“We were a super clingy couple before marriage, meaning to say it was a must for us to meet every single day. The moment he entered NS, our life changed. I was an emotional wreck because I couldn’t stand the idea of not being able to talk and see each other like we used to. I remember crying for a week straight during his BMT days (super dramatic but it’s true), and I kept wishing that his NS days would be over soon.

However, after each course and training that took place, I saw him develop into a fine young gentleman who is so disciplined and confident, and I am so glad that I was able to witness and go through that together with him. NS really made us grow stronger as a couple. Besides, it is definitely a good story to tell our future kids!” – Nur Zuhairah Anuar, wife of Muhd Faiz Shah, 3SGT, 1st TPT

“If there’s one word to encapsulate National Service and reservist, it is ‘duty’. When my husband goes for his reservist stint, he is usually overseas for a few weeks, and as a working mother with three young children and no help, I make arrangements to cover his share of the household and child-rearing responsibilities. In a sense, it feels like I am not only supporting him in serving the nation, but doing my part as well.” – Esther Au Yong, wife of Jeff Tay, 3SGT, 3rd Flotilla, Navy

(L-R) Sherman, Guillaume

“Growing up with my younger brothers was challenging. We have a five- and eight-year age gap respectively; it was a love-hate relationship. It wasn’t until they were enlisted that I came to realise how much I truly cared about their well-being all those years. The reality of them going through NS shook me as I began wondering if they could survive the ordeal – were they ready for the next two years?

Fast forward to the day when my family witnessed their POP, and then ORD. These achievements they worked really hard for made us all proud. And more importantly, we saw how NS shaped the men they have become today – each a man of responsibility and leadership, their fighting spirit and ethics in all their hopes and dreams is admirable.” – Camille Tan-Mahendran, sister to Sherman B Tan, CPL, 1 SIR and Guillaume Tan, 3SG, 2 SIR


There are only two types of people in Singapore: Those who enjoyed National Service (NS), and those who didn’t – but all will agree it was a memorable time. In this series, we speak with several NSmen who share their most memorable experiences during National Service.

Share your favourite NS memories with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg