My Journey

I started out as a victim of bullying who later became a delinquent in a challenging school environment. I surprised everyone during O levels when I topped my class. I then went to Republic Polytechnic, achieving several accolades along the way. Soon, I enlisted in National Service and completed BMT as the Platoon Best Trainee, achieved IPPT Gold and dropped 16 kg despite enlisting obese. However, I dropped out of OCS shortly after as I was unconvinced that it is what I should do. I spent many months picking myself up before completing NS with “Outstanding” for both conduct and performance.

Post NS, I entered NTU, something that was unimaginable earlier. Facing many challenges, I decided to drop out and pursue my passion for entrepreneurship. I started a social enterprise which eventually grew to a size of 10. Despite that I wanted to drop out, I applied for LOA instead to defer my study loan interest. I operated the social enterprise full-time for a year before returning to study as business slowed. I then left to work again as I did not have enough money. During a time when I was highly scrutinised and looked down upon, I thought I finally broke through when I entered a top law firm. Unfortunately, the stint ended shortly and affected me badly. I joined DBS as contract staff shortly and contemplated returning to studies once again, having secured financial support. At the same time, I was offered a role with OBS as an instructor. Not wanting to be “just another graduate”, I became an Instructor after a series of challenges. During my second year as an Instructor, I got married.

In the third year with OBS, I had to either resume my studies or drop out, since I have expended my LOA. My wife was pregnant then. I decided to try and complete my studies while working full time since I was also bonded by a contract. My first child was unfortunately born with cancer and we had to remove both her kidneys. We spent 7 months in the hospital, working remotely due to COVID-19 and juggled my studies at the same time. I finally graduated with a double minor and more credits than a double degree programme.

Despite attaining my degree, my remuneration remains unchanged since I was already working. This created a push factor and at the same time, I wanted to pay my dues to my country, having a better understanding of “service” and the confidence to make a difference. I also recognise that my window of opportunity becomes smaller as I age. After several attempts, I finally returned to military service.

During the one-year training, my wife was pregnant with my second child. Bringing forward our family planning is essential as we potentially could be organ donors. While she was pregnant, I had to stay in camp for my OCS training. My second child was born shortly with some health complications and underwent major surgery at birth. I was also offered to undertake my Masters’s Degree, applied during my career transition. Considering that the opportunity may not come again, I decided to take on my postgraduate studies although it will be tough.

There are still many challenges ahead. At this point, we are in the midst of resolving our dispute with a medical supply company due to the leaks in their supplies. My son also recently completed his second major surgery, the last one hopefully. Also, on the horizon is my daughter’s transplant, which will help even as there will be new challenges post-transplant. I also recently assumed my appointment as Officer Commanding in one of the airbases in Singapore while trying to complete my Master’s degree.

I intend to write about my life journey as I believe it will help give a different perspective on life and NS. I hope you have found my journey interesting.

“The wind and tide may be against me,

but I am the helmsman.”

Quote on Indiana @ Outward Bound Singapore

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