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Thread: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

  1. #1
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    Default Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    When I'm bored, I write articles, hahaha... Anyone has writing jobs for me?

    --

    Today marks my 1 year as a soldier in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the time I should have commissioned as an officer, but did not due to my lack of determination. However, this article is not about me, but itís about you, the officers of the Singapore Armed Forces.

    I reckoned that in my 1 year stint, I have been to many places, having served as a recruit, officer cadet, signaler as well as a civilian working for the army! I would like to think my time with officers of these different vocations as a good learning experience.

    There are many reasons why many people outside think that officers have the better end of the stick. They are given trust to handle their own matters, awarded higher respect by superiors, receive better pay and viewed by the public as more reliable. Itís almost like a textbook example of Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.

    However, to my own calculative mind, I cannot help but think officers have gotten the shorter end. Like most conundrums, the paradoxical response is often the truth. In the 2 years NSF career, an officer would receive a total of approximately $20,000 while a Man would receive $13,000.

    This makes it a difference of $7,000, which a single trade on the stock market would negate or increase. Think of it as small change once you start working in the civilian world.

    Most Officers endure arduous training in their 9 months in Officer Cadet School (OCS) and finally after much blood, sweat and tears, commission. Having been in there, I can attest to each day being a constant struggle, and no one really knows if he will even commission. Itís a mental and physical challenge everyday. Why did I write Ďmost officersĒ? Because the officers at ALTI (Army Logistics Training Institute) hardly chiong-sua during their Pro Term!

    After they commission, most are sent to units to become platoon commanders, staff officers and so forth. Being an officer is a badge of honor, but like most badges, it is also a magnet for work assignments.

    Unlike a man, who can nonchalantly say he does not know to do it (tah bodoh), most officers have to accept work thrown at them by senior officers or warrant officers. The term ďact blur, live longerĒ does not apply to an officer.

    Being an officer also brings about added responsibilities, and there are many things which only an officer is able to handle, as deemed by the upper echelons of SAF. Many times, men in unit would sit around stare into blank space while the officers can be seen running around handling matters. At the same time, officers also do not trust men to do things other than the most menial of matters. (lucky me I say!)

    Finally, as an NSF Officer, you have to handle regular specialists, who view you with disdain because you have lesser experience, but are of a higher rank than them. If youíre unlucky and pair with a WO who is unfriendly, good luck with your 1 year stint in the unit.

    As if there is not enough grievances they quietly face, officers have to serve their reservist till they hit 50 years old while man and specialists end theirs at 40 years old. Trust me, when you see reservists men ambling around in my unit, you donít want to be in their shoes. Rounded, and less fit in their later years, every moment in green is not pleasure. This applies to everyone.

    In operation / war, officers must plan and execute. It is no mean feat to plan and think of battle formations in the sweltering heat while caring for your menís welfare. Men just loll around and eat their muesli bars after setting up the command posts waiting for orders. Every moment is a wayang moment. Even if youíre tired, you cannot show it to your men or risk losing their morale and confidence.

    Now tell me, for seven grand, is it worth it to put in such a sacrifice for a government that doesnít care for the peopleís general welfare? It plainly isnít.

    Therefore, to my platoon mates who just commissioned, and to the many more officers before and after me, I salute you, for your dedication to the country, to our parents (I remember LTC Fred Chungís speech), and for your ability to look beyond the dollars and sense.

    Thank you for your sacrifice.

    Ode to Love, Ode to Officers.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    nobody(or the majority in Singapore) gives a damn about the army, navy & airforce. & our soldiers lack combat operational experience.
    ask any Regular or NSF(Man, Spec or Officer) serving in the middle east now, and they will tell you that it is about the man next to you, regardless of rank & speciality. a LTC will watch a LCP's back, as will the LCP do for his CO.
    there's a reason why there are few or no officers in real elite fighting units, like the Gurkhas or the ang moh's Special Forces.
    my 2 cents = NS is just a bo-bian phase for Singaporeans, get it over & done with and just ROD.
    if you want to be a real soldier, go & sign on with ADF, NDU or SOF. that's where the real pros are at, where even the lowest rank is respected by all...because it doesn't even matter that much when we're all in hell.

    ORD LO SAF.
    Last edited by renegade150; 14th September 2009 at 09:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by renegade150 View Post
    nobody(or the majority in Singapore) gives a damn about the army, navy & airforce. & our soldiers lack combat operational experience.
    ask any Regular or NSF(Man, Spec or Officer) serving in the middle east now, and they will tell you that it is about the man next to you, regardless of rank & speciality. a LTC will watch a LCP's back, as will the LCP do for his CO.
    there's a reason why there are few or no officers in real elite fighting units, like the Gurkhas or the ang moh's Special Forces.
    my 2 cents = NS is just a bo-bian phase for Singaporeans, get it over & done with and just ROD.
    if you want to be a real soldier, go & sign on with Commando Regular Force, ADF, NDU or SOF. that's where the real pros are at, where even the lowest rank is respected by all...because it doesn't even matter that much when we're all in hell.

