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SAF chief goes out of his way to know 'way of life'

He lugs combat gear and goes on 32km route march with fellow soldiers

Published on Jul 2, 2014 8:59 AM

Singapore's eighth Chief of Defence Force may be the top man in the country's military, but that did not stop him from lugging 20kg of combat gear on a 32km route march among junior comrades less than half his age.

Lieutenant-General Ng Chee Meng volunteered for the army combat skills course last year, taking part alongside 20-year-old trainees.

He also completed a two-week naval diving course.

An ace pilot more comfortable within the confines of the fighter jet, he said he wanted to understand the "way of life" in the army and navy.

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Background story


How well do you think SAF has done to improve its communication with servicemen and society? The SAF can do better in this, as in most aspects of Singapore communications. We will try to do better. Starting from me, today. Hopefully I have removed all the different jargon, I tried very hard not to use any of it. So I hope I have expressed my views to you in a cogent, simple way that you can help convey to the public.

- Lt-Gen Ng

'All-star' family also talk football tactics

THE Ng brothers are probably one of Singapore's few "all-star" military families.

Oldest among them is Major-General (NS) Ng Chee Khern, 48, who is Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) at the Defence Ministry.

Next is Lieutenant- General Ng Chee Meng, 46, who is the Chief of Defence Force, which makes him No. 1 in the Singapore Armed Forces.

The youngest is Rear-Admiral (two-star) Ng Chee Peng, 44, the navy chief - a position that makes him one the defence chief's principal commanders.

Said Lt-Gen Ng of Rear-Adm Ng: "I listen closely to his views and to his input so that we can make the best decisions.

"(We) have a professional relationship."

It was the case for him too previously when he reported to his eldest brother Maj-Gen (NS) Ng, who was then air force chief.

But when they get together with their families, they do not talk shop.

Their two elder brothers, Chee Kang, 52, and Chee Hong, 51, are not military men.

If there is "good intellectual sparring in the family, it is not about professional work", he said.

He added with a laugh: "So we can talk about football; some of us can be very passionate about that intellectual level of discussion (on football strategies)."