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ISSUE 01 2014 singaporenavy singaporenavy

Keeping things ship shape

Behind the scenes at Benoi ship yard

Exercise Malapura

30 years of RMN-RSN friendship

Anchoring the relation-ship

Navy men pop the question aboard their ships

Stay on time and on target



Beginner’s guide to


My first memory

of the RSN

Navy News Advisor RADM Jackson Chia

Editor LTC Chew Chun-Liang

Deputy Editor Clara Lock

Editorial Coordinator ME2 Jasper Ong LCP Graeme Ching

Photojournalists CPL Aloysius Chan LCP Graeme Ching LCP Leon Lam PTE Hans Lim

Members Jessica Teo Sara Shamini LTC Paul Teo MAJ Gary Ow MAJ Lim Chee Hong ME5 Nagara 1WO Norris Lucius Charles ME3 Conrad Fung

Issue Brief 02 Naval Staff Members 2014 03 CNV Foreword 04 Quickrep 10 Now Hear This • Keeping things ship shape • Certifying expertise 14 Onwards and Upwards • Anchoring the relation-ship

18 Photo Story • 30 years of RMN-RSN solidarity 24 Onwards and Upwards • Guiding futures, changing lives 26 Know Your Navy Family • ME1 Chua Kwang Li is a navy nightingale 30 Dogwatch • Super shuttlers 32

Free Gangway • Stay on time and on target

34 Port Brief • Stroll through Sydney’s markets 36

Back Paddle • My first RSN memory

COVER PAGE Photo by Graeme Ching

The mission of the Republic of Singapore Navy is to secure our vital Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs) and provide seaward defence. In peacetime, the Navy develops and executes comprehensive plans to keep our waters safe from all forms of threats, ranging from terrorism, to piracy and illegal immigration. In wartime, the Navy preserves the integrity of our waters by aiming to secure a victory over any aggressor at sea. NAVY NEWS is a publication of the Republic of Singapore Navy. The views expressed by its writers do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Navy or the Ministry of Defence. NAVY NEWS is not to be reproduced in whole or in parts without the written consent of the RSN. For enquiries and comments, please call 6768 3367 or email us at navynews@defence.gov.sg or Navy News, NIC, NOD (OA email).


CNV FOREWORD Work year 2013 had been another eventful and fulfilling year. We operationalised and commissioned RSS SWORDSMAN, our second Archer-class submarine, in April 2013, a short four months after her return to Singapore. We successfully completed our third command of the multinational Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 in Jun 2013. We also conducted a live-firing of a Harpoon missile from a Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft as part of the 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise conducted with the United States.


RADM Ng Chee Peng Chief of Navy

Our achievements are a testament to the drive, professionalism and commitment of our people. They are our greatest asset. It is important to maximise the potential of our people and assist them to fulfil their personal aspirations. Last November, we launched the Naval MDES vocationalisation badges to better recognise our MDES’ expertise in their respective domains. In January this year, we put in place the Institute of Marine, Engineering, Science and Technology, or IMarEST accreditation system that enables all our people, be they Military Experts, Officers or Warrant Officers, to qualify to be Chartered Engineers, Chartered Marine Technologists or Marine Technicians, all of which are professional titles with worldwide recognition. On 15 Feb 14, NEXUS commemorated the 30th anniversary of Total Defence with a nine-day exhibition held at the National Museum of Singapore. The RSN gave full support to this event, and engaged the public through a RSN static display and a Navy booth organised by the Maritime Security Task Force. This outreach event allowed our RSN ambassadors to proudly share how we defend our everyday. It was heartening to see our people come together to reinforce the message on the importance of national defence to the public, which included secondary school students from the SAF Schools Partnership Programme. I look forward to seeing the next generation grow up with a deeper appreciation of Total Defence, and the part we all need to play.

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Front (L-R): 1 2 3 4 5 6

ME7 Low Yong Joo, Head Naval Logistics RADM Jackson Chia, Head Naval Operations RADM Ng Chee Peng, Chief of Navy RADM Tan Wee Beng, Chief of Staff - Naval Staff RADM Timothy Lo, Fleet Commander COL Giam Hock Koon, Commander Maritime Security Task Force

Back (L-R):

7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15


COL Tan Hong Teck, Commander Naval Diving Unit COL Richard Lim, Head Naval Personnel COL Tang Kong Choong (DR), Chief Naval Medical Officer COL Li Lit Siew, Head Naval Inspectorate COL Gerald Heng, Commander MTDC COL Alex Yit, Head Naval Training COL Frederick Chew, Head Naval Plans ME7 Andy Tay, Commander Naval Logistics Command COL Edwin Leong, Head Naval Intelligence

This year, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of Exercise Malapura. This exercise, which has grown in scope and complexity since its inception in 1984, highlights the strong bilateral ties and interoperability that the RSN and the Royal Malaysian Navy have built up over the years. I look forward to stronger cooperation and closer ties between our two navies as we continue to work together in areas of common interest. In early March, we provided support to Malaysia in the Search and Locate (SAL) operations for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Within 24 hours, we deployed a Task Group comprising a Frigate with a Naval Helicopter, a Missile Corvette, and the Submarine Support and Rescue Vessel to assist the RMN in the SAL operations in the South China Sea. I wish to thank our people involved for responding swiftly to the call of duty and extending a helping hand to our RMN friends during this difficult period. As a maritime nation, our commitment to maritime security extends beyond the region. On 17 March, our frigate RSS TENACIOUS sailed to the Gulf of Aden for a three-month deployment under the ambit of the multinational coalition Combined Task Force 151, to contribute to counter-piracy efforts. This is the fifth time that the SAF is deploying a Task Group to the Gulf. Our men and women have trained hard for this deployment. Let us give them our fullest support, including through words of encouragement over the Sea of Support website, as they undertake this mission. As the RSN continues to grow from strength to strength, I wish all members of the Navy Family good health and great success in the new work year ahead. 3



QUICK REP Ex BERSAMA LIMA 2014 Concept Development Conference Joint Leadership Course Graduation Ceremony 30 Naval participants graduated from the 2/13 Joint Leadership Course on 29 Nov 13. The Tri-Service Professional Military Education and Training Course conducted by the SAF Warrant Officer School ran from 15 Jul to 29 Nov 13. ME2 Joseph Ng Thiam Kim was awarded both the Distinguished Graduate and Best Course Knowledge Award.

