Whenever her husband goes for his In-Camp Training, Ms Kym Lee has to reschedule her time and make arrangements to pick her two children up from school, ferry them to various enrichment classes and even coach them on their homework.
"We have shared responsibilities and will take turns to do these, but when he's away, I have to do them alone," said the 40-year-old marketing manager from Burger King Singapore.
Ms Lee added that during those times, she would often bring her work home and get to it only after her children were asleep. But these sacrifices are nothing compared to what her husband and two brothers go through during National Service (NS) and as Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen).
Recalling her youngest brother's NS days as a naval diver, Ms Lee saw how tough his vocation was and knew what he had to go through. After his graduation, she saw a changed man – one who had matured tremendously.
Seeing and hearing all these experiences also allowed her to appreciate NS and NSmen better. She said: "I feel proud that my husband and brothers can contribute to the defence of Singapore."
The appreciation for NSmen have also been extended to her company, Burger King Singapore. It is among the more than 540 merchants and businesses that participated in the "We Support NS" campaign this year.
These companies (more than 1,400 outlets across Singapore!) offered discounts and benefits to NSmen from the Singapore Armed Forces and the Home Team, in support of their contribution to the nation's defence and security.
Most of these promotions will last till 31 Aug.
In appreciation of their support, the Family and Community Council of the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) organised a "We Support NS" appreciation function at the Suntec Singapore Convention Centre on 18 Jul.
During the event, Senior Minister of State for Defence Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman spoke about the importance of NS and thanked the merchants and businesses for their continued support.
Calling NS the bedrock of Singapore's defence, he said: "Since 1967, more than one million NSmen have dutifully served NS and one reason is the strong support for NS by the public; in giving due recognition to the many generations of Singaporeans who have served NS with pride and honour."
"Merchants, businesses and hawkers, like you, play an important role in showing appreciation for the contributions of our NSmen. Your strong support goes a long way."
For ACCORD Family and Community Council member Colonel (COL) (NS) Edwan Nizar Bin Ahadan, this appreciation makes a difference to NSmen such as himself.
The father-of-four served in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) during his NS days and remembered those times as tough but meaningful.
"We had rescue and fire training and went through the same training as our Regular counterparts. After passing out, we went through the real operations. We were posted to fire stations (and) attended to emergencies," recalled COL (NS) Edwan, a real estate salesman from ERA Realty Network.
"Protecting Singapore and saving lives with your teammates is meaningful. Even though the work is tough, at the end of the day when we save a life, everyone feels satisfied."
Now the Deputy Division Commander of the 4th SCDF Division, COL (NS) Edwan is thankful that merchants, businesses and hawkers are appreciating NSmen for their sacrifices and contributions to the nation.
"These benefits and discounts are little gestures that make you feel happy and appreciated; that the community is doing something to recognise you," said the 46-year-old.
"This shows that the nation cares for NSmen and the work that we have done."