Memories of national service through the years
Some 1,400 NSmen and guests mark 45 years of national service at dinner
In 1977, a young Chang Nguan Chua enlisted as a commando, and spent the next 21/2 years undergoing some of the toughest training in the military.
Exactly 29 years later, his son Meng Yong followed in his footsteps, joining the elite unit and even pipping his father, a lance corporal, by becoming a commissioned officer.
He had decided to join the Singapore Armed Forces' most fearsome unit after being inspired by his dad, who used to regale him with his army stories. "Back then, there were no other options. I wanted only to be a commando," said the younger
Mr Chang, who trained hard just so that he could be selected as one. He completed his full-time stint in 2008 and is now a property management executive. The elder Mr Chang, now 53, has completed his national service cycle, but recalls the yearly call-ups with fond memories. "I'd never miss a single in-camp training for anything else," he said.
Why they went the extra mile
"The more you contribute, the more you feel you have a stake in the country and you don't want to give it up."
- Major (NS) Dr Mathew Cheng, 45, an orthopaedic surgeon who volunteered to go to Afghanistan in 2010 even though his baby girl was only four months old. He also extended his NS stint in the Singapore Armed Forces.
"While there are some 1,400 people here tonight, there are thousands more who... have sacrificed and served the nation. As commanders, it is our duty to spread the word and honour these men when we go back for in-camp training and show our appreciation for their service."
- Deputy Superintendent (NS) Mulyadi Ahmad, 36, aviation security manager who was in charge of security during the Geylang Serai Bazaar this year. He extended his NS stint in the Singapore Police Force
"There was never a dull moment during NS and I never reported sick because it was all about going through good and bad times together with your camp mates."
- Lieutenant (NS) Chang Meng Yong, 27, who followed in the footsteps of his father to become a commando
Who gets what
- Full-time national servicemen: $50 worth of Safra/HomeTeam NS vouchers
- Those who have passed the statutory age of 40 (Warrant Officers and Specialists) or 50 (officers) and have not completed their operationally ready national service (ORNS) training cycle: $80 worth of Safra/ HomeTeam NS vouchers
- Currently serving ORNS: One-year free Safra/ HomeTeam NS membership and $80 worth of Safra/ HomeTeam NS vouchers
- Completed ORNS training cycle: One-year free Safra/HomeTeam NS membership, $100 Safra/ HomeTeam NS vouchers