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, 29 Sep 2014 to 08:00am on Mon, 06 Oct 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, 22 Sep 2014 to 08:00am on Mon, 29 Sep 2014.
Imagine being able to access soldiering lessons and speak to your instructors anywhere, and even post questions to your peers across the cohort. Come November, this will become a reality with the roll-out of LEARNet Portal 2.0.
The new portal was launched on 1 Oct at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Learning Symposium held at the SAFTI Military Institute.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Lieutenant-General (LG) (NS) Neo Kian Hong noted that the SAF remains committed in its drive to transform how learning is done across the force.
He said that the SAF has set up many institutions and initiatives to realise its learning and training goals. While the SAF is a robust learning organisation, things continue to evolve, said LG (NS) Neo, Permanent Secretary (Education Development) at the Ministry of Education. He was the former Chief of Defence Force before his current appointment.
LEARNet Portal 2.0 boasts many new features that support learning better. They include an integrated set of learning tools such as forums, blogs and knowledge repositories, which can be accessed with a single login. Previously, users had to login multiple times to access various applications within the portal.
It's (also) about the reach - LEARNet Portal 2.0 allows NSmen, Regulars and NSFs outside of SAF premises to be able to pull the content, said Commandant SAFTI Military Institute Brigadier-General (BG) Benedict Lim.
Content organisation has also been streamlined so that learners have a better overview of the topics they are interested in, said BG Lim. We have also expanded the content which is available for LEARNet Portal 2.0.
The SAF and the Defence Science Technology Agency (DSTA) started developing LEARNet Portal 2.0 in December last year and completed the enhancements in September this year.
Said Mr Ambrose Goh, a DSTA engineer who was part of the team behind LEARNet Portal 2.0: The team took into consideration the latest learning pedagogies in SAF in the portal's design.
Through the portal, knowledge can be easily created, shared and obtained by servicemen. Such an approach will allow soldiers to learn on a deeper level.
The annual Symposium is into its third edition. In a departure from the previous two events, this year's Symposium features in-depth workshops by international speakers. Previous editions saw short seminar-style conferences and exhibitions.
The SAF Learning Innovation Awards were also presented at this year's Symposium. They recognise Training Institutes and their staff for learning innovation. Taking the Gold award was the team from the Air Warfare Training Institute, Republic of Singapore Air Force for their project on video-playback assisted debriefing.
One of the workshop speakers, Dr Vanessa Dennen, said: I've been really impressed listening to and seeing all the different ideas that you are bringing (into the SAF).
That shows me that this is an organisation that is really thinking forward about - not just accepting the way that training and learning has always been done - but trying to be on the edge of that and be at the forefront.
Dr Dennen teaches courses on instructional design and research methods for new and emerging technologies at the Florida State University, United States.
Another speaker, Mr Julian Stodd, said: How we learn today has been transformed by technology changing social behavior.
By taking a keen interest in the latest learning pedagogies and technology, the Singapore military is being very progressive in staying relevant to the new developments in training and learning.Mr Stodd from the United Kingdom is a writer and blogger who works with organisations worldwide to improve their learning strategy and implementation.
This year's Symposium also saw the establishment of a 12-member SAF Learning Transformation Advisory Board, chaired by LG (NS) Neo. Comprising members from the public and private sectors in learning-related fields, the Board will advise the SAF on training effectiveness, latest industry developments, learning technologies and best practices.
The setting up of the Board is a good thing. It brings ideas together to create a better learning environment (for the SAF), said BG (NS) Winston Toh who is one of the Board members. He is also Deputy Chief Executive (Operations Group) at the Workforce Development Agency.
The two-day Symposium concluded on 2 Oct and was attended by about 450 SAF personnel.
Eleven-year-old Pang Hyin Ki visits her mother, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Jerica Goh, on board RSS Supreme and gets a taste of fighting and surviving at sea.
