Singapore Government

DR NG WRAPS UP CHINA WITH JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Dr Ng and his Chinese counterpart GEN Chang agree on guiding principles and plans for strengthening defence ties between Singapore and China.

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28 Nov 2014, 2200 hours (GMT +8)
Age is just a number. Continuing to serve and contribute in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is more important. This mindset was what spurred Military Expert (ME) 3 Chia Yew Lam on to join the Military Domain Experts Course (MDEC) at the age of 56, making him the oldest graduand of the course to date. The Senior Instructor of Navigation Systems firmly believes in continual learning and service to the nation. His love for the SAF is testament to his decision to extend his service by five years, in order to share his knowledge and experience with his younger colleagues. Some of the experiences he shared included managing and looking after the men in their charge. He said: I tell my colleagues: You're a lead engineer and you're only in your 20s. What if you have a warrant officer under you who is in his 30s? How are you going to handle him? It's not easy. You can't teach experience and I hope to pass on my experience to my juniors, added ME3 Chia, who has served almost 38 years in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). His advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps? Try to bridge the generation gap, and keep abreast of technology. Don't look at how many years you have left in the service. Continue to press on till you reach the finishing line. If you don't continue to learn, you become obsolete. His efforts have paid off. ME3 Chia was among the 50 servicemen and women who were appointed Senior Military Experts at a ceremony held at SAFTI Military Institute on 28 Nov. Speaking to the graduands, guest-of-honour, Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman, said their specialised knowledge and deep expertise in areas such as engineering, intelligence and cyber were more valuable than before in today's security environment, given the expanding threats to the nation's security. He said: We will look to you, as Military Experts, for the innovative solutions that will provide the SAF with the leading edge, and enable us to pre-empt tomorrow's challenges so the SAF can stay ahead of the curve. For Sword-of-Honour recipient ME4 Malcolm Teo, being appointed senior ME was a dream come true. The 26-year-old always had an interest in the military and wanted a career where he could contribute to society. This was the reason he chose to join the SAF after graduating from Nanyang Technological University last year. During National Service, I saw that defence is important, and what we enjoy today is based on our strong defence. In a way, this shaped my career path, explained ME4 Teo. The Senior Military Intelligence Expert admitted that, while it would not be easy leading men in his unit as most of them were more experienced and senior than him, he was ready to take up the challenge. I think that the way to win over their trust and respect is to approach them with a sincere heart and work hard. And when people see that you're there to help and contribute, (you are starting) off on the right foot. Making a mid-career switch might not be easy, but that did not stop ME4 Ong Wan Ying from doing so. The 33-year-old was previously working in SIA Engineering as a fleet management executive, and subsequently taught aerospace engineering at the Republic Polytechnic. However, her desire for more hands-on experience and a passion for the aviation industry prompted her to sign on as an Air Force Engineer two years ago. Coincidentally, she was posted to the Transport and Training Branch where she would be handling the warranty and repair of aircraft such as the Hercules C-130, a position similar to her previous job at SIA. And she is all geared up for the challenges ahead. Being in the commercial sector for many years,it wasnot easy to adjust to the military culture. But I hope to bring my experience from my previous job to the SAF. This graduating cohort comprised 14 from the Republic of Singapore Air Force, 21 from the RSN, four from the Army and 11 from Joint. Among those present at the ceremony were Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng, Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han, senior SAF officers as well as friends and families of the graduands.