Naval MDES Vocational Specialisation Badge Presentation Ceremony Military Experts received new badges on 29 Nov 13, which represent their vocational specialisation in the RSN. The ceremony was held over eight sessions in both Changi and Tuas Naval Base, awarding badges to a total of 2,500 personnel.

Senior Military Experts Appointment Ceremony ME4 Gerald Quek emerged as top Navy graduate in the 6/13 Senior Military Course. Minister of State for Defence and National Development Dr. Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman presided over the ceremony, which was held on 4 Dec 13 at the SAFTI Officers’ Mess Hall.

MINDEF Internship Programme The MINDEF Internship Programme, held from 2 to 4 Dec 13, introduced a total of 100 Junior College students to life in the RSN. The students visited the Naval Diving Unit and Changi Naval Base, where they learnt about the roles, responsibilities and capabilities of the RSN. The students also enjoyed a Fast Craft ride and a tour of frigate RSS FORMIDABLE.


Planners from the Five Power Defence Arrangement nations came together for an Exercise Bersama Lima 2014 Concept Development Conference at the Changi Naval Base C2 Centre. Fleet Commander RADM Timothy Lo hosted the conference, which was held from 10 to 11 Dec 13.

Naval Diving Unit Monster Mash The Naval Diving Unit celebrated its 42nd anniversary on 12 Dec 13. Teams of divers competed in capsize drills, races, and completed a 420 push-ups challenge. The event was held to commemorate the unit’s years of dedication to physical and operational excellence.

Naval Logistics Command 28th Anniversary NALCOM celebrated its 28th anniversary on 31 Dec 13 at HomeTeamNS@ Bukit Batok, where their staff took part in archery, bowling, Laser Quest and a golf clinic.

CDF’s visit to TNB On 31 Dec 13, Chief of Defence Force LG Ng Chee Meng visited operational units in Tuas Naval Base, Jurong Island and Paya Lebar Airbase to express his appreciation for servicemen who were on duty during the festive season. LG Ng started his visit with RSS BRAVE, where he thanked the sailors for watching over our waters, to ensure the seaward security of Singapore.

Naval Logistics Command (NALCOM) change of command Former NALCOM commander ME7 Low Yong Joo handed over the reins to ME7 Andy Tay on 7 Jan at Tuas Naval Base in a ceremony witnessed by Chief of Navy RADM Ng Chee Peng.




91/13 Officers Cadet Course Commissioning Parade

20th Command Preparation Programme

55 naval officers from the 70th Midshipman batch were comissioned at SAFTI Military Institute on 18 Jan, with President Tony Tan presiding over the parade. The cadets underwent a 42 week programme to train them for the rigours to be a Naval Officer, with 2LT Bryan Lim emerging as the sword of honour recipient.

The 20th Command Preparation Programme was conducted at the Naval Officers’ Advanced School, SAFTI MI from 7 to 29 Jan. Attended by three Naval Officers and five Senior Military Experts, the programme prepares prospective commanding officers for their first command appointment.

Naval Warfare Centre Inauguration Ceremony

Maritime Security Task Force 5th Anniversary

On 7 Jan, Chief of Navy RADM Ng Chee Peng inaugurated the opening of the Naval Warfare Centre. The new Naval Warfare Centre adopts an integrated approach to combine underwater and surface warfare capability development to enhance the RSN’s war fighting abilities. The Naval Warfare Centre was previously known as Naval Underwater Warfare Centre and Naval Surface Warfare Centre before the two were merged.

The Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) commemorated its fifth anniversary on 17 Jan at the Changi Naval Base Sports Complex. MSTF personnel participated in games such as street soccer, dodge ball and a combat skirmish. Commander MSTF COL Giam Hock Koon was the guest of honour.

National Lifesaving Day 29 Navy volunteers from the Naval Medical Service and Naval Diving Unit took part in National Lifesaving Day 2014 on 19 Jan. They conducted CardioPulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillator training for members of the public at the event, which was held at the Republic Polytechnic.

Inter Formation Air Weapon Competition Team Navy was placed 4th overall in the Annual Inter Formation Air Weapon Competition, which was held from 8 to 10 Jan. Among the top performers in the team were ME2 Koh Ann Chyi and ME4 Dolly Sim, who came in 2nd and 5th respectively in the individual event.

3rd Flotilla Anniversary Celebration 3rd Flotilla celebrated its 22nd anniversary on 9 Jan at West Coast Park. The various units participated in activities such as the amazing race, unit flag design and sand structure building competitions.

Basic Specialisation Course Graduation Ceremony The second batch of Naval Military Experts graduated from the Naval Military Institute on 17 Jan in a ceremony presided over by LTC Neo Meng Keong, Commanding Officer of the Navigation and Sailor Skills School. The basic specialisation course aims to provide Naval Military Experts with combat competency skills to support their future platforms.


41st RSN Swim Meet The Naval Diving Unit trumped the competition at the 41st RSN Swim Meet, which was organised by the Naval Military Experts Institute on 22 Jan. The teams from the Fleet and the Maritime Security Task Force came in second and third respectively.



