901 In the Army

Michael from Singapore talks a little about serving in his country's army.


Clare: Hello this is Clare from the United States and I am talking with Mike from Singapore about serving in the army. Mike I've heard that in Singapore it is required that all men serve in the army. Is that true?

Mike: Yes that's true. We have to serve in the army for two and a half years if you're a university graduate. And if you ....your highest qualification is high school then you have to do just two years.

Clare: So it's better to volunteer right out of high school if you want to serve a very short time in the military.

Mike: That's right. But, however if you are just out of high school the kind of job you're gonna (going to) get in the army is not going to be very .......good actually because um ..... for officers or for sergeants you have to have, like, at least college education.

Clare: Oh ok, so you went to the army out of high school or college?

Mike: College.

Clare: Ah, so you were an officer?

Mike: No, I was artillery sergeant .... an' um, I was actually posted to the artillery branch for about one year and then after that when they found out I was a college graduate I had to do um..... Human Resource work for my camp and that took me another one year.

Clare: Oh, so when you say "artillery" do you mean you were ah ..... doing stuff with canons and big guns .....

Mike: That's right , actually what we do is a lot of the training is based on how we get the guns ready for the actual um......test firing And then we have to study how to repair the guns on site um ..... for about three months or so, and in order to drive the guns you have to have a license which, and that will take about one month.

Clare: And is it a common sight to see these trucks driving around Singapore I mean it's a very small island isn't it?

Mike: That's right. So we do most of our practises in Australia actually or New Zealand for

Clare: So you have a military partnership with Australia....

Mike: Right..

Clare: ..and New Zealand...

Mike: Actually with many other countries in the world. Um....for example, the airforce the partnership is with the United States...

Clare: Oooh...

Mike: ..because all the equipment's actually purchased from the United States

Clare: Yeah, F16's right...

Mike:.. and then for artillery's training is held in Australia and New Zealand and then for the rest of the other infantry exercises it can be United States or Sweden or actually all over Asia, because as you have mentioned Singapore is such a small place so there is not a much space for us to do it.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


All men serve in the army.

We work, for example, in a company, but we serve in politics or the military.  Note the following:

  1. He served in the Navy for six years.
  2. The President never served in the military.


I was actually posted to the artillery branch.

Artillery is a section of the military that uses very large guns.  Note the following:

  1. It is very loud where I live because my house is near an artillery range.
  2. He wanted to be a pilot but was put in artillery instead.

on site

We have to study how to repair the guns on site.

Things that are done on site happen at the place where people work.  Note the following:

  1. The copy machine repairman fixed the machine on site.
  2. All managerial decisions are made on site.


So you have a military partnership with Australia.

The word 'partnership' most often talks about a business relationship.  Note the following:

  1. My university has a partnership with a college in Germany, so I can study there if I want.
  2. The two companies signed a partnership to share research.


The other infantry exercises are in the United States or Sweden.

The infantry is the part of the military that fights on the ground.  Note the following:

  1. Soldiers with few skills are usually put in the infantry.
  2. To be in the infantry, all you need is a uniform, some boots, and a rifle.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
serve • artillery • on site
 partnership • infantry
  1. They are trying to form a with Mexico.
  2. Almost all the other members were killed by the bomb.
  3. How many years did you in the Navy?
  4. Are the clothes made ?
  5. He lost hearing from using heavy every day in combat.