28 Nov 2014, 1700 hours (GMT +8)
Want to find out more about the Army? Make your way to the open field outside Tampines MRT station, which has been transformed into a battlefield for a three-day public exhibition, starting on 28 Nov. Members of the public can get up close and personal with military vehicles such as the Military Police's bikes, and the Guardsmen’s Light Strike Vehicle Mark II. They can also experience an army operation by shooting air rifles, or walking through a dark forest with the aid of night vision googles. 3rd Warrant Officer Low Kay Kee, who was manning the Commando booth, said the exhibition aimed to reach out to the public. We want to create awareness of what the Army is all about. For example, visitors can see and touch the parachuting gear that the Commandos use in operations. It is for this reason that Madam Lina Lim took her two grandchildren to the exhibition. The boy has to serve National Service one day so it's good for him to find out about the Army, she said. Former Army Regular Tan Kheng Peng was there to reminisce about his younger days as a radar specialist with the Artillery Formation. It's an eye opener to see real army gear after leaving the SAF for so long. My children and wife also enjoyed playing with the gadgets, said the 48-year-old engineer. Curious foreign visitors also dropped by to find out about the military. Mr Regie Tayao and his friends from the Philippines were particularly impressed with the Light Strike Vehicle Mark II. This vehicle with the machine gun is excellent, and the structure is very cool, said the aircraft technician. The Army exhibition at Tampines will end on 30 Nov, and the next one will be held at Jurong East from 5 to 7 Dec.
27 Nov 2014, 1400 hours (GMT +8)
Negotiation with over 190 countries is a daunting but enriching experience. This was what Ms Adeline Hong, then a Defence Policy Officer, felt about her 10-week stint at the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. As the Ministry of Defence's representative in the Singapore delegation, her role was to speak up for the Republic's interest in security matters. It's good exposure... I have to understand other countries' interests, and learn to work around them to safeguard Singapore's own interests while keeping up a diplomatic front. Now the 28-year-old works with private fund managers to grow the SAVER-Premium Fund, a retirement fund for military servicemen. It is a different challenge, but her deep understanding of the world economy puts her in good stead. The Defence Merit Scholar holds a Masters in Economics from Cambridge University. When not scrutinising financial news, she enjoys reading all things inspirational and sharing them. Her Facebook page is constantly peppered with uplifting quotes like He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. I found them useful for myself at different points in time, and thought I would share to inspire others too.
26 Nov 2014, 1230 hours (GMT +8)
Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel can look forward to even more opportunities to further their education and enhance their career prospects, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SAF and Singapore Management University (SMU), in support of the SAF's Continuing Education (CE) Master's Programme. The MoU was co-signed by Commandant SAFTI Military Institute Brigadier-General (BG) Benedict Lim and SMU's Dean of Postgraduate Professional Programmes Professor (Prof) Phillip C. Zerrillo, at SMU Administrative Building on 25 Nov. This is the SAF's latest education-related MoU, which seeks to encourage SAF personnel to enhance their careers through continuous learning. In his opening address, BG Lim said: This partnership with SMU underscores MINDEF and the SAF's continued investment in continuing education of our people, and will complement existing developmental opportunities available within the SAF. With the signing of the SAF-SMU MoU, qualified SAF personnel will be able to pursue the following SMU Master's programmes: Master of Information Technology in Business - Analytics; Master of Tri-Sector Collaboration; Master of Science in Communication Management; and Master of Science in Innovation. SAF personnel who have completed the Goh Keng Swee (GKS) Command and Staff Course (CSC) or CSC (Executive) will be eligible for the postgraduate programmes under the SAF CE Master’s Sponsorship Scheme. SMU will also recognise course credits from modules taught at the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College. Elaborating on the SAF-SMU Collaboration, Prof Zerrillo explained: The university, being part of Singapore, is happy to support the people that are going through the military. Through discussions with the military, we found that some of the programmes we had to offer were appealing in terms of the skill sets that people were going to need in the advancement of their careers. We identified these (four) as the most appropriate programmes for the military graduates. BG Lim added: The SAF believes strongly in continuing education. (While) our courses do a lot to prepare them well in the professional sense i.e. in vocational and leadership skills, we cannot forget the academic front. (Thus), it's only natural that we partnered SMU. We believe that SMU has very good pedagogy and curriculum, and they will be able to enhance the offerings to the officer in the CSC. This SAF-SMU MoU comes on the back of the SMU Warriors Scholarship, which was established on 14 Jan to enable retiring SAF personnel to pursue postgraduate degrees. As for the ways in which SAF graduate students can add to SMU's classroom culture, Prof Zerrillo noted: Looking at the students in the Warriors Scholarship programme, they are a very disciplined, senior group with some 30 years of military service. They bring something that is very hard for us to recreate in our programmes. He added: These (students) will be closer (in terms of age and career) to their classmates. They will bring a different discipline and background because of what they have studied, as well as their commitments and obligations.