Where We’ve Been

WHERE We’ve BeeN 5th Western Pacific Mine Countermeasure/ Diving Exercise (5th WP MCMEX/ DIVEX) 2014

RSN Chinese New Year Celebration The RSN celebrated Chinese New Year at Changi Naval Base on 24 Jan, where Chief of Navy RADM Ng Chee Peng ushered in the year of the horse with members of naval staff. Activities included a traditional “lo-hei”, buffet lunch and a festive lion dance performed by our very own Navy Lion Dance Troupe.

Ex SINGSIAM Exercise SINGSIAM, which took place from 25 Nov to 6 Dec 13, strengthened the interoperability, mutual understanding and friendship with our allies from the Royal Thai Navy. The exercise involved frigate RSS STEADFAST, missile corvette RSS VALIANT and submarine RSS CHIEFTAIN in a sea phase that took place in the Malacca Strait and the Andaman Sea, ending in Phuket.

The Whangaparaoa Peninsula was the location for this year’s 5th WP MCMEX/ DIVEX, which ran from 12 Feb to 12 Mar. The exercise, organised by the Royal New Zealand Navy, sought to establish operational cohesion between our navies by offering a mission appointment to one RSN member.

Courtesy calls on CNV Brunei

MH370 search and locate OPERATION

32 Tri-Service War Fighter Course Graduation Ceremony nd

Frigate RSS STEADFAST, missile corvette RSS VIGOUR and submarine support and rescue vessel MV SWIFT RESCUE were deployed on a search and locate effort for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The search was supported by air assets, the Sikorsky S-70B Naval Helicopter and the Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The Singapore Armed Forces also offered Malaysia the help of its Information Fusion Centre (IFC) which has a network of military navies and civilian shipping companies worldwide.

72 officers and senior military experts from MINDEF, Army, RSAF, RSN and Joint Services graduated from the one month course at SAF Advanced Schools. The course aimed to educate officers in the structure of SAF Joint Operations with emphasis on operations other than war. CPT Benson Chian from 185 Squadron emerged as the top student.

Ex MILAN To foster the international defence relations between Singapore and India, patrol vessels RSS BRAVE and RSS RESILIENCE took part in the multilateral exercise in Port Blair from 2 to 13 Feb.

Ex LEJON SINGA SAF Leadership Development Seminar 2014 Maritime Security Task Force Commander COL Giam Hock Koon was among the speakers at this year’s SAF Leadership Development Seminar, which was held at SAFTI MI on 6 Feb. Chief of Defence Force LG Ng Chee Meng presided over the event.


Total Defence Campaign 2014 The RSN took part in this year’s Total Defence Campaign, which was held from 15 to 23 Feb at the National Museum. The static display and Navy booth showcased our assets and what the RSN does to defend Singapore’s every day.

Mine Counter-Measure Vessel RSS KALLANG took part in Exercise Lejon Singa with the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN) from 17 to 28 Feb, where the RSwN shared their knowledge of unmanned Mine Counter Measure technology.

Ex MALAPURA The RSN hosted the 30th anniversary of Exercise Malapura, a yearly bilateral exercise with the Royal Malaysian Navy that took place from 24 Feb to 6 Mar. Frigate RSS STEADFAST, missile corvette RSS VICTORY and patrol vessel RSS DAUNTLESS participated in the exercise, which opened and closed with shore phases in Changi Naval Base and Lumut Naval Base respectively. The sea phase of Ex Malapura took place in the Malacca Strait. Find out more on page 18.

Yang Mulia First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Abdul Halim Bin Haji Mohammad Hanifah, Commander, Royal Brunei Navy

Djibouti COL Abdourahman Aden Cher, Chief of Navy, Djibouti Navy

Indonesia Rear Admiral Didit Herdiawan Assistant for Operations to Chief of Naval Staff, Indonesian Navy Colonel Marihot Manutun Napitupulu Naval Attache, Indonesian Navy

Malaysia VADM Dato’ Seri Panglima Ahmad Kamarulzaman Bin Haji Ahmad Badaruddin, Deputy Chief of Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy


Rear Admiral Jan Thornqvist Chief of Staff, Royal Swedish Navy

Thailand Admiral Pichan Dhiranetra Fleet Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy

United States of America Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. Commander Pacific Fleet, United States Navy




Keeping things ship shape Story by Clara Lock Photos by Navy News and courtesy of ME3 Anthony Poh

Navy News goes behind the scenes and finds out what it takes to keep RSN ships operationally ready for mission success.


s RSS PUNGGOL docks in Benoi Shipyard, an army of workers descends onto the Mine Counter Measure Vessel (MCMV) for a refit that takes place once every two years. During the refit, RSN personnel from the Ship Superintending Engineering Centre (SSEC) supervise the 20 or so contract workers from Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd (ST Marine) that are assigned to each MCMV. All the systems, including the engines are stripped and tested; the ship receives a fresh coat of paint. These vessels are kept ship shape to detect, locate, identify and destroy modern sea mines, thereby keeping our busy sea lanes open and safe for Singapore’s maritime trade. Among the RSN personnel at work is ME3 Eugene Neo, a Naval Architect Engineer who has spent the last two and a half years overseeing hull maintenance of MCMVs in the yard. His job scope isn’t always pretty – ME3 Neo’s duties involve tank inspections, which include the septic tank that stores human waste accumulated during sailing.


But the 38-year-old, who calls his job ‘challenging’, said: “When the ship leaves the yard after the refit programme and I see that all the works on the structures are properly carried out and looking good as new, it is satisfying.” The 20 or so SSEC personnel in the yard exact quality control, ensure that ship maintenance is completed both cost effectively and on schedule. Besides the MCMVs, Benoi shipyard also handles maintenance for other RSN ships such as patrol vessels and frigates. SSEC personnel are also in charge of creating a safe working environment for the RSN’s contractors there, said ME3 Cathsy Chue, an Electrical Control Systems Engineer. They conduct safety scans to ensure that processes are adhered to and workers wear the correct personal protective equipment. Every time a ship enters the yard, crew are given a safety brief which includes fire drills. Unit Safety Rep ME3 David Chan said: “My job is to assist in ensuring the safety of all the workers and the ship’s crew. It gives me a sense of achievement to see that the ship is delivered safely so that it will sail smoothly.”


now hear this


Expertise certified Story by Leon Lam Photos courtesy of Pioneer

New accreditation program recognises the expertise of Military Experts.


