Bro, I've got your back

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15 Mar 2022 | PEOPLE

Bro, I've got your back

These twins were inseparable growing up. Now they chart their own path as part of different Services in NS, while giving each other moral support.

// Story by Thrina Tham

// Photos by Amos Chew

LCP Hassan (right) enlisted with the Singapore Army in November 2020, while PTE Hussain (left) enlisted with the SCDF last May.
English Melayu

Put one of them in green or the other in blue, and you'd be hard pressed to find differences between Lance Corporal (LCP) Muhammad Hassan and Private (PTE) Muhammad Hussain.

The 21-year-olds look and sound alike, sometimes even confusing their family and friends.

But this does not bother them. Once, they mistakenly wore each other's uniforms in school, but their friends and teachers didn't believe that they were who they said they were.

The twins then jokingly spent another day switching classes as a prank.

Growing up, they were rarely apart. Though they joined different secondary schools, their schools merged while they were in secondary three and they found themselves together again.

So, while they were initially disappointed to go their separate ways for National Service (NS) – LCP Hassan to the Singapore Army and PTE Hussain to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) – they realised it was time to chart their own path.

"We thought maybe this is the part in our lives where we go different ways and learn to be more independent," said LCP Hassan, the older twin.

Despite this, the two continue giving other moral support throughout their NS. It's clear that they will only grow closer apart.

The two often trade NS stories with each other as they are now in different Services.

It's pretty neat to see twins in different uniforms! What do each of you do in your NS?

Hassan: As an Infantryman with 5 SIR (5th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment), it's quite intensive. We do things like jungle training and training with the Terrex (Infantry Carrier Vehicle).

Hussain: I'm in the SCDF's Community Engagement Branch, where we take on an instructor role and go to schools to teach the students and teachers things like how to use the fire extinguisher, how to do Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, or how to use the SG Secure app.

Do you spend a lot of time with each other outside of NS?

Hassan: Yes. When we book out, we will hang out and share what we do inside camp – how our training was, whether it was tiring.

We used to have the same friends and everything, but now we're meeting other people of different backgrounds. For example, I told Hussain about this friend I made in NS who knows how to sing Malay songs and is now teaching me to sing a Chinese song. *Breaks into a Mandarin song this writer does not know*

What hobbies do you two do together?

Hussain: If we have time, we play video games. Over the weekend, we also like to ride and explore different places. Hassan hasn't gotten his motorcycle license yet, so he is my pillion.

Hassan: *nods shyly*

What has your NS training been like?

Hassan: I've really gone through a lot of blood, sweat and tears with my NS buddies. When we were getting our Combat Skills Badge, we had to do a 16km route march carrying all our Section stores. Even though we were so tired, we didn't give up and kept pushing each other to reach the end.

Hussain: Apart from my physical training, I've done some rescue training. This is where we learnt to use the chainsaw, the ropes, and some firefighting tools.

What is something your twin does better than you?

Hussain: Physically, he is much fitter now. I was surprised that since starting NS, his stamina has been really good. At night, he's always doing push ups and dragging me to do it with him. So, I feel, since he's so good, I need to do it too.

Hassan: Definitely, his braveness. He dares to do new things. In school, when we had things like high-element activities, I wouldn't dare do it until he forced me. He would try it first, then give me the support to do it.

 

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