26 Nov 2014, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
3WO (NS) Edwin Peng wants to make little-known Krav Maga a popular local martial arts programme. Mention martial arts and most people would probably think of tae kwon do or karate. But 3WO (NS) Edwin Peng wants to change that and make Krav Maga the number one self-defence programme for Singaporeans. Last August, the commando left the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to start a Krav Maga school at Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre. It offers classes in the unarmed combat system that is being used by militaries and law enforcement agencies worldwide. The 33-year-old is currently the highest-ranking Singaporean instructor in Krav Maga Global (KMG), an international Krav Maga organisation with more than 1,000 instructors from over 60 countries. He is also the only local instructor certified to train children. Right moves for the right situation When it comes to self-defence, 3WO (NS) Peng believes that Krav Maga is the best combat system. Other martial arts are usually geared toward competition; you're trained to score points in a ring or cage. But Krav Maga is different, it's about defending yourself in real-life situations. This martial art aims to neutralise opponents as quickly as possible by targeting the most vulnerable parts of the body. But there are also concerns about its brutal and deadly moves. 3WO (NS) Peng pointed out that civilians practise a milder variant of Krav Maga. In the military, when you meet with adversaries you want him dead or half-paralysed. But in the civilian world, you just want to do enough to get away from danger. He explained: What we teach here is to de-escalate the situation first. If I can talk my way out of a problem, I will do it. I will only fight when under attack. If needed, I will kick the vital parts of my attacker so that I can start running away. But I will not use more force than necessary. In his classes for children aged five to 10 years old, for instance, students are taught to react swiftly if an adult tries to attack them. But if they are facing a bully of their age group, they are taught to talk things out. The kids need to learn to turn on and off their aggression, he said. This is something which we teach in our classes; and they learn this effectively through games and play. Start of a new journey Last year, 3WO (NS) Peng sustained a serious knee injury which hampered his military work. Then as fate would have it, the founder of KMG approached him to set up a school in Singapore under the banner of KMG. I was happy in the SAF but everything kind of fell in place nicely, it was almost like all the stars were aligned. I like doing Krav Maga, I love the way it can help people in their lives… I found no reason not to take up the role and set up this place, he recalled. Growing stronger His foray into business was a baptism of fire. In the beginning, his classes often had only one student. But setbacks only spurred him on to persevere and be resourceful. He started to learn social media marketing strategies to spread awareness about his school. Slowly but surely, enrolment started to grow. One year into its operation, KMG Singapore now has over 100 students. He said: A lot of support comes from the students themselves. Once they did it, they became addicted to it and always wanted to come back. And that was when our numbers started to grow. 3WO (NS) Peng currently leads a team of five, and plans to open up more branches and train more instructors. He credited his success to the lessons he learnt in the SAF. A military organisation like the SAF teaches you to be a good leader. So that allowed me to lead my team here, to run things in the SAF way, in a very systematic, transparent manner. Even when I write business proposals, I use the same writing style that I learnt in the SAF, he said with a smile.
