Childcare teacher among winners of National Service Advocate award
When his two-year-old son was diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease in September last year, Mr Khairul Ruzaini Jasmani, 31, was on the second day of his in-camp training (ICT) that was scheduled to last two weeks.
An operationally ready national serviceman in an infantry unit, his first instinct was to ask if he could defer his training to help out at home, but his wife, Madam Nur Kamilah Abdul Rahman, dissuaded him from doing so.
The 31-year-old told him she would take unpaid leave from her job. She is a senior teacher at SGM Little KiDZ, a childcare centre in Sengkang.
"My husband is very passionate about his army days, so I know how much this ICT means to him. I didn't want to disturb him and wanted him to serve it with peace of mind," she told reporters on Tuesday.
Having to take care of her sick son and a younger daughter was not easy, said Madam Kamilah, but she managed, with her mother's help.
Her husband also called her at night after his training to check on the family.
The couple have been married for four years. They have two children aged three and one, and are expecting a third.
For Madam Kamilah's exemplary support for Total Defence and national service, she was presented with this year's National Service Advocate Award.
A total of 148 awards were presented to 91 small and medium-sized enterprises, 34 large companies, 15 organisations and eight individuals this year. The winners were recognised at a virtual ceremony held yesterday.
Speaking at the ceremony, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said small countries with limited resources such as Singapore must prepare for unexpected security threats.
"I can only say that we must prepare for the worst, only to hope for the best. And Total Defence is a big part of that preparation."
When the Total Defence framework was launched in 1984, it was still a concept and an unproven one - an attempt to galvanise Singaporeans to come together to protect one another and the country, he noted.
"Today, it is a living ideal, where Singaporeans will marshal their own resources and of others and collectively give of themselves to the defence foundation," he said, adding that this was seen in the fight against Covid-19.