TEXT: CPT (NS) SHAHRUDIN BIN SALLEH, MRT SHELTER COMPANY COMMANDER
As a member of the organising committee for the SCDF NS50 Heritage Trail, “Honouring our Past”, I was honoured to be part of a team that created a platform for NSmen to reminisce upon their NS experiences.
On Friday, 28 April, following the opening address of the Organising Committee Chairman, COL (NS) Syed Abdul Malik Aljunied, the participants in their various groups visited the former training venues that were most memorable and nostalgic to them.
Walking down memory lane
The first group, which included NS recruits belonging to the earliest batches, visited the former Basic Rescue Training Centre. CPT (NS) Raja Kamarul, who was then the Commanding Officer of the Construction Battalion, shared experiences of the early days when food was being prepared by NS cooks. SWO Rafi regaled everyone with stories of stern commanders, who appeared strict in camp but were great comrades outside of the training.
Visiting Jurong Fire Station
Former trainees of the Jurong Fire Training Centre visited the premises, which is currently the Jurong Fire Station. CPTYusof, SWO Rosli, WO Hassan, SSG Azman and SSG Azmi shared interesting anecdotes of what the older batches of firefighters went through. The third group of participants visited the Civil Defence Academy, the training ground for the younger NS batches. MAJ (NS) Murali Nair shared his experiences when he was attached to the Operationally Ready National Service Unit, PUB Water Company. WO2 (Ret) Zainal and SWO Salleh shared stories of the collapse of the Lian Yak Building (better known as Hotel New World) in 1986, and rescue efforts that saved 17 people.
I relished the opportunity to be part of the committee to organise this event. It also helped me strengthen my commitment to work hand in hand with the SCDF regulars with the same purpose as inspired members of The Lifesaving Force.