Surviving NS – for Him & Her

National Service (NS) is the bane of almost every Singaporean‘s life.

The parents are worried about how their son will be tortured and tekaned [TEKAN (ter-kun) Of Malay derivation, it means to beat or hit, but is most commonly used to describe being abused or scolded.] The girlfriends proclaim to not be able to live without their boys, and of cos the main characters themselves are scared shitless from all the horror stories they’ve been hearing.

I’m a girl, so why do I think I have enough information to help you survive NS? I… am writing this for fun, for lack of content! Don’t take me too seriously, but there should be some things in here that can smooth your journey into National Slavery.

For the parents:

Your boy (or girl) will be going through an unforgettable experience. Sure, they might not be enjoying the comforts of home and have to look after themselves but it’s the highway to maturity. As much as they might has the process, they’ll have fond memories of their NS time after everything’s done and dusted. And seriously, it’s a stupid idea to complain to their sergeants or higher officers about anything at all. All you’re guaranteeing is the losing of “face” for your son.

When they get to book out, I’ve realised that they’re not so keen to have home-cooked food as opposed to fast food. Especially chicken. Most of them are SICK of chicken. And they have limited hours to spend with their friends/girlfriend/you, so do understand when they treat home like a hotel.

For the girlfriend:

Send your boy a text. Don’t insist that he calls you every night. Sometimes he doesn’t have time to; sometimes he has run out of battery and has no way of charging it. Don’t hang on to him when he’s in uniform because he CAN be given “extras” (stupid rule, I know right). Most importantly – DON’T CHEAT ON HIM. Many relationships don’t survive NS, why give him more headache than he already has?

For the new recruit:

Only 5 words for you – Obey and don’t chao keng. Your life will be much easier.


Commonly used lingo used in NS

BMT: Basic Military Training
Includes a 19-week obese BMT with effect from February 2010, a new 9-week PES B2 BMT from June 2010, a new 9-week BMT for PES C recruits from June 2010, and a new 4-week BMT for PES E recruits. For those who fail NAPFA, an 8-week Physical Training Phase (PTP) to enhance the physical fitness of NSFs who fail to attain at least a NAPFA silver award prior to enlistment. It will replace the current 4-week PTP starting from Dec 09.

Book in/out: Going back to camp, or coming out from it.

Stay in/out (Vocation): Staying out is one where they can return home every day, stay in is the opposite.

11B: An identification card they get in exchange for the NRIC which they lose for two years during their service.

Number 1: White tunic. Formal occasions: parades & ceremonies, commissioning, and even funerals.
Number 2: This is worn during cocktails, mess dinners or evening functions. Red bow tie. Functions where male civilians wear tuxedos and female civilians wear evening gown.
Number 3: For clerks and appointed administration staffs too.
Number 4: The typical normal green uniform you see.
Long 4: With the sleeves unfolded.
Number 5: The one with a black blazer.
Number 5J: All of No.5 with the addition of full service medals on the bush jacket.
PT Kit: Singlet and shorts.
Admin: Tshirt and shorts.

POC: Graduation from Tekong for PES C people.

POP: 2nd favourite phrase, graduation from BMT.

ORD: All time favourite – the end of full time army life!

NS Man: 400 – 600
Sergeant: 700 – 890
Officer: 1100 – 1300
*There are other aspects such as combat pay, etc when it comes to remuneration.

Garang: Enthusiastic

Chao Keng: Malingerer, slacker

Sai Kang Warrior: Means shit work, so a sai kang warrior generally does terrible boring/labour intensive/brainless work that no one wants to do.

Admin time: Free time to do your own things.

Area cleaning: Maintaining the cleanliness of the camp grounds.

Standby area: Cleaning of their bunk then packing their lockers and etc. Failure to standardize usually results in punishments.

Guard duty: Includes sentry of camp entrance and prowling around camp grounds.

Extra: Additional guard duties administered as a punishment that no one wants to get.

White Horse: Ministers and important people’s children in the military.

Inspired by Jeraldine.

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