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Photos: Sim Ding En

Last Chance To Catch Army Open House 2022: Head To Bishan 10-12 June

If you're wondering why your social media feeds have been overtly "camouflaged" recently, it's most likely cuz your friends have been making their way to this year's Army Open House.

The main event made its return to the F1 Pit Building (after five years) from 28-30 May, and took on the theme "Generations of Strength" to coincide with and commemorate NS55 - 55 years of national service. Hormat!

No worries if you missed out on the fun at the F1 Pit Building. You can still join in the celebrations online (by checking out the AOH22 Virtual Exhibition) or in your own backyard (AOH22@Heartlands took place in Punggol last weekend, but there's a final chance to catch it this weekend in Bishan).

Among a host of other awesome military-related experiences, here's what you can expect:

  • Army Formations Zone: Plenty of Formation booths to get hands-on experience with weapons and equipment that our soldiers use to defend our Little Red Dot. Yes, can see, can touch.
  • Kids Zone: Nothing cuter than having your little one's face painted in camo-cream (also gives you a possible glimpse into the future). Plus, kids get to dress up in virtual Army uniforms, have a go at a mini obstacle course, and find their way out of a jungle maze.
  • Soldier Strong Arena: Have you wondered how boys become men after going through NS, and how they get so fit? At this arena, you can check out all the sports science, fitness equipment and wearable technology that have transformed the Army's fitness programme. And if you think you're very fit, take part in the tyre-pull and push-up challenges lah!
Nothing like a VR experience to get you outfield, even when you're in the heartlands.Photo: Sim Ding En
Get acquainted with new technology that gives you a glimpse into the battle arena of the future.Photo: Sim Ding En
Get really up close with massive military vehicles.Photo: Sim Ding En
Don't miss energetic dance performances by the Music and Drama Company.Photo: Sim Ding En

While fun and wow, the AOH22 experience is also educational, meaningful, and for some, like Calvin Pak (above), a tradition. Calvin wrote in an Instagram post: "My dad used to take me to AOH all the time when I was young, I could not break that tradition just because my Dad's out of town. Brought the Little One out to get her to experience an outdoor event and to soak in the festivities." Aww!

To give you a taste of what you can expect at AOH22@Bishan this weekend (10-12 June), we caught up with another family man, Jeremy Ratnam, at AOH22@Punggol to talk to him about the importance of an event like Army Open House, and what it means for his kids.

Hi Jeremy! You and your family (wife Jamie, and four kids, Danielle, Nicole, Junior and Kevin) popped by AOH22@Punggol. What did you enjoy most? 

The Ratnams enjoyed their experiences at the mini-obstacle course, and a bit of face painting with the army's camo-cream. It was breathtaking for the children to view the military assets up close where everything just seemed larger than life. What they saw on TV and in magazines, or online, was now right before their eyes.

The boys were drawn to the medic tent; in fact it was a vehicle that transformed into a medical tent; the personnel gave a commentary on how to correctly execute a bandage.

The kids were also impressed with the NS55 showcase pledge, where they could create their own pledges and thank our NS man using different template designs, varied emojis, text, and colour.

One of the best photo ops has to be with the SAR21, and with it angled in such a way and affixed to the wall, the photo produced was too good to be true!

Kevin, aged 13, gets a glimpse of his not-so-distant future in NS.Photo: Jeremy Ratnam

AOH may be a fun, family-friendly event. But why is it also important for the average Singaporean (like you and your family)?

It's important to see first-hand how our Singapore Army operates, and its capabilities out in the field. By showcasing its equipment, and VR technology, you have a better sense of where our army is headed.

You have two boys, Kevin (aged 13) and Junior (aged 12). As a dad and someone who’s been through NS himself, how do you think the AOH experience is beneficial for your sons?

It might not be the ultimate hands-on, but it sure has opened their eyes to more equipment, commands, stories about the army. It definitely gives Kevin and Junior a head start to what they will be experiencing in just a few years.

Checking out the cool medic tent.Photo: Jeremy Ratnam

The theme of AOH22 is "Generations of Strength" to commemorate 55 years of National Service. How is that significant to you?

The main significance is how far we have progressed as the Singapore Army. In many cases, fathers now can relay thoughts and experiences to their sons. Unfortunately, my late father just missed the cut to join the army back in the late '60s, so now the onus is on me to relay that to my sons.

During your national service, you were with the Defence Procurement Division (DPD) that used to be at Paya Lebar Airport. What is your best memory of NS?

The night guard duties. Why, you might ask? Well, I have a love for astronomy, and, in the field at Paya Lebar Airport, it was pretty dark. And on clear nights, the stars shone brightly!

Check out the programme lineup at AOH22@Bishan here - don't miss the energetic dance and band performances as well as photo ops with military working dogs!

Take a walk down memory lane with this eye-opening and informative timeline of national service.Photo: Sim Ding En
And don't forget to take lots and lots of photos!Photo: Sim Ding En

Getting there

AOH22@Bishan will be located next to Bishan Junction 8.

By MRT: Take Exit C at Bishan MRT station

By bus: Alight at bus stop 53231 (at Bishan Junction 8)

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