Amazing ideas can come at any time, from any place.
For Singa Team@SG members Lee Yu Yang, Axel Tong, Zhang Zi Heng and Loke Yi Ming, their idea for an amazing machine came from the pages of their Social Studies textbook.
The Primary Five students from Kheng Cheng School built a Rube Goldberg machine (a device that is deliberately over-engineered or overdone to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction) that told the story of Singapore's growth from its founding by Sir Stamford Raffles to its modern-day incarnation as a global city.
Using a variety of mechanical movements, the team marked out various key events on their machine. This included a wheel with flags on two ends that spun and replaced a Japanese flag with the Union Jack to signify the end of the war, as well as repelling magnets that symbolize the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. The chain reaction ended with a marble falling on a mouse, enabling the National Day Parade 2015 song, Our Singapore, to play on a laptop.
For their ingenuity, the team came out tops in Category A of the Singapore Amazing Machine Competition (SAMC) 2015. Organised by DSO National Laboratories as part of the DSO Amazing series of competitions, SAMC 2015 saw more than 200 students and 53 teams from across primary, secondary and pre-tertiary institutions conceptualising and building Rube Goldberg machines.
In line with the SG50 celebrations, this year's participants were required to incorporate their vision for Singapore's next 50 years in their machines and tell the story of the nation's past, present and future.
At the awards ceremony held at the Singapore Science Centre on 28 Aug, Guest of Honour Minister for Transport and 2nd Minister for Defence Lui Tuck Yew presented the winners with their accolades.
Speaking at the event, Mr Lui highlighted the importance of creative and critical thinking: Science can enhance and improve our way of living. But to make it impactful and useful, we need creative and critical thinkers who will develop fresh solutions to the challenges that we face in society.
Singapore's future will depend on our ability to rise above our limitations and develop new innovations to meet our unique requirements.
In his speech, Mr Lui also reminded the students of the importance of teamwork.
I think the experience from the last few days, even from your journey with your experimentation, is that it takes teamwork. It is the people living together, working together (and) bouncing their ideas off each other - iron sharpening iron. And that's how you get the best ideas to surface and the best intentions to come to the fore, he said.
His comments rang true for many, including Singa Team@SG's Yi Ming. In the five months the team spent building their machine, he admitted that there were fights: Sometimes, we met with difficulties, and we would debate with each other on what to do. But in the end, we always talked it out with each other and reach an agreement.
As for Category C winner ACSI Team1, comprising Andrew Lim, Samuel Chian, Joshua Lim and Leo Zhenn Zhe, teamwork was certainly the key to their repeat victory.
We've been working together for more than two years. Our advantage is that we know each other well and have been working together for so long, said Andrew. The Year Five students from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) were crowned Category B winners in 2014.
The team's unity was reflected in their machine, which made use of an elaborate system of circuits and levers to spell out Happy SG50. Each individual letter was formed by a different action. For instance, one letter was written by a robotic arm while another was projected on to a wall.
To us, Singapore is about the people and how we are all one society. We incorporated this into our machine by bringing together different areas of science, such as biology (with the robotic arm), chemistry and physics, to reach the end goal, said Samuel.
It's like Singapore integrating the various levels of society, with a main control system for everything.
As for first-time participants Coco Liu, Suan Enhui, K. Sarvesha and Ramachandran Praveena of Team 111, the SAMC was an eye-opening experience. The Secondary One students from Raffles Girls' School (Secondary) (RGS) were still reeling from the shock of becoming Category B winners.
There are Secondary Three and Four students here with really complex machines, and here we are, Secondary Ones who are totally new to everything. We were quite surprised that we won, but nonetheless, we are happy, said Sarvesha.
The students held their own with an intricate structure that ended with a portrait painted on interlocking wood panels, signifying Singapore's past and present. The chain reaction caused the wood panels to flip around and reveal a second portrait that signified the nation's present and future.
To make the machine run smoothly and successfully, the students stayed back in school virtually every day for two weeks. With conflicting schedules and additional classes after school, it was difficult to find time to work together as well.
We learnt that we had to stay focused on our aim and target, said Praveena.
Sarvesha added, In the end, we managed to work together and come up with this machine.
PIONEER alumnus, lawyer and best-selling author Adrian Tan writes about how the magazine has evolved over the years.
