Army Open House 2017 and 5 observations for kids

Finally, Army Open House (AOH2017) is back again, after 5 long years.

Singapore Army even extended the event by one day, due to popular demand. After AOH2017 at F1 venue, part of the exhibition moved to the heartlands in Punggol and Jurong East.

Army Open House 2017
Army Open House 2017


Super HOT weekend, everyone in social media complained about the heat, yet more families continue to throng the space!

“Army Ready, Soldier Strong”

This is a timely reminder in today’s uncertain times.
Look at terrorists news around the world, and recent “siege” of Qatar. What does it really mean to the kids?

At the Army Open House, they see fun rides, cool soldiers, photo opportunities and more FUN.


#Point 01
.. but in times of tension, do they understand that Singapore need to defend itself? Many Dads would need to go back and standby for incidents and deployments.

Do the kids understand that Singaporeans are responsible for our own land? No one own us a living.

Do the boys understand the significance of serving National Service (NS)?

Army Ready, Soldier Strong
Army Ready, Soldier Strong

The Dynamic Show kicked off with Military Tattoos, followed by Red Lions (paratroopers).

Remember the Green Flashing Soldier on our TV and Radio broadcasts? It used to mean “Bye Bye my Weekend” to Daddy :p

#Point 02
Kids understand Dads need to report to camp, this might be a routine recall, and Soldiers (and resources) might be activated due to some emergencies.

The audience knew what was going to happen to the poor Nissan Cefiro. First time we saw the Destructive power of the 60 tons Leopard Tank, instant scrap metal, no need 1206 too :p

Post-show, many were curious about the crushed Cefiro, kaput!
Leopard tank cursh car

For Army Open House (AOH2017) , simulated terrorists infiltrated our island. Some hostages have been taken, Home team (Police,SCDF)  and SAF Protection force swung into action.

Help from sniffer dogs and robots to mitigate bomb threats.


Every vehicle in the SAF orbat rolled in to control the situation. Even Apache and Himars (MLRS aka rockets) were deployed to ensure the audience get the maximum impact.

Ambulances evacuated the causalities.

#Point 03
I asked the kids whether our Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals are equipped and mentally ready to handle trauma victims? Is our infrastructure able to cope with mass casualties? Do we have enough blood for transfusion?

Kids go through Social studies and they understand a bit about Total Defence.

Without Googling, can you tell me the 5 pillars of Total Defence?

Although Military Defence is the main pillar, Singapore depends on
Civil, Economic, Social and Psychological Defence too.

SGSecure is the Singapore approach to counter new non-conventional threats from extremists. Residents and Government agencies need to collaborate to keep Singapore safe.

Times have changed, we have to get used to the “new normal”, where extremists will try to disrupt our way of life and tear communities apart. Citizens must be vigilant and strong, and stand together to stop the terrorists.

When we need specialised skills, Singapore can rely on the “black-clad SOF (Special Operation Forces, comprising members from Commandos and Naval Diver) .

This is the first time they appeared “officially” in public, they swiftly took out the kidnappers, and left in their zeng(3) Ford (modified).

SOF’s mysterious background forms the sharp edge of Singapore’s deterrence. Do not mess with these guys.


Singapore Special Forces
Singapore SOF

Hello doggie. I told the kids the “retired” dogs can now follow their handlers home 🙂

The highlight for most families must be the fun rides.

Boon Yee and Boon Xin opted for Light Strike (Guards) and
Larc V (resupply). I would love to ride the massive 20 ton Protector vehicle and own the expressway!

Good initiative from organisers, families just need to register a time slot and return later, no need to queue and wait for their turn.


#Point 04
Larc V (same as the Broncos and 5 tonners) is actually designed to resupply our troops. We tend to see the Bionix and Terrex’s shiny armour or the Leopards’ armament. But how many of us appreciate the Logistics machinery running in the background?

Can you imagine the efforts to truck all the vehicles to F1 area?

Food, Ammo, Fuel, Troops. No matter how advanced or professional is your Armed forces, a military will fail without an efficient logistics.

Joyride on the Guards’ Light Strike. This ride can go over streams and climb slopes, it would be cool if Chinook can sling us away!

The static displays with the usual vehicles. Slender machine (looks like it can slice through waters) belongs to the commandos.

Apache looked menacing, in the air or on the ground.

Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicle (the longer ride) and Belrex (commercial Marauder) makes all of us look tiny.

More Army platforms…

My kids did not find Army ration appetising, I missed my Oh-bee-bur and other desserts.

Around one corner, I saw a translucent water bottle. Soldiers can no longer pretend to bottoms-up during water parade :p

Combat rations anyone?

Kids still prefer canteen gourmet food over rations :p


Home grown SAR21, no striping or IA drill needed, just bang and go. Kids are not used to the recoil, and Boon Xin bruised her chin.


Other activities at Army Open House 2017. We missed the mini-SOC  (obstacles) due to the hot afternoon Sun. Long queues for “Night Walk” and “Drones”, UAV vocation anyone?

Would be cool to let kids explore Cyber Security in future AOH editions.

Video (YouTube Link) : Army Open House 2017 highlights

#Point 05
Kudos to the soldiers who had to burn their weekends, spending precious time away from families. They went out of the way to ensure visitors enjoyed the exhibition and interactions. I noticed the security screenings were tighter too.