E5 Leong Chee Wah grew up on a diet of plain porridge every day. For the eldest of four siblings, it was good enough that their father, a welder at Sembawang ship yard could afford to put food on the table. At the end of the month, if there was money left over after the bills were paid, the family would enjoy a serving of meat. “Minced pork was a luxury – chicken was like a gift from heaven,” said ME5 Leong. When he joined the Navy at 17, it was as much to escape the clutches of poverty as it was to see the world, the tag line of the RSN’s recruitment advertisements in the 1970s. During his 37 years in the RSN, ME5 Leong accrued a wealth of engineering skill and experience, having served as a communications systems specialist ever since his enlistment. After all this time, the commanding officer of C4 Systems School is finally on the way to being externally accredited, thanks to the RSN’s partnership with the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST). The 53-year-old ME5 Leong, who applied for the scheme in November 2013, is aiming for accreditation as a Chartered Marine 12

Technologist. He said: “Having the opportunity to receive official recognition for my knowledge and experience feels great.”

Professional recognition The first phase of accreditation for the MDES engineering specialisation was rolled out in January 2012. The latest initiative between the RSN and IMarEST was launched on 23 Jan. It offers Navy personnel, including naval officers and divers, the opportunity to attain industryrecognised professional titles. This makes RSN personnel more relevant and employable outside

RSN personnel can attain industry-recognised professional titles such as Chartered Engineer and Chartered Marine Technologist under the IMarEST accreditation scheme.

the navy, such as when they retire

This from service at 60. accreditation Streamlined accreditation is a way to benchmark my ImarEST has accorded a competency and streamlined accreditation process for RSN personnel in recognition of professionalism their robust and stringent training. in the industry and it has given Upon application to iPershub, personnel undergo a technical me renewed assessment interview by an confidence in my internal review board. Successful interviewees then seek approval skills. – ME5 Francis Krygsman

from the Engineering Council UK through ImarEST.

Competence and confidence The pilot batch of about 30 Military Experts under the engineering track received certificates of recognition in January this year. For many RSN personnel, the confidence it accords that is the best reward of all. ME5 Francis Krygsman, who was accredited as a Chartered Engineer on 11 Feb 2012, said: “This accreditation is a way to benchmark my competency and professionalism in the industry

Having the opportunity to receive official recognition for my knowledge and experience feels great. – ME5 Leong Chee Wah

and it has given me renewed confidence in my skills.” Mr David Loosley, Chief Executive of IMarEST, said: “When RSN personnel attain that level of achievement and competence, we can recognise it with a global standard. With that, they can put the title behind their name and say, I am a world-recognised expert in what I’m doing, as a professional in the marine sector.”

For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit www. imarest.org/join-us/streamlinedroutes/republic-of-singapore-navy or log on to the MINDEF intranet.


onwards and upwards

onwards and upwards

Anchoring the relation-ship Story by Leon Lam Photos by Graeme Ching and Aloysius Chan

Navy men wear their heart on the sleeve of their No.1 as they pop the question on board ship.


t is a balmy November’s night and ME1 Melvin Lee is the most nervous he’s ever been.

The 25-year-old is decked out in his white No.1 uniform, starched crisp for the occasion, as he stands on the helicopter deck of landing ship tank (LST) RSS ENDURANCE. A crowd mills around him, excited to be touring the ship during Navy@ Vivo.

I wanted to create happy memories for both of us on board RSS ENDURANCE. – ME1 Melvin Lee

His partner, Miss Jolyna Lee, is among them. He knows this because the occasional squawk of a walkie-talkie brings updates on her location, but he can barely hear it over the thumping in his chest. Then, all of a sudden, there’s a crackle of static followed by: “She’s coming.” This is it. Miss Lee steps through the crowd, a vision in a dark blue maxi dress, and behind her the world melts away. As his buddies march from the hangar to form a ring around the two of them, he walks up to her and delivers a short speech he’s been practicing for some time. Then he gets on one knee and asks what he’s wanted to for much longer. She says yes.


Photo illustration: Leon Lam

On this balmy November’s night, ME1 Lee is the happiest he has ever been.

Part of your world The 25-year-old is not the first Navy man to pop the question on board

a ship – RSN personnel have done the same at events such as Navy Open House and Maritime Security Task Force family day. It is their way of inducting their significant other into their Navy experience, of sharing a slice of shipboard life with partners they

often miss while at sea. ME1 Lee, a communication systems operator, recalls seeing a pod of dolphins in the water while he was on an overseas deployment in early 2013. “I remember thinking that the

experience would be so much better if I could share it with Jolyna,” he said. He added: “Nights at sea are very different from what we normally see in cities, without the lights from shore, you can see countless stars filling the sky on a clear

night.” Back on local waters, he decided to ask for her hand in marriage while they were standing under the same blanket of stars. “I wanted to create happy memories for both of us on board 15

Onwards and upwards

Onwards and upwards

RSS ENDURANCE. I intend to stay with the RSN for the long term, and her understanding and support of my chosen career means a lot to me,” said ME1 Lee.

He met the latter during their Advanced Naval Officers Course in March 2012, and sought CPT Sow’s advice on how to court Miss Mah, who was his church mate.

For his Assistant Operations Officer (AOPs) CPT Dexter Lim, what started as a way to reassure his then-girlfriend ended up being the start of a new chapter in their lives.

When CPT Sow learnt of the impending proposal last year, she was thrilled to find out that CPT Lim was ready to tie the knot.

