Appreciate sacrifices of SAF regulars too

As we mark 50 years of national service this year, let us not ignore the sacrifices made by in-service personnel of the Singapore Armed Forces, commonly known as regulars.

More often than not, we highlight the sacrifices of men who served two years of NS, like journalist Lim Min Zhang in his commentary (What a bleeding stomach taught me about national service; Dec 28), but not so that of the regulars.

Compared with those who serve two years of full-time NS and 10 cycles of in-camp training (ICT), the sacrifice of the SAF regulars, in terms of time, is more significant, as they are in the force for a longer period. This is especially so for those married with families.

I am in the midst of my second ICT, and have had opportunities to interact with the regulars. I was moved to hear their stories about forgoing family time or missing significant milestones of their children's lives because of operational demands.

The same goes for those deployed overseas and have to spend prolonged periods away from their loved ones, all in the name of national defence.

In some cases, their families have to make compromises, like fighter pilot Cedric Goh and his family did (Flying start to couple's US stint; Dec 8).

I am not advocating pity for them. After all, unlike conscripts, they chose to make the military their career. Nevertheless, their job is one that entails sacrifice over a long period of time.

As NS50 draws to a close, let us appreciate those who serve, be they full-time NSmen, operationally ready NSmen or regulars.

Sean Lim Wei Xin