25 Nov 2014, 0930 hours (GMT +8)
Meet Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (Dr) Vernon Lee, a man fascinated by infectious diseases and dedicated to fighting them. His dreams started out with becoming a fighter pilot, but when they were dashed because of a medical condition, LTC (Dr) Lee found his passion in another route that promised a military life too - as a medical officer. However, the bespectacled 37-year-old is not your average doctor. He specialises in public health and preventive medicine - this means researching medical issues, crafting policies and educating the public on ways to prevent and reduce the chances of being infected by diseases such as deadly viruses. I saw medicine as a way to alleviate suffering…but I'm also the kind of person who can't sit still. I couldn't envision myself sitting in an office and seeing patients for the rest of my life, explained LTC (Dr) Lee. Battling with SARS What truly pushed the Head of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Biodefence Centre (BDFC) to his specialisation was a brush with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. As a junior medical officer with the then-Preventive Medicine Branch, he was asked to investigate a patient suspected to be down with SARS and, subsequently, roped in to help with battling the virus. You know how you read about health professionals going into the field, not knowing whether it would be their last day? I felt like that at that time, he recalled. Through this encounter, he saw the courage, sacrifice and fighting spirit of Singaporeans. He remembers vividly the doctors and nurses who volunteered to stay on in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, even though they were not rostered, because they were familiar with the procedures and did not want others to be put at risk of contamination. There was also a professor and fellow doctor who helped out but succumbed to SARS. I saw the devastation of infectious diseases and how we actually went out of the way to fight and overcome it. That was what pushed me to go into public health. Invisible protection Set up in 2008, the BDFC was formed to protect the SAF against biological threats, and the centre prepares for and prevents possible diseases through surveillance, research and activities like vaccinations, on top of dealing with outbreaks. To combat diseases such as influenza and dengue, the BDFC works with agencies like the Ministry of Health and National Environment Agency to understand how they spread and the best measures to control them. According to LTC (Dr) Lee, these collaborations have been very successful in bringing down disease rates within the SAF. Our soldiers live in a very unique environment, which are close quarters, and this makes them more susceptible to outbreaks. An outbreak means downtime, and that reduces the operational readiness and training tempo of our troops. LTC (Dr) Lee was also responsible for the eradication of malaria risk on Pulau Tekong. The island is regularly sprayed with BTI, a bacteria which targets mosquito larvae. Another solution was to weave permethrin, an insect repellent, into the new pixelised uniforms. In the past, recruits had to take malaria pills before heading to Pulau Tekong. Previously, when our troops went to malaria endemic places, they had to soak their uniforms in permethrin. It was cumbersome and smelled bad, explained LTC (Dr) Lee. So when the new pixelated uniforms were developed, we worked with the logistics team to impregnate the chemical into the fabric that can last multiple washes. Fighting an evolving threat Aside from giving his utmost to the SAF and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions, LTC (Dr) Lee was seconded to the World Health Organisation (WHO). He is currently sitting on several national and international expert working groups to combat dengue and influenza. Working in such large international organisations requires great networking and communication skills. Luckily, being in the SAF has taught him to work well with people from all walks of life, and built up his confidence in public speaking. In the SAF, you have to (deal with) a lot of people and it's not always easy to make them understand what we are trying to do or follow what you say. We work with the policy makers, the ground troops and the commanders. That taught me very good lessons in communication, he said. Diseases often evolve rapidly, and LTC (Dr) Lee relishes the challenge. He views combating every new disease almost as a kind of adventure - one where he must constantly learn, adapt and respond to appropriately. Part of his plans include training and equipping his team with the knowledge that he has, and helping the BDFC maintain that cutting edge and expand into new areas. If I don't play my part in defending against infectious diseases, thousands of people will be affected. That's why I'm still staying on in the SAF. There's still a lot to be done.