    ORD LO SAF.
    Hahahaa I cannot agree more! http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/2009/...has-to-be.html

    I wrote this article to congratulate my friends who just commissioned, and from a viewpoint that it is something all males serve, so being an officer is an extra burden which they have.

    Cant wait to ORD.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Hello,

    Congratulations on your commissioning.

    However, I beg to differ with your reasoning about officers against the WOSE ranks. I served as a specialist in the SAF and frankly, I think that the WOSE got the short end of the stick.

    "Don't know", "can't be done", etc are not terms we can use to tell our officers. Oftentimes we are on the receiving end of some VERY poor judgement calls. I have executed frontal assualts on MG nests, fortified hills, PLUCKED durians from trees (no mean feat) among other things, against my better judgement I may add, all because my officer SAID SO.

    Logic doesn't hold water when arguing with your officers; they outrank you. In the end it's called insubordination or "behaviour contrary to good order" and THAT'S a prelude to a court martial. A specialist is stuck between the men and the officers, you have the responsibilities and you also have to be on the ground doing the work. Your men whine, your officer curses and between all that you have to get the job done. "Act blur" and you'll end up with more extras than you can ever do.

    I'm not sure about the structure today, but my time was BMT, ACT, SISPEC and Unit conversion course. Takes about 6-8 months if I remember correctly. No commissioning parades to prepare for, no quarterly formal dinners to attend with your GF, just a WO reminding you that life will only get worse in the units (they're right). They don't call it Suffer In Silence Plus Extra Confinement (SISPEC) for nothing.

    If you think your PC job is bad, try being a PS. It officer and specialist bad life put together.

    Warrants? See it from their point of view: my then WO was a commando and ranger with 18 years' soldiering experience. You want him to take bull from some wet behind the ears pup? Everybody got their pride.

    We all serve to protect the country. It is a duty we owe our predecessors who had a even worse life during NS. You got the privilage. You also had the choice to drop out of OCS if you wanted to. You made your decision. Perhaps you should consider living with it too.

    Regards

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    I did not commission. In my calculative mind, it wasn't worth it, therefore I dropped out.

    As again, when I was a recruit, it was very clear. Either be a man or an officer, there was no in between for me. So in this article, I was comparing between men and officers. Though I would agree that specialists have the shortest end, but I have not been to Sispec, so I wouldn't really know.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Congrats to your friends.

    Here's my personal opinions I don't speak on behalf of anyone or any organisation.

    Rank aside, just remember that as human beings we're hard coded to find ways and means to best survive in any environment.

    Therefore if you want performance from your employees, you need to create the right environment. The rank system is one that is historically best suited (you may disagree) for performance in the battlefield. Unfortunately (thankfully) we are not at war and there's no way to test that, so as an officer, specialist or man you can either choose to accept the current situation, or fight to change it.

    It's often easier said than done and I do agree to some extent that the rank structure limits the freedom we have to implement change on different levels, but it's worth a try. If at the end of the day the organisation refuses to listen it can only go two ways. One is that the organisation is right, and it's practices will continue to serve it. The other is that it's wrong, and it will either change, or see it's own demise. In which case we're all for the better.

    Now the choice lies with you. You can stay and try to make that change and be part of it or you can leave and seek greener pastures.. if there is one.


    You can act blur and live longer, but you will always be blowing in the wind.
    Stand firm for what you believe in and you might find somewhere you can take root.

    Do note of course that I'm not recommending changing things overnight. Some things just take a little more time.

    My two cents.
    Canon EOS 66 | Kit Lens | Leung Sheung Wing Chun Singapore

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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    A good insight though you can be charged for malingering for publishing such content, especially when you are still with the forces.

    I choose to become an officer, definitely not because of money. Neither do I choose to become an officer because of the "glamour" during my 2.5years stint in SAF. I choose to become an officer because I wanted to serve my Nation (not trying to suck up to the government) and protect my country in times of need.

    History itself has taught us not to be dependent on others. We know that without a strong army, we stand to lose for we are just a tiny dot on the map (even though I know we would have a tough fight for we are too small). Irregardless of how easy or tough your life is during the 2 or 2.5yrs in the army, it only plays a small part of life. Though it may be a waste of time to some, I believed it has helped to developed a better me. Also during this 2.5 years that I have got time to reflect what I wanted to do, what I hope to achieve. Without the 2.5 years, I never knew I have such high threshold of tolerance and can be pushed beyond my "limits".