I had visited a frigate before at Navy@Vivo, but I had never seen how a ship works, fights, and handles emergencies. So, I was very excited when Mummy said that I could go on a tour of RSS Supreme.
My first stop was at the Bridge. This is where the crew sails the ship. But there was no steering wheel; instead, I saw many computers that the crew uses to steer and control the ship's movements.
I like being in the Bridge because I get a good view of the surroundings. The Bridge is located on the highest part of the ship so that the crew is able to look out for obstacles at sea and direct the ship's course safely.
Looking into the 'brain'
Next, we went to the Combat Information Centre (CIC), which is the brain of the ship. This room is where the crew controls the ship's weapons and sensors, and links up with other ships and aircraft to fight together.
Some of Mummy's shipmates were having a training session. Military Expert 1-2 (ME 1-2) Benjamin Yap, a Weapons Control Specialist, taught me to control a really big camera on one of the consoles. It is used to identify faraway targets for the ship to fire at them accurately.
I swung the camera around and zoomed in on the cars at the far end of the naval base. Amazing! I could even see their number plates!
They then let me take the seat that Mummy usually sits in and I put on a headset so that I could listen to her shipmates talk to one another. Mummy is the Commanding Officer of the ship, so during missions, she would be commanding the crew to fire at targets.
Mummy explained to me that her shipmates were searching for enemy ships and aircraft and discussing what to do about the target they had spotted.
Then, I was asked to say Command Approved, and a simulated missile was launched! It was really cool.
Finally, we went to the Machinery Control Room (MCR). ME3-3 Sandy Tan, or Uncle Sandy, is a Marine Engineer who works here. He showed me that all the ship's engines and machineries can be controlled from inside the MCR. With just a click of the mouse, I could use the computer to turn the aircon in the MCR off.
The MCR is very important because people like Uncle Sandy can monitor what is happening in the ship. If an emergency like a fire breaks out somewhere, he can lock up that room immediately and send firefighters to put out the fire.
Just then, four people in firefighting suits appeared on one of the console screens! Uncle Sandy explained that they were crew members conducting a fire drill at a compartment in the front of the ship.
He took me there, and I tried to carry a fire extinguisher, but it was so heavy that I couldn’t even lift it! The firefighters have to train really hard to be ready for real emergencies, because the rooms in the ship are very close together and a fire can spread quickly.
After that, I tried fighting fire using a fire hose at the heli-deck. This was the most fun part of the visit, because I got to rotate the nozzle of the hose and turn the jet spray into a water curtain. While I was spraying the water into the sea, the sun rays created a rainbow against the water curtain. It is so cool to actually make your own rainbow!
Working on a ship is not easy, but I had a lot of fun, and everyone taught me a lot. I think that now, I will be able to survive on a ship!
Captain (CPT) Joyce Xie lives life on her own terms. Initially destined for the lab, she left her studies in molecular and cell biology to become a pilot in the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
That was in 2004, after watching a documentary on relief efforts following the Boxing Day tsunami. I saw how the Singapore Armed Forces contributed in a more meaningful way.
She now pilots the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. On how her family took this about-turn, CPT Xie said: I think my parents always knew I was going to do something different from most people. They've always told me to pursue what I want as long as I am happy.
She was sent to the Peace Vanguard detachment in the United States (US), training with the Arizona Army National Guards for two years. I learnt from veterans with years of combat experience, and it was one of the best training experiences I've ever had.
As much as we hope that we do not have to use (these skills), we have to train the way that we would fight. CPT Xie is now a Staff Officer in the Air Training Department.
While in the US, she got to indulge her passion for fast cars. She drove on track-days and took the wheels of some of the fastest production cars in the world today.
The car which left an impression was the Lamborghini Aventador, which has 700 horses under the hood (still less than an Apache helicopter). It's the speed and precision of these cars that I enjoy - that's also why I love being a pilot!
