Thursday 7 June 2012

NS45: Recognition of NSmen's contributions to National Service

Recognising NSmen: Mindef replies

WE THANK Mr Francis Cheng ('NS pioneer's plea: Don't forget to remember me'; May 28) and Mr Chiang Ming Yu ('Have an all-encompassing NS Day'; Forum Online, last Friday).

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) appreciates their support for national service (NS).

All national servicemen, past and present, have contributed towards the peace and stability that Singapore enjoys.

Mindef constantly seeks to find ways to recognise these sacrifices made by our NSmen and their families. These initiatives include the NS Recognition Awards, NS medals and commemorative watches to recognise NSmen throughout their NS training cycle.

Annually, the SAF NSmen of the Year awards are presented to outstanding NSmen.

NS unit achievements like the Best NS Unit awards are given out on Singapore Armed Forces Day.

In addition, we provide past and present NSmen and their families with quality recreational facilities through the five Safra clubhouses across the island for a nominal membership fee.

Safra members also enjoy discounts at numerous shopping, food and beverage, and lifestyle outlets.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of NS. The NS: From Fathers To Sons theme pays tribute to successive generations of NSmen who have contributed to the defence of our nation.

The NS45 celebrations comprise a series of activities. The exhibition, recently launched at the Army Open House@Our City and presently touring the heartland, highlights the contributions of our NSmen.

Online, My NS Story encourages past and present NSmen to share their NS experiences. The stories will subsequently be shared with other Singaporeans as part of the irememberSg collection.

On July 2, a Total Defence Symposium, jointly organised by Mindef and employers, will be held at the Raffles City Convention Centre to publicly recognise and acknowledge the commitment and support of all Singaporeans towards Total Defence, particularly NS.

Brigadier-General Perry Lim
Director, National Service Affairs
Vice-President, Safra
ST Forum, 6 Jun 2012

NS pioneer's plea: Don't forget to remember me
THE organisers of the Army Open House, which celebrates 45 years of national service, offered regulars and full-time national servicemen a 45 per cent discount on Singapore Flyer tickets ('Take a shot at army life this weekend'; last Friday).

But what about those who have served national service and are now operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen)? Or those who are former NSmen, like me?

The discount should also apply to them, especially the pioneers who kept the country secure in the 1960s when the threats to a nascent Singapore were all too real.

The discount itself may not be significant, but the gesture is because it is a token of thanks and a reminder of a nation's gratitude.

Perhaps it is time for the Singapore Armed Forces to start an annual Operationally Ready National Servicemen Day, like Armed Forces Day. Former soldiers like me will certainly welcome the gesture.

Our sons will be even prouder of their fathers if they know we have served before and are appreciated and recognised publicly.
Francis Cheng
ST Forum, 28 May 2012

Have an all-encompassing NS Day
I AGREE with Mr Francis Cheng that more can be done to appreciate and publicly recognise national servicemen ('NS pioneer's plea: Don't forget to remember me'; Monday).

Operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) already take part in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day Combined Rededication Ceremonies, but I understand that participation is limited to NSmen whose companies bear part of the cost of these ceremonies.

Instead of limiting these ceremonies to SAF NSmen wearing army uniforms, I suggest that Mr Cheng's suggestion be expanded.

The Ministry of Defence should organise an NS Day which includes all NSmen. Government agencies and statutory boards should encourage all NSmen to wear their national service medals on such an occasion, by offering perks and discounts as incentives.

I am confident that businesses will follow suit once they realise that there are about 900,000 NSmen and there's profit to be made by celebrating such an occasion.
Chiang Ming Yu
ST Forum, 1 Jun 2012

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