Heritage marker unveiled at Singapore's first NS camp [Channel NewsAsia]

The marker is a reminder of the beginnings of National Service

Channel NewsAsia


A heritage marker was unveiled at Taman Jurong Greens on Sunday (Aug 6) to mark the original site of Taman Jurong Camp, where the first batch of national servicemen enlisted 50 years ago.

The marker was unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at an event held in conjunction with Taman Jurong's National Day observance ceremony, and was attended by about 500 people including pioneer NSmen, residents and students from uniformed groups.

Also present were the Singapore Armed Forces’ Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Perry Lim and Chief of Army Major-General Melvyn Ong.

Mr Tharman, who is an adviser to the Jurong GRC grassroots organisation, said that as part of the Jurong Heritage Trail, the marker is a reminder of the beginnings of National Service as well as the move to convert JTC one-room flats to create the camp.

He said the Taman Jurong Camp has special significance in Singapore’s NS history, which started with the People's Defence Force formed in 1966 and became National Service a year later. The first Artillery NSmen were also conscripted in Taman Jurong Camp.

"Singapore has become a strong and respected nation because each new generation has stood on the shoulders of precious generations. Today we have peace, prosperity and a well-respected defence force because of the dedication of generations of NSmen,” Mr Tharman said.

“We have melded together as a people, in no small part too because of NS - the boys toughing it out together, and their families too going through the sacrifice of NS together as citizens,” he added.

The unveiling of the marker also brought back fond memories of NS days for some of Singapore’s pioneer batch.

Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret) Albel Singh, who was among the first few NSmen about 50 years ago, said NS has progressed over the years. “From very spartan beginnings with limited resources – very little equipment – to one with a very sophisticated armed forces today. But as these things have changed, the challenges have changed, the threats also have changed,” he said.

“Those days you can say when you are going to get into a confrontation or war, there is a frontline. You face the enemy across that. Today you can’t even recognise the enemy. The enemy could well be within, and he could cause a problem. Personally I feel NSmen today are facing a greater problem than NSmen in our time,” the 68-year-old added. 

Source: Channel NewsAsia

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