PIONEER exists as the voice and memory of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The evergreen magazine was born on Singapore's fourth birthday as the National Pioneer, a tabloid newsletter. In launching it, then-Minister for Defence Lim Kim San said in his foreword: There are now a few thousand young men and women in our Armed Forces. There is, therefore, a need for a medium through which our men and women in the Armed Forces can be enlightened and entertained.
Over the next five decades, month by month, the magazine has grown and transformed, in pursuit of that original mission.
The original National Pioneer was heavy on editorial and light on its black-and-white pictures. The tone was serious and the language, formal. The 1960s' editions featured articles befitting of a young nation, discussing the big issues of the day, such as the need for National Service (NS), or our geopolitical environment. Over the years, that style gave way to a full-colour glossy magazine, friendlier and more casual, with an increased emphasis on pictures and graphics.
In the early days, national austerity demands meant that one copy of the magazine would have to be shared among 10 servicemen. Today, the magazine is sent to the homes of Full-Time National Servicemen, Operationally Ready National Servicemen and Regulars.
n the 1970s, PIONEER offered subscription at 20 cents a copy. Today, it is a princely 40 cents.
For a time, advertisements were found in the pages of PIONEER for consumer electronics, computer courses, mosquito repellent and many varieties of beer. All advertising has ceased.
PIONEER has always been among the first to adopt new technology. In 1996, it launched cyberpioneer, its internet edition. In 2010, it was one of the first Singapore publications to be offered on a newfangled contraption called an iPad. Today, cyberpioneer stories, pictures and videos are widely viewed, shared and commented on Facebook, Flickr and Youtube. Its content often sparks off discussions about NS experiences. It continues to be recognised internationally as one of the best magazines in its field.
What has also not changed is PIONEER's dedication to its prime directive - to be the voice of the SAF. For five decades, it has documented our collective achievements and common experiences. It has faithfully recorded our journey as we march in uniform. It continues to narrate the grand adventure that is our SAF.
Many famous Singaporeans underwent their NS in PIONEER. Actor, director and playwright Ivan Heng was a PIONEER writer. Of his PIONEER days, he said: One week, I would be on board a ship, or on some jetty ready to go somewhere, another week I'd be sitting in a helicopter taking aerial pictures with my photographer. And we were interviewing ministers, and we got quite a big bite of the journalistic cherry. It was a great opportunity for a young man; I don't think many people get to experience these things at 20.
Celebrity photographer Russel Wong was a PIONEER photographer. He is famed for his pictures of stars such as Jackie Chan, Richard Gere and Tom Cruise. Aptly, his first PIONEER assignment was a portrait of Lieutenant-General (Ret) Winston Choo, then-Chief of General Staff. Russel said that his PIONEER experience was an eye-opener, and that it sharpened his senses. Doing photo-journalism, I had to be more alert, as there was only one chance to take my shot. Most of the time, I didn't quite know what to expect, and I had to get it right the first time. I also learnt to work with people to get the pictures I wanted. In PIONEER, I met all kinds of people, from privates to generals.
Award-winning musician, songwriter and poet Dr Liang Wern Fook was another PIONEER writer. He wrote for the Chinese edition of the magazine. He said: My writing was about self-expression. But at PIONEER, I realised I needed another kind of writing skill. It was no longer about personal feelings, but about being objective.
It's important to have an opinion, but self-expression must be within your setting and environment. And then, in my second year, I realised that even if no personal feelings are expressed, the story can still have a personal angle: how you write the story, whom you interview and what you highlight about them.
Former Attorney-General Professor Walter Woon, food critic K F Seetoh, and former NMP Associate Professor Simon Tay are just some others who served their NS in PIONEER.
Today editor Walter Fernandez, The Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez and former The New Paper Editor Ivan Fernandez have something less obvious in common. All cut their teeth as PIONEER writers.
Warren Fernandez said of his time in PIONEER: What I had to learn was how to fit into the production cycle: conceptualising stories, working with the artists and photographers, designing the pages. That taught me a lot about the visual aspect of journalism - it's not just about words, you've got to be able to connect with your readers through images, pictures and design. Recalling the publication of his first story in PIONEER, he said: It was great to see my byline. There's always a buzz, a sense of achievement for your first story. I think that was what got me thinking about journalism. I wasn't born wanting to be a journalist. PIONEER showed me that this was something I could do in the long term.
