Bigger doesn't always mean better. In fact, when it comes to National Education (NE), it might be better to start small.
Zooming down to the "micro-level" was part of Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Lim Teck Keong's recipe for success in establishing a strong NE culture in his unit.
"You can't just paint a big picture about World War II and things like duty, honour and country; you must engage the men and make it relevant to them," said the Commanding Officer of the 4th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (4 SIR).
Speaking to cyberpioneer after his unit clinched the inaugural Chief of Defence Force (CDF) NE Excellence Award, LTC Lim added: "Whatever training or activities that we carry out, we always try to tell them the purpose behind it and relate it back to them on a more personal level."
Amidst busy training schedules, LTC feels that commanders need to "leverage on existing activities and be creative about it". For example, the men's rifle presentation ceremonies were held at Sarimbun, where the Japanese first landed in their invasion of Singapore during the second world war. Servicemen also learnt about Singapore's history at Kranji Dam while making a rest stop during their route march.
By incorporating and explaining the significance of these historic battle sites during important milestones in their training, it helps to give the soldiers a greater insight as to why they are serving NS, said LTC Lim.
Other ways in which 4 SIR infused "NE moments" into the unit's activities included celebrating their battalion anniversary at the Army Museum.
"Instead of doing the routine tour by the museum guides, it was done by our commanders, so they were able to give it that personal touch and make it more meaningful," shared Second Lieutenant (2LT) Shanthakumar Bannirchelvam, a Full-time National Serviceman (NSF) from 4 SIR.
"NE in our unit may not always be about big concepts like nation and state; I think it comes down to the bonds that we're able to create between our men on the ground level, which really makes a difference in our unit," he added.