The SAF Adjusts Outdoor Activities According to Haze Situation
We refer to the letter Protecting SAF recruits from haze by Ms June Hoo which was published on 24 October 2015. Since then, we have spoken to Ms Hoo to understand and address...
National Service Registration for male Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents born between 1st September 1998 and 31st December 1998 (both dates inclusive) will be conducted between 11th November 2015 and 1st December 2015 (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, 23 Nov 2015 to 08:00am on Mon, 30 Nov 2015.
At age 40, Military Expert (ME) 4A Melvinder Singh had completed his National Service cycle. But he not only chose to extend it, he went for a course to take up a command appointment. Indeed, he jumped at the opportunity when it was offered to him.
For me, whether I had attained the Senior ME rank or not, my role would have been the same - to give back what I've received, and to teach the guys how to attain (mission) readiness when the button is pressed on board merchant ships.
As a marine pilot with Port of Singapore Authority, ME4A Singh is well-versed in the area of merchant marina. When called back for In-Camp Training (ICT), he performed the role of chief mate on board a civil resource ship in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s 192/193 Squadron (SQN) - getting his men to work as a team, and showing them how to operate on board the ship to achieve mission success.
Explaining his desire to continue doing NS, ME4A Singh said: If you are going to bring in NSmen (Operationally-Ready National Servicemen) on board merchant ships, who else is going to teach them, if not us, when we are already here?
Our merchant marine community in Singapore is very small and (the Navy needs to) tap our expertise. We have limited resources, and it will be difficult to run a squadron (if all of us only serve NS up to age 40). This motivated him to extend his NS so that he could share his merchant marina expertise. We need to defend our own country, he said.
ME4A Singh was one of 20 NSmen who were appointed Senior MEs under the Expertise Conversion Scheme at the SAFTI Military Institute on 27 Nov. He will take on the role of Commanding Officer of a merchant ship within the RSN whenever he goes back for ICT.
The scheme allows eligible NSmen to convert to military experts and provides more opportunities for those with deep civilian professional expertise to voluntarily continue contributing to the nation's defence. This is done through enhancing operational capabilities in areas identified by the SAF.
Among the NSmen who were appointed, eight were from the Army and 12 from the Navy. They were among the 105 servicemen and women who received their senior ME ranks this evening.
Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, who officiated at the appointment ceremony, said: (The ECS) empowers our NSmen possessing specialisation in critical domains to assume leadership appointments within the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). NSmen joining this corps bring with them valuable civilian expertise that can enhance the SAF's operational capabilities.
Commenting that the SAF had become a stronger and more potent fighting force because of the diverse experiences, knowledge and skills that each ME possessed, Dr Maliki said that the MEs were important in leading innovation with the SAF to meet the challenges posed by global and regional developments.
To ensure that the SAF's fighting edge remains sharp, we depend on you, the Military Experts, to drive continuous innovations, develop and deliver expert solutions. As leaders, the task falls upon you to model and lead in creating and sustaining innovative culture within the communities and teams that you are part of.
For ME4A Allen Ong, it was this leadership shown by his commanders which inspired him to become a Senior ME.
As a then-ground control station specialist in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Command, he saw how his commanding officer worked closely with the ground crew whenever problems arose, to come up with solutions. Work processes became much more effective and efficient. This increased the morale of the men under the commander's charge, and they also became more committed to their work.
I saw how these leaders made an impact on those under their charge, and I was very inspired to have an opportunity to be a positive influence to others, said the 28-year-old.
With that, he took up a part-time degree in UniSim and requested an emplacement to become a Senior ME upon completion of his degree. He was also grateful that the Senior ME course equipped him with the necessary skills to take up leadership positions within the Air Force.
ME4A Ong said the course gave him exposure, in terms of widening and deepening my knowledge in the respective RSAF systems that we have. This really helped me to understand in-depth how the RSAF systems integrate and contribute to the defence of Singapore.
He is currently taking on the role of an officer-in-charge (designate) in 809 SQN, maintaining the Air-Land Tactical Control Centre.
Moving from a Defence Executive Officer (DXO) to a Regular is not common, but ME4A Jelyn Lee was inspired by her then-formation commander to convert to the military scheme.
While working as an analyst in the Imagery Support Group (ISG), ME4A Lee was inspired by her commander who shared his experiences as a soldier. She felt that there were many opportunities for personal development and unique experiences that being a soldier could bring. The 25-year-old was also attracted by the symbolism of the uniform, the responsibilities that came with it, and the esprit-de-corps among military personnel.
ME4A Lee, who will be appointed a staff officer in ISG, said: We bring different expertise to the table… I see it more as a partnership (between DXOs and military personnel). But being a uniformed personnel in a military organisation definitely has its benefits because of the flexibility in deployments. We will be more exposed to different experiences, and this will allow me to perform my job better.
The ceremony was also attended by Chief of Defence Force Major-General Perry Lim, senior SAF officers as well as families and friends of the newly-appointed Senior MEs.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is a capable and competent force that is ready to respond to contingencies.
Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung said this after his visit to the Army's Standby Force at Amoy Quee Camp on 26 Nov.
There is a high level of efficiency and proficiency. The young men are highly motivated, said Mr Ong. He saw how soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment responded quickly to an activation exercise.
About 500 soldiers were involved in the exercise. The men assembled on the parade square with their weapons and equipment within minutes of being activated.
They are part of a larger homeland security system that places various active SAF units on standby throughout the year. The Army's Standby Force comprises units from various vocations, including armour and artillery units, with capabilities such as the Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tanks and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
Mr Ong said the equipment used now was much better than what he had when he was doing National Service, adding: There is more technology involved now and our soldiers are better equipped. For example, he saw the quick ammunition-loading device that allows soldiers to fill a rifle magazine quickly.