At 31, Specialist Cadet (SCT) Rajaretnam S/O Perananamgam is easily a decade older than his peers undergoing the Specialist Cadet Course.
He has been a Regular in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for the past 13 years, serving in the Headquarters Guards (HQ Guards).
If there is a will to learn, nothing can stop you from gaining the knowledge you want, said SCT Rajaretnam who joined the SAF in 2001.
He came to Specialist Cadet School on the second recommendation of his superiors. His first was in 2005 but SCT Rajaretnam felt he was not ready. At the time, I felt that I still had a lot to learn, and I wasn't ready to lead.
My attitude is that I always want the best outcome for anything I do. I don't want to be second best, said SCT Rajaretnam.
This attitude served him well. On 26 Sep, he received the Golden Bayonet award from Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Perry Lim. The award is presented to the top SCT of each Formation.
Speaking at the parade, MG Lim said: Generations before you have done their duty to keep Singapore safe, secure and strong. It is now your turn to step up to take responsibility to defend our home…
He also asked the new Specialists to engage the men they would eventually lead. Learn to maximise their strengths, unlock their potential and motivate them to give their best during National Service.
The message resonated with SCT Peter Ang Nielsen, another Golden Bayonet award recipient. I get along well with everyone. People trust and confide in me and I will bring these (qualities) when I lead my men. The 19-year-old is a Naval Diver.
He remembers a training scenario where he had to lead his 11-man team through ambushes while carrying simulated casualties. That really taught us about teamwork and it was very memorable, said SCT Nielsen, who has been selected for an interview to see if he can make the cut for Officer Cadet School.
For fellow Golden Bayonet awardee SCT Jia Songshan, his motivation to do well was simply that he wanted to give back to the country.
He came to Singapore at age 10 with his family who have since become Singapore citizens. I'm grateful for the opportunities, and I'm very proud to do my National Service as a Singaporean.
The 21-year-old serves in the Republic of Singapore Air Force in a Ground Based Air Defence unit. I have seen all of us really come together and forge strong bonds to emerge as a strong team, he said of his training at SCS.
I think these friendships will last way beyond my NS and into the future.
Fellow SCT Muhammad Marzuqi Bin Nasrullah also treasured the friendships forged. He said the course also developed him into a well-rounded soldier, and taught him more about the larger SAF.
I have a better understanding of how my job fits into the SAF, said the Silver Bayonet award recipient, who is a Military Policeman.
This cohort saw 1,003 SCTs from the Army, Navy and Air Force graduating. Celebrating with them were their family and friends, as well as senior SAF officers.
There is a meeting of minds between Singapore and the Philippines on the need for a 24/7 regional coordination centre which fills the gap immediately after a disaster strikes, and the affected country's command and control systems are denigrated, if not wiped out.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said this at a media interview during his introductory visit to the Philippines from 24 to 26 Sep. He was referring to the recently-inaugurated Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Centre (RHCC) in Changi, which was set up to provide a more effective response to disasters in the region, by facilitating military-to-military cooperation.
Dr Ng explained that when a disaster strikes, there will never be enough hands on deck. There will always be short of resources, whether it's manpower or medical care or supplies that are needed. And the RHCC fills this gap in building up partnerships and relationships.He added that the RHCC was not meant to displace any organisations, but would work in partnership with existing and even new organisations that want to come on board.
During his visit, Dr Ng met Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin who expressed support for the Changi RHCC. They discussed issues that were common challenges, such as regional security, where both ministers agreed that the resolution of issues in the South China Sea was required...through diplomatic initiatives, not military ones. They affirmed that, from the security point of view, it will be very good for increased military-to-military exchanges as that would enhance understanding among different militaries, and improve relations.
Dr Ng and Mr Gazmin also reaffirmed the warm bilateral defence relations between the two countries and agreed to an annual bilateral defence policy dialogue chaired at a senior official level. I think this is a significant commitment and one that will help us...move our bilateral relationship a step further, Dr Ng said.
