SINGAPORE: At the opening of the SAFRA clubhouse in Choa Chu Kang on Thursday (Nov 23), Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong underlined how important it is for Singapore to maintain the strength of its armed forces, given how turbulent and divided the world is today. He noted that while conflicts exist in other parts of the world, Asia has been relatively peaceful. However, this situation can change very quickly.

DPM Wong added that in Singapore, because of generations of individuals who have taken their responsibilities seriously, the armed forces are a “credible deterrent force,” with operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) playing an important role. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, they assisted by operating checkpoints and supporting the healthcare system. Mr Wong underlined this further in a Facebook post from Thursday afternoon. He noted that what sets SAFRA clubhouses apart is that Singapore’s NSmen build them for the NSmen themselves.

 

“Many of them volunteered and contributed their skills and passion. I urge more young NSmen to step forward to contribute. My heartiest congratulations to SAFRA and thank you everyone for your contributions. Let’s continue to strengthen our collective commitment to National Service,” he wrote.

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The DPM, also Singapore’s Finance Minister, noted that the clubhouse at Choa Chu Kang has “many firsts,” including a sheltered swimming pool, futsal court, and the largest EnergyOne gym. He called it “a gem to our YewTee residents as we are linked via the park connectors.”

Earlier this year, the government noted in a LinkedIn post that the SAF would “continue to strengthen the #NationalService system through its three key thrusts: maximising contributions of our servicemen, improving the NS experience and enhancing recognition and support for our NS men.”

It cited the new clubhouse and a social and recreation hub in Changi among its new initiatives toward this aim.

The Deputy Prime Minister echoed this in his speech, saying that the government “will continue to find ways to appreciate and recognise the contributions of our NSmen.”

“Over the years, SAFRA has evolved while staying true to its mission — to provide common spaces for our NSmen to bond with their families, and foster friendship and camaraderie,” added Mr Wong in his Facebook post.

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The Choa Chu Kang clubhouse is SAFRA’s seventh and will serve more than 90,000 NSmen and their families living in the north-west of Singapore.

The opening was also graced by the chairman of the SAFRA board of governors, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, and SAFRA president Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad.

In celebration of the clubhouse’s launching, there will be a carnival featuring free workout sessions, stage shows, and a flea market from Nov 24 to 26. /TISG

Read also: ‘Together, we can write the next chapter of our Singapore Story.’ DPM Lawrence Wong on Forward SG