Ivan Fernandez said of his PIONEER stint, where he was also resident cartoonist: We felt our task was to go behind the scenes and make the activities on the ground, the people behind the units and the operating culture come alive. We wanted to show that there was more to the Armed Forces than the steely, highly-disciplined and perfectly-timed performances seen at the National Day Parade.
Songs and cheers rang out in the early morning of 21 Aug as more than a thousand soldiers from the Infantry formation took part in the second annual Infantry March.
With participants hailing from all Infantry units across the island, this year's march, themed The March Home, aimed to rally all Infanteers and strengthen the identity of the Infantry Tribe as they marched to Selarang Camp - home of the Infantry.
Consisting of three different groups, each marching from a different start point - Selarang Camp, Pasir Ris Park, or the Singapore Armed Forces Ferry Terminal - they marched a distance of between 4.4km and 5.5km before converging at their end-point at Selarang Camp.
How do we know that the 'Infantry Tribe' is strong? Brigadier-General (BG) Chiang Hock Woon, Commander 9th Singapore Division and Chief Infantry Officer asked the some 1,600 Infanteers after the march. We came to one conclusion - what is most important for the 'Infantry Tribe' is the trust between us… To build this trust, we decided that every year, we would decide on a time and a place, and we would meet… and this is how the idea of the Infantry March was mooted.
He added: When we did our march last year, every unit turned up, and this year, we continue with this tradition - every unit will turn up when we do our march.
Agreeing with him was Colonel (COL) Lim Teck Keong, Commander of the Motorised Infantry Training Institute, who led 200 of his men in the Infantry March. He said the march was significant in building camaraderie within the formation, the largest in the Army.
To strengthen the identity of the 'Infantry Tribe', BG Chiang unveiled and presented the new Infantry Combat Knife to commanders and commanding officers of the various Infantry units.
COL Lim, who was among those receiving the knife, found it to be a meaningful presentation. Recalling the days before the Singapore Assault Rifle (SAR) 21, where bayonets were still attached to the M16s, COL Lim said: The symbol of the Infantry is two crossed bayonets …When the SAR 21 was introduced into service, we stopped using the bayonets… and after a few years, the significance of the bayonets decreased.
Hence, I think that it is quite apt now that the Infantry formation has introduced this Infantry Combat Knife. When all else fails, we still have the infantry knife to fight with our bare hands, and achieve mission success.
Also taking place after the Infantry March was the presentation of berets to newly-trained Infanteers from the 1st and 8th Battalions, Singapore Infantry Regiment (1 SIR, 8 SIR).
This year's National Day Parade (NDP) was a grand affair befitting of celebrating Singapore's Golden Jubilee and a key factor for its success was the people who contributed one way or another behind the scenes. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen hosted the key appointment holders of the NDP 2015 organising committee, participating organisations and sponsors to an appreciation dinner on 24 Aug.
Speaking at the function, Dr Ng highlighted that the successful parade was the result of the hard work, support, and commitment of many. He said: I know that there were many participants and many people who put in many hours and sacrifices. Many of you who are seated here played a big part in it, without which, the NDP would not have been a success.
The many pictures that we took in NDP will stand as a historical record of how unique and how spectacular NDP 2015 was.
To emphasise his point, Dr Ng used the example of the 1.2 million funpacks that had been distributed to every single Singaporean household as part of the NDP 2015 celebrations. It was very heartwarming as they (Combat Service Support Command) brought together people, including children with Down Syndrome to come help pack, he said.
They penned special notes in the funpacks that they packed and it showed the spirit which made NDP 2015 possible.
In an example to exhibit the dedication of those who made NDP a reality, Dr Ng said: As rehearsals were during the Ramadan period, our Muslim brothers and sisters were rehearsing without eating or drinking - they were observing their fast.
Commenting on the dedication and the sacrifices of the NDP 2015 participants, Brigadier-General (BG) Melvyn Ong, Chairman of the Executive Committee and the newly appointed Chief of Army, said: Organising our country's Golden Jubilee celebrations was an honour for my team, and also challenging due to the many moving parts.
Citing the examples of the many challenges posed during NDP such as the 1.2 million funpacks, satellite sites, and large aerial display to name a few, BG Ong added: We needed months of rehearsals, and tight and effective coordination on the ground. We couldn't have done it without the capable and committed servicemen and volunteers, working together to give Singaporeans an awesome SG50 NDP to remember.
