Real Survive National Service (NS) Guide: Part 1 BMT

Route March Patriot Army


So, you have graduated from your current institution and about to transit to the next phase of life with a fresh start.

However, this one mandatory stage called “National Service” (NS) that all Singaporean Sons have to go through has obstructed you from doing so. You have no choice but to face reality and slowly count down to the day where you will sleep, eat and train on an island you will call “home” for the next 9, 17 or 22 weeks.

Feeling fearful and anxious about what might be lurking in the darkness of Basic Military Training (BMT) that were not featured in the movie “Ah boys to men” or the series “Every Singaporean Son” while awaiting the D-day (recommended to watch the latter as it showcases a huge component of BMT if you have not done so)?

We have come up with a list of what to expect and tips for our typical “chao recruit-to-be” in BMT who can better mentally and physically prepare themselves prior enlistment.

1.  Eat, sleep, train and repeat…

Being a Nighter by partying or playing your favourite video games into the wee hours, waking up during lunchtime and having a meal at the golden arches can be a norm especially during this “holiday season” after graduation.

However once enlisted, you will yourself experiencing a drastic change, firstly with your sleep cycle. Lights out (the time when all lights are to be off and get ready to sleep) will be at 22 30 hours and Reveille (military term for waking up) at 05 30 hours will be the norm throughout almost your entire NS life with a duration of so-called “7 hours of uninterrupted REST” (do note we bold the word “rest”, as in the military they don’t expect you to sleep for that 7 hours, but just resting for that period).

Meals will be consumed in a cookhouse specially prepared by “nutritionists” ranging from western cuisine like Fish n Chips, spaghetti to Indian cuisine like Nasi Biryani. However, most of the time (almost entirely) meals will be just white rice with a chicken thigh, a vegetable dish and another complementary side dish. Sometimes you do get desserts like Ice Cream, puddings, etc. For taste wise, it won’t be Finger-Lickin’ Good but still edible at some of the cookhouses. Also, do expect a long queue in the cookhouse as usually, most companies will eat during the same timing.

For training, you will find yourself most probably the fittest so far in your entire life with two different categories of training namely combat and non-combat training.

Combat training will include road marches with your Full Battle Order (FBO) starting from 2km with increasing intensity (they call it progressive training) and finally 24km before your Passing Out Parade and Standard Obstacle Course (SOC) where you train to clear the 12 obstacles.

Non-combat training consists of Strength training by doing exercises with just body weights; push-ups, crunches, chin ups or using weights like dumbbells or medicine balls and Speed training with intervals and cadence run.

Related: 101 Bad Habits during National Service (NS) in Singapore Part 2

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