Video screening, $100 credits and preschool art jam among slew of initiatives to commemorate 55 years of NS

Senior MOS for Defence Zaqy Mohamad (back row, centre) and NurtureStars Preschool pupils salute operationally ready national servicemen yesterday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A national serviceman (NSman) had to cut short his grandfather's birthday celebration to return to camp, while another had to rush back to the school he is teaching at to catch up on his marking.

These two real-life national service (NS) experiences were the subject of videos made as part of a competition to celebrate 55 years of national service.

The former, titled Duty, a 90-second video made by second-year students from Temasek Polytechnic, beat 78 other entries to clinch the top prize, as well as the title of Best Live Action video.

Mr Andy Wan, 18, the director, said the video was inspired by his older brother, who is currently serving NS.

He said: "Most of us have family members who have gone through such things... and I really feel NS is a very big responsibility that should be portrayed in front of the camera.

"All of us here, we respect the self-sacrifice and the dedication they have towards NS."

The second 90-second video - One Man, Many Hats - was filmed by students from Evergreen Secondary School's digital media club.

It received the Young Video Maker award, which recognises the best video by participating secondary school students, on top of a Merit and Audience Choice awards.

The two videos are among nine entries which won prizes at the Appreciating NSmen video competition.

The winning videos will be screened at Safra clubs and at the lift lobbies of housing estates in the lead up to Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day on Friday (July 1) and National Day (Aug 9).

The screening is part of several We Thank NSmen initiatives announced by Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad on Monday (June 27).

Mr Zaqy, who is also president of Safra, said the initiatives were meant to recognise the contributions of NSmen across different generations.

"One of those things that we were quite heartened with is the outpouring of support from the ground, especially from various groups," he said, citing how more than 140 merchants will be offering NS55 deals in a show of appreciation to NSmen for their contributions to Singapore's defence and security.

The NS55 deals span across several categories, including online platforms like Lazada and Shopee, as well as food and beverage outlets.

More than 200 deals will be available from Friday onwards.

NSmen will able to use the $100 NS55 credits they will receive next month for these purchases.

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The credits will be disbursed through the LifeSG mobile application, which gives users access to government services, and will be valid for one year.

They can be spent at physical and online merchants that accept digital payments via PayNow or Nets QR.

NSmen who have served or are currently serving NS will also receive a complimentary one-year Safra or HomeTeamNS principal membership, which they will need to sign up for by Dec 31 this year.

Safra benefits include access to six clubs, in Jurong, Mount Faber, Punggol, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun, with a seventh in Choa Chu Kang by early next year.

HomeTeamNS has five clubs in Balestier, Bukit Batok, Chinatown, Khatib and Tampines, with a sixth in Bedok by the end of the year.

Both memberships come with privileges and discounts at partner merchants, among other perks.

Besides discounts and promotions, preschools will also commemorate NS55, with more than 35,000 children across over 300 preschool centres islandwide taking part in art-jamming sessions over the next three weeks.

During these sessions, they will decorate NSmen figurines in uniform and pen thank-you messages to their fathers.

Some of the participating preschools include NurtureStars Preschool, PCF Sparkletots, Skool4Kidz and My First Skool.

Members of the public are also encouraged to salute NSmen they know or meet, which they can then post on social media with words of appreciation and the hashtags #NS55salute and #safrasg, as part of the "We Salute Our NSmen" campaign.

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