NSmen Share: My Time In National Service

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

By Edmund Wee        18 February 2021

Say “National Service” (NS) to anyone in Singapore and you’re very likely to elicit a variety of responses ranging from the good to the not-so-good. For many, this enlistment into the Singapore Armed Forces is a period commonly associated with apprehension and challenge. Yet, there is no doubt that NS is a rite of passage for every Singaporean male, and a positive step towards adulthood. As the adage goes: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

We speak with several NSmen who reminisce and share their most memorable experiences during national service.

Kelvin Low (above left)

“I miss the time we spent outfield, because back then, there weren’t any smartphones. We had to come up with so many ‘fun’ things to do as well as spend time sharing our experiences and stories.” – Kelvin Low, CPL, School of Logistics

Quek Swee Heng

“My overseas exercise truly left an impression on me. We went to Australia for an exercise and it was the first time I went away from Singapore. It was exhilarating not just because it was a different place, different terrain and different culture. On top of that, I really had a good time bonding with my fellow soldiers as we had the opportunity to build rapport and camaraderie. Absolutely one of the most memorable experiences in national service in my life!” – Quek Swee Heng, 3rd SGT, 2 Signal Battalion

Walter Tay (above right)

“I’m glad that the leadership training trained me well for society. It helped me with planning and organising in the businesses I have done. Having the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life in army prepped me well for managing the staff from my hawker stalls.” – Walter Tay, LTA, SAR407

Wee Moh Kwang

“National Service to me was an eye opening, bittersweet experience. It was an eye opener because I got to learn and pick up skills I hadn’t known before; one of which includes the office corporate culture. At the same time, as in all learning experiences, there were periods of challenge which were bittersweet: plenty of sweat and obstacles to overcome. But at the end of it, I learned how to be independent and tolerant.” – Wee Moh Kwang, CPL, MINDEF

Ryan Ng Kian Sin

“During BMT, we were the lowest rank in the camp; we had to follow orders and carry out lots of hard work. At a time like that, I also saw something else; the best experience and moment was seeing the sun set, that is when you know the day’s gruesome drilling is coming to an end. That’s my most memorable experience in NS.” – Ryan Ng Kian Sin, 3rd SGT, 165 Squadron

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