24 Nov 2014, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
Playwright Michael Chiang reminds us why humour is healthy. Young Indian girl flirts with a dashing platoon commander. You are very young, no? To be an officer. Are you also in NS? No, I am a Regular. And I am a large. The audience cracks up on cue every time this scene comes on. Whether it was the original staging of Army Daze in 1987, the movie version in 1996 or the latest production last year, the response never wavers. What was hilarious a quarter of a century ago still tickles the funny bone now. I am often asked if my NS (National Service) experience was really so funny. How on earth could anyone have found humour in being a recruit? People frown at me with beady, suspicious eyes, like they've just discovered I am the cause of influenza. The truth is, nearly every situation around us has its lighter side. The first BMT (Basic Military Training) haircut can be a torment for an 18-year-old, and a disparaging comment from an indifferent section leader will only make things worse. But all it takes is for one smart-alecky recruit to make a cheeky quip and the entire barrack erupts in stitches. It's often said that humour helps us cope, conquer and carry on. As Dwight Eisenhower once said: A sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done. Humour has been known to boost morale and increase productivity in many companies where it is openly encouraged. Of course, in an institution like the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), there are clearly limits as to how much mirth one should encourage. And humour comes in various ways, not purely in disrespectful jesting. When we learnt that our fierce Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) was a timid pussycat in front of his wife, his subsequent parade square drill sessions were met with secret smiles. Situations we encounter in life are never all good or all bad. It really boils down to what you make of it. So it's not such a bad thing to try and see the humour in situations, to put a little smile on your face instead of a huge frown. The NS experience upon which I based Army Daze might seem a far cry from today's. Yet despite the differences, many sentiments remain the same: a blur recruit today is every bit as blur as the one in the 80s. And just as funny. So can you come back home for grandpa's birthday on Friday night? I don't think so, mummy. We have a route march that night. Route march at night? What rubbish! Morning you march, afternoon you march, now they want you to march at night as well. Anyway, if you march a little faster, I am sure you can make it back here by 7pm! So when the going gets tough, it's probably time for a hearty good laugh. Michael Chiang is the playwright behind hits like Army Daze and Beauty World. He has just published a collection of his complete plays to commemorate his 30th year in theatre. Play Things is now available in major bookstores, and you can win one of five copies by taking part in a contest at www.mindef.gov.sg/pnr/contest!
21 Nov 2014, 1700 hours (GMT +8)
With defence spending rising in the region, Asia needs to develop a security architecture which can accommodate this military modernisation, and provide for peace and stability. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said this at the fifth Xiangshan Forum, a high-level security forum held in Beijing, China on 21 Nov. Speaking at a plenary address, Dr Ng noted that economic prosperity in Asia had bankrolled military armament in the region in recent years. Defence budget in Asia rose by two percent in 2011, 4.5 percent in 2012, and nearly five percent in 2013. But in Europe and America, it went down by about four to seven percent. We must ensure that Asia remains peaceful and stable, even as military modernisation occurs against a backdrop of occasional tensions arising from maritime and territorial disputes, said Dr Ng. He proposed three elements for an effective security architecture. First, it needs to be open and inclusive. Second, it must provide regular platforms for dialogue, practical cooperation and confidence building. Third, it should have mechanisms to de-escalate tensions and resolve disputes peacefully. Dr Ng noted that a multi-layered security framework had already emerged in the region, with formal platforms such as the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum as well as informal platforms like the Shangri-La Dialogue and Xiangshan Forum. He also highlighted the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM-Plus) Experts' Working Groups as an example of how militaries can come together for practical cooperation on areas of common interests such as maritime security, counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. But Dr Ng warned that for these regional platforms to remain credible, they must be used to address the security challenges facing the region today. The early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea will be an important deliverable for regional security, said Dr Ng. We can engage all we want, but until we find the mechanisms, the language, the platforms, to ease tensions, our credibility will be at stake. Brunei's proposal for a direct communication link between ASEAN, China, and other partner countries was thus an idea worthy of serious consideration, he added. Dr Ng was also encouraged by the fact that China and Japan had agreed to establish crisis management mechanisms. In addition, the United States and China had announced confidence-building measures that notify each other of major military activities and establish rules of behaviour during air and maritime encounters. Countries in the region must continue to build on these concrete practical measures for de-escalating tensions, even as we work towards long-term solutions for dispute resolution through peaceful means, Dr Ng said. The Xiangshan Forum is organised by the China Association for Military Science, a non-official Chinese think-tank on military science studies. Other topics discussed during the forum include the regional security architecture, counter-terrorism and maritime security.