While they were dating, Miss Mah Tian Yue expressed concern about his wellbeing during long overseas deployments, so CPT Lim wanted to familiarize her with his Navy life. This meant visits to events such as last year’s Navy Open House, which helped allay her worries. CPT Lim said: “Seeing my ship gave her a better understanding of what my job entails, and meeting my colleagues assured her that I’ll be safe and in good company when I’m sailing overseas.” Last November, the gunnery officer upped the ante by popping the question on the gun deck of RSS ENDURANCE. He said: “I wanted to propose in a meaningful location, and RSS ENDURANCE has been a second home to me for the past half a year.”

To the letter Proposals like theirs are planned with military precision, with schedules detailed to the exact minute and extensive, painstaking preparation. ME1 Lee spent three months folding the 99rose bouquet he presented Miss Lee with – each flower took about half an hour to make and he would carry a few with him everywhere, folding them on trains, buses, and even while waiting for Miss Lee to use the washroom when they went shopping together.

One Navy Family On the big day, excited colleagues are roped in to help execute the plan, such as CPT Lim’s fellow officer and good friend CPT Eileen Sow.

On that day, CPT Sow had the all-important task of diverting Ms Mah’s attention from the surprise. The Navigating Officer of RSS ENDURANCE led Ms Mah and her family on a special tour of the ship while her husband-to-be was changing out of his No.1 uniform after the sunset ceremony, while reporting their positions via walkie-talkie. CPT Sow said: We (the crew) are very happy for Dexter and his wife! We wish them a blissful marriage filled with love and fun.”

RSS GALLANT is one big family, and I wanted them to witness the important occasion. – ME1 Lim Wei De

Weddings celebrate a union between two people, but part of the joy comes from being surrounded by family – the one you’re born into, and the one you choose. It is a sentiment shared by ME1 Lim Wei De from patrol vessel RSS GALLANT. The 26-year-old, who got on one knee during the Maritime Security Task Force family day in Jul 2012, said: “To me, RSS GALLANT is one big family, and I wanted them to witness the important occasion.”

ME1 Melvin Lee (top) and CPT Dexter Lim planned surprise proposals onboard RSS ENDURANCE during Navy@Vivo last November. 16


Cross strait alliance Story by Clara Lock Photos by Clara Lock and courtesy of RSS DAUNTLESS and RSS VICTORY


n the middle of the Malacca Strait, a Super Lynx naval helicopter from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) hovers above frigate RSS STEADFAST before landing neatly on its helicopter deck. About five nautical miles away, the RSN’s Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter does the same, before landing on the RMN’s frigate, KD LEKIU. This is Exercise Malapura, and this year’s instalment is 30 years in the making. Navy News brings you the highlights.



photo story

photo story






Air crew prepare the RSN’s naval helicopter for a deck landing procedure on the RMN frigate, KD LEKIU, which took place while the RMN’s Super Lynx landed on RSS STEAFDAST. Prior to the exchange, crew from both navies visited each other’s helicopter decks to coordinate landing procedures, such as voice communications between the ship and aircraft.


While in transit to the Malacca Strait, ships participate in a flag hoist exercise led by patrol vessel RSS DAUNTLESS, where they interpret flags and pennants bearing coded tactical messages.


Principal Warfare Officers (PWOs) CPT Hou Min Zheng (left) and CPT Sing Geok Wei lead RSS STEADFAST in an Encounter Exercise, where ships competed to localize simulated enemies at sea.


Air Picture Compiler ME2 Yew Yu Long surveys the radar display to pinpoint the location of simulated enemies such as the Super Lynx, RMN’s naval helicopter, in the same Encounter Exercise. He operates as part of the Command and Control cluster in the Combat Information Centre, one of multiple clusters that feed information to the PWOs, enabling them to make tactical decisions.



photo story

photo story







Missile corvette RSS VICTORY sails alongside RMN corvette KD KASTURI in the exercise, which featured simulated warfare serials and maritime security drills such as compliant boarding.


Personnel from the RMN and RSN execute compliant boarding on new generation Kedah class patrol vessel KD TRENGGANU, which is a common maritime security interest


RSS STEADFAST hosted Deputy Commander Task Group CAPT Ee(Yee) Tai Peng, while Commander Task Group COL Alan Goh paid visits to both KD LEKIU and KD TRENGGANU. These exchanges allowed personnel from both navies to observe ship boarding operations and interact with their counterparts.


RSS STEADFAST hosted a reception at Lumut Naval Base, where officers from both navies took to the stage for karaoke renditions of classic tunes. The Exercise Malapura logo was conceived to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the exercise. It places the RMN and RSN’s sea ensigns side by side to signify the close ties between both navies since the first instalment of Exercise Malapura in 1984. The white seaman rope encircling the logo symbolises the unwavering spirit and continued resolve to tackle common security challenges, while the phrase ‘Building friendship and enhancing cooperation’ sums up the objectives of the exercise.


onwards and upwards

Onwards and upwards

Guiding futures, changing lives Story and photos by Leon Lam

Despite ME3 Ching’s attempts at reaching out, his client reoffended by going AWOL two more times.

Paracounsellors are RSN volunteers who take up an additional role to guide their fellow personnel. We show you how they help lives get back on track.

The Operations Planner for 171 Squadron said: “Sometimes detention makes a person even more inclined to repeat their offence. I knew his issues were unresolved, and giving up would be the worst thing I could do.”


aracounsellor ME4 Eric Lim first met PTE M (Name changed to protect privacy) when the latter was serving his third stint in military prison, known as detention barracks (DB). ME4 Lim recalls how PTE M had gone Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) multiple times, and had spent 14 months in DB. Over the next two months ME4 Lim, who is the Officer Commanding of the EW Wing from the Sensor System School, visited PTE M at the Mowbray Camp DB several times. He learnt that PTE M had fathered a two-year-old son out of wedlock and was struggling to obtain custody of the child. On top of that, he had financial and self discipline issues. During the counseling sessions, which lasted between 90 minutes and two hours, ME4 Lim worked with PTE M to ensure he has the financial means to support his family. He also gave advice and moral support, reminding PTE M to keep his cool in challenging situations, abide by the law and be a good father. 24

Paracounsellor ME3 Ching Yeow Song recalls a charge that, burdened by family problems, could hardly spend a month in National Service before going AWOL.

