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NCC Trip to USA from 16 June to 27 June 2018




Overall, my NCC Trip to the USA was a real eye opener. There was a huge cultural difference between Americans and Singaporeans, their accent, their breakfast, lunch and dinner, just to name a few. Although there was this ‘gap’ between us, it was amazing how easy we were able to make friends and exchange contacts with one another. Our American counterparts were also kind enough to repeat their words and sentences when they realised that we were unable to comprehend what they were saying.

“Tough times don’t last; tough men do”. We learnt this as we were undergoing the intense Physical Training (PT) led by Major Farese. The PT taught us that although the situation might be tough, as long as we persevere, the end result will be worth it. After going through this course, we learnt to cherish the times we had together. Many of us felt that the course was too short as we forged strong bonds with the flight mates and made many unforgettable memories, despite the vigorous trainings. The various daily inspections taught us to have a better sense of responsibility and discipline. Making our rooms and perfecting our uniforms every night helped us learn to better manage ourselves. This is crucial as in order to lead our cadets, we must first be able to lead ourselves well.

“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast”. We learnt that in life we will encounter many problems and difficulties. However, we can either choose to throw in the towel, or face the problems and help others through. There were many moments in which we wanted to give up, but the motivation from our flight mates was the driving factor for us to not quit. Though we were in a foreign environment undergoing intense training, our fellow cadets were able to empathise and work with us to make us feel more at ease. Despite the difficulties encountered, the bonds we forged with the foreign cadets allowed us to experience true camaraderie and it was a powerful driving factor in helping us complete the camp.

The course at the start was a cultural shock, as the cadres would encourage us with phrases like “Move with a purpose basic” and “who’s your best friend?”. This was very different from training in Singapore, where we reprimanded or informed (depending on the errors) our junior cadets for things they did wrongly. There, it was evident in the manner they spoke that they still had respect for one another, despite all the reprimanding and mental torture. Not to say that in Singapore we do not respect our cadet leaders. We certainly do, but it was much more of a surprise as we usually think of American teens as disrespectful and rude toward their elders. However, after visiting the States, we were totally surprised. As the sayings go, “Never judge a book by its cover” and “A picture depicts a thousand words”, we never knew how true these stereotypes were until we determined the answer ourselves. I also matured as a person after going for this trip. The lazy and happy-go-lucky me had changed into a diligent and disciplined (to an extent) person. Those simple skills of making my bed and finishing my food were definitely brought back with me and this course really helped me a lot and shaped me into a better person.

Thank you Mr Loh, and Sir Terence Tan for their support and for allowing me to experience what not many can and learn new things.

SSG Hunter Tan