The Straits Times
Published on Oct 23, 2012

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.