NSmen Share: Like Mother, Like Son

We are all boys in our mothers’ eyes, no matter how old we may be.

By Sean Yee        9 May 2024

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so they say. We are all, in some shape or manner, like our mothers. That’s what makes the mother-son and mother-daughter dynamic so unique! Our characters and our stories are shaped by our upbringing, as well as the many insights and lessons imparted by matriarchs who have sworn to defend and love us. And now that we are sworn to defend our nation, it is natural that these qualities and strengths are carried forward.

With Mother’s Day coming up, we ask our servicemen: how has your mother contributed to your military experience, and shaped you to be the man you are today?  

COL (NS) Tan Yeow Tiong, 2PDF, InfantryMy mother will do whatever it takes to keep her children and now, grandchildren safe. And I guess that attribute of hers has rubbed off on me as well.

While I was a commander during my National Service days, I only considered any mission a success if everyone involved was unharmed and better than they were before. Both my mother and I abide by a very simple philosophy – only by looking after yourself, can you look after others. Even during my training, I made sure to complete whatever I needed to do before offering a hand. My mum only wants the best for me, for in her eyes, if I’m safe and sound, I can continue to explore life’s many mysteries unhindered. 

We’re all older now, both my mum and me. But one thing has never changed – we love her cooking as much as she loves to cook for us. Truly, her lotus root soup is out of this world! 

To my mum, thank you for taking care of me, and my family. We love you so much, and we are looking forward to celebrating a happy and joyous Mother’s Day! 

– COL (NS) Tan Yeow Tiong, 2PDF, Infantry

ME1-2 (NS) Rysher Tan / 3AMB / Air ForceIt is undeniable that we take after our parents, one way or another. 

And thankfully, I have an amazing role model to follow. My late mother is one of the most disciplined individuals I know. She inspired me to stay true to my goals and take ownership of my life. While it is good to keep yourself in check, it is also equally important to forgive yourself. My mum was as strict as she was forgiving, and always made sure we knew that mistakes are in fact, life’s greatest lessons. In the army, especially during our initiation when everything seemed so foreign and out of place, learning to forgive myself only made me stronger and more resilient in the face of tribulations.

Most importantly, she taught me that one needs to be open and genuine to forge true connections with others. This advice allowed me to foster authentic and long lasting relationships while I was in the service, leading to an incredibly supportive network of friends that I still rely on today. 

Thank you mummy, for teaching me forgiveness, authenticity, and love. We miss you.

ME1-2 (NS) Rysher Tan / 3AMB / Air Force

For an experience that spans as long as National Service,CPL (NS) Neo Tee Yong, CSSCOM, Infantry there is bound to be both good and bad times.

I had plenty of good days during my time as a soldier, but I have to admit – it can be tough. National Service will challenge you to look past your comfort zone, and to accept that it is okay to ask for help. My mum often tells me that life in itself is a duality of both ups and downs, and our only constant is our outlook. For both myself and her, we chose optimism as our constant.

Happy Mother’s Day, mummy and keep smiling! 

– CPL (NS) Neo Tee Yong, CSSCOM, Infantry

2SG (NS) Alexandar Leong, OPFOR ATI, ArmourMy mother didn’t exactly have the smoothest of times. 

Life had hit her with a few major setbacks that she had to deal with alone. Every time people around her assumed that was it for her, she just kept going. My mum never quits, no matter how bleak life may seem. 

There will always be people who will doubt you, who think you don’t have the courage and strength to prevail. But I have learnt early on from my mother that it is always better to face our challenges head-on, even if it means having to make tough decisions. This is especially so during my National Service, when certain situations demand leadership and strength in the face of uncertainties. 

You are my pillar mummy, and I hope you know how grateful I am for you. Happy Mother’s Day!

2SG (NS) Alexandar Leong, OPFOR ATI, Armour

Read more: NSmen Share: Female Heroes Who Inspired Me On My NS Journey 

Main photo: SPH Media Trust

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