Cab driver declines fare from SAF veteran
One was the passenger and a Navy veteran of 45 years. The other was the cab driver who completed his full-time national service in 2 SIR.
After listening to the SAF retiree’s story of his active service and continuous service as a veteran, the cab driver declined payment of the fare from the veteran when he arrived at his destination.
Grab driver, Mr Cheong, seeing SWO (RET) William Wee in his full regalia (jacket and medals), started the conversation by asking SWO (RET) William Wee about his service.
And throughout the 15-minute journey from Jellicoe Road to SAFRA Mount Faber at Telok Blangah Way, both shared about their military service.
When they reached SAFRA Mount Faber, SWO (RET) William Wee started to prepare to pay the $14.50 fare but driver Cheong declined the payment even though SWO William Wee tried many times to get the driver to accept it.
He said the driver told him: “The ride is on me. You’ve done so much for the country and continue to serve as a veteran. This is the least I can do to respect your service to the country.”
SWO (RET) William Wee was at SAFRA Mount Faber to join other SAFVL Management Committee members to attend the Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries (VECONAC) 33rd Executive Board Meeting and 20th General Assembly hosted virtually by Vietnam on 15 December 2021.
SWO (RET) William Wee with (from left) SAFVL Management Committee members LSW (RET) Judy Kong and LTC (RET) Bob Cheah at SAFRA Mount Faber to attend the VECONAC virtual meeting on 15 December 2021 .
SAFVL pays its respects to the late LT-GEN (RET) Rais Abin of Indonesia
SAFVL joined members from the 10-nation Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries (VECONAC) in observing a minute of silence at the VECONAC 20th General Assembly virtual meeting on 15 December 2021 as a mark of respect for Indonesia’s LT-GEN (RET) Rais Abin, who died on 25 March 2021.
General Rais Abin was Honorary President of Legiun Veteran Republik Indonesia (LVRI), and President of VECONAC from 2010 to 2012.
In August 2018, General Abin hosted a visit by VECONAC members who called on ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia.
General Abin is fondly remembered for his sterling service to VECONAC as President of VECONAC from 2010 to 2012. He was highly revered as a military leader and diplomat of national and international distinction.
LT-GEN (RET) Rais Abin (front row, ninth from left) hosted the visit by VECONAC members calling on ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi (centre) in August 2018 at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia. SAFVL President BG (RET) Winston Toh is fifth from right.
The SAFVL leadership and management committee members led by SAFVL President BG (RET) Winston Toh (front row, centre), joining VECONAC members in paying their respects in a one-minute silence, to the late LT-GEN (RET) Rais Abin, during the 20th General Assembly on 15 December 2021.
Thailand is VECONAC Chair in 2022
At the Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries (VECONAC) 20th General Assembly hosted virtually by Vietnam on 15 December 2021, Thailand was appointed VECONAC Chair for 2022.
In his acceptance speech, General Santasana Nantibhakhirund, Director-General of the War Veterans Organisation of Thailand, thanked outgoing VECONAC President Senior Lieutenant General (Retired) Nguyen Van Duoc, who is also President of Veterans Association of Vietnam, and his team, for their dedication and contribution to the success of the virtual VECONAC meetings during their tenure in 2020 and 2021.
General Santasana Nantibhakhirund added: “I hope that the situation of COVID-19 outbreak will become better very soon….so that we can see one another in-person…in the upcoming Working Committee Meeting that will be held in 2022 at Pattaya, Chonburi, in Thailand.”
SAFVL was led by its President BG (RET) Winston Toh, at the virtual meeting.
Thailand is VECONAC Chair in 2022. Incoming VECONAC President General Santasana Nantibhakhirund, who is Director-General of the War Veterans Organisation of Thailand, delivering his acceptance speech at the virtual VECONAC 20th General Assembly on 15 December 2021.
SAFVL attends virtual 2021 VECONAC Executive Board Meeting and General Assembly
The Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries (VECONAC) held its 33rd Executive Board Meeting and 20th General Assembly on 15 December 2021.
Conducted virtually and attended by all 10 ASEAN member countries, the meeting was hosted by Vietnam who held the VECONAC Chair for two years in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under normal circumstances, both meetings are held annually in the host country.
SAFVL was represented by its President BG (RET) Winston Toh, Vice President COL (RET) Lau Kee Siong, and Honorary Secretary LTC (RET) Swee Boon Chai.
Members of the SAFVL management committee and SAFRA were also present as observers.
In his closing address, outgoing VECONAC President Senior Lieutenant-General (Retired) Nguyen Van Duoc, who is also President, Veterans Association of Vietnam, said he believed the results achieved at the meeting met “the practical interests of the veterans of the 10 VECONAC member countries, contributing to peace, security and common prosperity of our region and the world.”
Thailand takes over as VECONAC Chair in 2022.
At the meeting, President SAFVL BG (RET) Winston Toh (seated front row, centre) and flanked by Vice President COL (RET) Lau Kee Siong (left), and Honorary Secretary LTC (RET) Swee Boon Chai. Seated behind them are observers from SAFRA and the SAFVL management committee.
