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Ah Boys To Men: Singapore Basic Military Training POP

ah boys to men singapore armed forces parade
Have you watched Ah Boys to Men ( 新兵正传 )? Do you know that it is the highest-grossing Singaporean film of all time, a comedy about a group of army recruits in National Service in Singapore? I love the army-themed film which gave me an insight of what is going to be like when my prince goes to the army.

Why was I anxious? Like all mothers, I was very concerned cause my only son was enlisting in the national service for 2 years! For the non-Singaporean readers, it is mandatory for all fit and able-bodied Singaporean men to serve a 2-year period as Full Time National Servicemen ( NSFs ), either in the Singapore Armed Forces ( SAF ), Singapore Police Force ( SPF ), or the Singapore Civil Defence Force ( SCDF ), and thereafter a reservist obligation up to age 40 or 50 depending on their ranks.

pulau bmt tekong camp ns enlistment
Jonathan was enlisted end of last year and went through a nine-week Basic Military Training ( BMT ) program held on the offshore island of Pulau Tekong. Those who are following me on facebook would probably have seen some of these photos documenting my prince's enlistment to the Singapore Armed Forces and my family attending his BMT Passing Out Parade and the Specialist Cadet Graduation recently.

army enlistment cutting hair
cutting hair for army enlistment
One of the preparations for his NS enlistment was shaving his hair. Although the boys will get a BMT hair cut on the 1st day of his enlistment, Jon wanted his dad to cut his hair at home.

k pop hairstyle
korean pop star hairstyle
cutting korean kpop hairstyle
ah boys to men army enlistment
Hubby was more than happy, and we had lots of fun with his buddy coming to our home to play along. The entire " hair-cutting ceremony " took a good 2 hours! I was of no help at all except documenting the entire session on my mobile phone and laughing away. Anyway, his buddy had the honour of chopping off his last bit of K-pop hairstyle. Jonathan is now officially Botak ( bald in Malay )!

reporting for bmt at tekong camp
bmt tekong camp ah boys to men
ah boys to men basic military training tekong
The day finally came when Jon had to report for his nine-week Basic Military Training in Tekong Camp, with the first 2 weeks confined to the island. There were a lot of teary mothers, but I was fighting hard to control myself and my cheeky son was teasing me. The only consolation I had was that his buddy was enlisting on the same day in the same camp!

bmt tekong camp food tasting
bmt tekong camp recruit bunks inspection
Parents were invited to a food-tasting session where we got to sample what these boys would be eating there. We also got to check out their bunks........ our prince was on the road to becoming a real man - no air-con and lots of hard work!

singapore basic military training pop the float marina
bmt passing out parade the float marina bay
Time flew by and the nine weeks passed slowly. Soon it was time for his BMT passing out parade. The event was held at the picturesque Marina Bay Floating Platform aka The Float at Marina Bay. I guess one of the toughest part of the training is that all recruits will have to go through a grueling 24km route march in Full Battle Order ( FBO ) with a field pack weighing about 15kg, that's 3 sacks of 5kg rice on their back! I have problem even carrying a sack of 5kg rice not to mention walking that distance.

singapore basic military training pop marina bay
bmt passing out parade ceremony marina bay
These recruits had to march through the night and arriving at the Marina Bay Floating Platform the next morning. Excited parents and friends were there waiting anxiously to witness the passing out parade. As much as I was exhilarated, I was more concerned about the weight of his field pack that he had to carry through the 24km route march. On top of that, the scorching sun was baking the earth at the Floating Platform that morning. Although hubby and I were seated, we were practically melting under the unforgiving sun, not to mention the poor guys were literally standing under the blazing sun for hours after the overnight walk. My heart was aching! Nonetheless, I am so proud of him having "survived" the walk and at the same time, I respect Singapore men even more now.

specialist cadet school airforce graduation
specialist cadet graduation parade pasir laba camp
After his BMT, Jon has been selected among the NS recruits for commander training and was posted to the Specialist Cadet School ( SCS ). He has recently completed another 22-week course and we were invited once again to witness the Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade held at the Army Leaders Square in Pasir Laba Camp.

specialist cadet graduation affix chevron ranks by parents
Of course, the proud moment was the affixing of the Chevron Ranks by parents.

specialist cadet graduation third sergeant silver bayonet
Jon is now the happy bearer of the Bayonet. These specialists will progress from Third Sergeant ( 3SG ) to Second Sergeant ( 2SG ) to First Sergeant ( 1SG ). If they prove themselves to be capable and responsible, they may even attain staff-level ranks, such as Staff Sergeant ( SSG ) or Master Sergeant ( MSG ).

Well, I have to endure for another year plus before he completes his full-time military service. Right now, I only get to see him once a week when he books out on weekends..........

Do you have a son that is going through army life too? Share with us your proud moments or any unpleasant experience like washing their dirty and smelly laundry..........

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  1. That's tough! I don't think I can ever survive that haha!

