ALL-NSMEN MEDICAL UNIT SHARPENS PROFICIENCY
400 NSmen from 1st Combat Support Hospital hone their proficiency at recent In-Camp Training.
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Defence Policy & DiplomacySingapore's defence policy is fundamentally based on the twin pillars of deterrence and diplomacy.
Defence SpendingInvesting wisely and prudently to build up a strong and capable defence force.
Strengthen NSStrengthening NS as the critical institution for Singapore’s continued survival and success.
Total DefenceTotal Defence involves every Singaporean playing a part to build a strong, secure and cohesive nation.
3rd Generation SAFThe 3rd Generation SAF is a strong and integrated force that operates across a full spectrum of operations.
OVERSEAS OPERATIONSThe SAF contributes towards multinational humanitarian & security support operations.
Defence ProcurementMaintaining a robust and comprehensive procurement process to adhere to the most rigorous standards.
System of AuditsEnsuring a robust system of internal & external audits for accountability and transparency.
Anti-Corruption PolicyMINDEF and SAF adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption.
01 Sep 2015, 0945 hours (GMT +8)
From conducting emergency airlifts off Singapore waters to helping countries in need, the RSAF is always ready when called upon to serve. Think of the Air Force and images of fighter aircraft roaring overhead, precision munitions striking their targets and aerial dogfights often come to mind. But that is only one slice of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). In peacetime, the RSAF serves in different capacities - from airlifting injured soldiers, to rescuing people stranded out at sea, to providing aid in the aftermath of natural disasters. In recent years, military forces have been increasingly called upon for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts. Speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit Global Forum on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination on 13 Apr, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen noted that (this is) not surprising because 70 percent of natural disasters occur within Asia, and within a seven-hour flight time from Singapore. He added: No other organisations, whether locally or globally, can respond with the speed and effectiveness that militaries do in the immediate aftermath of any disaster.
01 Sep 2015, 0945 hours (GMT +8)
Looking at the many vintage aircraft in the Air Force Museum, you might think you were back in the 70s. But continue into its revamped indoor gallery and you’ll find yourself flying into the future. It is a total revamp, said Mr Teng Geok Kim, the Air Force Museum's guide and curator, and a former technician with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). From 3D videos to surround sound and simulators, the museum has incorporated the latest technology to create a more engaging and hands-on experience for visitors. Now, there are more multimedia devices which are interactive. This will not only make the displays more interesting, but also allow visitors to participate in various interactive stations, explained Mr Teng. The five new exhibits tell a continuous story to the visitors - one that begins with the history of the RSAF and takes visitors to the present-day modern air force. Mix of modern and old Upon entering the indoor gallery, visitors will first see a large room filled with historical artefacts which hark back to the past. Adorning the walls of the gallery are uniforms and rank insignias from the old days of the RSAF, as well as a series of plaques which displays a timeline of the RSAF's equipment and capabilities. Complementing these historical displays is a new, high-tech interactive display table. Instead of just reading from a static display, visitors can use the table's massive touchscreen displays to drag and drop digital pictures of the RSAF's aircraft onto specific drop zones to learn more of their technical specifications. The next exhibit shows the evolution of the RSAF. Walking down a corridor, visitors can check out all of the RSAF's squadron insignias, arranged to show the command structure before and after a major restructuring in 2008. An engaging experience One of the main attractions of the revamped gallery is a simulator where visitors can experience flying a plane for take off and landing, and executing combat manoeuvres. Consisting of three sets of controls and a panoramic screen, it provides a realistic feel of being a pilot. Another interactive exhibit visitors can enjoy is a game showcasing the RSAF's aerobatics team - the Black Knights. By placing their palm on a sensor, visitors can take control of one of the Black Knights' aircraft and participate in manoeuvres with the rest of the team. Further enhancing the experience at the Air Force Museum is a brand new immersive theatre which emphasises the role of the RSAF during peace time. Using state-of-the-art 3D and surround sound technology, it features a movie which shows different RSAF squadrons being activated to intercept unknown hostile aircraft approaching Singapore's airspace. At the same time, a split screen shows scenes of ordinary life in Singapore proceeding as per normal. The movie shows that even in times of peace, the RSAF is committed to guarding our skies, said Mr Teng. Heritage revival For full-time national serviceman Corporal (CPL) Marcus Choy, who assisted in the curation of information and acquisition of artefacts, the challenge was in liaising with the many RSAF squadrons and commands to find the materials needed. These artefacts ranged from RSAF servicemen's souvenirs from their time in Afghanistan to an old winch man's helmet. Proud to be part of the revamp team, CPL Choy felt that the improved museum will instill pride in RSAF servicemen of the Air Force heritage and capabilities. As Mr Teng put it: The Air Force has been through so many significant milestones and...we hope that the revamped museum will reflect the growth that the Air Force has undergone and will be a proud representation of the RSAF.
