If you take the guns, helmets and ILBV (integrated load bearing vest – yes, that’s what it actually is) away, what is a soldier, truly? A soldier isn’t defined by his equipment, but the ferocity of their spirit, the determination of their will and the fortitude of their grit. And by that definition, women have been the soldiers of our nation. Not only do they fight their own battles, they do so while supporting the battles of our NSmen.
Here, our NSmen share about the female heroes in their lives, who were their unwavering support system throughout their NS journey.
“I’m incredibly honoured to have been surrounded with empowered female commanders who have shown an impressive aptitude for visionary leadership. However, there was one female commander in particular who had shared with me candidly about her experiences in the army, revealing to me the many mantles a female commander has to wear in addition to her military duties.
In the day, she’s an officer fully occupied with the logistical and operational demands of her platoon. At night, she’s a mum doing her best to be involved with her kids’ everyday lives. Her responsibilities notwithstanding, she has managed to surpass expectations in her career and flourish in a male-dominant field. While I still hear the occasional disparaging comment directed to female cadets during my own time in command school, the landscape has shifted tremendously towards equality, and I am especially inspired by the strength and will of my female counterparts.” – 3SG Kouki Seah, BMTC School V
“No one drives me, inspires me and loves me more than my own mother. Having lost my dad at a really young age, I could only count on her during my most difficult of days. She is to me the embodiment of a champion. Not only did she support our family of three on her own, but she also played an incredibly proactive role in our lives.
Especially during my NS days, she would always make time to listen to my laments, bringing me to my favourite food places during the weekends while taking time off to celebrate momentous milestones in my journey. There are seven billion people in the world, but she is the only mum for me.” – 2SG Alexander Leong, OPFOR ATI
“I have to give special shoutouts to my grandmother, my mum and my aunt. Without going too much into it, my own NS journey was not exactly unblemished – there were difficult and challenging days when I felt conflicted and disheartened. These people were my listening ears, providing me a place of understanding on days I had none. They were my endearing companions, greeting me with some of my most favourite of dishes on my toughest of days.
Some of the women I have met are the most caring, loving and generous of people. Their limitless potential and strength are just positively assuring.” – LCP James Patrick, 354 BOAT
“In the late 1900s, women did not play as active a role in society as they do today. Most were homemakers, nurturing a home that was safe and comfortable for their husbands and kids. They may not be the most affectionate (as is common for Asian families), but they are the personifications of unswerving devotion. My mother was always there for me, rain or shine, whenever I needed her. She was my biggest advocate, my biggest cheerleader and my greatest role model. I wouldn’t be the man and commander I am today without her.” – LT Chong Mong Ting, OCS Platoon Commander
“My mother and my grandmother are neither the most vocal of champions, but they have been the pivotal pillars which have allowed my entire family to thrive. They take up thankless duties, providing us the safety and care we frequently take for granted. They worry for us during our NS days; they ask if we have everything we need at camp; they prepare our favourite dishes when we reach home. Now it’s my turn to be their pillar of support, and it’s their turn to shine. Women should definitely have a place at the table, for they have been supporting it since time immemorial.” – CPL Po Tat Hoi, Military Driver
Share your favourite NS memories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Main photo: SPH Media Trust