“With Our Lives”, these are the three words echoed loudest by every soldier reciting the SAF pledge from the very first day of enlistment. In less than a month’s time, most us in my battalion will transit into MINDEF Reserve (MR).
The topic of National Service (NS) will always raise a debate of opposing opinions. Regardless, I will like to share this personal photo project to mark the end of my ten-year cycle and in just a few days time, we mark Total Defence Day. More importantly, it is a celebration of all of our citizen soldiers whose dual roles support a strong economy and military that cannot survive without the other.
NS had always been a bittersweet experience for myself. I cannot speak for everyone but surely this feeling resonates very well – the mental and verbal grumbling before every mundane tasks we do in green. Yet at the end of the day we will betray that devil and still gave it our all to get the job done.
Every soldier may not be equal. There is always someone who is more ‘garang’, runs faster than us or is a better leader. There is a purpose for every serviceman in his own role with equal importance in responsibility. We performed well and that was because we worked together.
As I progressed through each In-Camp Training (ICT), it became evident to me that most of us embraced the SAF core values consciously or not that saw us through the past decade together.
Looking back on my personal journey has been the most insightful perspective of NS. The personal sacrifice from everyone and those before us in more ways than one is a necessary cost for peace.
New blood will take over the evergreen duty of up keeping a deterrence force when we ‘stand down’. The concept of peace is something only maturity and experience can teach. My believe is that an educated mindset will surpass even the fittest but unwilling soldier. Fortunately in time to come, the future generations will go through the same rite of passage in defending our country, with our lives.