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Interview with LTA Kuek Jia Yao, former NCC cadet

Story by 3SG Marcus Choy

After years in the Corps, many of our NCC cadets eventually decide to sign on and serve with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).


One such cadet was LTA Kuek Jia Yao, who joined the Corps in 2009 at Secondary One. He signed up to be in the NCC as he has a passion for all things related to army. He remembered a time when he was a “curious 9-year-old trying out my dad’s face paint for the first time – unfortunately I forgot to use the black camo paint, and ended up with a Hulk-like face!”

“NCC taught me many things – even as my friends and I had much fun along the way, NCC teaches you how to respectfully interact with your peers,” said LTA Kuek when we asked about some of the memories he had of NCC. He mentioned that he learnt to moderate his actions and expectations when he is in a group, citing Tuckman’s Theory on group development.


LTA Kuek felt that NCC was a place where he was able to explore and learn, he told us, “I am grateful that we as cadets and ultimately, specialists, were allowed to explore and learn in a safe environment – thanks to the boundaries set by our Teacher Officers”.


One of the highlights of his time in the NCC was representing Singapore in the International Cadet Exchange Programme USA (ICEP USA), he appreciated the opportunity and still treasures the memories it holds that he still visits his ICEP host in South Carolina to this day.

Participating in an E-Gaming Competition with his batch mates and winning the Orienteering Competition were some notable highlights as well. He says, “These achievements are not what makes these experiences memorable – it was the friends and mentors around that lent these events their significance.”

As an advice to future and current NCC cadets he urges them to experience NCC and school life fully, “Don’t use this as a blanket excuse to do foolish things but to learn from your missteps. As a teacher and mentor once said to me – that’s what school is for!”


When asked why he signed on with the SAF, he shared that it took him a while to deliberate over what he wanted to achieve in his future career. He added that “decisions like these do not solely revolve around you and do consider those around you – who you have a responsibility towards, and who you want to make an impact for. Your actions affect others – what impact are you making?”