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.
“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
“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
“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