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.
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. PlayThings 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.
Experience the highs and lows of the Hypobaric Chamber and Spatial Disorientation Trainer (SDT) with journalist Sherlyn Quek.
Light-headedness. Tingling. Fatigue. Impaired judgment, confusion and the inability to concentrate. Poor muscle coordination. I grimaced as I read the list of hypoxia symptoms. Machiam (like) falling in love ah.
Wisecracks aside, hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, is no laughing matter. It affects a person's cognitive abilities and most people do not even realise they are suffering from it until it's too late.
The hypobaric chamber at the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Aeromedical Centre simulates high-alittude conditions, allowing air crew to experience its effects without leaving the ground. They learn to recognise hypoxia symptoms early, so they can quickly take corrective actions such as checking the oxygen system or flying lower to a breathable altitude.
Harder harder to breathe
But before I could start the simulated ascent, I had to breathe 100 percent oxygen for 20 minutes. This helps to purge nitrogen from the bloodstream and delay the onset of hypoxia. To prevent oxygen leakage, I had to put the mask on so tightly the edges dug painfully into my skin. It was so uncomfortable I couldn't wait to tear the mask off and not breathe oxygen. When time was up and after doing a check to ensure that I was ready, the operators began to reduce the atmospheric pressure within the chamber, simulating an altitude climb from 1,000ft (305m) to 25,000ft in five minutes.
The only visible sign of the altitude increase? A surgical glove tied to the ceiling which had expanded to almost double its size! Can you spot it in the photo above?
For air crew, the operators simulated a much more rapid decompression in the chamber, climbing from 10,000 to 25,00ft in just a few seconds.
Finally, I was allowed to take my mask off. Ah, fresh… Oh wait, there wasn't much air for me to breathe.
No air, no air
What's seven times eight?
I stared blankly at the worksheet for a shamefully long moment, before hesitantly scribbling down my answer.
Sadly, my uncertainty wasn't because I was suffering from the effects of hypoxia or oxygen deprivation.
My math skills are really that bad.
After the masks are removed, air crew are asked to complete tasks such as arithmetic problems and spot the difference. When a person starts having trouble performing these simple tasks, he is likely to have reached the limits of his time of useful consciousness. If hypoxia continues, he can become euphoric, lose motor-coordination, colour vision and even consciousness.
I'd chuckled when I saw one of the pilots in the previous training session struggle to finish the maze problem. Now that I was on the other side of the glass panel, I wasn't feeling as confident as I was an hour ago.
While I didn't notice any difficulty going through the pen and paper exercises, after two minutes I felt increasingly cold and just a little dizzy. In another minute, my vision became slightly blurred and there was a mild tingling sensation as though ants were crawling on my hands.
Luckily, three minutes was the limit. After that, I gladly placed the oxygen mask back on, and the chamber descended back to sea level atmospheric pressure.
Later throughout the afternoon, I had to keep popping my ears by yawning or doing the Valsalva manoeuvre (exhaling while pinching the nose and keeping the mouth shut). This helps to equalise the pressure between the middle and outer ear canals.
To my colleagues: Apologies if you thought I was bored and kept yawning during our conversations. And to those unfortunate folks standing around me in the MRT that day: Sorry if you assumed I was holding my nose because someone had just farted!
Spin me right round
As if going through oxygen deprivation wasn't enough, I returned to the Aeromedical Centre on another day to spin myself dizzy.
The SDT is a full-motion simulator that trains pilots to be mindful of the sensory illusions that occur during flight. Here, the concept of trusting your gut doesn't work. In fact, it could cause grave danger.
During poor weather conditions, a pilot may not be able to see the horizon. Without this important visual cue, his perception of his position and movements becomes heavily dependent on the balance organs in his ears. Unfortunately, this is not always a reliable sensor.
Highway to the danger zone
For example, if the aircraft makes a very slow roll to the right, balance-sensing fluids in the ear are unable to detect it as the rotation is too gentle and gradual.
But when the pilot notices the tilt shown on the plane's instruments and attempts to correct it by rolling the plane to the left, he may feel that the plane is now leaning to the left instead.
This is because even though the plane is already level, his balance organs continue to tell his brain that he is moving left. Aviators call this the leans.
A more drastic example of this illusion is the aptly named graveyard spin. I was asked by the SDT operator to turn the aircraft into a left spin and continue it for several seconds until I could no longer sense the turn. I then had to recover the aircraft by turning to the right.
Even though in-flight instruments clearly indicated that the plane was level, I had the overwhelming sensation that I was now entering a right spin. If I trusted my senses and believed the illusion, I would go back into a left spin.
Continue doing that several more times, and I might lose enough altitude to crash my plane into the ground!
Remaining calm and disciplined, and controlling the aircraft by relying on the instruments instead of flying by the seat of your pants could save your life.
I believe I can('t) fly
Life as a pilot may seem pretty glamorous, but having experienced the various machines at the Aeromedical Centre, I could see that it takes a strong physical constitution, quick reflexes, and most importantly, years of dedication and training.
It's a good thing I had no such lofty goals! Now that this series is over, I'm happy to keep my feet firmly on the ground. Until the day I fall in love anyway!
Catch this video about the hypobaric chamber at mindef.sg/aeromed2!
Operationally-ready National Servicemen (NSmen) who face difficulties fulfilling their National Service (NS) obligations will now have a familiar face to approach in their units.
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NSmen, does this sound familiar to you? Now, you'll be able to pick up the phone and speak to your unit's S8 or National Service Relations Officer (NSRO), who will guide you in resolving your In-Camp Training (ICT) issues.
