S'pore PRs plan to sign up to fulfil aspirations

S'pore PRs plan to sign up to fulfil aspirations

After hanging up his army boots a decade ago, Mr Calven Bland is thirsting for another spell in the military.

The New Zealand-born Singapore permanent resident (PR), who was a logistician with the New Zealand Army for 12 years before coming to Singapore in 2005, plans to sign up with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Volunteer Corps as a security trooper.

The 42-year-old, and others who are interested in getting a "stint" in the military, can sign up as military volunteers today.

Mr Bland, who is married to a Singaporean, said he is stepping up to be a volunteer as he admires the common bond that Singaporean males share as national servicemen.

"I get a little jealous when they have something common to talk about... after 10 years in Singapore, I would want to be part of the brotherhood," said the business development manager in a marine construction firm.

The father-to-be added: "If I expect my son to serve, as his father, I have to do something that is similar in nature... it's as close as I'm going to get to defending the country."

Vietnam-born PR Dao Tuan Son, 30, who has also been in Singapore for 10 years, said he wanted to go beyond the day-to-day acts of volunteerism to serve the country that has groomed him into what he is today.

The commercial analyst at General Electric Oil and Gas, who is also keen to sign up as a security trooper, said: "Everybody can donate but not everyone can be an SAF volunteer... it's a challenge that is well worth it."

While people like Mr Bland and Mr Son are stepping forward as volunteers to fulfil their personal aspirations, the SAF also benefits from the sharing of their expertise.

Major Alvin Phua, who heads the Air Force National Servicemen Branch in the Air Manpower Department, said volunteers with engineering expertise can act as consultants and share their industries' best practices to "improve work processes" in the air force.

Pharmacist and part-time polytechnic lecturer Jeremy Wong Weng Joon, 29, a Malaysia-born PR, said he is keen to sign up as a medical trainer.

Although he has yet to inform his employer about his intentions, he is confident that he will get the go-ahead. "If they support NSmen, why not volunteers?"

This article was first published on Oct 13, 2014.
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