SINGAPORE - Local actor and TV host Paul Foster recently shared about his life as an operationally-ready national serviceman in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).
His interview was featured on the RSAF Facebook page.
The half-British, half-Chinese Singaporean, who holds the rank of lance corporal (NS), is a Security Trooper from 608 squadron (Force Protection Squadron of Changi Air Base).
According to the post, Force Protection Squadrons provide air base security and protection against ground threats to sustain air operations.
Said Foster in the interview: "I am half British and half Chinese, but I am Singaporean. This is my home, I was born here, and that's why I wear my uniform, I serve my National Service and I come back for my in-camp training. It is my birthright and my way of giving back to Singapore.
"I was enlisted in 1999 after my Basic Military Training and I got posted to Field Defence Squadron (608 Squadron) of Changi Air Base. We were infantry regimental policeman serving our national service for the military and protecting an air base. It was enjoyable and a good period where you grow from a boy to a man. That's how I look at it."
In an interview with The New Paper in July last year, the 32-year-old described how he was initially misunderstood when he enrolled in the army:
"During my basic military training days, people looked at me and thought, 'What is this ang moh doing here?', and they asked if I was a permanent resident or Singaporean."
The Beam Artiste added: "It was an irony. I only look ang moh in appearance, but I am born and bred here, I speak Singlish and I have many local friends. I didn't have any difficulty getting along well with my army mates."
Foster, who was subsequently posted to Changi Air Base, feels that the most important lesson he learnt while doing his national service was knowing how far one's limits can be pushed.
He recalled a training exercise where he did not sleep for two days and had to carry out a patrol in the jungle. He was so tired that he fell asleep while walking.
"I hit the ground and woke up in a ditch. My mate helped me up and we had a good laugh about it," he said.
"After that incident, I realised that I can literally fall asleep anywhere when I am really exhausted."