Dr Ng presented Gold awards to 165 recipients who attended the dinner at Resorts World Sentosa. There were 201 Gold award recipients this year.
Chief of Defence Force Major-General (MG) Perry Lim will present the 612 Silver awards to participating organisations and sponsors at a separate dinner held later this week.
Future generations of defence ministers should continue to forge strong public support for defence, and to maintain good defence relations with other countries, in order to secure peace for Singapore over the next 50 years and beyond.
This was the answer given by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen when asked by an undergraduate what advice he would give to today's youths if they were the future defence ministers.
Dr Ng was fielding questions from some 160 undergraduates, mostly from the National University of Singapore (NUS), at the Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum on 20 Aug, after his keynote presentation on Singapore's nation-building journey.
The discussion was centred on Singapore's future challenge in areas such as economy, population, and security.
Noting that 97 percent of Singaporeans had expressed confidence in the country's defence, according to a recent survey by MediaCorp, Dr Ng said: Certainly, I am gratified that there is such a strong belief… You've got to continue to work at it to maintain that support.
We are only as strong as Singaporeans are willing to support defence. Our boys going for two years (of National Service) is a significant commitment, explained Dr Ng, adding that the Republic also spent a large proportion of the government budget on defence.
On forging strong defence ties, Dr Ng said Singapore had been taking part in defence dialogues, and partnering with countries to foster mutual trust.
He cited how Singapore had offered assistance to Brunei in hosting over 3,000 troops from 18 countries for a large-scale Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise in 2013.
For the first time, you had Chinese, Japanese, American soldiers conducting exercises in a humanitarian setting. And that's what we should be doing more of, said Dr Ng.
At the same time, you can never be certain you are safe; you must be fully (prepared with a) capable deterrence force, he added.
In response to a question about Singapore's position on the on-going territorial dispute in the South China Sea, Dr Ng said the Republic was not a claimant state, but was concerned about possible disruption to the vital international waterway.
He said: It shows you that our external environment can be unpredictable, and that we are wise to have a strong SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) that can help pacify things, help to ease tension.
Threats from hybrid warfare
When asked by another student if cyber warfare would become a reality in the near future, Dr Ng said it had already taken place when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last year.
He described Russia's strategy as hybrid warfare: The use of propaganda and disinformation to break the population's will to fight for their country, before launching an invasion.
Singapore is not immune to such threats, Dr Ng said.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been conducting a facet of hybrid warfare through the use of social media to radicalise people worldwide.
The way to respond is through Total Defence where every citizen plays a part, Dr Ng said. Adopted by Singapore, it is a comprehensive strategy consisting ofmilitary, civil, economic, social and psychological defence.
Dr Ng gave the example of 19-year-old Arifil Azim Putra Norja'I, a self-radicalised Singaporean who harboured the intention to conduct attacks in the country. His arrest was made possible because his friend noticed the change in him, and alerted the authorities.
This is something which is occurring here and now, something that has changed the battlefield. So it's a battle over mind, it's a battle over ideology, said Dr Ng.
Militarily, we also have to respond, (and) that's why we have our cyber defence, and information defence, he added.
Females to do NS?
Asked if females would be enlisted for National Service (NS) in the foreseeable future, in view of the declining birth rate in Singapore, Dr Ng said there was no need to do so, as technology had enabled the SAF to provide the same kind of firepower with less manpower.
For example, it used to take 12 men to operate an artillery gun, but today, only three men are needed to run the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
The SAF had also planned for its manpower need, factoring in declining birth rates, till 2050, Dr Ng added.
While there have been calls for females to do NS as nurses or teachers, Dr Ng said there was no strong justification for it.
He explained: There are very few circumstances where you can say to anybody, whether male or female, that I want you to give up two years of your life to do something.
And that critical need is (the) defence of Singapore. I can't bring you in to be a nurse or to be teacher. It is a social good, but (an) inadequate justification.
Even if there is a need to conscript females for defence needs, it has to be done carefully because it changes the whole complexion of your military force, he added.
Held at the University Town, the forum was organised by the NUS Students' Political Association.
Understanding the needs of disaster victims whom you are helping; a strong military-to-military relationship; good information-sharing among countries offering assistance - they are all crucial to effective relief efforts.
These were some of the lessons that Colonel (COL) Lim Kwang Tang took away as the Singapore Contingent Commander of the Nepal disaster relief operations in April this year.