Guiding light PTE M has since arrived at his operationally ready date, returned to the straight and narrow, and has been doing part time work while looking for a permanent job. But ME4 Lim is modest about his involvement in the case. “The change came from PTE M himself – he decided to put in the effort to improve himself, and he worked really hard for his success. We as paracounsellors are there mainly to offer guidance and help them take a look at their issues, so they know how best to move forward,” he said. ME4 Lim is among 192 volunteer paracounsellors in the RSN, who identify and counsel personnel within their units who need support. When clients such as M are incarcerated in DB, paracounsellors help them integrate back into their units

and society to reduce their risk of reoffending.

As a result of the counseling sessions, his client has successfully committed to completing his National Service without disruption, and is more than halfway through today.

Light at the end of the tunnel For these paracounsellors, interacting with their charges has had a positive impact on their lives. After volunteering for five years, ME3 Ching finds himself more open minded and slower to anger, while ME4 Lim says the communication skills he has picked up make it easier to communicate with his three teenage sons. And these clients, once recalcitrant offenders, can turn into friends. ME4 Lim kept in contact with PTE M even after the latter was released from DB, and the duo would meet near PTE M’s home in Jurong for regular chats. Today, ME4 Lim continues to call PTE M for regular progress updates on his situation.

No easy day The 48-year-old, who has been a paracounsellor for 15 years, volunteered for the programme because he wanted to learn how to listen objectively to trainees’ concerns and help them adapt to new and unexpected situations

So you want to be a paracounsellor Every unit or department in the SAF and Ministry of Defence has at least one paracounsellor, and larger units or departments have one for every 100 personnel. Paracounsellors are SAF personnel who have undergone training to identify and support personnel who need help.

Over the years, that became a passion – ME4 Lim often performs his paracounselling duties after hours or during weekends.

They provide counselling to personnel in their unit or department, as well as those who have been detained in the SAF detention barracks or admitted to the psychological medicine in-patient treatment centre. Where necessary, paracounsellors also serve as members of the incident notification team to inform next of kin of death or serious injury.

“Paracounselling is an ‘extra’ on top of my work, but I feel that the time it takes is definitely well spent,” he said.

To become a paracounsellor, applicants must attend a selection interview and then undergo a five day preparatory course, where they will learn the skills and procedures to counsel personnel in need. These include grief counselling and how to build rapport with clients.

While their presence as a listening ear can sometimes make all the difference, serving as a confidante comes with its share of challenges.

Head of Paracounselling services Ms Ip Lee Lee said: “Being volunteers, paracounsellors offer their time and effort to help others not because they have to, but because they genuinely want to help. To all the paracounsellors out there, I salute you for all that you have done for the individuals and the organisation.”


know your navy family

Navy Nightingale Story by Aloysius Chan Photos by Aloysius Chan and courtesy of ME1 Chua Kwang Li

ME1 Chua Kwang Li is the RSN’s only female Surface Independent Duty Corpsman, a role that allows her to dispense medical aid independent of a doctor. She shares her story with Navy News.


fter serving as a scrubs nurse in a successful lipoma operation during socio-civic mission Operation Surya Bhaskara Jaya (SBJ) 2011, ME1 Chua Kwang Li was approached by the young patient’s grateful parents. The couple recounted how their daughter’s lipoma, a growth of fatty tissue on her face, had eroded her self confidence as a child. They added that the family would never have been able to afford the operation on their own. “It dawned on me that basic medical aid we take for granted in Singapore can change lives elsewhere. I was proud and honoured to make a difference in someone else’s life,” said ME1 Chua. The plucky 25-year-old is the only female Surface Independent Duty Corpsman in the RSN, a role that authorises her to give medical aid. In order to fulfil such a role, ME1 Chua obtained certification at the Surface Warfare Independent Duty Corpsman Course held at the Surface Warfare Medical Institute in San Diego, the United States of America.



know your navy family

know your navy family

ME1 Chua works at the Performance MAXimization Branch (PMAX) as a Naval Occupational Healthcare Specialist under the Naval Medical service.

groundwork and extremely high.

Breaking international barriers

The course tested her both physically and mentally - Despite her slim stature, ME1 Chua had to keep up with her US Navy counterparts in daily 8km uphill runs and training scenarios where she had to hoist casualties twice her size out of simulated war zones.

In addition to serving as an Independent Duty Corpsman, ME1 Chua works at the Performance MAXimization Branch (PMAX) as a Naval Occupational Healthcare Specialist under the Naval Medical service. She conducts audits to ensure that personnel use the correct protective equipment, such as hearing protection devices.

“I was not only representing myself but also the RSN and Singapore. I did not want to let down my country and wanted to fly our flag high,” she said.



Wellness in the RSN

In the classroom, students were also tested on how to tackle various medical scenarios. A score of less than 80% for three or more tests would get you expelled.Only 29 of 42 managed to continue in her class and ME1 Chua was determined to be one of them.

He said: “As the first ever female international student in the programme, she has laid the


Her drive and work ethic were evident as she outperformed her fellow classmates both academically and during practical performance applications.”

ME1 Chua was the RSN’s first and only female representative into the prestigious course, which ran from May 2012 to June 2013.

Her mettle left an impression on course mentor and Hospital Corpsman Chief, Roy Saiz Jr.


