A year ago, 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Kamar Jr Bin Kamarudzaman would have never thought of signing on with the Singapore Armed Forces.
Today, the 21-year-old graduand is not only a Sword of Merit recipient, he also plans to join the Singapore Guards as a Platoon Commander.
"I'm both anxious and excited to join the Guards family. National Service (NS) has made me a better person. And I am ready for the next big challenge," said 2LT Kamar.
The confident young man you see today was a very different person one year ago.
Before he enlisted, 2LT Kamar was nervous about serving NS. None of his family members knew much about NS and he went in with many misconceptions.
One of his greatest fears was that he would not have time to spend with his family and friends.
As it turned out, NS brought his family closer than before. He now shares interesting NS experiences with his parents and conversations are always filled with laughter.
"NS gives you a platform to do your best, excel and be recognised for it," explained 2LT Kamar, who clinched the Company Best Recruit award during his Basic Military Training (BMT).
"I kept the news of the award from my parents till the day of my BMT graduation, and they were both shocked and happy when they found out!"
It was in Officer Cadet School (OCS) that 2LT Kamar was introduced to the term "servant leadership" through his Wing Commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Bernard Koh.
"He's the kind of leader that you want to follow. When he tells you to do something, you feel compelled to do it because there's this intrinsic understanding that he always has your greatest interest in mind," said 2LT Kamar.
"He always said what he truly wants for us is to surpass him, and to become more competent than him."
LTC Koh's words and actions inspired 2LT Kamar to become a better leader.
"We are in a position of authority, not to serve ourselves but the ones whom we lead – that's the kind of servant leader I want to be."
And he's bringing these values into the next stage of his journey.
"There may be some people who don't find as much meaning in NS as I do. I want to give them the opportunity to feel as I feel now, to let them know that there's so much to learn and look forward to. I want to share my journey with them," said 2LT Kamar.
"I want my future teammates and subordinates to have a meaningful (NS) experience like what I'm going through right now."