Theme: Commitment


By LTC (NS) Goh Ching Sie, Singapore Combat Engineers

Years ago, in our last overseas ICT, during a canteen break of Phad Thai, Tom Yam Soup and fried Sotong, I was having dinner with a group of NSmen, sharing about our lives and jobs outside ICT. One in the Group, an LCP, logistics assistant by vocation, shared that he was jobless and that he had no work commitments to worry about when we were overseas on the 3-weeks ICT. On further probing, we learnt that when he received the SAF 100 for that ICT, his company immediately asked him to seek deferment or his role at the work place would be replaced. He did not apply for deferment but tried to work out alternative plans with his team and supervisor instead. In the end, his company was not supportive of his plans and he decided to tender his resignation instead. We were all dumbfounded by his decision and felt that he should have applied for deferment after trying to work things out with his company.

As the Unit S3 at that point in time, I knew that the CO would most likely have approved his case. Later on, the LCP shared his reasoning and his words remained deeply etched in my mind and heart. He said to me: "Sir, it would be easier to ask for deferment but I know many others will be deferring because of the long overseas ICT. My education is low and my pay is not much, the job I can always find another one but I will not find excuses to not complete my duty to serve the nation. I may only be an LCP and a storeman but I want to do my job well. Everyone plays a part and if we all chose to avoid/ escape ICT, who will defend Singapore? This may sound stupid Sir, but if we don't do this, who will do it for us?" I had no comments after his sharing but gave him a silent thumbs-up.

There are times when work, family or other matters conflict with our ICTs and many of us are guilty of placing those above ICT. This LCP's decision and his simple words are a constant reminder to me of my role in the SAF, why we do what we do and they remain an inspiration for me till today.

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