Thursday, 15 October 2015

BMT 'remains cornerstone of defence' despite changes: Ong Ye Kung

By Jermyn Chow, Defence Correspondent, The Straits Times, 14 Oct 2015

Twenty-seven years after he first set foot on Pulau Tekong as a recruit, Mr Ong Ye Kung returned yesterday in his new role as Senior Minister of State for Defence and told how he has seen basic military training (BMT) change.

Visiting the BMT Centre yesterday morning, Mr Ong, 45, said today's recruits use IT to learn and are taught more sophisticated techniques to manage fitness and emotions.

Newly-appointed Senior Minister of State for Defence visits BMTC
"You train, you sweat, you cry, and you laugh side by side. That's the beauty of National service."At his first visit to a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) camp since he was sworn into office on Oct 1, Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung highlighted how the SAF has transformed since his own enlistment in 1988 and how NS ultimately remains the cornerstone of Singapore's defence. Mr Ong made these remarks during his visit to the Basic Military Training Centre at Pulau Tekong this morning where he observed and interacted with recruits during their training.
Posted by cyberpioneer on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The trainer-trainee ratio has also improved, Mr Ong told reporters.

However, one thing he said that has not changed is that the rite of passage introduced in 1967 remains the cornerstone of Singapore's defence and an important point in a Singaporean boy's life, regardless of his background and ethnicity. "There is equity among everybody," said Mr Ong, who was sworn into office on Oct 1. "You train, you sweat, you cry and you laugh side by side and that is the beauty of national service. This (BMT) is where the pride of defending of our nation begins."

During the two-hour visit, Mr Ong was briefed by commanders on the BMT curriculum and observed recruits undergoing physical training and using tablets to learn how to strip and assemble their weapons. The newly minted office-holder also took the chance to mingle and interact with the recruits, most of whom were enlisted only a week ago.

Mr Ong, who is also the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), said there are "synergies" between his education and defence portfolios as many male teens have to do national service after their education and go on to further their studies after their two-year mandatory stint. They also get called up for in-camp training when they start working.

"It's a continuum in a kid's and many boys' lives," he said. "There are a lot of synergies and a lot of connection between the two and I'm glad I have this chance to look through and see through a young person's life."

As he is two weeks into his new role, Mr Ong said he is "learning on the job and learning all the intricate details". "Many times, it's the details that matter," he added. "As I learn more about the details, let's see how we can see through a young person's life - studying, education, work, and then learn again and NS."

After almost 30 years since my enlistment in 1988, I returned to Basic Military Training Centre of The Singapore Army...
Posted by Ong Ye Kung on Monday, October 12, 2015

Senior Minister of State for Defence, Mr Ong Ye Kung visited the SAF BMTC on this morning. Mr Ong was warmly welcomed...
Posted by Basic Military Training Centre on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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