National service: 50 years, one million memories

Supt Yeo with the photo of himself and a fellow officer in front of an anti-riot vehicle, as well as other photos and memorabilia from his national service days. The 59-year-old enlisted in 1977 and was in the first batch of NS police inspectors to b
Supt Yeo with the photo of himself and a fellow officer in front of an anti-riot vehicle, as well as other photos and memorabilia from his national service days. The 59-year-old enlisted in 1977 and was in the first batch of NS police inspectors to be appointed as investigating officers.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

Whenever Superintendent Yeo Chak Khiam feels nostalgic about his police service, he looks for a photo of himself posing with a fellow officer in front of an anti-riot vehicle during his full-time national service days, among other memorabilia.

Supt Yeo, 59, who enlisted in 1977, was in the first batch of NS police inspectors to be appointed as investigating officers.

Over the years, he has led more than 50 gambling raids in the Chinatown area, and has also volunteered for anti-drug operations.

This year, Singapore marks the 50th anniversary of NS, which began with the National Service (Amendment) Bill passed on March 14, 1967.

Since then, more than one million people have served in the Singapore Armed Forces, as well as in the police and civil defence forces.

The Straits Times examines key milestones and the future of NS policy, and speaks to NSmen and five Home Team officers, including Supt Yeo, about their experiences.

 
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'National service: 50 years, one million memories'. Print Edition | Subscribe