National Service Registration for male Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents born between 1st September 1997 and 1st January 1998 (both dates inclusive) will be conducted between 26th November 2014 and 17th December 2014 (both dates inclusive).
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will conduct military exercises in Seletar, Marsiling, Jalan Bahar, Neo Tiew, Lim Chu Kang, Jalan Kwok Min, Tuas, Upper Jurong, Hong Kah, Ama Keng, Bedok Jetty, Kranji, Lentor, Simpang, Sembawang, Mandai from 08:00am on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 to 08:00am on Mon, 01 Dec 2014.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will conduct military exercises in Seletar, Marsiling, Jalan Bahar, Neo Tiew, Lim Chu Kang, Jalan Kwok Min, Tuas, Upper Jurong, Hong Kah, Ama Keng, Bedok Jetty, Kranji, Lentor, Simpang, Sembawang, Mandai from 08:00am on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 to 08:00am on Mon, 24 Nov 2014.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.