An SAF Officer Called Me Unexpectedly During Lunch – Sir Yes Sir!

As a first generation immigrant, I am exempted from National Service (NS). In the past 3 years with my previous employer, Ministry of Defence was my biggest client. So, I often joked with people that I was serving NS in some ways. My work required me to travel from one base to another meeting different units, different people. Looking back, though colleagues from my current job often ignore my experience with my previous employer and get fixated with my first employer (something to do with reputation I suppose) making me wonder if my past couple of years of working experience has been obliterated from my resume, I enjoyed being able to serve my country as an external consultant. Besides, being a civilian on the military ground has lots of added advantages. Since I don’t have ranks at all (not even like those who have gone through NS) and I don’t wear uniform, the SAF Officers (and Warrant Officers) have treated me very nicely. After all, they all wish to be an exemplar of someone who embraces fully the SAF core values. What better way it is to take the opportunity to raise their image through public commoners like myself?

When I received a phone call from one of the SAF Officers whom I have worked with during lunch, I immediately got into that “Sir, Yes Sir!” mode. Though he is a great friend of mine and has agreed to be a reference for my current employer, formality cannot be bypassed.

After all the introductory conversations such as “Long time no see, Sir. How are you, Sir?”, he popped the following question in all sternness.

“Are you a Singaporean?”

Many thoughts shot pass my mind. What does my country want from me? Some secret high profile high risk tasks that require my expertise? An undercover team to be deployed into East Timor asap? Will I be called into the Pentagon … erm I mean Gombak HQ for briefing just like in the Tom Clancy’s books when Jack Ryan being called in as special consultant to the military?

I took a deep breath with my chest held high and suddenly a familiar sense of patriotism overtook my anxiety and curiosity.

“Yes Sir. I have been a Singapore Citizen since 1998, Sir.”

And he continued, “How would you like a pair of ticket to the preview of National Day Parade?”

You kidding me?! For someone who tears seeing our National Flag flies up in the sky (hang by 3 helicopters during their rehearsal near to the condo I stay), going to watch NDP will kill me … with all that emotions. And the great thing is, it is a preview. Because on the National Day itself, our band has a tradition to jam at my home studio, just like what we did last year. That would have been quite a sacrifice because I have been waiting for months for this jamming session to happen. Everyone are just so busy with their lives.

I really wanted to scream “SIR YES SIR! I WANT THEM BAD SIR!”. Well, in the end I think I did scream due to overwhelming excitement but I cannot make a decision without Cynthia’s consent (part and puzzle of how to sustain a healthy relationship making our decision and not my decision – however symbolic at times). She may not be able to make it and what am I to do with an empty seat? I would rather pass them onto the next couple.

So I replied, “Can I get back to you? I need to give Cynthia a call first.” He asked if I could get back to him soon. I read his mind of course so I replied with a sense of urgency, “I will get back to you within 30 minutes, Sir!”.

He was laughing and said, “You really sound like you are in the military!”

Well, I may have left the military project but a part of me is still inside. When I called him up within 5 minutes, he said he would deliver the tickets to my doorsteps in the evening.

And he did.

I am so honored. Now, stay tune for my NDP Preview write-up. According to him, this coming Preview will be more or less like the actual one and the firework will be no less than 75% of the actual day parade. Man, I am so excited.

Before he drove away from my doorsteps, I frantically asked, “Sir, where is the parade going to be? Is it near Esplanade?”

He smiled, waved at me and said, “Head to Esplanade. You will see the whole army there. You won’t miss it.”

I laughed thinking of “the whole army” and I saluted him as he drove away.

Related Blog Entry: Vidoes And Pictures From The National Day Parade Preview, Enjoy!

13 thoughts on “An SAF Officer Called Me Unexpectedly During Lunch – Sir Yes Sir!”

  1. Sorry … those tix sure sound very rare and I don’t have any spare. From rumor, the preview tix are going at S$800 and the NDP ones are going at S$1,500. Gasp! Even the foreigners would love to attend.

  2. Oooo… great! You have the preview tickets. I want to read your post on it, from the perspective of an immigrant. ^-^
    Hey, it’s really interesting and gets me emotional every time. Too bad I have to watch it on TV. 🙁

  3. AHHHHHHHH ….

    I AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!!!
    *sob* I have tried to get them for years but have been unsuccessful

    I shall watch it through some video streaming as I move into my new home on 9th August then!

    Have fun, it’s great!!!!!!

  4. ECL – Definitely. I will try to write something once I am back tonight. Ah, that reminds me. Better charge up my camera now!

  5. G – Really? I don’t even know how to get those tickets to start with. Let’s see. Hopefully I won’t miss the whole army as I can be quite blur at times. Ha ha ha.

  6. I have been boycotting National Day every year since I-dunno-when (most likely ever since I started paying taxes). I was part of the contingent on parade twice in my whole freakin life (once was forced due to army) and NDP is nothing great really. Bring your video cam, and camera, and by the looks of the weather now… a raincoat and umbrella.

    Hey… while you are at it, can you get the low-down insider scoop on Lee Hongyi? Maybe it was a whole PR exercise? 😛

  7. Darkspore – Ah, I feel rather sad that you have been boycotting National Day. It is the “birthday” of our country and in many traditions and value systems, country always comes before us. National Day Parade is not about the “greatness” or “entertainment”. But it is part of nation building. Just my humble thought.

  8. So what do you think, in your humble opinion, are we building towards? “Greater prosperity, and progress for our people”? At the moment I don’t see it, and our leaders have not been able to articulate that in specific terms (in speech or in action) for a long time.

  9. In my opinion, yes we are building towards that. I have lived in many other countries including a small island that in some ways resembles Singapore called Mauritius – and they have lived passed their growing era. And I have lived in countries that are plagued by corruption and the people wonder where the money has gone. I have lived in countries where everyday when I was driven to my client’s office, I witnessed a glimpse of what goes on inside a large slum area where children play in dirty water. I personally feel very blessed that I call Singapore my home. But of course, I am not here to invalidate your sentiment. To the least, in my layman point of view, that is what signs of prosperity and progress make up of.

  10. wow….u must really like singapore…..but i suppose many other people who have actually gone through ns will beg to differ….. because when u are actaully looking from a civilian point of view ns is nothing because of all the freedom u have but once u are inside its a whole different story…. but then again really happy for u on getting the ndp preview tickets hope u enjoyed the show

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