Army Open House #AOH22

A display of hardware and “heartware”

Shawn Seah

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A Singapore-made Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicle at the Army Open House 2022, Singapore. Photograph taken by writer.

In May 2022, I visited the Army Open House (#AOH22) with my family.

The last time I visited the Army Open House was in 2017, so I was excited to take in the sights and sounds.

There was also an NS55 Showcase (an exhibition) marking 55 years of National Service (or NS in short) and several of my friends were there. The Showcase rounded off with a space for visitors to pledge their support for NS and for NSmen to share their stories.

NS55 Showcase on 55 years of National Service. Met a lot of old friends here and spent quite some time catching up! Photograph taken by writer.

Although the exhibition was nice, I liked the static displays “Our Army Platforms” better.

I think Singapore has come a very long way from the early days of independence in 1965, when we had only two infantry battalions, two seaworthy ships, and no air force.

In 1967, NS was established.

In 1969, we purchased AMX-13 light tanks from Israel, amidst the broader context of the British withdrawal from Singapore and riots in Malaysia.

Purely for reference, this is a picture of a decommissioned AMX-13 SM1 light tank, on display outside the National Museum of Singapore. It was replaced by Germany’s Leopard main battle tank.

A decommissioned AMX-13 SM1 light tank standing on the front lawn of the National Museum of Singapore, in 2022. Photograph taken by writer.

Fast forward to today, we have a peaceful, safe, and secure nation, something hard won that we should not take for granted.

It is not just thanks to the military hardware purchased, but the “heartware”, or the commitment of ordinary citizens to play their part to defend their home.

The Army Open House is also a good opportunity to remind NSmen to renew their commitment.

But it is also a good opportunity to take photos of cool tanks, go on rides one wouldn’t go on normally, and listen to a military tattoo (this might not be what you might think it is; it refers to a military music performance).

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Shawn Seah

Singaporean writer and public speaker, passionate about education, social issues, and local history and community stories.