You're on my radar

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07 Feb 2024 | PEOPLE

You're on my radar

What's kept this Navy couple going strong through 11 years of their relationship, four kids and heavy work duties?

//Story by Thrina Tham / Photos by Kenneth Lin & courtesy of CPT Foo

ME2 Ng (left) and CPT Foo (centre) have been together for 11 years and they have four kids together.

He'd never been sporty, or a dog person. But when she caught his eye during their second term of polytechnic, he quickly joined the tennis club to get to know her.

She had a dog; he was afraid of animals. So he started walking his friend's dog to overcome his fear.

And when she fractured her ankle and had to walk in crutches for a month, Military Expert (ME) 2 Ng Zi Yin quickly borrowed his dad's car and offered to send her home.

"Initially I thought this classmate was very helpful. He would help to bring me around and even send me home. I thought it was a kind gesture," said Captain (CPT) Renee Foo.

"I did it with a motive!" added ME2 Ng with a laugh.

The couple met in their second term of polytechnic and got together a year later, when they were both 20.

His persistence paid off. The pair got close and started going on dates, making their relationship official a month later in October 2013.

Now, 11 years down the road – they have been married for six years and have four kids. The couple, both 31, are also serving in the Republic of Singapore Navy.

Together through choppy waters

CPT Foo heads the Current Manpower Ops in the Naval Personnel Department, while ME2 Ng is a Weapon Control Systems Supervisor on board littoral mission vessel RSS Indomitable.

"I think it's very relatable (to have my spouse in the Navy). I can tell him about work, and he understands," said CPT Foo.

To her husband, the biggest perk is the sharing of knowledge between them. "Because she's in HQ (headquarters), she has a fuller picture of why we (on the ground) have to do certain things. She shares with me, and I can relate better."

Though the couple did not meet in the force, they both feel that it's helpful to have their spouse understand the work that they do.

CPT Foo was a Staff Officer at the Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) Hub for a few years – where she literally had ME2 Ng on her radar.

"I was on an operational ship, and she knew where I was 24/7. I didn't even need to tell her, she could see my ship on the radar," he said.

However, things were not always smooth sailing. While CPT Foo made the decision to stay on shore since having kids, it's still challenging to have ME2 Ng away for long deployments.

A few years ago, their then-two-year-old daughter fell sick with high fever while ME2 Ng was out at sea on patrol safeguarding Singapore's waters.

"I rushed our daughter to the hospital. She kept crying for him. I was heavily pregnant (with our fourth kid), and I couldn't go into the X-ray room with her," recalled CPT Foo.

"At that time, I was very sad and crying too. But luckily, she was okay by the time he came back. I know that he felt super guilty."

"Yes, I have been living with a lot of guilt," added ME2 Ng, slightly abashed.

ME2 Ng and CPT Foo at their Basic Military Training graduation parades in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

All about the small things

By and large, the two make the most of the time they have with their kids and appreciate the small things about each other.

On the sweetest thing his wife has done for him, ME2 Ng recalled a period of about six months when he was busy with his ship's audit and spent the whole day at work from 6am to 10pm.

"Even though I always reached home very late, she didn't go to sleep. She waited up and cooked dinner for me," he said.

CPT Foo and ME2 Ng with their two oldest sons at the Navy@Vivo event last year. The pair often try to share about their work with their children.

For CPT Foo, it's the fact that her husband continues to drive her home whenever he can.

"No matter rain or shine, if I'm at work or just outside, he'll say, 'Wait for me, I'll come right over'."

There was even a time when he worked at Changi Naval Base but would drive across the island to pick her up from MINDEF Building in the west.

"He would still insist (on sending me home). Sometimes (it meant) I would wait longer for him. But that time home together is important, it's our own catch-up time," said CPT Foo.

In case you were wondering, ME2 Ng gave up tennis shortly after they started dating; but he did not give up this gesture of love!

"We're an SAF couple, of course we..." What do military couples have in common? 

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