Service to the nation
The Kallang Roar of the 70’s once captured the attention of a nation, winning over the hearts and minds of thousands who were fortunate enough to witness our own footballing spectacle.
Touted as the Golden Age of Singapore football, these players would go on to achieve regional and international feats that would go unsurpassed for decades to come.
Paramasivam Packirisamy knows firsthand what it feels like to share a bunk with the Kallang Roar.
The reverberations still feel as raw as it did 50 years ago.
“Allapitchay and Eric – gentlemen both on and off the field,” a stout and well spoken Packirisamy said, referring to Samad Allapitchay and Eric Paine – two of Singapore’s fabled footballing sons.
They were usually excused most days to go for football trainings the 70-year-old adds.
Having joined the Public Utilities Board as a senior technician in 1966, Packirisamy was conscripted into the army at the age of 24 on 27th September 1968. His first child was less than a year when he was asked to report for service.
“I had no choice – this was my only way to get a promotion at work.”
An injury a few months after his Basic Military Training changed the course of his NS life. Unfit for regular training, he got transferred and reported to Pearl’s Hill daily.
Here, he would be out-stationed across the island for crow culling – a job outsourced to the army in the early 70’s.
His new vocation granted him the chance to go home daily – something he looked forward to as the sole bread winner of a young family.
“Crow culling was not something I fancied doing, but I couldn't complain,” he said. “I got to see my family everyday.”
Text by Prabhu Silvam
This was part of a feature on Esquire Singapore on national service veterans.