Creating a home for the family

Actions /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/d3f3057c-a330-405e-bd1d-d879a6fe9276/16jun21_photo1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-d3f3057c-a330-405e-bd1d-d879a6fe9276-nEiQc2N /web/portal/pioneer/article/feature-article-detail/people/2021-Q2/16jun21_news1
16jun21_news1 /web/portal/pioneer/article/feature-article-detail/people/2021-Q2/16jun21_news1
16 Jun 2021 | PEOPLE

Creating a home for the family

SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy worked hard to be the best father for his children and provide for his family as he understood the difficulties of growing up without parents.

// Story by Koh Eng Beng

// Photos by Chai Sian Liang & courtesy of CPT Kurumbaesun, SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy & the RSAF

CPT Kurumbaesun sees his dad SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy as his role model.
English 华文

Both his parents passed away when he was in primary school, leaving SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy S/O Shanamugam and his six siblings to fend for themselves. That was in 1976.

The five brothers and two sisters had to fend for themselves as they grew up in a three-room HDB flat in Ang Mo Kio. To put food on the table, the eldest brother started working as a technician after completing his National Service (NS).

One by one, the siblings started working as they grew up. When SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy, who is the second youngest among the seven siblings, completed his A-levels, he too wanted to start working quickly.

SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy recalled: "When I enlisted for NS in 1985, there was an economic crisis. I felt it was important for me to quickly decide on my career and help to support the family."

So after completing his Basic Military Training, he embarked on a career with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) as an air defence systems specialist.

A young Corporal Sathiamoorthy (left) on a V200 armoured vehicle equipped with an RBS 70 missile system at the 1986 Army Open House.

Reflecting on his growing up years, SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy, who has two sons and a daughter, said: "These tough moments allowed me to understand life's struggles and learn to be a good father.

"I have friends whose parents are around to care and provide for them. For us (me and my siblings), we didn't have our parents to turn to if we had any problems.

"But I was blessed to be able to provide for my children – I could give them a home, three meals a day, and a safe place for them to study and pursue their interests.

"I was very disciplined, prudent with money, and I worked very hard."

SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy, who is trained to operate the RBS 70 short-range surface-to-air missile system, rose through the ranks from Corporal to Senior Warrant Officer. The 56-year-old retired recently this May, capping his Air Force career of 36 years.

Then-2nd Warrant Officer Sathiamoorthy with young Kurumbaesun.

Eldest son Captain (CPT) S Kurumbaesun, who followed in his footsteps to become an RSAF Regular, sees him as his role model. "My dad’s hardworking, dedicated to whatever he’s doing, and always putting in his 100 per cent," said the 26-year-old Air Warfare Officer (Air Traffic Control).

In his last appointment as Command Chief of the Air Force Training Command, SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy oversaw the training and discipline of airmen across the RSAF.

Committed to family and country

In 2013, SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy was in the midst of conducting a graduation parade rehearsal for a group of officer cadets when he received a call that his second son was hospitalised.

As the parade was an important milestone for these cadets, he continued with the training until there was a break, before rushing to the hospital. After hearing from the doctor that his son was fine, SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy rushed back to resume training with the cadets.

On another occasion, he stayed overnight in hospital to watch over his daughter with his wife. The next day, he woke up at 5am and returned to Tengah Air Base to conduct a parade rehearsal.

"Some people say military men are tough, (have) no hearts, but I really care for both (my family and the organisation)!" he chuckled.

"I am very thankful and appreciative of my father who has been a great role model throughout my life. I am truly blessed to have him – he is someone whom I can turn to for support and guidance."

CPT S Kurumbaesun's words to his dad this Father's Day

Mentor to his son

When asked about CPT Kurumbaesun following in his footsteps in joining the Air Force, SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy said that this was his son's own decision.

But he was proud of what his son had achieved so far in his own military career. CPT Kurumbaesun is a Sword of Honour recipient, Company's Best Recruit during Basic Military Training, and more.

Then-Master Warrant Officer Sathiamoorthy and his wife putting on the 2nd Lieutenant rank epaulette on his son's uniform at CPT Kurumbaesun's Officer Commissioning Parade in 2015.

CPT Kurumbaesun credited his achievements to his dad's guidance. In the early days of his career, when he was having a challenging time learning the ropes of being an air traffic controller, his dad was there for him.

"He told me not to give up, be determined, and to work hard and smart. These might sound cliche but coming from my dad, whom I've looked up to my whole life, his words provided me with a very strong sense of support and motivation!" said CPT Kurumbaesun.

Suggested Reading
RSAF delivers humanitarian aid for Gaza Feature
RSAF delivers humanitarian aid for Gaza

Singapore has deployed an RSAF aircraft to deliver humanitarian aid in support of relief efforts in Gaza.

RSAF's latest surface-to-air missile system is fully operational
Cover story
RSAF's latest surface-to-air missile system is fully operational

The Aster 30 missile system has been conducting 24/7 air defence operations since August 2020. It can shoot down targets further, faster and more accurately than its predecessor, the I-HAWK.

The Air Force makes me feel alive: ME6 Sathananthar
The Air Force makes me feel alive: ME6 Sathananthar

It's no surprise that ME6 Sathananthar Suresh loves serving in the RSAF. Find out why he's been in the air force for 28 years and what keeps him going.

Father-son duo serving their NS at Ex Wallaby
Father-son duo serving their NS at Ex Wallaby

It's been 30 years since SLTC (NS) Daniel Lim last participated in the exercise as an NSF. Now, he returns as an NSman with his son following in his footsteps.

Brothers in arms at Ex Forging Sabre
Brothers in arms at Ex Forging Sabre

Brothers ME3 Yew Boon Leng and ME2 Yew Boon Siong reunited at the exercise for the first time in nine months after being deployed in the US.

Dad, you're like… Feature
Dad, you're like…

Dads, fall in! Each father has his own unique approach to "dad duty" – which one is yours like?

RSAF uses simulators & AI to better determine pilot potential
RSAF uses simulators & AI to better determine pilot potential

Through an experimental programme using flight simulators and sports wearables, as well as data analytics and artificial intelligence, the RSAF aims to train and assess pilot trainees more effectively.

RSAF Open House returns as part of RSAF55 celebrations
Cover story
RSAF Open House returns as part of RSAF55 celebrations

To commemorate the RSAF's 55th anniversary, the RSAF Open House will be returning to Paya Lebar Air Base this September holidays.

Soaring to greater heights
Soaring to greater heights

While learning to fly, Han Karci also built close friendships with his fellow coursemates and forged bonds that he will always cherish.

Air Force super mum Feature
Air Force super mum

This military mother-of-three handles the demands of motherhood and work life with grit and grace.