21 Nov 2014, 1100 hours (GMT +8)
Experience the highs and lows of the Hypobaric Chamber and Spatial Disorientation Trainer (SDT) with journalist Sherlyn Quek. Light-headedness. Tingling. Fatigue. Impaired judgment, confusion and the inability to concentrate. Poor muscle coordination. I grimaced as I read the list of hypoxia symptoms. Machiam (like) falling in love ah. Wisecracks aside, hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, is no laughing matter. It affects a person's cognitive abilities and most people do not even realise they are suffering from it until it's too late. The hypobaric chamber at the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Aeromedical Centre simulates high-alittude conditions, allowing air crew to experience its effects without leaving the ground. They learn to recognise hypoxia symptoms early, so they can quickly take corrective actions such as checking the oxygen system or flying lower to a breathable altitude. Harder harder to breathe But before I could start the simulated ascent, I had to breathe 100 percent oxygen for 20 minutes. This helps to purge nitrogen from the bloodstream and delay the onset of hypoxia. To prevent oxygen leakage, I had to put the mask on so tightly the edges dug painfully into my skin. It was so uncomfortable I couldn't wait to tear the mask off and not breathe oxygen. When time was up and after doing a check to ensure that I was ready, the operators began to reduce the atmospheric pressure within the chamber, simulating an altitude climb from 1,000ft (305m) to 25,000ft in five minutes. The only visible sign of the altitude increase? A surgical glove tied to the ceiling which had expanded to almost double its size! Can you spot it in the photo above? For air crew, the operators simulated a much more rapid decompression in the chamber, climbing from 10,000 to 25,00ft in just a few seconds. Finally, I was allowed to take my mask off. Ah, fresh… Oh wait, there wasn't much air for me to breathe. No air, no air What's seven times eight? I stared blankly at the worksheet for a shamefully long moment, before hesitantly scribbling down my answer. Sadly, my uncertainty wasn't because I was suffering from the effects of hypoxia or oxygen deprivation. My math skills are really that bad. After the masks are removed, air crew are asked to complete tasks such as arithmetic problems and spot the difference. When a person starts having trouble performing these simple tasks, he is likely to have reached the limits of his time of useful consciousness. If hypoxia continues, he can become euphoric, lose motor-coordination, colour vision and even consciousness. I'd chuckled when I saw one of the pilots in the previous training session struggle to finish the maze problem. Now that I was on the other side of the glass panel, I wasn't feeling as confident as I was an hour ago. While I didn't notice any difficulty going through the pen and paper exercises, after two minutes I felt increasingly cold and just a little dizzy. In another minute, my vision became slightly blurred and there was a mild tingling sensation as though ants were crawling on my hands. Luckily, three minutes was the limit. After that, I gladly placed the oxygen mask back on, and the chamber descended back to sea level atmospheric pressure. Later throughout the afternoon, I had to keep popping my ears by yawning or doing the Valsalva manoeuvre (exhaling while pinching the nose and keeping the mouth shut). This helps to equalise the pressure between the middle and outer ear canals. To my colleagues: Apologies if you thought I was bored and kept yawning during our conversations. And to those unfortunate folks standing around me in the MRT that day: Sorry if you assumed I was holding my nose because someone had just farted! Spin me right round As if going through oxygen deprivation wasn't enough, I returned to the Aeromedical Centre on another day to spin myself dizzy. The SDT is a full-motion simulator that trains pilots to be mindful of the sensory illusions that occur during flight. Here, the concept of trusting your gut doesn't work. In fact, it could cause grave danger. During poor weather conditions, a pilot may not be able to see the horizon. Without this important visual cue, his perception of his position and movements becomes heavily dependent on the balance organs in his ears. Unfortunately, this is not always a reliable sensor. Highway to the danger zone For example, if the aircraft makes a very slow roll to the right, balance-sensing fluids in the ear are unable to detect it as the rotation is too gentle and gradual. But when the pilot notices the tilt shown on the plane's instruments and attempts to correct it by rolling the plane to the left, he may feel that the plane is now leaning to the left instead. This is because even though the plane is already level, his balance organs continue to tell his brain that he is moving left. Aviators call this the leans. A more drastic example of this illusion is the aptly named graveyard spin. I was asked by the SDT operator to turn the aircraft into a left spin and continue it for several seconds until I could no longer sense the turn. I then had to recover the aircraft by turning to the right. Even though in-flight instruments clearly indicated that the plane was level, I had the overwhelming sensation that I was now