SINGAPORE - When full-time national serviceman Emir Ilyas Elham's basic military training was suspended last year, he took charge of his own training at home.
The 20-year-old went for his own runs on weekends and cut down on sugary drinks, shedding 13kg during his 19-week BMT, which began in late January last year.
He said: "A lot of us had put in the extra effort to do our own physical training, so that we can prove to ourselves and our commanders that we can actually make a lifestyle change to be healthier and fitter."
His batch had its BMT suspended for about two months from April to May last year, in line with the country's circuit breaker period. He was later selected for Officer Cadet School, where he completed a 38-week course to become qualified as an infantry officer in the army.
He was among 204 cadets commissioned as Singapore Armed Forces officers on Sunday (March 21), said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on Monday.
The cadets received their ceremonial swords and letters of appointment at decentralised commissioning ceremonies.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, who addressed the graduands in a recorded video message as the reviewing officer, said that amid the pandemic, security challenges such as cyber-security threats persist and continue to evolve.
The threat of terrorism also remains, with the continued spread of radical ideologies in cyberspace. Climate change is another challenge for Singapore, he said, noting that Mindef and the SAF will do their part for the environment under the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
"Even as the security landscape continues to evolve, the mission of the SAF remains constant - that is, to defend Singapore and our way of life. The SAF's strength lies not just in our state-of-the-art weaponry, but in the grit and determination of our servicemen," he said.
The core role of SAF officers remains the same - to lead men by example, to train them to high standards and to keep them safe, added Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law.
Another graduand was air force regular Adeline Ow Wai Teng, 24, whose interest in aviation was sparked by family visits to the Singapore Airshow when she was young.
Her graduation route march was shortened to 12km from the usual 24km, due to not having enough time to complete the required build-up training. Her batch also missed out on activities such as the grenade throw and standard obstacle course training.
"It's unfortunate that I didn't get to experience these, but I think what is more important is ensuring that training can continue amid the pandemic and instil in us the fundamentals for us to move forward to the next phase of our training," she said.