One flight with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) during his student days was all it took for Officer Cadet (OCT) Yeo Bing Lin to decide on a career with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). During the short helicopter flight, OCT Yeo had a bird’s eye view of the country and even caught sight of his own neighbourhood.
“It made me realise that Singapore is home to many things (which we hold dear) that we must defend,” said the SAF Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS) recipient. The introductory flight was part of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) Internship Programme which allows students to visit the Army, Navy and Air Force to experience life in the SAF
“Without the SAF, we would be vulnerable to attacks…and we need the SAF to provide the assurance,” added OCT Yeo. He aspires to become a fighter pilot upon completing his degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States.
Together with two other SAFOS recipients, OCT Yeo received his award certificate and ceremonial sword from Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Istana on 30 Jul.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng reminded the young men of the heavy responsibilities with which they would be entrusted, as they progressed in the SAF. “While the career proposition is no doubt exciting and rewarding, we remind ourselves that service in the SAF is not merely a career, but a national calling,” said Dr Ng.
Dr Ng also noted that more was expected of the SAF in the uncertain and complex security environment of today. “These challenging tasks require the brightest minds and capable officers in the SAF who are able to lead their men and women to effectively fulfil every mission,” he said.
He also urged the recipients to “make full use of the time and opportunities to train your mind, hone your leadership skills and build your character” as they pursued their studies.
The two other SAFOS recipients are OCT Ryan Tan Yi Jie and OCT Scott Ang Yiqiang, both from the Army.
For OCT Tan, his decision to sign on with the SAF is inspired by the commanders he has trained under during his National Service stint thus far. “I’ve always wanted to do public service, and my experiences during Basic Military Training and the Officer Cadet Course crystallised the decision to join the SAF,” he said.
“The SAF is an organisation that nurtures you. Our bottom-line is not a digit or a statistic, but the defence of the country,” added OCT Tan, who plans to read Law at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.
Similarly, OCT Ang decided on a career with the SAF because it would give him the opportunity to serve a higher cause. Hailing from the Singapore Sports School, he initially aspired to be a sports physician, but decided on a military career when he realised that he would be able to make a bigger difference in the SAF.
“The moment I came into the Army and saw the kind of positive differences that commanders could effect in their men, the decision to join the SAF was an easy one to make,” said OCT Ang, who hopes to read Law at Cambridge University.
Introduced in 1971, the SAFOS is the most prestigious scholarship after the President’s Scholarship. It is awarded annually to outstanding servicemen who have achieved distinguished performance in their studies, co-curricular activities and Officer Cadet Course. To date, 284 have received this scholarship.
After completing their tertiary education, the scholars will return to the armed forces and assume a variety of challenging appointments that will groom them for the highest level of leadership in the SAF and MINDEF.