Every Singaporean Son

On the 1st of April, our former Head Boy, Chris Langton, came back to Concord to give a talk to the Sixth Form Singaporean boys about his experience in National Service in Singapore. For those who may be unaware, every Singaporean boy at the age of 18 is enlisted in National Service, lasting for two years. This is something that can potentially be a slight challenge when applying to universities, and due to Concord’s relatively large Singaporean population, it is something that the College’s university coordinators are accustomed to dealing with.

Being a Singaporean boy myself, I have been raised with the knowledge that this is something I would eventually need to do. However, it was only when I arrived at Concord that I began to think about it seriously, as well as the effects it would have on my academics and personal life. As I sat in the Old Chapel listening to Chris’s anecdotes about army life, the expressions on the familiar faces in the room told me that many of my friends and peers were thinking the same. What if the stress of the army and university applications is too much to bear? What if our platoonmates were too different from us? What if they didn’t accept us for having been away for so long?

Apart from discussing things such as the general day-to-day routine, personal experiences “outfield” (training in outdoor or jungle conditions outside of camp), and the importance of health, safety, and fitness, Chris also helped to quell some of our fears and concerns. With regards to fitting in, his advice can probably be summarised best in his own words: “Once you go into camp and shave your head,” he said reassuringly, “you will all be the same”. Essentially, he told us that in the army, where you come from is irrelevant. It’s what you do that counts.

In terms of Academics, Chris also gave us advice on UCAS and University applications, suggesting that we complete our UCAS as early as possible, so as to not have to deal with the stress of it during National Service. He finished by discussing selections for various promotions in our army careers, such as ‘command school’. Ultimately, while the idea of the army is still a daunting one for me personally, I feel that Chris’s talk managed to help all of us better prepare ourselves, mentally and otherwise, for life in the army. Anyway, the 20-or-so pages of information on the army that we were given, compiled by Chris and his fellow 6.2s, should help with this too!

Luke – 6.1