entering a right spin. If I trusted my senses and believed the illusion, I would go back into a left spin. Continue doing that several more times, and I might lose enough altitude to crash my plane into the ground! Remaining calm and disciplined, and controlling the aircraft by relying on the instruments instead of flying by the seat of your pants could save your life. I believe I can('t) fly Life as a pilot may seem pretty glamorous, but having experienced the various machines at the Aeromedical Centre, I could see that it takes a strong physical constitution, quick reflexes, and most importantly, years of dedication and training. It's a good thing I had no such lofty goals! Now that this series is over, I'm happy to keep my feet firmly on the ground. Until the day I fall in love anyway! Catch this video about the hypobaric chamber at mindef.sg/aeromed2!
20 Nov 2014, 1045 hours (GMT +8)
Operationally-ready National Servicemen (NSmen) who face difficulties fulfilling their National Service (NS) obligations will now have a familiar face to approach in their units. …for other MINDEF and Home Team enquiries, please press *. NSmen, does this sound familiar to you? Now, you'll be able to pick up the phone and speak to your unit's S8 or National Service Relations Officer (NSRO), who will guide you in resolving your In-Camp Training (ICT) issues. A face to the voice The role of the NSRO was established about two years ago, in line with Committee to Strengthen National Service recommendations. Recruitment began in earnest and the NSROs started coming on board in June 2013. Previously, the NS Portal and NS Hotline were the primary contact points for NSmen. Unfortunately, those with complicated issues - such as family problems that forced them to defer their ICTs - often had difficulty explaining their situations to their superiors. Now, the NSROs provide a point of contact as well as a familiar face for them to seek the necessary help. The SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) recognises the importance of having a common touch point, said Colonel Chua Boon Keat, Head of NS Affairs Department, of the crucial role that NSROs play. We don't want the NSman to be calling a different person every time and repeating his issue over multiple channels. We want someone the NSman is familiar with and knows will look after him every ICT.
20 Nov 2014, 0900 hours (GMT +8)
On 18 Nov, a year-long journey came to fruition with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked between SAFTI Military Institute (SAFTI MI) and the Civil Service College (CSC). Through this partnership, both organisations aim to strengthen leadership and management development by conducting joint research and forums for networking and the exchange of personnel and ideas. We can trace our footsteps to September last year when the Permanent Secretary (Public Service Division), Ms Yong Ying-I, led a team from CSC to the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) Centre for Leadership Development (CLD) to better understand our work as well as to gather insights for mutual learning , said Commandant SAFTI MI Brigadier-General (BG) Benedict Lim on the beginnings of the MOU. Mr Khoo Boon Hui, the director of CSC's Institute of Leadership and Organisation Development (ILOD), added: We (the CSC and SAFTI MI) realised that we had similar missions and aims in building up leadership (development)... Both have a long tradition (in this) and are very keen to learn from each other and collaborate to increase the levels of expertise in leading people. BG Lim shared the same sentiments, saying: There is a certain commonality between public servants and the people in uniform... When it comes down to the core and the purpose (of what we do), it's the same: we serve Singapore and Singaporeans. And in all organisations, we need leaders, whether they're wearing civilian clothes or uniforms... That's what brings us together in this MOU. On how the pact will set the foundation for a deeper level of cooperation between SAFTI MI and the CSC, Mr Khoo said: I think that if we collaborate, we will be able to find areas whereby we can learn from each other... For example, values-based leadership is an area in which I think we are likely to find new insights. He explained: Most people have the impression that military leadership is only meant for the armed forces, but having spoken to senior officers and observing for myself, I realised that the SAF has expanded their scope and looks into many areas of leadership which are applicable to the public sector as well as the private sector. At the same time, the civil service is also looking into areas which we find some congruence with the military doctrine of leadership, especially with regards to values. In the military, you can't be a good leader just based on your skills - you must be rooted in your values. And that’s what we find is increasingly required not only in the public service but also the private sector. With the MOU in place, SAFTI MI and the CSC will explore further opportunities to conduct joint research on topics such as case studies on leadership and management theories, ethics and values, and doctrine. Members of both organisations will also attend and participate in conferences, seminars, and workshops relating to leadership, values and management hosted by the other.
