SINGAPORE - Crowds thronged the F1 Pit Building on the first day of the Army Open House 2022 on Saturday (May 28).
The event, held after a five-year break, saw long queues forming from morning as visitors waited for their turn to try out activities such as an obstacle course and take photographs with military vehicles and tanks.
All 90,000 tickets for the event, which ends on Monday, have been taken.
Tickets for the same event, which will be held in Punggol from June 3 to 5 and in Bishan from June 10 to 12, have also been fully booked.
Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen launched the open house, which is themed "Generations of Strength", and the NS55 Showcase - an exhibition which highlights the evolution of national service and achievements of servicemen through the years.
Mr Michael See, a 46-year-old civil servant, booked 10 tickets immediately after they were released on May 16.
He said: "My son said he wants to be a tank commander so this is a good opportunity to let him see what national service is about."
Mr Lu Yixin, 22, an undergraduate from the National University of Singapore, said he was thrilled to see the Bronco armoured vehicle at the open house.
He said: "I used to ride the vehicle with my scouts platoon mates during national service, so being inside it brings back many memories."
St. Gabriel's Secondary School students Akhyan Tamang and Russell Yeo were among those who managed to secure a ferry ride on the M3G military raft, which is typically used to build bridges for military operations.
Akhyan, 16, said: "The M3G has been my favourite part of the open house. The feeling of the breeze in your face as you go down the river is mesmerising."
Russell, 16, said the exhibitions and rides gave him an insight into life during national service.
He added: "Before the rides, we were given many safety briefings telling us what we should not do. When I enlist, I hope the tanks will be more familiar to me."
Mr Carvalho Edmund, 40, who visited the NS55 Showcase with his family, said: "During my NS, I did a lot of field training so watching the recollections and videos makes me miss my days in the army."
Nanyang Technological University student Ngor Cheng En, 24, said he hopes the public will understand why an operationally ready army is needed to safeguard a small country such as Singapore.
"The Russia-Ukraine war serves as a timely reminder of why we need to be self-reliant and independent when it comes to defending our country, and that our peace should not be taken for granted."