Families are assured of SAF’s protection and hopefully appreciate Singapore’s peace and harmony.

Thank you Singapore Army and security agencies for keeping Singapore safe.

Our Open House adventures (Airforce, Navy and Army) are documented here. Is 2009 our first Army Open House?

More photos uploaded on our Facebook album.

ps.. If you cannot get enough Army displays, watch out for NDP 2017. We heard a record number of assets (Land, Sea and Air) will be on display!

A Day in the Army – recruitment drive

Simulation allows soldiers to hone their skills and train their muscle memory in a safe environment. Soldier’s reflexes and instincts will be automatically triggered during an emergency.

Simulations offer soldiers an opportunity to handle real-life scenarios which are otherwise not feasible to practice on real platforms. Example vehicle overturning drills, artillery bombardment or evasive drills from hostile helicopter gunship.

Simulation helps save precious resources like fuel, ammunition and most importantly, time.

With “hands on” confidence, soldiers improve their situation awareness, and are more effective when they get involved in real missions. With effective simulation, Singapore’s NSFs can stand on their own and match professional soldiers in overseas Leopard Main battle tanks proficiency contest.

At the “Army for a Day” recruitment exercise (Sungei Gedong Armour HQ), invited guests got an in depth appreciation of how simulation helps to enhance training. It was fun for guests to experience drifting a 60ton Leopard or testing the Bronco’s gravity defying drive-train, the adrenalin is no less than a Universal Studios ride.

Simulation is virtual, but concentration is real, perspiration is real.

We may be playing a “computer game”, but we can really feel the motion and jolt, when you drive your vehicle up and down the dunes, or when you overturn a Bronco! It was not easy to maneuver my Bionix up the ramp of a landing bridge (picture below).

Here, I would like to thanks and salute all the drivers I have come across. Be it an infantry carrier or a tank, everyone’s lives are in the good hands of our drivers. Drivers are always the last ones to rest after a mission as they need to wash the vehicle. Treat your driver well and he or she will let you eat less humps.

Simulation sounds complicated, but for today’s IPAD generation, the concept of driving a 60ton Leopard is the same as driving a car. The familiar steering wheel, automatic gearbox, the accelerate and brake pedals.
Armour Simulation Sungei Gedong

Live firing was the other highlight of our tour. Nothing comes close to a Leopard tank’s 120mm blast. You can feel the impact and vibes from 50m away. We witnessed a task force (comprising Light strikes, Terrex, Bionixs and Leopards) raining havoc on their targets. Impressive and devastating.

I should know, I was a Bionix gunner during my Armour days (41 and 441). Those days, we had to set up the target boards, pile up endless oil drums under the hot sun. Was glad to know these manual strenuous tasks are no longer necessary, thank you Productivity!

When the Terrex is engaging enemy via it’s turret auto-gun, it reminds me of Sigourney Weaver driving her all-wheel APC (Armoured personal carrier image) crushing ALIENs along the way! Mean, accurate and deadly.

It feels different to revisit Area-D as a civilian, and not in green fatigue. Saribun area offers one of the most scenic landscapes in Singapore (有山有海). Funny, when we are in green, “sightseeing” was the last thing on our mind :p
Singapore Armour live firing

Static army assets were on display, pre-enlistees could get up close to Army toys and armaments.
A Day in the Army recruitment

You can even pretend to be a Leopard tank loader. This round weighs 19kg, imagine how the loader needs to shove the rounds into the barrel for firing. In a real mission, Leopard tank will be “firing on the move”. Just imagine the confine space for the loader.

In wartime, speed (and precision) is everything, you better engage and destroy enemy tanks within xx seconds, or hostile forces will pinpoint your position and return fire.

Mobile field sanitation, washing, shower and even cook-house. Hope this comfort items will be for humanitarian efforts. I hope there will not come a day when our NSFs demand hot shower in camp (or worse, outfield!)

A few interesting tidbits from my Armour days:

– the fire power of an Armour battalion is three times that of an infantry (hearsay from my reservist days).
Really dread lugging the 0.5 heavy machine gun and barrels from armskote to vehicle shed!
The countless GPMGs and jerry cans and 1206s!

– I am wondering whether troopers still pack maggie mee, bread and nutella, and cocktail for their 4D3N outfield trips

– Other services always admire Armour roaming around in Area-D, just like armoured taxis. They will not envy us when they see the amount of barang barang we need to dismantle and wash after each exercise!

– Those in M113 (converted to Bionix) always envy those in AMX13 (replaced by Leopards)
– Tankees always get more water, and aircon!
– When in comes to “body maintenance”, troopers have to squeeze into the Bionix hull, ramp, or engine top
– it gets more challenging with each reservist cycle, as soldiers grow horizontally

– Not sure whether there are anymore moon leaves in Saribun. Armoured vehicles use moon leaves for camouflage.

Sweet or sour, once you don a Black Beret, you are part of Armour family.
Once Armour, Always Armour.

Armour Logo

In case you need to find our more details:
A Day in the Army registration (email link provided)
Senang Diri blog for more SAF news
Fanpage Cyberpioneer
Leopard Main Battle Tank Youtube
Bronco Youtube

* NDP 2015 will involve Mobile columns again (every 5 years). Do not MISS it!