The 10 Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries at the virtual 33rd Executive Board Meeting and 20th General Assembly on 15 December 2021.
SAFVL Management Committee visit to Singapore Discovery Centre, 'Through Lens of Time' Gallery.
The SAF Veterans' League Management Committee experienced one of Singapore Discovery Centre's latest Total Defence permanent galleries when they visited 'Through the Lens of Time' on 22 April 2021, as they travelled through Singapore's early history, key milestones and events. The exhibits showcases Singapore's beginnings and the tumultuous moments of past events such as the Japanese Occupation, Konfrontasi and the Sentosa Cable Car Tragedy and Rescue Mission.
A reminder not to take the peace we enjoy for granted
The ‘Konfrontasi’ Memorial Ceremony is an opportunity to remind this generation and the coming generations not to take peace for granted, said Guest-of-Honour Lieutenant-General (Retired) Winston Choo at the event held at Dhoby Ghaut Green opposite MacDonald House on Orchard Road on 10 March 2021.
LG (RET) Winston Choo, who was the first Singapore Armed Forces Chief of Defence Force from 1974 to 1992, said “standing up in the defence of our home and loved ones is the ultimate sacrifice we can give to our Nation.”
SAF Veterans’ League (SAFVL) President, Brigadier-General (Retired) Winston Toh, in his opening address, said the memorial service was to remember those who lost their lives and suffered.
It is also to honour those who fought valiantly for the survival of our nation during Konfrontasi,” he added.
Held outdoors on 10 March each year since the inaugural one in 2014, this year’s ‘Konfrontasi’ event was attended by some 50 people, with COVID-19 safe management measures in place.
The annual ceremony remembers those who lost their lives and suffered during Konfrontasi, particularly the dark day on 10 March, 1965, when a bomb planted by saboteurs at MacDonald House killed three persons and injured 33 others, all innocent civilians.
BG (RET) Winston Toh urged Singaporeans not to forget the impact of Konfrontasi. “Konfrontasi has reminded us to never take our peace and security for granted. In our ongoing fight against terrorism, there is no room for complacency. We need to strengthen our Total Defence pillars and brace ourselves to respond to an attack on our sovereignty.”
(From top left) Wreath and flowers laid at the Konfrontasi Memorial Ceremony. LG (RET) Winston Chew and BG (RET) Winston Toh giving an opening speech to never forget this fateful incident and may this be a lesson for us to remember those who have lost their lives during these times and never to take peace for granted. (From bottom left) BG (RET) Winston Toh and the SAFVL veterans who were mobilised during Konfrontasi, giving respect to the civilian victims and also soldiers who had fought and died during Konfrontasi.
Our pioneers have taught us that there is no trouble we cannot endure; no calamity we cannot overcome as a people
These were the sobering words from Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Education, at the 54th War Memorial Service in commemoration of the civilian victims of the Japanese Occupation, and Total Defence Day Commemoration, held on 15 February 2021 at the Civilian War Memorial on Beach Road.
The theme for this year's Total Defence campaign is "Together We Keep Singapore Strong". It focuses on the many ways we can put Total Defence into action in our daily life.
Our strongest response to any challenge facing Singapore is a collective one, where we stand together as one united people, Mr Lawrence Wong said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year's event was attended by only 50 representatives from Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI), MINDEF, inter-religious organisations, SAF Veterans' League, and the families of the war victims.
The annual event, co-organised by SCCCI and Central National Education Office of MINDEF (NEXUS), with SAF Veterans' League as strategic partner for the event's military proceedings, reminds us of what could happen to us if we cannot ourselves defend Singapore.
(From left) Mr Lawrence Wong and representative from SCCCI and SAFVL observe 1 minute of silence in memory of civilian victims of the Japanese Occupation. (Middle to right photo) Followed by the wreath laying ceremony at the Civilian War Memorial.
See below for the Total Defence Video.
For more details on the Civilian War Memorial event:
Lest We Forget: To remember and to honour those who have fought and died for freedom.
This year, the British High Commission, in partnership with SAF Veterans' League, organised the Virtual Remembrance Sunday Service which will be held online on Sunday, 8 Nov 2020 at 10.40am.
Watch a replay of the pre-recorded ceremony below.
SAFVL launches 30th Anniversary commemorative book
SAF Veterans’ League launched its 30th Anniversary commemorative book when SAFVL President BG (RET) Winston Toh presented a personal copy of the book to Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at MINDEF on 7 October 2020.
Personal copies were also presented to Senior Minister of State (Defence) Mr Zaqy Mohamad who is also President of SAFRA, and Chief of Defence Force LTG Melvyn Ong.
BG(RET) Winston Toh also visited LTG(RET) Winston Choo at his residence to present a personal copy to him. Gen Choo was the SAF’s Chief of Defence Force from 1974 to 1992.
SAFVL President BG (RET) Winston Toh presenting the SAFVL book to (from left) Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Senior Minister of State (Defence) Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Chief of Defence Force LTG Melvyn Ong, and LTG (RET) Winston Choo.