On 25 Sep, Dr Ng visited the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Operations Centre in Manila, which deals with natural disasters in the Philippines.
Dr Ng's visit to the Philippines underscores the warm relations between Singapore and the Philippines. Both countries' armed forces interact regularly through visit exchanges, cross-attendance of courses, and other professional interactions.
His resilience has inspired Singaporeans. Navy serviceman Military Expert (ME) 2-1 Jason Chee shares his journey in overcoming adversities.
He now has only his right arm with two fingers. But never once did ME 2-1 Chee wallow in self-pity or let his disabilities stop him from living a purposeful life since that fateful accident in December 2012.
Just 18 months after the incident, he had already returned to work in the Navy. Along the way, the wheelchair-bound former primary school paddler picked up table tennis again. And even went on to do Singapore proud by winning a bronze in the 7th ASEAN Para-Games earlier this year. He had to train his remaining non-master hand, with the aid of prosthetic fingers, to play the sport.
I want to show people that if I can do it, they can also overcome their problems, said the 31-year-old, who was recognised by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Singapore this year as one of Ten Outstanding Young Persons for his remarkable recovery and inspiring positive change in others.
From Day One, ME 2-1 Chee was determined to be independent. Initially, he had to rely on nurses to take care of him, but today ME2-1 Chee can shower by himself and even cook. Every weekday morning, he would travel alone from his home at Shunfu Estate to Tanah Merah MRT station, where a wheelchair-accessible taxi takes him to Changi Naval Base for work.
He even set a goal to walk again. Last November, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) worked with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre to customise a pair of prosthetic legs for him.
For three times a week at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, he would walk with his artificial limbs for up to 100m per session. The going has been tough as he has to rely on his hip to move the carbon fibre limbs, each weighing 10kg.
It feels five times harder than using your own legs, he said. I can already walk; the challenge is walking for a long distance. But my Squadron CO (Commanding Officer) once told me to remember 欲速则不达 (Chinese for haste makes waste). I will take things slowly, step by step.
The same goes for his work in the Navy. Being away for so long meant that he had to learn everything from scratch, even simple tasks like using a mouse and keyboard. But he is determined to do well.
In the beginning, I could not get used to it… But my passion is in the Navy, it's what I (have always) wanted to do, said ME2-1 Chee, who now helps to plan training programmes as Operations Supervisor in 191 Squadron (SQN).
It helps that his superiors and colleagues have been supportive, and eased him into the work routine. They have supported me throughout and I can trust them to help me, he said.
Even the most determined person would have moments of self-doubt. ME2-1 Chee keeps negative thoughts away by keeping himself busy. His weekly schedule is packed with voluntary work, table tennis training, and classes at UniSIM where he is pursuing a degree in Mathematics.
I have no time to worry when I am busy, I'd rather be productive than doing nothing, he said. Even when I was warded in the hospital for rehab, I was going around the ward, talking to stroke patients and amputees, sharing my story and motivating them not to give up on living.
Like his idol Nick Vujicic, a motivational speaker who was born without limbs, ME2-1 Chee wants to inspire people, especially the disabled, to live positively. He also volunteers at Renci Nursing Home to train dementia and Alzheimer patients to play table tennis. Playing the game helps to improve their cognition. He also believes that table tennis can give them a new lease of life, just as how it has given him one.
He said: They are dejected and feel hopeless but when they play table tennis, I can see hope in their eyes.
If losing his limbs was a window closed, it also opened a door for him - to represent Singapore in table tennis. ME2-1 Chee has set his sights on qualifying for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Over the next two years, he will be competing in a series of overseas tournaments to chalk up points and rise up the world ranking. He got off to a good start in August by achieving third place in the team event at the International Para Table Tennis Championship in Thailand.
I am very serious in my sports path. If I miss out on Rio in 2016, I will aim for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. I want to do Singapore proud. Never give up, never say die. That's ME2-1 Chee for you.