I've always been the sporty, active and outgoing girl in the family - "the son my Dad never had". It has always been my childhood dream to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow Singaporeans in defending my family and loved ones should the need arise.
As I grew older, this dream turned into a desire to understand and appreciate more of what male Singaporeans go through to defend Singapore. In the process, I hoped to provide greater support for my father, cousins, male friends as well as future husband and children. The perk, of course, is that I can understand and join in small talk and conversations about National Service (NS) - something I hardly get at home, being the second of four daughters!
Ultimately, I volunteered because I felt the need to empower myself with the skills and knowledge to be an asset to Singapore, and give back to the place I grew up in. This is what the SAFVC has allowed me to do.
I gained numerous valuable life lessons over a short span of time during Basic Training (BT) in the SAFVC. Not only did I get to gain an insight into what most national servicemen experience - from the Standard Obstacle Course to field camp to the Battle Inoculation Course - I also learnt many new things about myself and others.
One of the most significant lessons I learnt was the beauty of comradeship. During BT, I learnt how to communicate with and care for my buddy, Wang Xiao Chen, a new Citizen from China.
Struggling through hardships together enabled us to overcome language barriers and cultural differences. We remain close friends and I believe that that feeling of camaraderie and love will grow even stronger over time.
The second thing I discovered was the power of the human will. During my two weeks of BT in mid-2015, I strived to do my best during training while maintaining my fast during the Ramadan month. I learnt when to conserve my energy, and how to motivate myself to push on and persevere.
After successfully completing BT (during the fasting month), my fighting spirit and willpower have increased twofold, and I have a heightened sense of belief and confidence in what I can achieve in the future.
Third, I learnt to recognise and appreciate the value of leadership. I had competent commanders and trainers who invested their time and effort in guiding and encouraging us along in our training.
The SAFVC family is professional and welcoming, which has made me even prouder and happier to be part of it.
A part of the SAFVC family
Despite being a full-time nurse at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, I've never been overwhelmed in balancing my commitments at work and in the SAFVC.
I put in a constant and conscious effort to plan and organise my schedule well within my shifts. My hospital has been exceptionally supportive too.
In a way, I feel that my work-life balance has improved since joining the SAFVC family because SAFVC deployments and events provide me with something refreshing and exciting to look forward to outside of my regular work.
I am exposed to people from different walks of life, and of various ages and professions - interacting, forging bonds with them and sharing life stories have greatly enriched my perspectives and social development as an individual.
After my BT, I was deployed as an Auxiliary Security Trooper (AST) and worked in a team looking after the security of events such as the 2016 SAF Day Parade. Seeing so many people coming together to make the event successful made me appreciate how each individual plays an important part in shaping the SAF we have today.
This year, we celebrated NS50 together with SAF Day, adding a whole new meaning to how NS has helped shape the stability we see today.
As an SAF Volunteer, I wish to contribute my utmost, working hand-in-hand with all those who are answering the same call, and I hope to see more people come together to give what strengths they have and be a part of nation-building and Singapore's defence in the next 50 years.