    I'm sorry to say that your perspective is very short sighted. No one can fault you for having such thoughts and you have every right to live the way you want to be. To me, we only choose to live once and we should live life to the fullest.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Hi TS, let me show you some light here. When you are an Officer as NSF, maybe you'll feel some pride (depending on vocation) in your rank. You might feel proud of ur achievements.

    But I guarantee you, when you're an officer in an NS unit, there is no pride or joy liao. Ur men will be resting, sleeping in their bunks, going for canteen breaks while you have to attend Ops briefing, etc.
    When out in the field even worst. You will regret being an officer

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by Lmodel View Post
    A good insight though you can be charged for malingering for publishing such content, especially when you are still with the forces.

    I choose to become an officer, definitely not because of money. Neither do I choose to become an officer because of the "glamour" during my 2.5years stint in SAF. I choose to become an officer because I wanted to serve my Nation (not trying to suck up to the government) and protect my country in times of need.

    History itself has taught us not to be dependent on others. We know that without a strong army, we stand to lose for we are just a tiny dot on the map (even though I know we would have a tough fight for we are too small). Irregardless of how easy or tough your life is during the 2 or 2.5yrs in the army, it only plays a small part of life. Though it may be a waste of time to some, I believed it has helped to developed a better me. Also during this 2.5 years that I have got time to reflect what I wanted to do, what I hope to achieve. Without the 2.5 years, I never knew I have such high threshold of tolerance and can be pushed beyond my "limits".

    I'm sorry to say that your perspective is very short sighted. No one can fault you for having such thoughts and you have every right to live the way you want to be. To me, we only choose to live once and we should live life to the fullest.

    You hit ur head when doing SOC in BMT issit?

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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    I'm not happy to be enlisted in the army in the first place, but this is my country and it needs me.
    I'm proud to be a section commander, leading my men.
    I'm sure my PC was proud to be an officer leading us. As well as my OC, CO, and so forth.
    Ever roles has its merits and their tasks. Not everyone can be officer and men at the same time. We need to work together as a team to fight the common enemy.
    We have not tasted the hardship of wars so we cannot gauge who is better. I think the better one is a person who will hold ground and fight.
    Are you the one?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    heh, hotel wing huh? fred chung's still there eh?

    In retrospect, i'm glad i've already put all matters relating to the SAF behind me. Officer or not, Specialist or not. The rank you attain in the SAF does not gauge your capability as a member of the society, I remember this saying from a friend of mine "There are only 2 ranks in the SAF, Regulars & NSFs"

  12. #12

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Well, I don't know which century you fellas are from, or what they tell you in OCS.

    BUT, in today's context, officers and WOSPECs are partners, and are not in two "separate" classes.

    The SAF has recognised that they cannot employ all the better people as officers and the remainder as WOSPECs. There is a need for able leadership across the entire hierarchy; a good PC cannot function with good section commanders.

    I've had my fair share of crap officers and WOSPECs as well as the good ones, but the team that performs best is the team that draws no line between them.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by drakon09 View Post
    The team that performs best is the team that draws no line between them.

    Fully agreed. It's not the ranks that differentiates us, but the knowledge and responsibilities one holds during combat.

    During my last ICT which was a super xiong training in Thailand, the platoon that performs the best was the one whose officers don't mind getting their hands dirty.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    I was a Bandsman. Played music for 2 years fulltime. Was the best time of my life. Glad to serve in a way I can contribute most.
    It is easier to critique than to create ; www.razin-photography.com
    My studio is available for rent

  15. #15

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by razor View Post
    I was a Bandsman. Played music for 2 years fulltime. Was the best time of my life. Glad to serve in a way I can contribute most.

    Bloody hell, if I can play music for 2 years during my NS, I will also call it best time of my life

    You is rub salt sibo?

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    Senior Member +evenstar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by HeiPiGu View Post
    Bloody hell, if I can play music for 2 years during my NS, I will also call it best time of my life

    You is rub salt sibo?
    eat. drink. shoot

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    Senior Member velasco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    this thread confuses the hell out of me.
    Last edited by velasco; 15th September 2009 at 04:04 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by razor View Post
    I was a Bandsman. Played music for 2 years fulltime. Was the best time of my life. Glad to serve in a way I can contribute most.
    band also very siong right must march in the sun leh!

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    Senior Member Leong23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    After see this thread...i should congrat SAF.

    Well done to SAF, to comissioned another young and naive officer.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Ode to the Officers of our Singapore Armed Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by Leong23 View Post
    After see this thread...i should congrat SAF.

    Well done to SAF, to comissioned another young and naive officer.

    After they go reservist, then they will know the power

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