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 πŸ™‚

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.Β  (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.Β  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 πŸ™‚

More National Service FAQ at

Pioneer Magazine Kids edition :)

[ Advertorial ]

In October’s Pioneer Magazine, I was surprised to see a special Pioneer Kids section, exclusively for kids! A Children’s Day surprise πŸ™‚

The Army, Navy and Air Force from SAF were all featured.
The theme was “My SAF Learning Adventure“, and the stories were about kids who got to know first hand about their parent’s role in SAF.

I am sure the simulations are more realistic than those found in gaming arcades, and that the kids were filled with pride seeing their parents in uniform, serving the nation.

The Corporate world has those “Follow your parents to work” campaigns, but the SAF version is way much cooler.
Imagine kids proudly sharing in class, my mum works on the RSS Formidable!


Kids do not need to know about push-ups, stand-bys or SOC (Standard Obstacle Course) during their “orientation” through Pioneer Kids.

But I took the opportunity to share with them that behind each moving Ship, Plane or Tank, there was a whole support group working tirelessly in the background (away from the limelight).
Kudos to the support team for keeping the SAF machinery running, everyone has a role to play when it comes to the defence of Singapore.

There are extra activities for kids in Pioneer Kids. They can try to spot camouflaged soldiers in “Jungle Adventure”.

.. or perhaps construct a paper Terrex. When I told them I was from Armour, and I rode on the M113 and Bionix, they just wanted to know whether they had aircon like the Terrex haha.

I have two sons whom I might encourage to be career soldiers. They love adventures and are keen to see the wider world outside of Singapore (I suspect my girl might be keen too).

Personally, I miss the SAF “Open Houses”! The real big-scale ones, not those shopping mall engagement booths πŸ™‚
(read our Air, Sea and Land open houses here)

These open houses showcase the latest gadgets in SAF, and allow for families to interact with the crew and even engage in dog-fight simulations.
I am sure many remembered the Terrex, Chinook and RHIB rides, or the cute Smart uniforms from the three services πŸ™‚

Kids adored the thrills and these are experiences which money cannot buy. For those who are interested to know more about the SAF, do follow CyberPioneer Facebook.

You can grab a e-copy of Pioneer Kids at this link –>,-MINDEF/PIONEER-Singapore/Entertainment/187604