More time now for family and career, says signals officer

Mr Lim with his wife Joanne and son Benjamin. With the Singapore Armed Forces becoming a more advanced fighting force, which leverages the latest in weapons and training systems, the ICT cycle can be reduced without compromising the SAF's operational
Mr Lim with his wife Joanne and son Benjamin. With the Singapore Armed Forces becoming a more advanced fighting force, which leverages the latest in weapons and training systems, the ICT cycle can be reduced without compromising the SAF's operational readiness. This benefits NSmen like Mr Lim.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Operationally ready national serviceman (NSman) Colin Lim, 34, looks set to end his reservist commitments in about two years, having completed eight out of the required 10 years of the in-camp training (ICT) cycle.

The public servant, who serves as a battalion signals officer in an artillery unit, is looking forward to having more time with his wife, 32, and son, one, and also for his career.

If not for a tweak in the NS policy, Mr Lim would have to serve more years. As luck would have it, in 2006, two years before he reported for his first year of ICT, the ICT stint was cut from 13 years to 10 years.

The shortening was possible with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) becoming a more advanced fighting force, which leverages the latest in weapons and training systems. This allowed the ICT cycle to be reduced, without compromising the SAF's operational readiness.

The change has benefited NSmen such as Mr Lim, who may be called up for a maximum of 40 days in a year for reservist training.

Mr Lim, who holds the rank of lieutenant, said: "Many people in my unit are in their early 30s, and they would be fulfilling their NS duties soon. This will provide them with the flexibility to develop their careers further, and also spend more time with their families.

"As a young father, I appreciate having the opportunity to be there for my wife and son."

Mr Lim said his ICT stint has been productive. He recalls that during a five-day ICT, his unit had to move outfield for a three-day mission, which meant that they had only a day to plan and prepare the logistics and equipment.

"The pace was intense, but we pulled it off by working together as a team," he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'More time now for family and career, says signals officer'. Print Edition | Subscribe