Sometime ago, we were invited to a fun day out at Changi Naval Base and to attend the sending-off ceremony of the RSS Tenacious which would be deployed to the Gulf of Aden as part of Singapore’s commitment to international counter-piracy efforts.
Now I don’t know about you, but I am super eager to have my kids meet some real soldiers and learn about the mean stuff real pirates do and how our soldiers help protect us from them. I mean, every mother – and I say this with respect – with boys need to teach their kids that pirates ARE NOT GOOD GUYS and Jake, Cubby and Izzy in Jake and the Neverland Pirates will never ever be seen in real life.
So off we went to Changi Naval Base where I was really looking forward to burst that ‘Ahoy-Matey-Yo-Ho-Ho’ bubble.
We were first taken on a guided tour at the Navy Museum, and what an enlightening experience it was. We learned about the various missions in which the Navy provided relief and assistance for, the equipment and weapons the Navy use to safeguard maritime security, as well as how the Singapore Navy became the modern and integrated maritime fighting force we know today.
The kids were excited to be looking at big guns and model vessels…
As well as try on mini-sized Navy uniforms… (pity there was no extra extra small for Nat!)
I just had to get my children to learn how to salute after they put on those uniforms. Here’s a salute to all of you out there keeping our shores and seas safe. Thank you for doing a great job!
After staying a while at the Navy Museum, we headed to the Naval Base itself (we’ve gotten security clearance for that) where we witnessed the sending off ceremony of the RSS Tenacious. The RSS Tenacious (a formidable-class multi-role stealth frigate), together with a Republic of Singapore Air Force Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter and a 151-strong task force were off to counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden for three months.
These are men and women with families and loved ones, and they rock big time, putting their lives on the line. These are sons, fathers, brothers, daughters and sisters volunteering to go and rising beyond their call of duty so we can have safer seas, not pirate-infested ones. And while we waited to wave our goodbyes – and I knew it would be so much harder for that little girl who stood next to us waving goodbye to her daddy – I said a prayer thanking God for these men and women that are doing Singapore proud. I don’t know how these people do it; I had no one I knew onboard and yet my heart ached so much just to know that peace comes at such a sacrifice and these people are saying goodbye to the people they love who would be gone for three whole months on a potentially dangerous mission.
I also took the chance to tell Ben and Becks, who were piqued with so much curiosity as to why we have to say goodbye to these men in blue uniforms – that piracy is no joke, that there’s no such thing as a good pirate these days, and that we need brave people like them who would safeguard the seas so we can all sleep in peace. Even Captain Hook who is nice enough to sometimes return Jake and his friends their treasures isn’t a real representation of these baddies who would attack oil tankers and merchant vessels with big guns and sophisticated weapons.
“So pirates are not good guys, Mama?” Ben asked after I explained. “Awww…”
Yep, bubble’s burst. Not cartoon series, not movie here eh. We’re talking about real dangers, hello?
After the farewell, we proceeded with a windshield tour of the Naval Base to check out more vessels and submarines, which was way too cool for common folks like you and me to grasp. Unless you were with the Navy, you never would be seeing this…
Awesome much, don’t you think?
It was a really meaningful day out for our family, and we were so touched by the hospitality and friendliness of our hosts who are proud and passionate people who believe in what they do. We’re really privileged to get this opportunity, and I really have the good people from the Republic of Singapore Navy to thank.
The Navy Museum at Changi Naval Base is open to the public and admission is free. It’s open from 9am to 5pm from Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 3pm on Saturdays. For more information, visit the Museum’s website. Guided tours are available for 10 people or more.
If you would like send your support to the 151 people onboard the RSS Tenacious and give them a virtual pat of their backs, you can leave messages of encouragement and love at the Singapore Navy’s Sea of Support page. Connect with the Republic of Singapore Navy on their facebook page for updates on their latest events and missions.