To have both brains and brawn, Keng Swee and I started to induct some of our ablest students into the Singapore Armed Forces SAF in 1971. We selected some of the best officer cadets each year for SAF overseas scholarships to study at Oxbridge and other universities in Britain where they did a full academic course in the humanities, engineering or the prifessions. During their student years they received full pay as lieutenants, besides a scholarship that paid for all fees, board and lodging and other needs abroad. They had to sign a bond to serve for eight years after graduation. But within that period, they would be sent to America or Britain on two, often three courses: first, specialist training whether in artillery, armour or signals; in mid-career, staff and command in America or Britain; and finally a course in public or business administration at a top American university such as Harvard or Stanford.
By 1995 four former SAF scholars, have risen to senior positions, entered politics and later became cabinet ministers.
From Third World to First
-Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew
Singapore Press Holdings / Times Editions
Photo: October 8, 2015. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean meeting Singapore Armed Forces soldiers undergoing jungle training in Temburong, Brunei, yesterday. He was on a four-day visit that ended yesterday as part of the 3rd Young Leaders' Programme, jointly organised by Singapore and Brunei to encourage exchanges between the younger generation of political office-holders. The team included Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Ministers of State Indranee Rajah and Sim Ann, and Minister of State Chee Hong Tat.