He noted that, although Singapore had enjoyed a long period of peace and stability, the SAF remained vigilant. He said: Since 2001, we've been upping our vigilance, especially over our key installations, such as Changi Airport and Jurong Island.
Mr Ong also noted that the SAF had been involved in large-scale national security exercises, like the recent Exercise Highcrest. The SAF had also sent its soldiers to support multinational operations, such as the fight against ISIS.
We have capabilities that have been tested on the ground, and we stand ready (for contingencies), he said.
During the visit, Mr Ong observed the soldiers doing weapon drills on the General Purpose Machine Gun, Section Assault Weapon and M110 sniper rifle. He also saw fire movement and breaching drills.
At the end of the visit, Mr Ong said he was confident that the SAF stands ready for any contingency and (is) ready to protect the country.
What is it like to teach PE to students more than 40 years younger than you? Army Regular-turned-PE teacher LTC (Ret) Kok Wai Tong shares his experience.
Most people in their fifties would prefer a slower pace of life to enjoy their golden years. But not Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (Ret) Kok. At the age of 48, he put himself through a back-breaking physical proficiency test, all in a bid to become a physical education (PE) teacher.
Imagine standing on your hands, doing the cartwheel when you are almost 50, recalled LTC (Ret) Kok, now 66, who is working at Serangoon Junior College.
I wasn't sure if I could even do it, but somehow I managed, he laughed.
Apart from his initial lack of flexibility, being older was never an obstacle. The former Artillery officer, who spent 29 years in the Army, is still in tip-top shape. He never failed to ace his annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test.
What he enjoys most in his job is being able to influence young people. LTC (Ret) Kok recalled one incident vividly. In his first school, as the teacher-in-charge of Riverside Secondary's football team, he once banned his best player because of disciplinary problems. The team captain and other students petitioned against his decision, but he stood firm.
Discipline is important; there are no two ways about it. If you make a mistake, you pay for it. But more importantly, you don't stop there, you have to move on, and learn to re-organise the team, he explained.
The captain rallied the team, and they emerged among the top four in the North Zone. A good result, said LTC (Ret) Kok, because this was the school's debut in the national school games' football tournament.
I was very proud, in the sense that I allowed the students to work things out among themselves.
Establishing more regular dialogues between both Defence Ministers, deepening collaboration in maritime security and boosting cooperation between Singapore and India's defence industries. These are the agreements stated in the revised Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Singapore and India.
The revised DCA was concluded alongside the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership signed by Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, at the Istana on 24 Nov.
Under the ambit of an Enhanced Defence Partnership, the revised DCA was signed by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Indian Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar. The DCA was also symbolically exchanged by Permanent Secretary for Defence Chan Yeng Kit, and Indian Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in the presence of both Prime Ministers.
Commenting that the revised DCA was a significant milestone from the first one signed more than 10 years ago, Dr Ng said: Our defence ties have committed to meetings at the highest level between defence ministers regularly… and more military-to-military ties and exercises.
Specifically, (there is) also closer collaboration for maritime security… (and) an agreement on exchange of information for white-shipping. (White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.)
He added that this collaboration put defence relations between both countries on a better footing, and signalled that Singapore and India had become closer defence partners.
On the topic of maritime security, Dr Ng said that both countries valued the importance of peace and stability, with reduced tensions and minimal possibility of any disruption to global trade and maritime lanes.
He said: Maritime security is an essential lifeline for economies or trade in this region, whether it's the South China Sea or Straits of Malacca. India's voice will be heard and we share common perspectives in terms of common stability.
The revised DCA also coincided with the signing of a Technical Agreement on the Sharing of White-Shipping Information between the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Indian Navy in July this year. With the TA, this has allowed Singapore's Information Fusion Centre and India's Directorate of Network Centric Operations to exchange real-time white-shipping information for greater maritime awareness and sense-making.
The revised DCA is seen as bringing the defence relations between Singapore and India a few notches up, as both countries commemorate 50 years of diplomatic relations.
Defence interactions between both countries include high-level visits, policy dialogues, joint military training, defence technology cooperation, courses, seminars and other professional exchanges.
Runner-up of the SAF50 Story Contest, Mr Michael Sim, 51, writes about how he encouraged his children to live out the military dream he had been unable to fulfil.
Since young, I was taught the need to build up our national defence in order to guard our independence. My father was that unsung hero who inspired me in many ways.
He taught me that even when one is not in the Army, one can still contribute to nation-building in many other ways: being a responsible citizen; giving back to society as much as one possibly can; and being proud of who we are. Yes, we, the citizens of Singapore!
When my turn came to serve the country, I received crushing news from the Ministry of Defence - a letter instructing me to collect a Certificate of Full Exemption.
My hopes were dashed but eventually I reminded myself of what my father had taught me. Hey, I can still contribute to our country in many other ways!
Since I couldn't personally serve in our defence, I had to market my ideas to my children. My eldest daughter Marilyn stepped up, as she, too, was passionate about the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
Some say journalist Benita Teo must be very brave to put herself out there and do this. In truth, the Singapore Armed Forces Music and Drama Company (SAF MDC) are the real brave ones for saying yes to her co-hosting Recruits' Night.
I feel like I'm in a vacuum: I can barely breathe, my heart is thumping in my ear, and all my thoughts are racing at the speed of light. And it's dark all around.
The moments before the curtains rise are always the hardest.
I turn to my co-host, Corporal (CPL) Shrey Bhargava. He looks collected and confident, while I'm not even sure if I remember my first line.
The curtains open slowly, and the mass of recruits at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) starts to grow before our eyes. The spotlights come on and like a supernova, we burst into life… BMTC, ARE YOU READY TO HAVE SOME FUN?