31 Aug 2015, 1845 hours (GMT +8)
To ensure that medical treatment can be provided effectively and speedily in the battlefield, the 1st Combat Support Hospital (1 CSH) - comprising wholly citizen soldiers - embarked on a two-week In-Camp Training to hone the proficiency of its personnel. A CSH is a field hospital with operating theatres, intensive care units, wards and a blood bank to provide treatment and care for soldiers in the battlefield. Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman visited the Operational Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) on 28 Aug to better understand their training at the Medical Simulation Training Centre. The ICT involved about 400 medical officers, dental officers, and medics. One of the training objectives was to ensure that the medics, most of whom do not work in the health-care industry, can perform their roles in the hospital proficiently. We need to re-familiarise ourselves with the medical equipment, and the procedures of helping the medical officers during a surgery, said 1st Sergeant (1SG) (NS) Quek Yee Kian, an engineering programme manager. The refresher course helps us. With every ICT, we get better and better every subsequent year, added the 38-year-old medic, who is 1 CSH's Acting Regimental Sergeant Major. As for the medical officers, their training was focused on treating battlefield wounds, something which they do not usually encounter in hospitals and clinics, said Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (DR) (NS) Guo Chang Ming, Commanding Officer of 1 CSH. In hospitals, they are treating mostly illnesses, but in a military setting, there will be more blast, burn, and trauma injuries. They will need to do more damage control surgeries to stabilise the wounded, explained the 45-year-old, a spine surgeon at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). The NSmen will also do scenario-based exercises, working in teams to test their workflows. When wounded soldiers are sent to the CSH, the medics will assess the type and extent of their injuries. The medical officers will then conduct the relevant damage control procedures to stabilise the patients. Their conditions will be monitored, and if required, surgery will be performed. We want them to be as efficient as possible, and as proficient as possible so that we can save more lives, explained LTC (DR) (NS) Guo. Volunteers Among the soldiers in 1 CSH are two female volunteers. They are nursing officers who have gone through the Medical Officer Cadet Course. Captain (CPT) Pauline Leong, who has been volunteering with the SAF since 1994, said the ICT sessions have taught her much about treating patients in a battlefield. It's different from how we operate in a civilian hospital. I learnt to modify what I do in the hospital to a military setting, and make do with the 'mobile' field equipment. We also impart some of our knowledge to our medics. CPT Leong is an advanced practice nurse at SGH. During his visit, Dr Maliki also held a dialogue with the NSmen on a range of issues, such as how to further improve support for citizen soldiers from employers and educational institutions.
31 Aug 2015, 0930 hours (GMT +8)
ME2 Claire He, 32 Air Force Engineer, 805 SQN While the office crowd keeps busy sending email messages occasionally containing a barb or two, Military Expert (ME) 2 Claire He deals with (potentially) more explosive content. She is an Air Force Engineer who takes care of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) munitions. Air-to-air, air-to-ground missiles; that's what we look after, said ME2 He. Everyone thinks that handling munitions is quite scary but if you treat them properly with respect, it's safe. If she looks familiar, it is because she appears in RSAF recruitment materials. She is also part of the ground crew in the Black Knights aerobatics team. I deal mostly with munitions and had little experience working on aircraft maintenance before joining the team, so it wasn't easy at the beginning. Having performed at a few international airshows (watch the video clip!) with the Black Knights team, ME2 He is now a seasoned hand at keeping the Black Knights' six state-liveried F-16C fighter aircraft at the ready. When asked what has kept her in the RSAF for the past 11 years, ME2 He replied: I enjoy the working environment. There's also the satisfaction of seeing the munitions I work on hit their targets during training exercises. It is probably not the best thing to be on the receiving end of her despatches.
29 Aug 2015, 1230 hours (GMT +8)
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.
26 Aug 2015, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
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. PIONEER alumni 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.