Yes, Sir! No, Encik! Yes, Sergeant! Welcome to National Service (NS), where kiwi is not a fruit and figuring out what to address the man approaching you at the blink of an eye is part of that rite of passage for every Singaporean son.
The thought of going for NS can be unnerving, especially when you’ve lived overseas for a while. However, let not unfounded worries paralyse you because help is at hand to demystify what happens behind the closed gates of Pulau Tekong.
Before that, take a short quiz to find out how much you know about NS (scroll to bottom of page for answers):
1. What are the three Uniformed Services that you can be assigned to as a full-time National Serviceman?
2. Who do you address as “Encik”?
3. How many weeks of Basic Military Training (BMT) do you have to go for if you attain a NAPFA Gold or Silver award at least 2 weeks prior to your Physical Training Phase enlistment date?
4. What is the name of the video project by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) that documents what happens in Basic Military Training, of which was also aired on the National Geographic Channel?
5. How much water will you drink during ‘water parades’ to prevent dehydration?
6. What does SAR21 stand for?
7. What do the following commands mean: senang diri, sedia and kekanan pusing?
Regardless of how you fare in the quiz, being well prepared for NS physically and mentally can make a difference to your NS experience.
The Overseas Singaporean Unit is organising an NS Familiarisation Visit to the Basic Military Training Centre at Pulau Tekong on 18 July. Hear personal experiences of cadets, take a peek at the camp grounds, put on army gear, handle sophisticated equipment for field trainings and learn the various kinds of commands commonly used. Register for the event now as spaces are limited.
If you can’t make it home for the NS Familiarisation Visit, surf the NS portal to find out more about serving the nation. The portal provides a comprehensive list of activities and formalities to be completed before enlistment, prepares you for what to expect on enlistment day and what life will be as a recruit. also provides NS-related courses, workshops and boot camps.
1. Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force. The assignment to the Uniformed Services is based on numerous considerations such as the operational and manpower requirements of the Uniformed Services, as well as, factors such as the educational qualifications and medical fitness.
2. Senior warrant officers. You will need to identify the ranks of different people and address them accordingly in camp.
3. 9 weeks. You will also enjoy a 2-month reduction in your full-time National Service.
4. Every Singaporean Son. This 18-episode documentary serves as an education tool for all pre-enlistees who wish to prepare themselves mentally and physically for BMT.
5. Eight to 10 litres
6. Singapore Assault Rifle – 21st Century.
7. They are commands in Malay. When you march as a group, the commands given are in Malay. Senang Diri, sedia and kekanan pusing means “stand at ease”, “attention” and “right turn” respectively.
By Yee Wei Zhen