Have you ever imagined that you would be signing on in the Army as a regular? Furthermore, signing on together with your sister? For SSG Nurul Fatin Binti Hamid and 1SG Nurul Aini Binte Hamid, a pair of sisters serving as specialists in the Supply Formation, their attendance at a Polytechnic-ITE Sponsorship Seminar sparked their initial interest into the Army and as they say, the rest is history.
Listen to them share about their life in the Army!
How has your journey in Our Army been thus far?
SSG Fatin: It has been a fulfilling ride! I’m lucky to be given opportunities to serve with exemplary people who made my journey a fruitful one. My sister and I rarely work together despite previously being in 3rd Singapore Division (3 Div) and currently Supply Base Central together. However, we do enjoy seeing each other around camp during major events such as cohesions or Commander’s engagement sessions. It's always comforting to see a familiar face around.
1SG Aini: I’ve met many wonderful people throughout my journey here in the Army so far. Something significant that I share with my sister is that regardless of the appointments we hold, we somehow gravitate back to each other. Initially, we were together in 3 Div and currently, we are blessed to be serving together in Supply Base Central. Even though we don't cross paths very often, it feels great to know that she's part of the same family in Army!
SSG Fatin (right) and 1SG Aini (left) making sure the logistic needs of the units are always met so that they can train seamlessly.
How did you come about to join the Army?
SSG Fatin: It all began when the both of us went to the Polytechnic-ITE Sponsorship Seminar to get a peek into what the Army has got to offer. As we walked through the booths, I felt a sense of patriotism and thought about how I can do my part to contribute to the defence of Singapore. Pursuing my career in the Army seemed like an ideal choice, despite knowing how physically and psychologically demanding it can get.
1SG Aini: I have always been interested to join a uniformed group, but have not had the chance to as I wanted to pursue my interest in the Media industry. In the second year of my diploma studies, I saw pamphlets given out for the Polytechnic-ITE Sponsorship Seminar. The physical aspect of the Army sounded pretty fun and challenging, and I was interested to learn more about how I can contribute to the defence of the country as a female soldier. After attending the seminar with my sister, we both decided to sign on!
How did being in the Army strengthen your bond as siblings?
SSG Fatin: Aini and I have always been close, but became even closer being in the same career path. We understand the highs and lows of each other’s job, so whenever we need help, we can always turn to each other. We also celebrate joyous occasions together, having recently celebrated our promotion together. I hope to see the both of us continuing to improve ourselves in the future.
1SG Aini: Fatin enlisted before me, so seeing her grow into a respected commander inspired me to want to walk in her footsteps and mould myself to be like her. We celebrate each other's achievements as a family, and most recently, we were promoted together - a milestone that I am really proud of. I'm excited to reach new heights with her by my side in the future.
1SG Aini (left) with her sister (right) during her Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade.
Were there any challenges faced while serving together?
SSG Fatin: There have been highs and lows in my career, but I take them as learning points that I share with my sister should she ever face the same issues. Sharing is indeed caring. That said, being a soldier and commander in a male-dominated organisation will always have its own challenges, but at least we have each other to rely and lean on.
1SG Aini: I wouldn't consider it a setback, but after I enlisted, our mutual colleagues will refer to me as "Fatin's sister", and they had very high expectations, having worked with my sister previously. It was rather daunting as it felt like I had big shoes to fill but thankfully Fatin was always there to guide and teach me the ropes. She reminded me not to be intimidated and to grow at my own pace. Things have gotten much better after being in the force for almost four years now, so I'm pretty thankful for that little push that I got at the start of my service.
1SG Aini (left) and SSG Fatin (right) when Fatin was a Specialist Cadet Trainee.
How did your parents react when they found out that both of you decided to sign on?
SSG Fatin: Despite being the one to submit our names for the seminar, our mom was shocked when we told her that we decided to sign on. With two daughters serving for five years now, she has finally come to peace with the fact that we are soldiers. My parents have showed nothing but love and support for what we are doing. We could not have done it without the strong support from them.
1SG Aini: Our dad was elated when he found out that both his daughters are in the Army. Our parents have been great pillars of strength, showering us with love and support to get through the tough days. My mom would send balloons and food to our camp's guardhouse on special occasions. Haha.
Written by: PTE Steve Lee (Army News)
Photography by: PTE Toh Yew Siang (Army News), with contribution from servicewomen
Meet MAJ Wilson Tan, a Signals vocationalist, and CPT Tan Ke Wen, an Army Intelligence vocationalist. As brothers-in-arms (quite literally!) serving our nation, the brothers are both currently pursuing their careers in Our Army. Let us hear more about what their inspirations are and how their journey has been like thus far!
CPT Tan Ke Wen was inspired to join the Army by his brother who had signed on before him.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the Army?
MAJ Wilson: I didn’t think of joining the Army before my enlistment as I didn’t know what was in for me nor was there an elder brother to share his experience with me. But what made me decide to pursue a career with the Army was the great camaraderie and brotherhood that I’ve experienced during my National Service.
CPT Ke Wen: As the youngest child, both my brothers were exemplary role models whom I looked up to. My eldest brother has always been my inspiration to pursue a career in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). What made me stood firm to this decision was when I saw my brother march onto the parade square during his commissioning parade back in 2009. I remembered the goosebumps I felt as I watched the parade with great admiration. That was when I told myself, “This is what I want to be when I grow up”.
A younger CPT Tan Ke Wen (left) with MAJ Wilson Tan (right) during MAJ Tan’s Officer Cadet Commissioning Parade.
What are some takeaways you have after having served in the Army?
MAJ Wilson: My journey in the SAF has been a fulfilling one as I’ve been given the chance to serve and contribute in different parts of the organisation. Through the years, I have gained different perspectives, further developing me into a better soldier, and a better leader.
CPT Ke Wen: It has been an honour to serve the country. A career in the SAF is very unique as compared to other sectors as there is a system in place which allows us to experience different realms of work. Every exposure provides an opportunity for one to grow and improve as an individual, a leader and a son.
MAJ Wilson Tan sharing how having a brother in the Army has inspired and spurred him on.
How did the both of you supported and inspired each other?
MAJ Wilson: With both of us now having a common interest in the Army, we tend to share our work experiences and can relate to each other better. Through these sharing, we learn from each other’s experiences and improve ourselves. We can also count on each other during difficult times and help each other as much as we can.
CPT Ke Wen: Experience is an invaluable asset, and can only be earned through the time and effort put in by an individual. My brother has supported my career by sharing his personal experiences with me. His advice always guided me in my career in the Army. There was one phrase he shared with me that I have embedded as part of my own philosophy, that is “To be a good leader, you must first be a good follower – always lead by example”.
MAJ Wilson Tan (right) attending his brother’s commissioning parade.
How did your family react when both of you decided to pursue a career in the Army?
MAJ Wilson: We were brought up in a very close and encouraging family as our parents always trust us with our decisions made in life. They supported my decision in pursuing a career in the Army and I’m very grateful to have such understanding and supportive parents. To that, I’ve always reminded myself to make them proud by doing my very best in serving our nation.
CPT Ke Wen: We were given a lot of autonomy when it comes to making decisions in life. Regardless the outcome, we know that we will always have the support of our parents. The trust they placed in us is something I want to protect so I remind myself to make sure I do them proud.
Written by: CPL Jovan See (Army News)
Photography by: LCP Lincoln Lee (Army News), with contributions from the servicemen
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