Celeb mum Kelly Latimer says staying away from her daughter was the toughest part of enlisting with SAF
Kelly Latimer says, "I have a new found appreciation for our soldiers, and I’m honoured to be counted as one of them, even if only in a voluntary capacity"
Call it privilege or punishment, but ever since it got implemented in 1967, National Service has been exclusively for men.
Times are now changing. Women can contribute to National Defence too. The SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) is a uniformed volunteer scheme that allows more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents to contribute to National Defence, show support for National Service, and deepen their understanding and ownership of National Defence.
TV host and mum Kelly Latimer recently enlisted as a Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps volunteer (SV), because she felt it was her duty to protect her country.
Kelly Latimer on Enlisting with SAF
Mummy of an 18-month-old girl, Kelly, who is British-Chinese in origin, recently became a Singapore citizen.
Her journey as an SV however, met with a rough start, when she was almost sent back home on enlistment day at Maju Camp on June 11. The reason – her hair was not of uniform colour.
She was given one hour to “fix” the problem.
Unwilling to take “No” for an answer, Kelly actually dyed her hair jet black, inside a car park!
She tells The New Paper, “A 15-minute frantic search, a botched dye job in the car park by my dad and a quick rinse in a toilet sink and I was good to go.”
Things weren’t all smooth sailing for this celeb mum, and staying away from her husband and daughter proved to be a challenge.
This breastfeeding mama also had to pump milk and store it in a freezer twice a day.
“This is why I serve”
On 23 June 2018, Kelly Latimer was presented with a formation patch to signify the completion of her two-week basic training.
Kelly wrote about her experience on Instagram, “This is why I serve. Today, my daughter placed a patch on my arm as a graduated with about 70 others from batch 02/2018 of the SAFVC. The past two weeks have tested me, pushed me and forced me out of my comfort zone.
“My SAFVC experience was nothing short of incredible. I spent two weeks cramming in technical handling, IA drills, IPPT and SOC, shell scrapes and BIC, marching drills and a whole lot more! If you asked me what was the hardest part, I’d tell you it was staying mentally alert.
“I have a new found appreciation for our soldiers, and I’m honoured to be counted as one of them, even if only in a voluntary capacity.
“It’s been a long two weeks without my Loves. I’ve done my duty to my country, now I must resume my duty as a Wife and Mother.”
More Mums Signing Up for SAF Volunteer Corps
Did you know that since 2105, more than 700 people have enlisted as SVs? SVs usually serve 14 days a year. After completing basic training, they are required to do further training for their roles.
For mummy Basu Bedashruti Mitra, her 10-year-old daughter’s question proved to be a turning point. She had asked why only men did National Service.
She tells The New Paper, “This set me thinking – on one hand, women want to be treated equally as men, and on the other, when it comes to national service, we conveniently take a back seat under the pretext of ‘We don’t have to do it.’
“I thought that I was not setting the right example for my daughter (if I did not serve).”
Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew had in fact, wanted women to serve NS.
He once said, “I was keen to have our women do national service as Israeli women did, because that would reinforce the people’s will to defend themselves. But Keng Swee did not want his new ministry to carry this extra burden. As the other ministers in Defco (Defence Council) were also not anxious to draft our women, I did not press my point.”
Source: The New Paper