During her training, ME1 Chua had to hoist casualities out of simulated war zones before administering first aid to them.

ME1 Chua also provides input on how the RSN can improve work spaces to ensure optimal ergonomics and minimise occupational injuries.

Her RSN journey “I believe that a healthy workforce is an efficient workforce,” said ME1 Chua, who started her medical journey as a nursing student in Nanyang Polytechnic. There, she competed in the male-dominated sport of dragon boating. “It was during those tough training sessions when I developed a belief that whatever guys can do, girls can do even better,” she said.

I was representing both the RSN and Singapore and wanted to fly our flag


– ME1 Chua Kwang Li

ME1 Chua made good on that belief one year after graduation, leaving the position of staff nurse in the Singapore General Hospital’s orthopaedic department for the promise of high seas and adventure with the RSN. Her desire to serve has taken her around the world for training and humanitarian missions, such as SBJ 2011 and 2013. During last year’s deployment, she served as Primary Healthcare Senior Medic 2IC, rendering medical aid to patients. These experiences have validated the plucky lass’ choice of career. “I decided to join the RSN as I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to make a difference all over the world. This is what pushes me to overcome challenges and be the best I can be,” she said.




Meet the team MAJ Xavier Low, who took leave from submarine training in Sweden to get married in 2007, had intended to fly back from Singapore two days after his wedding dinner. But when his team mates asked him to stay and compete in the SAF inter-formation badminton tournament, MAJ Low extended his leave, forfeited his return ticket and paid for another one a week later – all to represent the RSN in the final few games of the tournament. “My wife was perturbed at my behaviour as she said I was wasting money and time,” he said, half in jest. His decision was validated when the team eventually took top honours at the competition. The RSN badminton team, which comprises both Regulars and Full-time National Servicemen, has picked up numerous accolades at inter-formation and inter-ministry levels. Membership in the team is open to all RSN personnel, and ME3 Jeff Yeo (pictured left), who has represented the RSN in SAF-wide competitions since 1999, is keen for more players to join the sport. “Many people do not take part in competitive badminton as they feel that they are too amateurish for ‘professional’ competitions. However, with a year of discipline and rigorous training, even a newbie would be able to hold his own in a badminton competition such as the SAFSA Badminton Championships,” said the 44-year-old.

Super shuttlers Story by Aloysius Chan Photo courtesy of ME3 Jeff Yeo

Train up your badminton prowess with these tips from the RSN team.


Fancy Footwork

Centre base position recovery

Practice sprinting and side-stepping from the centre to the various corners of the court. This will increase your speed and cut down on response time taken to receive the shuttlecock.

From the various corners of the court, practice sprinting and side-stepping back to the centre. This is crucial to maintain control of the game.

Different strokes for different folks Rally a shuttlecock against the wall, alternating between forehand and backhand strokes to hit the shuttle in a straight or diagonal line. This will allow you to master the full range of motion and adapt to various opponents.

Hand-eye coordination With a partner, practice defending against different strokes from a stationary position to get familiar with the full arsenal of strokes at your disposal.

Lower limb strength A full length match can be deceptively draining, so strengthen your lower body with controlled lunges for the power and stamina to last the game.

One-on-two Think you’ve mastered the basics? Take on two opponents at the same time, which will provide the appropriate stress levels of a competitive tournament.




On time on target

For the adventurer Go into the wild with the Casio PRG-130-1V, which is the Swiss Army Knife of the watch world. This versatile timepiece can detect and record environmental conditions with its plethora of in-built sensors. The altimeter, barometer, thermometer and digital compass should come in handy for trekking, while the moon and tide graphs will suit those looking out to sea.

Story by Aloysius Chan

Keep your life on track with these watches, which serve a host of functions besides telling time.

App-titude The Pebble is the iPhone of the timepiece industry, allowing users to download applications from a dedicated Pebble Apps Store. Apps allow users to customise how the watch face looks, or turn up the volume on their phone from their watch. The Pebble also supports classic games such as Tetris and Snake. The watch is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.

Cause and effect

Pounding pavements

Wear your cause on your wrist with the 1WatchFace collection. It features eight watches in different colours, with each one representing a different charity that 1WatchFace supports. Watches purchased ensure a tangible outcome for that particular cause – a white watch, for instance, buys meals for 16 hungry children in the Horn of Africa. Doing good has never been this fashionable.

Blaze past the opposition with the Timex Ironman GPS Global Trainer, which collates all the information you’ll need for long distance racing in a classic design. The GPS Global Trainer monitors pace, speed, distance and heart rate, displaying all the information simultaneously so users can focus less on calculating their statistics, and more on the road ahead.

Going under Wax and wane Tell day from night with Mr Jone’s Sun and Moon, a lovingly designed analogue watch with a crescent shaped sky on the dial. During the day, an image of the sun arcs its way across the watch face, while at night an image of the moon takes over. The hour disk also features a revolving image with scenes of the natural world that change as the day progresses.

Time and depth are vital statistics that all divers must track, and the Timex Intelligent Quartz Depth Gauge Dive Watch has made it both easy and affordable to do so. The inbuilt depth sensor is functional up to 60 metres, and allows users to recall data such as maximum depth and minimum temperature during a dive.

Photos courtesy of Pebble, Timex, Mr. Jones Watches,CASIO and 1:Face



Port Brief

Port Brief

Corner the market

The RSN down under Enhancing Singapore’s multilateral relations

Landing ship tank (LST) RSS ENDEAVOUR was in Sydney last September and October for the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) plus MARSEC and International Fleet Review (IFR). These events enhanced multilateral relations and cemented our relationship with allies in the Pacific.

Story by Graeme Ching

Sydney’s markets hawk everything from local fare to handmade trinkets and breathe life into the city where landing ship tank RSS ENDEAVOUR berthed last year. We introduce some notable shopping spots.

