10 things that will make 2nd Gen SAF soldiers say “Those were the days”

If you are a Singaporean male who grew up in the 70s or 80s and served NS in the woodland green camo uniform, this list of nostalgia is specially for you.

Picture from Mothership

Those were the days…


1)  When the Singapore Armoured Regiment still trained with the SM1 tank and M113 Ultra


SM1 Tank Picture Source


M113 Ultra Picture Source

In 2006, the AMX-13 SM1 Tanks, which had been in use since 1988, were replaced with the German-made Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks.

The Ultras were slowly phased out and replaced by the Bionix AFV, which was inducted by the 42nd Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment in July 1999.


2) When we still fired the M16 and LAW


Picture Source


SAF Soldiers switched to the locally-made SAR 21 (Singapore Assault Rifle) in 1999. It was more compact and thought to be more suited for our Asian frame for use in jungle and urban settings. The LAW was also replaced by the MATADOR, which was a lot heavier and bulkier, but had more punch.


3) Which brings us to our favourite M16 bayonet drills


Where some cocksters will inevitably pivot right when the rest are turning left.


4) When our uniform was in woodland green camouflage


The SAF 2nd Generation Uniform with the American-developed camouflage was donned by all NS men from 1983 to 2008.  It was later replaced by the 3rd Generation Uniform which featured a digital pixelated camouflage. Now, if only the SAF could design a uniform that could stop those infamous commando mosquitoes!


5) When we carried alibaba bags to book in


This is a bag that Alibaba himself would have used for storing his magic lamps (the fictional Arabian thief Рnothing to do with Jack Ma). It was big enough to contain all your book-in essentials like helmet, SBO, uniform, and even the damn field pack itself. These days though, Servicemen use stylish duffel bags instead, complete with rollers and everything.


6) When calling your girlfriend during BMT was unheard of


Most 2G NS¬†men served before the age of mobile phones. And even if they had mobile phones, rules forbidding their use were a lot stricter then. This meant that those who wanted to call their darlings had to do so¬†after lights out in the dark, skulking around in secret – or maybe that added to the thrill and romance?¬† ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į


7) When we used mess tins during outfield training


Mess tins may not be used much in outfield training these days. But those of us who did will fondly remember how the simplest pleasures, like hot, savoury, MSG-laden noodles, felt so comforting at the end of a long day trekking through the jungle. For the chefs amongst us, a combination of maggi noodles and ingredients in combat rations resulted in a hearty meal outfield! Anyone still remember the strange smell in the duck rice combo?



8) When Hokkien expletives were commonly used and BMT Sergeants had god status


The further back in time you go, the more legendary the tekan sessions were. Vulgarities in English and the mother tongue were rampant. And it was not uncommon for Sergeants to drag in your grandmother and mother in their insults. These days we hear that things are much more boring civilised.


9) When seeing an ang moh in camp was like spotting a rare bird


It must be really surreal to see Caucasians wearing the No. 4 uniform and training alongside us locals these days. And even more unsettling to hear them speak Singlish!


10) When we had Change Parades




If you enjoyed this article, you might also like¬†“10 things that make SOC more jialat.”



Feeling nostalgic now? Our brand new¬†2nd Generation Soldier collectible figurine features the old school uniform, gear and M16. We’ll be launching it at the Public Garden Consumer Trade Show on 22 & 23 Apr, 1pm – 7pm at Suntec Convention Hall 403. Come on down to check it out! The figurine will be released for sale in¬†our online shop after that.