  2. Such beautiful photos, what sweet photos!
    God bless,

    XO, Claire


  3. What beautiful photos, Shirley! You look radiant, as always! I fully understand your concerns. You are a wonderful and proud mother. :)

  4. Lovely photos. You must be a very proud mum.

  5. I know it must be difficult for you seeing your son go away to military training, but I think military service can be helpful in turning boys to man...often they learn useful things in the army...but 2 years sounds too long!!! I wish it was a bit shorter!

    Despite it being hard for you (like for all the parents), I'm sure you two are also very proud of your lovely son. Jon looks a bit like both of you...I see both you and your husband's features in him. Wonderful family photos:). Very sweet post!

    1. It's definitely a great training ground especially kids are rather spoilt these days. I'm glad you had enjoyed reading, dear! Have a wonderful week! xoxo

  6. All for the right reasons, to be become tough and strong in life. Can understand the feeling being away from our loved one, still, I am certain time will fly soon and you are gonna be proud of your son.

  7. Such a lovely family!!!! And you are a proud mum Shirley!!!
    God bless!!!
    Kisses, Paola.


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  8. He leaves your home as a boy he comes back as a man congrats on his accomplishments.

  9. I love that picture how your son stand out among the crowd and that's exactly how he is - outstanding!

  10. My nephew just got called up and will complete his 2 years early 2018. Your son must have excelled in his BMT to get selected for Specialist Cadet School. Congrats!

  11. Hi Shirley, very nice family photo. Thanks for sharing your happy moment with us. Congratulation to your son on his accomplishment.

    Have a nice weekend,regards.

  12. You must be really proud of him for this - and how interesting it's mandatory over there for 2 years, I wasn't aware of that until now. Also gosh, your son is so tall!

  13. My son keeps talking about joining the military. I can understand your apprehension, because I feel it, too. We moms are concerned about our children's safety. Just put it all in God's hands and trust that he'll be okay. Lovely pictures!

  14. Your family is really fantastic darling!

  15. You must be such a proud mommy Shirley!

  16. Oh my gosh Shirley, I know you are proud but at the same time terrified. You have a lovely family. xoxo

  17. I was hoping there would be less to worry about as our children got older---but there are just bigger worries! Hang in there---it's tough to be a mom. Xo

  18. Dear Shirley, I'm a mom of three boys, they're still young. Two years is a long time, some months have already passed by. I know you are proud of him, I'll be with you in my heart...


  19. Great shots!
    Have a nice week-end!
    Gil Zetbase

  20. All the best to this young man. :-) I'm on the road for three weeks at the moment so still popping in but not much time to write comments.

  21. Hi Shirley,
    The fact that your son's enlistment is a complete family affair with friends and family it makes it just a bit easier, not very much I know:)

    It's interesting to learn that it is a mandatory obligation for at least two years. Thank goodness his buddy was along with him, although, I'm not sure how much that can help, lol...

    It's wonderful that the parents are involved as well. It must help a little to put your heart at ease. You do have a lovely family Shirley and I'm sure you must be beaming with pride:)

    Thank you so much for sharing such special occasions with us. Those pictures are awesome!!! (especially the haircut, lol:)

    1. I guess it's just mental support knowing there's someone you know enlisting together on the same day. Hahaha! Thanks so much & I'm glad you've enjoy the post! xoxo

  22. Lovely post and photos. Very interesting to find out how military service works in other countries. It was mandatory in Sweden before but isn't anymore.

  23. aww your family is so beautiful :) I think I have heard from my friends that it's compulsory for Singaporean men to be in a camp for 2 years. In Thailand, the male students are compulsory to join the camp while they are in the high school!

  24. Congratulations!you must be really proud of your son.
    My son completes his Finnish military service June 17 and normally he will return to Tunisia the following weeks.
    He planned to install himself in Finland but he prefers to first go back to us and then go to his little brother in Paris.
    Finland is a very beautiful country but unfortunately is very remoted and far away from us(Tunisia) and it really hurts to be so Separated the one from the other, at least when he approaches in France, he will be with his brother and closer to us.
    Anyway, I can t wait to hug him, it has been months I haven t had him in my arms.
    Wish you all the best!

    1. Finland sounds like a great place, dear! I was there to visit the Angry Birds HQ couple of years back & I love it.

      Gosh, I can totally relate to you! Hope you'll get to hug your prince very soon, Helena! xoxo

  25. You can be proud of your son. In Poland at the moment the army is not compulsory. We have a professional army. But once the men also went to the military training for two years.

  26. You are wonderful for holding up so well, Shirley. Your son is amazing! I can feel the family love through this post. These are beautiful family moments that will be treasured forever. xx

  27. I didn't know this movie, but I heard about 2 years army in Singapor.
    You can be really proud of your son! And you look like a really good mother :)

  28. Shirley! you Ah Boy stood out among the crowd. He so tall! Ah Boy is a Ah Man now. Ah Girl will join your house too. kekekeke


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