BMTC Won’t Welcome Parents To Tekong On Enlistment Day Any More, Other Social Distancing Measures Implemented

Masses of young Singaporean men will be enlisting in the army in the coming weeks to serve their national service (NS), but while in the past their parents and loved ones would send them off at Pulau Tekong, this won’t be possible for now.

The Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) just announced that visitors would no longer be allowed to send enlistees off, according to a video that it posted on Facebook starring its commander, Colonel Pang Lead Shuan.

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Parents barred from sending enlistees off

Though it’s a tradition for parents and girlfriends to visit Pulau Tekong on Enlistment Day to send off the boys, the April intake of army boys won’t have that privilege this year.

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The large crowds to send them off definitely aren’t advisable during this period, so unfortunately, they’ll have to say goodbye on Mainland Singapore.

According to Col Pang, this is a “difficult but necessary” measure that needs to be taken in light of the Covid-19 situation.

Other measures taken to ensure enlistees’ safety

Some major changes are also coming this April for the enlistees-to-be.

For instance, instead of taking a ferry over to Pulau Tekong, they’re supposed to report to Selarang Camp on their enlistment date, reported The Straits Times (ST).

Parents and guests won’t be allowed past the drop-off points either, so enlistees will have to say goodbye properly beforehand.

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Apart from that, enlistees’ meal times have been staggered too, and non-essential activities like cohesions have been put on hold, wrote ST.

Col Pang said:

We recognise that these adjustments may cause inconveniences and even dilute the NS experience. However, they are critical in our efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 virus.

Send-offs still meaningful despite changes

Even with these drastic changes, getting sent off to NS is still a milestone in the life of every Singaporean boy, and surely Covid-19 can’t take that experience away from them.

They’re going to have to put up with such measures to ensure our safety for a while more, so it’s better to learn to live with them.

Stay safe and observe good hygiene, but don’t let the coronavirus dampen your spirits.

Featured image adapted from Facebook