COL Lim, who is Director of Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Coordination Centre (RHCC), was one of three speakers invited to share his experience at an event organised by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, called RSIS Celebrates World Humanitarian Day: Voices From The Field, held at the National Library on 19 Aug.
The other two speakers were Mr Johann Annuar, Founder and Trainer of Humanity Assist, and Mr Hassan Ahmad, Technical Adviser of the Corporate Citizen Foundation.
Attending the talk were more than 100 students and representatives from agencies which had participated in HADR efforts in the region.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) had sent a 38-man team, with 22 personnel from the medical team and 16 from Changi RHCC to help in HADR efforts after the Nepalese earthquake.
During the 12-day deployment, the SAF medical team treated more than 3,000 patients, working alongside their counterparts from Singapore's Ministry of Health as well as the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. In addition, the Republic of Singapore Air Force's C-130 aircraft evacuated 95 Singaporeans and foreigners, and made a total of 11 flights into Nepal to bring personnel, equipment and relief supplies.
During the question-and-answer session, COL Lim reiterated that one of the key challenges in an HADR operation was information sharing, and that a strong military-to military-relationship was important for an effective disaster relief effort.
He said: In our region, the military plays a significant role. We have to establish linkages within this region as well as with other players such as the US, Australia and India.
COL Lim added that the RHCC also had to establish a strong international liaison officers' network, so that they could practise peacetime disaster preparedness.
We are sharing information and monitoring situations day to day. In the event of an impending (disaster such as a) typhoon, we will have early warning and share the information so that our military partners will be prepared and on standby, and if necessary, we go in together.
In response to a question on when the military should step in to help and when it should pull out of the disaster-hit area, COL Lim explained that the military will typically stay up to 14 days, and that was exactly what the Nepalese Army had requested.
The military will go in during the emergency relief phase. The first three days are the most critical, followed by the combined search-and-rescue phase the next four days. After a week, the chances of survival are reduced drastically, so we will go into the stabilisation phase, where we start to treat people and stabilise their emotions. After that, we will pull out.
He added that, for other militaries to go in, the local military and government had to invest resources to provide transport and liaison, to sustain the foreign militaries in their relief operations. Staying too long might hinder the local military in getting back to their own duties.
COL Lim revealed that the RHCC hosted the United Nations World Humanitarian Forum in Singapore earlier this year, which provided the opportunity for international networks to share information among practitioners from different countries.
In closing, he reiterated the importance of a strong information-sharing network, and urged for such practices to continue so that it would be easier for foreign and local militaries to work together on the ground.
They may not don the uniform or carry the SAR 21, but for these women, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is no less an intricate part of their lives. PIONEER celebrates the women whose unyielding support enables our soldiers to carry out their duties with peace of mind.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) welcomes its new Chief of Defence Force (CDF), Major-General (MG) Perry Lim, in a change of command parade held at SAFTI Military Institute on 18 Aug.
MG Lim, the former Chief of Army (COA), took over the reins of command from outgoing CDF Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng, who retired from the SAF on the same day.
MG Lim joined the SAF in 1990, and has held key appointments, including Commander 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade, Head Joint Plans and Transformation Department, Commander 3rd Singapore Division, and Chief of Staff-General Staff.
As COA, he oversaw the operationalisation of the Murai Urban Live Firing Facility (MULFAC), and Airborne-Trooper Training Facility. These facilities have helped to strengthen the Army's training and safety.
He also guided the implementation of initiatives recommended by the Committee to Strengthen National Service, such as formation of the SAF Volunteer Corps, hiring of more regular trainers to enhance training, and formulation of the new Individual Physical Proficiency Test format.
The change of command is part of the SAF's leadership renewal process. The parade was witnessed by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen.
During the parade, LG Ng reviewed a Guard-of-Honour and 13 marching contingents formed by servicemen from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
He joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force in 1986 as an F-5 fighter pilot, and served with distinction for 29 years.
Under his command as CDF, the SAF maintained a high level of operational readiness, contributing to the country's peace as well as to the international community.
Today, the SAF is in a position of strength, said LG Ng in his farewell speech. I am confident that the SAF will deliver whenever we are called into action. Our track record speaks for itself.
He cited the SAF's successes in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, counter-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the region.
LG Ng also paid tribute to all regulars, full-time national servicemen, and operationally-ready national servicemen, whom he described as the main source of my confidence, the strength of our SAF.