19 Nov 2014, 1730 hours (GMT +8)
The Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (SAFSA) football team impressed with its attacking flair even as it went down 1-0 against the Singapore Police Force Sports Association (SPFSA) in the 42nd G.E. Bogaars Cup held on 18 Nov. This year, SAFSA fielded a strong squad with six former Prime League and National Football Academy (NFA) players, including goalkeeper Private (PTE) Farshah Iskandar who was a Singapore Youth Olympic team player. The Prime League is the reserve league of the S-League, while the NFA grooms promising Singapore youth players. SAFSA thrilled the spectators at Bedok Camp 2 stadium, and dominated the first half with their free-flowing attacking football. Playing on away ground, SPFSA sat back and played a patient, passing game. But its soak and strike tactic worked, as it scored the only goal of the game through a header against the run of play from a set-piece in the 27th minute. SAFSA's right winger PTE Azmeerudin Bin Jamludain, who last played for Tampines Rovers Football Club (FC), and striker Lance Corporal (LCP) Bharath Ravindren, formerly from Warriors FC, were SAFSA's most dangerous players. The duo were not afraid to take on defenders, and constantly troubled the SPFSA's defence. In the second-half, PTE Azmeerudin was moved to the centre, playing as a false number 9, as the team pressed forward for an equaliser. But the elusive goal never came. SAFSA's team captain 2ndLieutenant (2LT) Andrew Leow said the team played well despite the loss. We were clearly fitter... I think overall we played well, we stick to our game plan, said the holding midfielder, who was part of the NFA Under-17 squad in 2011. It was a lapse of concentration which resulted in the Police's goal; we let in one corner which could have been prevented. Nevertheless, it was a good game for both sides, (and it was good) to come together and play. Team manager Captain (CPT) Julianah Jamal said this year's team, which comprised mostly Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) from different formations, was better prepared and organised. They had been training thrice weekly for more than a month, and undergone a one-week centralised training. In the 2013 game, SAFSA had lost to SPFSA 4-0. This year, they played much better. I am proud of the boys, they put up a tough fight, and were very dedicated, said the Deputy Logistic Staff Officer (S4) of 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade. The G.E. Bogaars Cup was first held in 1971 in honour of the late Mr George Edwin Bogaars, who served as the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Defence (MID) from 1965 to 1970. MID is the predecessor of today's Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The game aims to maintain the historical ties and close working relationship between the Armed Forces and Police. Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng and Commissioner of Police Mr Ng Joo Hee were the guests of honour at this year's game. In the earlier curtain-raiser match for players aged 35 and above, the SPFSA Veterans defeated SAFSA Veterans 4-0. SAFSA, which will be taking part in the National Football League next year, is looking for new talent. Interested servicemen can contact the SAFSA team manager (Tel: 63052041) for a trial.

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