NSFs Offer Advice To Pre-Enlistees

“Aiya, two years only… very fast one lah!”


So you’re enlisting. That’s… fun. Being worried about leaving home, being screamed at by commanders, or being made fun of for your personal sleep routine are all valid fears. But because The DANAMIC Team is committed to walking the walk (24km route march, anyone?), we’ve asked some Singaporean sons who are currently serving their National Service for advice that they would offer to pre-enlistees.

We’ve divided these tips into 4 categories: Attitudes, Admin Time Hacks, What To Bring, and Others. Some of these might help you, but situations might change and your company might have different rules and standards. Hence, results may vary.

We hope this helps, soldier!


BMTC Aerial View


“You can do anything. Just don’t get caught. Truest line in army.”

“It’s not a mistake if you were not caught.”

“Just wayang 24/7. Kidding. Don’t be selfish lor; it actually goes against you because your platoon mates will hate you. Then if you need help no one will come.”

“Hope for the best, but expect the worst.”

“It’s either you go all out or you fall out.”

Admin Time Hacks

“Prepare your clothes to bathe while you wait for RO so once it’s admin time you can actually shower and not wait in queues and thus have time for yourself!”

“Nobody has time for shampoo.”

“Put a roll of toilet paper into your bag in the morning so right after breakfast you can beat the “shitting queue” in the toilets.”

“Learn to use the “squatting” toilets. There’s usually no queue for those.”

BMTC HQ - The Face Of Pulau Tekong

What To Bring

“Seriously, bring Febreze.”

“Bring loads of Ziplock bags to seal your dirty clothes so when you pack your things and your commanders wanna check what you’re bringing home, you can lay them out without having to take it out to show them. It saves space too compared to plastic bags cos’ you can vacuum (pack) them.”

“Bring small notes like $2. You’ll need those to pay for your haircuts.”

“A cheap digital watch. So you don’t become that guy who always asks “eh now what time ah?”.”

“Bring hangers! About 5 is fine. Also, clothes pegs/clips!”

“A comb. HAHAHA.”

“Bring small (quantities of) items such as shower gel and shampoo because you don’t want to feel that it’s a waste to throw away when you’re graduating from Tekong. You want to be able to throw them away before route march (to lighten your load).”

“Bring a lot of underwear.”

“Bring enough underwear for 2 weeks unless you’re very good at doing laundry by hand.”

“Bring briefs, NOT boxers. Why? Google search “testicular torsion“.”

“Bring a good facial wash because you’ll be sweating a lot. Interestingly, the sun and sweat and hydration plans all come together to give you glowing skin somehow. Sunburnt, of course, but GLOWING.”

“Some rags for area cleaning.”

Washing detergent. You’ll need it during confinement week.”

“During training periods, Febreze and (Snake Brand) Cooling Powder are your best friends.”

“You might want to bring a picture of your loved ones into camp. I wished I did. :/”



“Apply Vaseline then apply snake powder before going for route marches. It works wonders.”

“Don’t play with your SOG. Just don’t.”

“If you have a choice to pick either the top bed or the bottom bed: PICK THE BOTTOM. You will know why once you start doing stand-by area.”

“Remember to off your lights and fans before leaving your bunk!!!”

“On your first day you’ll be allowed to change sizes for your SAF-issued items such as boots, No. 4 etc. Choose a boot size that gives you space to wiggle your toes comfortably. It’ll help during route marches.”

“Rubbing your knuckles together is said to cause rain and Cat 1. Don’t ask why, just do it.”

“Start training for your IPPT early.”


Image credits: Trekearth / Jerry Wong, Flickr


Brought to you by The DANAMIC Editorial Team!

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