Whole foods

Photo Courtesy of Irene from http://irenesgettingfat.blogspot.sg

Hit up Eveleigh Farmers’ Market for food that your body and soul will appreciate. Purchase fresh seasonal produce from farmers or sample artisan products such as olive oil and flatbread. Celebrity chef Kylie Kwong helms a stall at the market selling local and sustainable food, including a healthy selection of organic fare. For those with an adventurous palate, Kwong has incorporated roasted crickets and mealworms, both a sustainable Australian food source, into some of her dishes. Other favourites include steamed savoury pancakes with fresh vegetables and free-range pork dumplings. The line-up of stalls changes throughout the year in line with festive events such as Chinese New Year and Christmas, with stall owners introducing seasonal specials. Visit Eveleigh Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 8am to 1pm.

Photo courtesy of Darrell Tan from http://flickr.com/ietoshi

Taste of Asia Located in the energetic Chinatown district in Haymarket, New South Wales, the night market of Chinatown was set up as homage to the large Asian population living in Sydney. Singaporeans yearning for a taste of home will be pleased to find Asian fare such as dim sum, grilled baby octopus skewers and bak kwa. The market runs from 4 to 11pm every Friday night.

Culture vulture The Kirribilli art and design market is a platform for local artists to sell their crafts, which include paintings, ceramics and handblown glass jewellery. Visitors can also sample international cuisine from Russia, Turkey and the Netherlands while shopping to the tunes of live bands that play at this monthly market. It runs from 9am to 3pm on the second Sunday of each month.

As part of ADMM plus MARSEC, RSS ENDEAVOUR participated in the Maritime Security Field Training Exercise from 29 Sep to 2 Oct 2013 in Jervis bay, Sydney with nations from the greater Asia Pacific Region. They included Australia, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand. Participants took part in both air and boat demonstrations, investigative ship manoeuvring, flying operations and other seamanship trials. The International Fleet Review, which ran from 4 to 11 Oct, was held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the entry of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet into Sydney. RSS ENDEAVOUR sailed into Sydney Harbour with more than 20 other countries including Brunei, Malaysia and the United States. “We were the first ship to enter Sydney Harbour at about six in the morning and it was an honour,” said 2LT Kenneth Yap of the 70th midshipmen batch.

Painfully hip The Bondi Markets, located in the beachfront grounds of Bondi Beach Public School, are a hotbed of creativity. Discover all manner of handmade products from soap to sundresses, or sift through vintage threads and retro furniture from another era. Besides the budding entrepreneurial crowd, the markets are also home to Sydney residents who hawk their pre-loved items.

He added: “The Australians and general public were very receptive to the navy, praising us on a job well done. It was worthwhile seeing that we had projected such a positive image on the international scene.”

If you’re feeling peckish after a hard day’s bargaining, the school canteen serves up drinks and refreshments, including a mean sausage sizzle. Funds raised go towards educational programs and facilities for the public school. The Bondi Markets run from 10am to 4pm every Sunday.

Photos courtesy of Chloe from http://gluttonousurges.blogspot.com.au




Yesterday once more Story by Graeme Ching Pictures by Aloysius Chan and courtesy of ME5 Teo Soon Lin

RSN veterans tell us about their first memory of the Navy, and how it has touched their lives. “I was drawn to the military because of the excitement and adventure. You have to remember that this was before the Konfrontasi, and the threat of terrorism was real. During the Konfrontasi between 1963 and 1965, I was in charge of the Royal Engineer Corps at Pulau Blakang Mati (Sentosa). This was a rough time for us in the Navy — every doctrine and directive had to be written from scratch because we had split from Malaya. I was with the Singapore Armed Forces until I retired at 50, and even till this day I feel a strong affinity with the Navy. The emotional ties there are really strong and you feel like everyone is part of a big solid family.” - MAJ (Ret) Penny J.D Rozario

“During my time, there was no such thing as road shows and recruitment talks, so the amount of exposure I had to the RSN was limited. I enlisted through National Service straight into the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) without knowing what to expect. My senior batch, batch number seven, had told us stories that it was tough. But it was important for us to adopt the right attitude and mind set to overcome each hurdle. After I completed the dive phase of NDU training, I felt certain that this was something I could make a career of. Furthermore, the will to be part of the elites of the Navy was a really strong draw.” - 2WO Poh Chee Keong, Operations Warrant Officer, Naval Diving Unit

“When I joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve back in 1955, I learnt the art of piloting Fast Craft Training Units (FCTUs) from a master attendant off Kusu Island, where tides changed rapidly and currents were treacherous. At first I was commissioned as a logistics officer, but due to my previous experiences with the FCTUs, I was sent back to the Singapore School of Naval Training at Pulau Blakang Mati (now known as Sentosa) to train the men for FCU piloting.” - 2LT (Ret) Anvar Mohd Ishak

Forging friendships Photo by ME1 Kenny Sim


personnel from patrol vessels RSS BRAVE and RSS RESILIENCE march in the International City Parade as part of MILAN, a multinational naval exercise held in Port Blair, India in February. 15 other countries including Australia, Malaysia and Thailand also took part in the parade. The exercise enhanced interoperability and communication procedures among participants. During the five-day exercise, RSS BRAVE and RSS RESILIENCE also hosted ship visits for Port Blair residents and members of participating navies.

“I first learnt about the RSN through a school trip to Brani Naval Base I attended back in 1987. The trip was an introduction to the Navy, such as the key role it played in Singapore’s defence. After the talk, we had the opportunity to sail on board a naval ship, where this picture was taken. Years later, while I was studying in Singapore Polytechnic, I stumbled across the same photo. It was during the time the Navy had organised a recruitment drive at my school. I finally enlisted on 5 May 1992, which is also the Navy’s anniversary.” - ME5 Teo Soon Lin (right), Naval Warfare System Engineer, Naval Logistics Department


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