15 February 1942 — a day not to be forgotten. It is the day where Singapore fell to the Japanese troops. Henceforth, the date 15 February was marked as "Total Defence Day". Coinciding with Total Defence Day 2019, a Weapon Presentation Ceremony for recruits from the 1st Commando Battalion was held at Fort Canning Park, as a reminder to soldiers of what could and would happen should Singapore fail to defend herself, or rely on the protection of others.
Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of Cybersecurity, Mr S Iswaran, also officiated the launch of Digital Defence as the sixth pillar of Total Defence during the event, joining the other 5 pillars, namely Military Defence, Civil Defence, Economic Defence, Social Defence and Psychological Defence. In his speech, Mr S Iswaran emphasised on how every Singaporean can and should play a role in securing our nation’s future. "Over the past 35 years, Total Defence has been invaluable as the rallying call to each and every Singaporean to do our part in defending our nation against the challenges that threaten our independence, well-being, and way of life."
The event was also attended by Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Ms Sim Ann.
Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of Cybersecurity,
Mr S Iswaran officiating the launch of Digital Defence as the sixth pillar.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) forms the core of a strong Military Defence, and our soldiers, sailors and airmen enable Singapore to defend herself against any external threats and attacks by taking training seriously and staying operationally ready. During the Weapon Presentation Ceremony, we hear from our soldiers on what are some of their thoughts on having to serve NS, and the significance of receiving their weapons on Total Defence Day.
For Honour and Glory!
"For me personally, Total Defence serves as a reminder to all Singaporeans that our sovereignty is not something that we should take for granted, and that we each play a crucial role in sustaining and preserving the integrity and peace of our country. This is such that in the face of threats or aggression by any external powers, we are able to stand up for ourselves and protect our country."
- REC Haziq Ruzaiman 4th Coy Det 3
"I feel honoured to receive my weapon on Total Defence Day. Not many people have such an opportunity, and receiving my weapon at Fort Canning, the site where the British made the decision to surrender to the Japanese, is akin to a heavy and solemn responsibility that I need to play my part in protecting my loved ones and all fellow Singaporeans."
- REC Noel Wee Ee Cher 4th Coy Det 2
"From the short time I have spent serving National Service (NS), I feel that the mindset I have towards doing things has changed for the better. Initially, before entering NS, I was somewhat lazy and would always find ways to procrastinate. Now, I strive to take initiative in helping others, doing small things to make life easier for my peers."
- REC Jerome Wong Jia Sheng 4th Coy Det 6
"During our training, our instructors make sure that we complete our tasks correctly and with the correct mindset. While they are strict and firm, their passion in everything that they do inspire us to try our very best in whatever we do, no matter the difficulty or hardship along the way."
- REC Anthony Bau Long Wissel 3rd Coy Det 10
"I have become more responsible because during training, we need to look out for ourselves and also for our buddies. Being in the Commandos, we are also trained to push ourselves to the limit in order to achieve success in the tasks we are assigned, and the desire and passion for excellence has instilled in me an internal drive to do my best."
- REC Thomas De Silva 3rd Coy Det 4
Written by: LCP Teo Hao Yu
Photography by: CPL Cyril Tang