Recognition Package, Showcase at Army Open House to Mark NS55Over a million past and present national servicemen will each receive $100 worth of credits as part of the NS55 Recognition Package.
// Story By Thrina Tham
// Photos By Lionel Lee
To recognise those who have served National Service (NS) since 1967, over one million past and present national Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and HomeTeam (HT) servicemen will each receive $100 worth of credits.
The credits can be redeemed at online and physical merchants including heartland shops and hawkers, via the LifeSG mobile app.
The initiative is part of a year-long celebration to commemorate 55 years of NS (NS55). Others include the Army Open House (AOH) returning to the F1 Pit Building in May and a roving NS55 heartland exhibition in June. There is also an interactive trail for the public to visit throughout the rest of the year.
Announcing the start of the campaign during a visit to a mobilisation exercise at Maju Camp on 26 Mar, Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Zaqy Mohamad emphasised the importance of NS in safeguarding Singapore's sovereignty, especially amidst the backdrop of the invasion of Ukraine.
"It's quite clear to us that as a country, the sole responsibility of defence and making sure that we protect our way of life and our sovereignty, is our own.
"We can see how hard, how tough, of a resistance (the Ukrainians) have put up. This is a lesson for Singaporeans too," said Mr Zaqy.
He added that the NS55 campaign was a way to recognise Singapore's soldiers, such as those who reported for the mobilisation exercise. "Many of them shared with me about how they find this exercise absolutely pertinent and relevant today," he said.
Recognising generations of strength
Themed Generations of Strength, NS55 honours the collective resolve and dedication of generations of national servicemen, said Head of National Service Affairs Department, Colonel (COL) Lim Han Yong, 42.
"The spirit of NS has brought Singapore to where we are today and will continue to do so to contribute to the building of Singapore for generations to come," he added.
The NS55 logo includes a state flag to represent the nation and people who have supported NS; saluting servicemen to represent the generations who have served. The curve in the logo represents the bridge between past, present and future efforts to safeguard Singapore.
One of the goodies is the NS55 Recognition Package, which consists of $100 worth of credits to be disbursed via the LifeSG mobile app.
Serviceman will be able to use these credits at any online or physical merchants that accept "Scan and Pay" payment via a PayNow or NETS QR code. The credits will be valid from one year upon issuance.
The package also includes a complimentary one-year SAFRA or HomeTeamNS membership. Eligible national servicemen will receive a notification letter from mid-June this year with details of the recognition package.
Ready to defend
The start of the NS55 campaign took place in conjunction with a mobilisation exercise involving 2,000 Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) from the Singapore Army.
NSmen reported in strength at Maju Camp, a testament to their will to defend Singapore, said Commanding Officer of 795th Battalion, Singapore Guards (795 Gds), Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Mohammad Jawahir Bin Samuri.
"I'm confident that the battalion is ready to defend the country, when the need arises," said the 41-year-old.
He added that morale among the men was high, saying: "They're happy that they're able to see each other again after some time...(and) took this opportunity to catch up with one another (while) their doing duties."
2nd Sergeant (2SG) (NS) Harish Rai, a Company Sergeant Major with 795 Gds said that he was proud to be back to serve for the mobilisation. "I think (recent events) serve as a timely reminder for us not to take the peace that we have for granted and re-emphasises the importance of us being operationally ready," said the 24-year-old.
He added that he was looking forward to receiving the NS Recognition Package and taking part in other commemorative events, saying: "I think it's a great gesture to recognise and reward the efforts of servicemen like myself and many others for our contributions."
Year-long commemorative events
For members of the public hoping to join in the commemoration of NS55, an NS55 Showcase will be held in conjunction with AOH from 28 to 30 May at the F1 Pit Building.
Segments of the showcase and open house will also be brought to the heartlands in a roving exhibition: to Punggol from 3 to 5 Jun and Bishan from 10 to 12 Jun.
For those inclined to hiking, an NS55 Interactive Trail, "Cepat Jalan", will be introduced, comprising at least seven discovery points in central Singapore.
Each point will feature augmented or virtual reality elements, where visitors can use their smartphones to interact with their surroundings and learn more about the location's significance to NS.
The NS55 campaign will conclude in December with a combined Basic Military Training Graduation Parade and MINDEF Reserve Parade at The Float @ Marina Bay. This is the second time a joint parade has been held; the first was in 2014.
The combined parade represents the passing on of the torch from one generation to the next, in defending and safeguarding the nation.
Visit the NS55 website (go.gov.sg/NS55) for more information.