November 13, 2014

Beyond Horizons – Exploring the Republic of Singapore Navy Museum

By Aldric

Before I dive into my visit to the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Navy Museum, let’s talk about Converging Spheres Sdn Bhd (1112248-K).

About Converging Spheres & Why It Matters

Converging Spheres Sdn. Bhd. is a company founded by me and a friend. All we know is our company would be a procurement and sourcing consultancy. Big words. And we were struggling to give meaning to it.

We came up with a business model before its incorporation in October. But what it actually does and what value it provides remained ambiguous.

My partner had to attend a reservists’ training & promotion from October 29th to November 2nd. And since a vacation was long overdue for me, I decided to take the chance to go to Singapore. While in Singapore, I opted to visit the three services museum: the Republic of Singapore Air Force Museum, the Republic of Singapore Navy Museum and the Army Museum of Singapore.

And what began as a vacation ended up as a pilgrimage. I found more than I could have bargained for in the “red dot on the globe”. Now, here’s for the entry’s feature presentation:

From Sembawang to Changi

After I was done at the Republic of Singapore Air Force Museum (about noon, October 30th, 2014), I decided to go to the Republic of Singapore Navy Museum. Mr Sim of the RSAF Museum mentioned it was at Tanah Merah area – I caught no ball. So, en route I decided to listen to Google Maps. It sent me to the wrong place. I ended up in Sembawang Naval Base.

Let me show you how far apart it really is:

You see: both Google Map and the Singapore Ministry of Defense gave the same landmark: the RSN Museum is located by a Naval Base and near the SAF Yacht Club. Both Sembawang/Admiralty Road and Changi has it. So when I saw Google Maps, I thought: “this must be it!” Only at the Ministry of Defense page did I discover it is at Changi.

So I was there on October 31st, 2014 instead. I would not say the journey was a waste. I got to really explore Singapore. Thank goodness I took the Tourist Pass for MRT-LRT-Bus. (And that is why after I reached the Army Museum of Singapore, I have gone to all four corners of Temasek!)

RSN Museum Proper

The Museum is located next to the Changi Naval Base. Because of that I did not dare take any photos until I was in the building. Clarified it with one of the NSF stationed there.

As you’d expect, the 3-storey high museum covered the many aspects of the RSN. You are welcomed by the sight of the model of the various ships of the RSN. It was rather neat!

You will be able to watch the The Passage – A Midshipman’s Journey (Link) and several RSN careers video presentation. In the museum, you get to play with several simulators, touch casings of real underwater mines, and learn many more neat stuff! Sadly during my visit, the submarine exhibit was partially going through an upgrade.

Kids would definitely enjoy the many simulators, games and interactive tools to experience what the Navy-at-large goes through. Among them is the two-seater Bofors 40mm gun. It takes two persons to operate: one to aim and another to shoot.

BOFORS 40mm Gun at the Republic of Singapore Navy Museum

Of course, as you’d expect, there were many meaningful quotes and posters around.

“See how angry these birds can get.”

“Anti-Air. Anti-Ship. Anti-Sub. Anti-Boring.”

Before I bore you with selfies, let’s move to the “Exhibits of Nice Things” or “Uniforms”.

Ceremonial uniform for the Republic of Singapore Navy personnel.

Epaulette of the Ranks in the Republic of Singapore Navy.

The Take Away

Organisation of the Republic of Singapore Navy

“The Republic of Singapore Navy is the most efficient Navy in the Region” — That is the opinion I formulated from the museum.

But to be the most efficient, it did not happen overnight. Did you know its early fleet was made up of two wooden patrol ships?  Today the Republic of Singapore boasts 8 submarines, 6 frigates, 6 corvettes among many!

The island republic’s fleet did not grow in isolation. It participated and continues to participate in exercises with its ASEAN neighbours and foriegn countrerparts.

RSN Foreign Exercises (Bilateral (ASEAN)).

RSN Foreign Exercises – Multilateral

Based on its Facebook page,, the Republic of Singapore Navy just concluded a sea-to-shore exercise in Australia.

The Republic of Singapore relies heavily on two of its Armed Services: the Air Force and the Navy. The former is the first line of defense. The later is the second. Why? Radar detections  and aircraft mobilisation/response are usually faster. At the same time, the Navy continues its round-the-clock patrol in the waters of the Republic.

In times of peace, the threat to this maritime economy comes from pirates and potential terrorists. Since the 1800s, Singapore has been part of the East-West trading route. It continues to play that major until today. Keeping its shipping lanes safe is the Navy’s main priority.

But without participation in exercises and foreign operations, this vital muscle may loose its functionality. Like its air force, the navy was involved in several overseas operations including:

  1. The Iraq War
  2. Operation Enduring Freedom
  3. Task Force 151 – Anti-piracy in the Gulf of Aden
  4. Operation Flying Eagle – Tsunami Disaster Relief

Singapore’s defense philosophy, as a friend told me, is and has always been “let me help you now that you may help me later”. Indeed Singapore is more than wiling to help. The experiences gathered and the favours given would one day be returned.

On a civilian note, it is something that we in the Business Networking International (BNI), specifically my chapter BNI Signature, believes in: Givers Gain.

Only by giving first, will we gain. We believe in a symbiotic relationship. When I help you grow your business, you would like to reciprocate the favour. Here we are able to build trust and understanding. Key ingredients to building up our social capital and brand.

Next is how serious the Navy has seen itself and its role. Despite the lack of resources and experiences, its successive Chiefs of the Navy formulated goals and visions and fought for its realisation. Even when given second hand vessels, they made the best out of it. Needless to say – as my friend & BNI Signature member Kieran Chai of Konika Minolta shared – opportunities come to those who prepared themselves.

The Republic of Singapore sees its armed forces not just an instrument to defending its peace and sovereignty. I am starting to realise that the leaders see it as an opportunity to forge closer bilateral and multilateral ties. These ties are long-term strategies. The fruits may not be seen tomorrow or next week. Rather the returns would come, bountifully, decades in the future. Perhaps assuring Singapore’s security for another generation or two.

The main driving force [for the men] was to protect Singapore and be independent of our colonial masters so that we could chart out our own destiny.”

Converging Spheres Sdn Bhd (1112248-K) is not and will not be a defense force for either Sarawak or Malaysia. But my vision is that Converging Spheres becomes the No. 1 procurement and sourcing consultancy servicing the oil and gas and construction industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines (BIMP) Economic Corridor.

What do we do?

Converging Spheres brings visions to realities by connecting clients with the right suppliers and vendors at the right time. In addition to that, we help clients take control of the whole supply chain so that it will be a win-all situation – for client, company and vendors.

Like the Navy, we will use what we have at hand and make the best out of it. We will prepare ourselves by adopting and adapting strategies such as lean entrepreneurship, content marketing and education marketing strategies as well as being a learning organisation.

At the end of the day, our goal is to chart out our own economic and commercial destinies as a nation.