Lunch with the best office mates during my NS days


Photo (from left to right): CPT Jayne Tan, LTA Douglas Lok, MAJ Allan Tan, MAJ Alan Soh, me and LTA Ethan

Before my ORD, Both MAJ Alan and Allan asked me, “So, what happens when you win the SEA Games Gold Medal?”

I replied, “I’ll treat the office to a meal!”

“You sure??” Both of them sounded sceptical.

“Yes! 100% sure!” I confirmed.

“Ok, we’ll remember this.”

And there we are, 9 months later, reuniting our office.

I still could recall the first day when I got posted to my branch MAJ Alan (boss) requested to have a meeting with me. I already dreaded army so much and boss still wanted to meet me. I thought to myself, “Sigh, it’s going to be more work being thrown at me again. He’s definitely not going to like me.” Not looking forward to it, I entered his room. And that was when my NS life changed.

“Sheng Jun, I want you to know that even though you’re the lowest rank in our office, each and every one of us are important in our own way, so let’s put rank aside, and work as a team.” This was one thing that MAJ Alan told me which I still remembered to date. He took many years to earn his MAJ rank and yet he still remains humble and modest.

“A true leader is a person whose influence inspires people to do what is expected of them to do. You cease to be a leader when you manipulate with your egos instead of convincing by your inspirations.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

That was when I felt inspired to give back to the office to the best of my ability as I felt a sense of belonging to the branch.

I still remembered I dozed off once in the office as I was really tired from morning training, I heard MAJ Alan’s footsteps coming but I couldn’t react at fast enough as I was really exhausted. I didn’t know what to do at that point of time, so I just kept my eyes closed. (not exactly the smartest thing to do, but I didn’t know what else to do at that point of time.) I thought to myself, “This is it, I’m going to get scolded really bad.” My heart was beating really fast, and I just sat there, eyes closed, and waited for him to scold me. Surprisingly, the sound of footsteps slowly became softer, and I heard MAJ Alan whispering to the other people in our office, “Sheng Jun must be really tired from his training, let him rest.” Even though I felt really bad for falling asleep at that point of time, I also felt really touched as not only did he not punish me, he also spared a thought for me knowing that I was really tired that day. MAJ Alan was like a father in our branch, watching over and taking care of everyone.

During my NS days, my office worked together as one, everything was well planned and work was efficient. MAJ Allan always brought life to our office. Every time when our office was stress from work, he would always crack a joke to make us less stressed out. He was there to make sure that everyone was in the right state of mind for work and not too stressed out. It’s little things like these that made us really efficient in work. Though the huge rank difference, he was like a friend to me, anytime I had any problems, I would always seek him for advice and help and he would always be there to help me to the best of his ability.

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Photo: MAJ Allan Tan saying, “Come, let the blue buddies take a photo together!” 

Currently a law undergraduate in NUS, LTA Douglas was always ready to take on any task at hand; I’ve always seen him walking to boss’s office asking if there is anything that he could help. His work ethic and efficiency is something that I can learn from for my swimming and studies. He soon ORD-ed and LTA Ethan took over his job and he was equally as efficient.

I have learnt a lot from CPT Jayne as she gave me a lot of advice on how to deal with stress from managing army and swimming. And she also taught me that nothing is impossible, you just have to believe in yourself. She told me an interesting story that Bruce Lee actually suffered from a serious back injury, doctors all told him that it was impossible to continue his lifestyle in martial arts, but through determination he fully recovered and went on to start in four and a half films made between 1971 and 1973. I think we all can learn a life lesson from this, is that however far fetch or impossible our goals might be, it’s never impossible to achieve them.

My NS life has definitely been a fruitful one; each and every one played their part in making the office a more vibrant place to be in and it has left behind great memories that I will remember for life. I thank all of them for their continuous support for me and I wouldn’t have been where I am today without them. Hope we can meet again soon!






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