He said: For the past 50 years, the SAF has brought peace and security to Singaporeans and Singapore. I am confident that you will continue to keep SAF strong and forward-looking.
Also in attendance at the parade were Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, senior MINDEF officials and SAF officers, as well as the military diplomatic corps and other guests.
Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) volunteers set an example for others to follow and galvanise public support for Singapore's security, said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen.
Your service sends a clear message to our potential aggressors - that our people are united and determined to protect our home called Singapore. As volunteers, to me, you are our most powerful advocate of the belief that Singapore is worth protecting, and your presence here today is testimony to our collective commitment.
Dr Ng added: You are a source of inspiration to the next generation.
He was speaking to attendees at the MINDEF Volunteers' Dinner, held at Shangri-La Hotel on 17 Aug. About 300 volunteers, who are industry experts in both the private and public sectors, serve on 41 MINDEF boards and committees.They contribute in areas such as medical, safety, financial, legal and National Service management.
At the dinner, which is held annually to honour MINDEF's volunteers, Dr Ng also presented certificates of appointment and re-appointment to 51 volunteers.
One of the volunteers present at the dinner was Chairman of the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) Audit Committee and Member of Board of Governors of SAFRA, Mr Bill Chua Teck Huat. Mr Chua, 61, is one of MINDEF's pioneer volunteers and first became a volunteer in 1991.
I believe that I've benefited from society, so it's always nice to give back. I also believe that it's more blessed to give than to receive, said Mr Chua of his motivation to volunteer. The camaraderie with his fellow volunteers is also a reason he continued volunteering for almost 24 years.
As the former Managing Director and Head of Global Financial Institution, Mr Chua is involved in the areas of governance and compliance in DSTA and SAFRA, contributing through his vast experience in finance.
He said: It's about making sure that we do things right and continue to do the right things. (It's also about) figuring out how we can do things in a more effective and efficient manner.
As for Ms Claire Chiang, Co-Chairman of the Family and Community Council of the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD), Dr Ng's comment about galvanising public support rang true.
On ACCORD's work in engaging the various sectors of society, Ms Chiang, 64, who is also Senior Vice President of Banyan Tree Holdings, said: I think this system and network of engagement will be the start of building a more robust feel of whose job it is in defending (the nation). They won't be thinking, 'it's only all those men in green'; they'll be thinking, 'it's mine, it's yours, it's all of ours.' That collective ethos and responsibility will be the spirit that I hope we continue to build upon.
Her sentiments were echoed by Dr Mohamad Ibrahim bin Aris, a member of the SAF Fitness Advisory Board, who was involved in the implementation of the new Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) format.
As Department Head for Physical Education and Co-curricular Activities in Tampines Junior College (JC), the 43-year-old works closely with students, who are also pre-enlistees. This has allowed him to be the bridge between MINDEF and the ground.
The first-hand info (from interacting with students) helps me in my planning (as a volunteer), said Dr Mohamad Ibrahim. At the same time, he is also able to ease the students into the new policies involving their upcoming National Service obligations.
Citing the recent change in the IPPT format, Dr Muhamad Ibrahim revealed that his students were initially worried that the new format would be more difficult than its predecessor.
But I told them that it (the new format) is to give them ownership. There's no excuse to say you don't have the equipment to train. It's to motivate you and give you that sense of ownership. This is part of nation-building, and you must be responsible for being fit before you enter NS. I even do a mock test for my JC1 students, said Dr Muhamad Ibrahim.
On why he continues to volunteer with MINDEF, he said: I think I have a part to play in nation-building. I urge people who have the knowledge or expertise: this is one way to contribute back to society. I would love to continue to be a volunteer in MINDEF, (because) I'm also learning from fellow experts and MINDEF as well.
Full-time National Servicemen(NSFs)can now get helpintheir job search with the launch of the Career Skills Workshop(CWS).
Open to those with three months or fewer of National Service (NS) left, theone-day workshop covers resume writing, interviews, as well as job search skills.
About 40 NSFs from the Singapore Armed Forces(SAF)and the Home Team attendedthe inaugural session held at the Lifelong Learning Institute on 15 Aug.
The workshopcame aboutfromarecommendation put up by the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) tohelp NSFs transit smoothly into the work force after NS.
Minister of State for Defence Dr Maliki Osman, who sat in at the workshop,noted that feedback from the public consultation last year showed that NSFs need to better understand their educational, training and career pathways after NS.
