Nurse makes switch to army after stint as SAF volunteer

ME4 Nur Fadilah Jubir, with her parents affixing her new rank epaulettes during the 22nd Senior Military Expert Appointment Ceremony on Jan 12, 2022. PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - For five years, Ms Nur Fadilah Jubir would often trade her nurse's garb for a military uniform, helping to patrol key civilian and military installations here as a member of the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC).

Her time as a volunteer gave her the confidence to make a career switch, when she signed on with the SAF in March 2020. The former nurse is now a Military Medical Expert.

"I am a very big supporter of national service and I have always aspired to be a nursing officer... I have volunteered three to seven times a year to participate in deployments (in SAFVC) during my time as a nurse," she said.

Military Expert 4 (ME4) Fadilah, 30, was among 97 SAF servicemen from the army, navy, air force and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) community appointed as senior MEs in the 22nd Senior Military Expert Appointment Ceremony on Wednesday (Jan 12).

Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, the guest of honour, emphasised the importance of innovation and honing new skills and technologies in the SAF, in a pre-recorded video address to the senior MEs.

He said the SAF will continue to harness new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and data analytics to give its soldiers the edge in future warfighting.

"As Senior Military Experts, all of you are key to this transformation. Innovation is a key strength of the Military Expert corps," he said.

Owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the graduands received their ceremonial swords and scrolls at decentralised ceremonies. The ceremonies were staggered to minimise cross-interaction between servicemen and guests so family members could attend in person.

The appointment ceremonies marked the completion of the Military Domain Experts Course that usually lasts 10 to 12 months.

For ME4 R. R. Poovindran Pillai, 27, another graduand, the academic path he took had been a long one, from 2012 to 2021 - taking him from the Institute of Technical Education to Singapore Polytechnic to Singapore Institute of Technology.

ME4 R. R. Poovindran Pillai was among 97 SAF servicemen in the 22nd Senior Military Expert Appointment Ceremony on Jan 12, 2022. PHOTO: NG ENG HEN/FACEBOOK

The army engineer said: "I used to be a rebellious kid in secondary school and did not do well, but I started to take my studies seriously in my first year of ITE."

He added that he signed on with the army as his national service stint was a rewarding one. "The routine and discipline in national service... groomed me to be a better person."

Also graduating on Wednesday was ME4 Chew Wei Liang, 30, who said the toughest part of the course was having to be away from his firstborn son, who was only a few months old then.

ME4 Chew Wei Liang (right) with CPT Chan Li Yin, their 16-month-old son and their dog. ME4 Chew said the toughest part of the course was having to be away from his firstborn son. PHOTO: MINDEF

The Military Intelligence Expert in C4I joined the military 10 years ago together with his polytechnic sweetheart and now wife Chan Li Yin, in pursuit of a unique career. Captain Chan, 34, is a supply officer.

ME4 Chew, whose son is now 16 months old, said: "The values that my wife and I share about national defence is something that we want to teach our son when he grows older... the careers that we have is something that we are proud of."

ME4 Fadilah, now a platoon commander in HQ Army Medical Services, told reporters in a virtual interview on Tuesday: "At the start, my main challenge was adapting to the differences between hospital medical care and military medical care... but going through the Military Domain Expert Course helped me to overcome those differences."

She added: "The most fulfilling part of being in the SAF is working in a dynamic environment that helps me keep a positive attitude in the face of challenges."

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