A face to the voice
The role of the NSRO was established about two years ago, in line with Committee to Strengthen National Service recommendations. Recruitment began in earnest and the NSROs started coming on board in June 2013.
Previously, the NS Portal and NS Hotline were the primary contact points for NSmen. Unfortunately, those with complicated issues - such as family problems that forced them to defer their ICTs - often had difficulty explaining their situations to their superiors.
Now, the NSROs provide a point of contact as well as a familiar face for them to seek the necessary help.
The SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) recognises the importance of having a common touch point, said Colonel Chua Boon Keat, Head of NS Affairs Department, of the crucial role that NSROs play.
We don't want the NSman to be calling a different person every time and repeating his issue over multiple channels. We want someone the NSman is familiar with and knows will look after him every ICT.
On 18 Nov, a year-long journey came to fruition with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked between SAFTI Military Institute (SAFTI MI) and the Civil Service College (CSC).
Through this partnership, both organisations aim to strengthen leadership and management development by conducting joint research and forums for networking and the exchange of personnel and ideas.
We can trace our footsteps to September last year when the Permanent Secretary (Public Service Division), Ms Yong Ying-I, led a team from CSC to the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) Centre for Leadership Development (CLD) to better understand our work as well as to gather insights for mutual learning , said Commandant SAFTI MI Brigadier-General (BG) Benedict Lim on the beginnings of the MOU.
Mr Khoo Boon Hui, the director of CSC's Institute of Leadership and Organisation Development (ILOD), added: We (the CSC and SAFTI MI) realised that we had similar missions and aims in building up leadership (development)... Both have a long tradition (in this) and are very keen to learn from each other and collaborate to increase the levels of expertise in leading people.
BG Lim shared the same sentiments, saying: There is a certain commonality between public servants and the people in uniform... When it comes down to the core and the purpose (of what we do), it's the same: we serve Singapore and Singaporeans.
And in all organisations, we need leaders, whether they're wearing civilian clothes or uniforms... That's what brings us together in this MOU.
On how the pact will set the foundation for a deeper level of cooperation between SAFTI MI and the CSC, Mr Khoo said: I think that if we collaborate, we will be able to find areas whereby we can learn from each other... For example, values-based leadership is an area in which I think we are likely to find new insights.
He explained: Most people have the impression that military leadership is only meant for the armed forces, but having spoken to senior officers and observing for myself, I realised that the SAF has expanded their scope and looks into many areas of leadership which are applicable to the public sector as well as the private sector.
At the same time, the civil service is also looking into areas which we find some congruence with the military doctrine of leadership, especially with regards to values.
In the military, you can't be a good leader just based on your skills - you must be rooted in your values. And that’s what we find is increasingly required not only in the public service but also the private sector.
With the MOU in place, SAFTI MI and the CSC will explore further opportunities to conduct joint research on topics such as case studies on leadership and management theories, ethics and values, and doctrine. Members of both organisations will also attend and participate in conferences, seminars, and workshops relating to leadership, values and management hosted by the other.
The Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (SAFSA) football team impressed with its attacking flair even as it went down 1-0 against the Singapore Police Force Sports Association (SPFSA) in the 42nd G.E. Bogaars Cup held on 18 Nov.
This year, SAFSA fielded a strong squad with six former Prime League and National Football Academy (NFA) players, including goalkeeper Private (PTE) Farshah Iskandar who was a Singapore Youth Olympic team player.
The Prime League is the reserve league of the S-League, while the NFA grooms promising Singapore youth players.
SAFSA thrilled the spectators at Bedok Camp 2 stadium, and dominated the first half with their free-flowing attacking football.
Playing on away ground, SPFSA sat back and played a patient, passing game. But its soak and strike tactic worked, as it scored the only goal of the game through a header against the run of play from a set-piece in the 27th minute.
SAFSA's right winger PTE Azmeerudin Bin Jamludain, who last played for Tampines Rovers Football Club (FC), and striker Lance Corporal (LCP) Bharath Ravindren, formerly from Warriors FC, were SAFSA's most dangerous players. The duo were not afraid to take on defenders, and constantly troubled the SPFSA's defence.
In the second-half, PTE Azmeerudin was moved to the centre, playing as a false number 9, as the team pressed forward for an equaliser. But the elusive goal never came.
SAFSA's team captain 2ndLieutenant (2LT) Andrew Leow said the team played well despite the loss.
We were clearly fitter... I think overall we played well, we stick to our game plan, said the holding midfielder, who was part of the NFA Under-17 squad in 2011.
It was a lapse of concentration which resulted in the Police's goal; we let in one corner which could have been prevented.
Nevertheless, it was a good game for both sides, (and it was good) to come together and play.
Team manager Captain (CPT) Julianah Jamal said this year's team, which comprised mostly Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) from different formations, was better prepared and organised. They had been training thrice weekly for more than a month, and undergone a one-week centralised training.
In the 2013 game, SAFSA had lost to SPFSA 4-0. This year, they played much better. I am proud of the boys, they put up a tough fight, and were very dedicated, said the Deputy Logistic Staff Officer (S4) of 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade.
The G.E. Bogaars Cup was first held in 1971 in honour of the late Mr George Edwin Bogaars, who served as the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Defence (MID) from 1965 to 1970.
MID is the predecessor of today's Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The game aims to maintain the historical ties and close working relationship between the Armed Forces and Police.
Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng and Commissioner of Police Mr Ng Joo Hee were the guests of honour at this year's game.
In the earlier curtain-raiser match for players aged 35 and above, the SPFSA Veterans defeated SAFSA Veterans 4-0.
SAFSA, which will be taking part in the National Football League next year, is looking for new talent. Interested servicemen can contact the SAFSA team manager (Tel: 63052041) for a trial.