In the lead-up to Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day on 1 Jul, more than 70,000 children will fold figurines and pen messages to thank their fathers for defending the nation.
The paper figurines depict servicemen across the Army, Navy and Air Force in the Singapore Armed Forces, as well as the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force. The children can also write their own appreciation messages at the back of the figurines.
This "Appreciating NSmen Art Jam" – jointly organised by SAFRA and the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services – will be part of the curriculum at over 500 preschool centres from 14 Jun to 1 Jul. The initiative was first launched last year, where over 100 preschools took part.
"We see that the family is really (at) the heart of why NSmen (Operationally Ready National Servicemen) serve. (This) initiative…(allows) the children of our NSmen to go through different activities to appreciate what their fathers do," said Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, who joined preschool children and their parents during one of the first art jams at NurtureStars Preschool, SAFRA Toa Payoh on 14 Jun.
Dr Maliki added that the initiative reaches out to about 70,000 pre-schoolers, which makes about 60 per cent of the preschool sector. "That shows a lot of support… (It's) something very positive," said Dr Maliki, who is also the president of SAFRA.
In a bid to lighten the load faced by NSmen who are parents, four preschools will waive the surcharges for late pick-up of children when their fathers are away for In-Camp Training or other National Service (NS) duties.
The initiative, available at 48 preschool centres under NurtureStars Preschool, Kinderland Preschool, ELFA Preschool and Skool4Kidz, will run for a year from 24 Jun till 30 Jun 2020.
Mr Daniel Yong, who served as a naval diver in NS with the rank of Corporal, felt the initiative was a "brilliant idea".
"There are parents who work pretty late (and have) irregular hours. With this initiative, they need not rush to beat the traffic and get here by (the closing time of) 7pm," said Mr Yong, who owns an interior design firm.
He also welcomed the activities for children to learn more about NS, adding that his 5-year-old twin sons were very interested in his NS days. "I have a plaque with the naval diver's creed and they are always making me read it out to them… I told them what I went through to defend Singapore, to defend our shoreline."
Other initiatives to support NSmen include more than 120 SAF Day deals offered by SAFRA and over 90 merchant partners at more than 450 outlets island-wide. They include movie deals at Shaw theatres, promotions on Lazada, as well as at food outlets such as Yum Cha and Cold Stone Creamery.
The deals will be available from 24 Jun until the end of the year. Visit www.safra.sg/safday for more details.