A Boy to Man: Basic Military Training Graduation

For the last six months I have been travelling between Sydney and Singapore, visiting my Lil’ Bro who has undergone quite a dramatic life-change; moving to Singapore (post-HSC) for National Service.  Although there was initial worry for him, in terms of adapting to such change, Lil’ Bro took the challenge with a determined and positive attitude and recently graduated from his Basic Military Training.

The final challenge of this component of his service was a 24km route march from the Training Centre to the majestic location of the Floating Platform at Marina Bay, which is surrounded by the beautiful icons of the city.  Following this gruelling but what Lil’ Bro describes as an emotional and breathtaking march, symbolic of their 10 week intensive training, the ‘recruits’ take part in their ‘Passing Out Parade’ (shortened to POP) where they are met by their family and friends.

This event was highly anticipated by my family, however my suspicions are that I was the most eager of all.  The night before the POP, I set numerous alarms to ensure that we would be able to secure front row seats for the best photo opportunities – I was out of my bed at 4.00am.  My parents and aunt were amused by my eagerness, especially when we ended up being the first to arrive at Marina Bay although I insisted that we were already arriving very late!

Lil’ Bro’s POP was one of my most memorable experiences in Singapore to date.  Arriving when it was still dark, we witnessed the changing skyline of Singapore as the sun rose, yielding in a mixture of pride and gratitude.  In addition to this, the sheer number of recruits that marched onto the platform against such a dynamic background and the look of pride, happiness and excitement at the end of the parade on Lil’ Bro’s face as he ran around high-fiving and embracing his ‘comrades’  are images that will forever be embedded in my memory.  My happiness derived from Lil’ Bro’s elation cannot be described.

Egg white omlette + Crabmeat Spaghetti

Steak and Eggs


Wild Mushroom Risotto

Pineapple + Honey blossom Cupcake and Seasalt Caramel Cheesecake

Being awake for 24 hours straight, I of course knew that Lil’ Bro would need a great ‘refuel’ meal and thus our family brunch date was held at Marmalade Pantry, The Stables.  The location was beautiful, an airy and spacious homestead converted into a restaurant – midway between rustic and chic.  Brunch was filled with great food, many army anectodes and updates on our respective lives.  The prospect of having Lil’ Bro back for an entire week before embarking on his vocation had me ecstatic; it would be an understatement to say that I have missed my sibling!!

Not only has Lil’ Bro become stronger but he has also become wiser and has truly undergone the ‘boy to man’ transformation, however he will always be my baby brother.  The knowledge that he shared with me over our rare conversations while still in training and over the last few days has revealed his maturing mindset and I repeatedly find myself learning great lessons from what he has been taught and discovered over the last few months. It goes to show that we can always learn and be inspired by those younger than us.

Lil’ Bro: No matter what National Service life brings next in your vocation, I could not be any prouder of what you have already achieved.


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