SINGAPORE - They sang to Japanese soldiers, hid their sisters behind the cupboard and crawled in the drain to avoid sentry guards.
Although they were only children during the Japanese Occupation, Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret) Wong Geok Seam and Major (Ret) Aloysius Ng still remember life in Singapore in the 1940s.
“Very often, we got these Japanese soldiers coming in and out of the house. Sometimes, they took our food to eat,” said LTC (Ret) Wong.
When they became young men in their early 20s, they joined the Singapore Volunteer Corps in the 1950s, which was responsible for the defence of Singapore during World War II. They then signed on to the Singapore Armed Forces in 1964.
They also contributed to shaping Singapore’s military in the early years.
LTC (Ret) Wong, 84, was the platoon commander for the first batch of national service recruits in the 1950s.
LTC (Ret) Wong, who retired in 1980, was also part of the marching contingent of the first National Day Parade in 1966.
Maj (Ret) Ng, 81, was posted to the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) after he signed on in 1964.
He was responsible for the establishment of the 5th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (5 SIR).
“The important thing is we have to think... what type of Mindef would you like to have,” said Maj (Ret) Ng, who retired in 1987. “Glad to say I was in the midst of it.”
These two army veterans, who served in the Singapore Armed Forces for more than 20 years, share their stories in the seventh episode of Heroes Among Us.