NSmen volunteers for this year's NDP hits a record

Thirty operationally ready national servicemen have volunteered to help out for this year's National Day Parade - a record number. Among them are LTC (NS) Hoe (second from left) who also roped in his wife Priscilla (extreme left); Col (NS) Lam (third
Thirty operationally ready national servicemen have volunteered to help out for this year's National Day Parade - a record number. Among them are LTC (NS) Hoe (second from left) who also roped in his wife Priscilla (extreme left); Col (NS) Lam (third from left); and Col (NS) Dr Kenneth Mak.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Lieutenant-Colonel (NS) Hoe Kok Wei is bringing his organisational skills to this year's National Day Parade (NDP), by helping to invite more than 2,000 caregivers and beneficiaries from welfare organisations to the big event.

The 45-year-old is on the parade's engagement committee, which is working with organisations such as the Singapore Association for the Deaf and Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore.

"We need to speak to beneficiaries to understand their medical conditions, special meal requests and whether they need transport arrangements," said Mr Hoe.

He is one of 30 operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) volunteering in the parade this year - a record number.

Mr Hoe's role is complemented by Colonel (NS) Dr Kenneth Mak, 50, co-chairman of the NDP medical committee, and Col (NS) Eugene Lam, 51, chairman of the branding and publicity committee.

Preparations for this year's parade started last year, and the three men have been juggling work, family life and their NDP commitments since.

Mr Hoe, who runs an IT firm, has also been helped by his wife, Madam Priscilla Loo, 43, and employees.

"It has been a roller-coaster ride," said Mr Hoe, who has spent only a couple of days in the office in the past two weeks.

"Most of the time, I am doing work for the parade."

Dr Mak also expects to put in more hours as Aug 9 approaches. It is also his first time volunteering for the parade.

The deputy director of medical services at the Health Ministry said: "It will be a bit more challenging to make sure that we are fair to our employers, the Singapore Armed Forces and our families."

Dr Mak, who is also a senior consultant at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, celebrated Father's Day with his family at the National Stadium on Saturday afternoon after he helped set up medical facilities.

"I still keep tabs on what is happening with my kids. We WhatsApp a lot," he said.

To cope with the extra work, Mr Lam, a human resource director at Kimberly Clark Asia Pacific, has been relying on technology: "My team (for NDP) and I have conference calls and we can make decisions quickly."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'NSmen volunteers for this year's NDP hits a record'. Print Edition | Subscribe