SINGAPORE - In 2007, Mohamed Izzmel Sufyan Mohamed relocated with his family to New Zealand.
Last year, he returned to Singapore - alone - to serve his national service.
"I felt sad to leave my family behind but it is my duty to serve the country," said the 19-year-old.
He was among more than 300 cadets commissioned as Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officers on Saturday (March 18) at a commissioning parade at the Safti Military Institute.
The event marked the completion of 38 weeks of rigorous training at the Officer Cadet School.
In his speech at the parade on Saturday, Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, who was Chief of Defence before entering politics, said that as a small country, Singapore's survival will always depend on how well its people defend it against potential aggressors.
Highlighting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore in the second World War, Mr Ng, who is also the Second Minister for Transport, added: "It is a stark reminder of the fragility of the peace and what is at stake. The threats today are just as real -geopolitical uncertainties, the terrorism threat, cyber-attacks, misinformation and fake news pose challenges to our security and even unity.
"The SAF must therefore remain vigilant, adapt and develop capabilities to meet these threats."
Most of the graduands on Saturday - 248 of them- came from the Army while 31 were from the Navy and 28 from the Air Force.
The Ministry of Defence said the training conducted during the course sharpened the cadets' combat, planning and leadership skills.
The newly commissioned officers will go on to assume command, instructional and staff appointments in the SAF.
Second Lieutenant (2LT) Mohamed Izzmel Sufyan received a Sword of Merit, which is given to cadets who performed well in their course.
While in Singapore, he lives with his maternal aunt and her family in a three-room flat in Admiralty.
2LT Mohamed Izzmel Sufyan said: "Her husband was an Army regular and he advised me to be a good soldier, to always strive for the best and do my family proud.
"Sadly, he was killed in a traffic accident in April last year. I will never forget his words which motivated me and I dedicate my Sword of Merit to him."