Joshua Pun

What are you doing now?

I have just completed my National Service (NS) as an officer of the Singapore Armed Forces, in Singapore. As I was born in Singapore, by law, I was required to serve my country for a 22-month period as a Full Time National Servicemen (NSF).

What route did you take up to this point?

As mentioned previously, because I was born in Singapore, so it is by law that I have to serve.

In terms of how I became an officer, is a different story. First, I did my Basic Military Training (BMT), which lasted for two months. I finished the course in the top 20% of my cohort and therefore was posted to Specialist Cadet School (SCS). I was extremely disappointed by my posting, as I had wanted to be posted to Officer Cadet School (OCS). I spent the next the two months undergoing Foundation Term in SCS and at the end of it; I was the top 5% in my cohort (1000 cadets) and was eventually selected to crossover to OCS. I spent another seven months doing the infantry officer cadet course, which was finally completed on 18 January 2014 where I commissioned as an Officer of the Singapore Armed Forces.

Any significant crossroads?

There wasn’t much for me to decide as a full time national service man, meaning that whatever our appointment or job that we have to do is pre-determined so there is actually very little that we can choose. The only significant one was when I actually considered signing on (meaning join the forces as a career), all the paper work was signed and everything went through, until the very final stage where they actually forgot to schedule me for an interview. That meant if I still wanted to join the forces in the vocation I wanted, I had to do the Officer Cadet Course (known to be one of the toughest) twice. That’s what made me reconsider.

What have you learnt most about yourself?

My nine months of Officer training has been such an amazing experience because it has allowed me to truly discover who I am. I have learnt that I am able to achieve more than I possibly thought I could. What I previously thought was my limit, was never it. I am able to push myself and go much further.  So usually one might always overestimate oneself, but for me, I have learnt not to underestimate myself.

What words of wisdom would you give to a student joining DHSB in Year 7?

I think I have been heavily influenced by the army life so my values have changed dramatically before enlisting so do excuse me. But for me, I would say, simply, always have integrity and in everything you do, always do your very best so you will not have any regrets! Be able to see your dream, believe in it, go for it and never give up.

And for a Sixth Former leaving DHSB?

To be honest, I believe that education isn’t everything in life. Yes, it is important, it is necessary, but it isn’t everything. How you choose to live your life, and what you choose to do, is what will define you as a person. It is the reason why people will remember and be inspired by you.

So however good or bad you have done in your A-Levels, the real challenge in life, the most important part, will not be in your studies but the time after that. When you truly have to step out in the world and decide who you want to be.

Any fond memories of school you can share?

I will never forget my Biology lessons with Mr Widdecombe during Sixth Form. Never have I loved attending a lesson so much.

I also had good memories of my music lessons; there were only five of us doing A level Music so it was always very practical and interactive. Even though we all had a completely different taste in music, it was such a pleasure to be able to learn from each other and widen our knowledge!

Do you have a message for any of your old teachers?

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Widdecombe for being such a fantastic teacher. I absolutely loved every minute and I would always dream to sit back in his lessons again.

Mr Widdecombe, continue to teach how you taught us, because believe it, we (the class you taught) still talk about how much we enjoyed your lessons. We will always remember your amazing ability to keep us interested and teach us well in Biology!

Thank you Mr Widdecombe!