He's set to become first African-Singaporean Guardsman

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11 Mar 2023 | PEOPLE

He's set to become first African-Singaporean Guardsman

 Story by Teo Jing Ting // Photos by Amos Chew & courtesy of 2LT Haniel

English Melayu

The first in his family to be commissioned as an officer, 2LT Haniel Humphrey Muze may soon become the first Singaporean of African descent to earn the khaki beret.

2LT Haniel's parents affixing the 2LT rank on him during his officer commissioning parade on 11 Mar.

His brother was the first African-Singaporean naval diver. Now, 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Haniel Humphrey Muze is determined to blaze his own trail, and has signed on with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

Born and bred in Singapore, 2LT Haniel is the third of four children and the second in his family to do National Service (NS). His parents moved from Tanzania to Singapore in 1990.

2LT Haniel is the first in his family to be commissioned as an officer.

The 19-year-old Sword of Merit recipient enlisted for NS last year after completing his A-levels in Raffles Junior College, and is the first in his family to be commissioned as an officer.

That's not all – 2LT Haniel, who was among the 196 cadets commissioning as officers at SAFTI Military Institute on 11 Mar, was also the 2nd In-Charge (2IC)!

We get up close and personal with him to find out more:

Congratulations 2LT Haniel! How has Officer Cadet School (OCS) been for you?

2LT Haniel: It's been a gruelling yet enriching experience! Besides learning war-fighting and planning skills, it has also given me the opportunity to find purpose in leading those around me and serving to the best of my abilities.

The strong camaraderie among my peers helped me pushed through tough training. During one of our outfield training sessions, we were caught by surprise when it started raining heavily.

Even though we were soaking wet and feeling cold, our spirits remained high. We started to banter with one another while eating our rations late into the night. This unity was truly unlike anything I've experienced before.

2LT Haniel (foreground) is the parade 2IC for the commissioning parade.

What made you decide to sign on as a Guardsman?

2LT Haniel: Guards are elite warriors trained to conduct specialised operations, and I'm motivated to sign on because of the challenges it offers.

 I'm also attracted by the strong camaraderie and brotherhood within the Guards community. This really moved and motivated me to train hard, and adopt the right mentality to prepare myself for whatever is to come.

The line in the Guards' Creed – "Always ready, ready to strike" – underscores the preparedness of every guardsman. It resonates strongly with me and this is something I want to be a part of.

What does being an officer mean to you, and how do you intend to inspire your soldiers?

2LT Haniel: As most of my soldiers will be Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), I look forward to assisting, guiding and nurturing them. My goal is to instil values in them that they can continue to grow and develop even after they complete their NS.

Proud of you, little bro! 2LT Haniel (right) with his older brother, 3SG Hartley, who made headlines as the first Singaporean-African naval diver.

How has your brother inspired you in terms of serving in the SAF?

2LT Haniel: I wouldn't say that he inspired me to have a military career, but he has definitely inspired me to be the best version of myself!

Every time my brother returns home from his training, he always has a smile on his face and doesn't show any sign of tiredness or fatigue. So I've always been motivated by his tough mentality – this has encouraged me to push beyond my limits when faced with challenges.

2LT Haniel with his family after the commissioning parade.

So is your brother the tougher one between the both of you?

2LT Haniel: Definitely him! After all, he has already set the standards! I'm just trying to reach them day by day.

Then-OCT Haniel (first from left) with fellow officer cadets during outfield training.

What's your favourite local food and drink? And what is the one thing you crave most when you're outfield?

2LT Haniel: My favourite local food is char siew rice and nasi lemak! The nasi lemak from Selera Rasa never fails to perk me up every time I eat it! Local drink? Good ol' homemade ice lemon tea.

What I crave during outfield? My mother's cooking for sure! She cooks many different variations of food from different cultures. From pilau (a Tanzanian rice dish) to lasagne, each home-cooked meal by my mum always puts a smile on our faces.

What Singlish phrase/slang do you say the most?

2LT Haniel: Wah, I don't really know but I think the one that I'm most comfortable is "lah". That is simple enough to emphasise everything I am saying lah!

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