The Career Skills Workshop has been developed to cater to theirneeds...and reflects the Ministry of Defence's and Ministry of Home Affairs'commitment to preparing our NSFs for their next phase in life,he said.
Our NSFs haveacquired skills during NS which may be relevant to their future jobs, and the workshop is specially designed to help them understand the employmentlandscape and opportunities, and to draw on, maximise and showcase theseskills during interviews or career fairs.
Conducted by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the workshop provides insights on the employment trends and opportunities in Singapore.
Italsoprovides information on job search resources such as Jobs Bank, a public job-matching portal, and career coaching provided by the WDA's career centres.
This wouldbenefit NSFs who are entering the workforce upon completing their NS, saidMr Francis Lee,WDA'sDirectorofCareer Services Division.
A participant at today's workshop, Private Nur Syarifuddin agreed, saying it would not only be useful in his job search, but will help him to prepare for working life.
I can use these skills to prepare myself when I finish NS; I need to know what are the things to look out for in the work force because the environment is different from the army,said theguardsman from 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards whoplansto work as a technician in the chemical engineering industry.
At a change of command parade held this evening at Pasir Laba Camp, the Singapore Army welcomed its new Chief as Major-General (MG) Perry Lim Cheng Yeow handed over the symbol of command to Brigadier-General (BG) Melvyn Ong Su Kiat.
During the parade, MG Lim reviewed the Guard of Honour contingents comprising soldiers from the Commando and Guards formations, along with 10 supporting contingents from across the Army's different formations.
In his farewell speech, he highlighted the Army's value in peace, as demonstrated by its involvement in the organisation of various national events. He cited examples such as the Artillery Formation's organisation of the 2015 South East Asian Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the Guards Formation's organisation of National Day Parade (NDP) 2015.
MG Lim also touched upon the Army's competence in operations - units were activated to assist in the Kelantan flood relief efforts in 2014, as well as in response to provide aid for the Nepal earthquake victims this year.An Army ready in peace, decisive in war, and respected by all... This vision has guided our leaders to do what is required for our army to fulfil our mission, which is to deter aggression and, should deterrence fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory.
He also thanked all his fellow commanders who had journeyed and worked with him during his tenure as Chief of Army.
Today, I'll be handing over command of the Army to BG Melvyn Ong, concluded MG Lim. As we all know, Melvyn is a highly professional and capable commander and leader, driven by his sense of purpose, passion, and duty to his county, organisation, and people.
I know our Army will be in very good hands.
The new Chief of Army, BG Ong, 40, joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1994. An SAF Overseas Scholarship recipient, he graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Bachelor of Science (Second Class Honours) in Economics, and a Master of Science.
His previous appointments include Commander 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade and Head Joint Plans and Transformation Department. In 2011, BG Ong led the SAF's earthquake relief efforts in Christchurch, New Zealand as Singapore's Contingent Commander. He took over as Chief Guards Officer last August and also played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre.
This year, BG Ong also served as Chairman of the Golden Jubilee NDP 2015 Executive Committee.
This change of command is part of the SAF's continued process of leadership renewal, and the parade was witnessed by Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng and attended by senior SAF officers and servicemen.
Singapore's seaward defence will get a boost when the new Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) are fully operational by 2020.
Smarter, faster and sharper - that is the tagline for the new LMVs which will replace the 20-year-old Patrol Vessels (PVs). Designed from the onset to be operated by a leaner crew, the LMV uses technology to its advantage by automating processes with remote systems.
One example - the 80m-long warship's vital signs are monitored remotely by crew with onboard cameras and sensors. The health of its combat and other shipboard systems can be transmitted wirelessly to shore, to facilitate pre-emptive maintenance work.
In the speed department, the LMV manages very respectable speeds in excess of 27 knots (about 50kmh). It can also carry a medium-lift helicopter and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to respond quickly to security incidents. Though larger than the PV, the LMV is highly manoeuvrable and able to endure rougher seas.
On the business end, the LMV carries both lethal and non-lethal options to deal with would-be aggressors. They range from advanced missiles, large and small calibre guns to water cannon systems, and acoustic devices that are capable of projecting verbal warnings over the sea surface.
This new addition to the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s fleet is also versatile. It can be easily converted to suit different missions.
For example, it can be fitted with medical modules to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions, as well as unmanned systems for surveillance or mine-countermeasure operations.