National Service, soon

National Service is coming soon. And our blog is still named Sengkang BABIES haha.

Kids are in their teens already, and very soon National Service (NS) beckons. To our kids, I have been trying to spin some positive tales for them.

In this post, I try to share my past experience and set some expectations for the kids.


Army Open House 2017 and 5 observations for kids
Army Open House, Guards Light Strike

What is National Service?

The kids might remember SAF from:

– The ex SAF Open Houses (Army, Navy and Air Force). Now only got small scale Vivo Navy and small Heartland exhibits
– or perhaps Jack Neo’s Ah Boys to Men series

They might not remember that National Service started with Singapore’s independence. They might not care that National Service is a rite of passage for Singapore (both boys and girls).

Total Defence (TD) might ring a bell from their Social Studies. Being a soldier or Home Team member helps protect Singapore. Or perhaps how TD can help deal with Covid-19 scenario.



Terrex Jack New Ah Boys to Men

..NOTHING quite prepare you for National Service

-Say bye to your Freedom, Image and girlfriend.
-Enjoy Pulau Tekong staycation for 3 months BMT.
-Crew cut will be your only hairstyle till you become a recruit.
-Girlfriend would be so near yet so far, weekend rendezvous or night phone calls.

Welcome to bunk living. You will have smelly neighbours (post-exercise) for your mates, snores for company. And we used to shower together!
(Heard they have cubicles for privacy now).

For some, Culture Shock might be an understatement.

Hey, your bunk mates will not only be Chinese, Malay, Indians or Eurasians.
You will encounter many mix-parentage buddies, who are likely PR’s 2nd generation.

Truly multi-racial society 🙂

New Lingos to learn in NS, new corners to explore

-One for all, and all for one. (normally drilled through the knock-it-downs or stand-by-beds)
-Do it but do not get caught (Is this still happening in camps?)
-Sign Extra (aka bye weekend)

-Malingering(Keng2, sometimes go together with Lobo). Not asking you to Keng, but do not be sabotaged by those who do so! Life skill, you will meet many “keng” folks in society too.

– You might explore new corners in Singapore, so dark you cannot see your fingers. And you thought we are familiar with 700 km2 tiny Singapore.

-Area D (near Sarimbum Reservour) overlooking the Straits. No HDB here, only vast water and hills. Most scenic spot in Singapore!

– Mosquito and marsh (swamps are waist deep) become your nemesis, and powder bath (snake prickly heat) your best friend

– Well, camps are located at ulu corners. Still better access than Pulau Tekong.  (Last time no MRT worse)

New experiences. Suck it up!

National Service is only 2 years. But I know the 2 years for a 17 years old means EVERYTHING!

The buddies you make during your NS days will stick with you for LIFE! (and countless reservists too)

Independence and Fitness. These two attributes will stay with us after our NS.

No helpers to tidy your bed or Mom to warm up your meals.
Most of us would be fittest during our NS days (chin-ups, 2.4km and sit-ups)

In missions, we must learn to trust our buddies. They will be the ones looking over our shoulders and covering our six.

Think Positive, ok?

Since botak (bald), it will be more cooling. No need to waste time grooming infront of a mirror.

Thanks to my NS training, I can doze off quite easily (and anywhere) when I am in my Greens.  Might not be an attribute, but sometimes, we need a catnap to powerup.

I was telling the active kiddos. Since you all have an appetite for adventures and thrills, SAF might be an avenue to enjoy more thrills. Read Taiwan cycling, Cebu Kawasan cliff jumps or JB ATV runs, GoKarting and hiking.

Maybe SAF can offer you a buffet for adventures and platform to discover yourself

Look, you can skydive and rappel for free with the Commandos, insurance provided. Free tours (R&R) with overseas mission and training :p

Regulars are paid to enjoy skydive.

Red Lions NDP performance

So many more Free activities:

-Free atv rides with Guards
-Free Laser tag games (Atec)
-Free arcade and simulation games (Armour)
-Free cruises (With the Navy)
-Free air tickets (C130, Chinook or chartered flights)
-Free gym membership, aka 5PT exercise
-Free class 3,4 driving license (those with MT line, drivers)

Singapore Army Hunter

Joystick (remote UAV) and keyboards (Cyber security) are new “career” choices in the armed forces.

2030 will bring new toys and doctrines to the surface.

Image credit

Although my experience is with Armour, I always told the kids that the home team is equally important. Salute to our brave Nurse, Police, Firemen etc, putting themselves at risk sometimes.

This is not a blog post for Army recruitment :p

Image credit

No particular reason for this post. Just wanted to remind the kids (girl too) that National Service is a rite of service for Singapore kids. From Boys to Men 🙂

More National Service FAQ at

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!