Phrases Used in NS & Army (Eg ROD) That Every Singaporean Should Know


Last Updated on 2023-06-27 , 12:25 pm

You’ve probably heard of ORD, but what does it actually stand for?

In the world of the Singaporean military, words often acquire a unique interpretation.

To the uninitiated, the ORD meaning in Singapore or the term ROD NS might sound like mystifying acronyms.

However, these terms and many others are integral to the everyday vocabulary of recruits and old hands alike.

If you’re prepping to enlist soon, this engaging primer could be your saving grace and might even spice up your weekend chats.

Phrases Used In NS Like ROD

“The wall is falling!”

Hear that, and you’d better pull away from that wall or alert your pals who are resting against it.


For reasons known best to BMT sergeants, they seem to think that you are heroically preventing a disaster by holding up the wall.

“Wait for RO.”

This phrase is usually associated with reservists—veterans who reunite annually for networking, insurance selling, and, um, hydration sessions.

“Waiting for RO” translates to “relax but don’t wander off.” And yes, we often found ourselves in the RO-waiting phase post-lunch.

“Orh, jialat liaoz, must sign 1206”

The army loves its numbers, but 1206 is one you’ll encounter frequently. If you’re told to sign 1206, you’ve lost something and need to reimburse the cost.


Even if you’ve skipped your meals, you might still end up needing to sign 1206, as one of my mates found out.

The Meaning of “Attend C” in Army Context

It’s an odd quirk, but “Attend C” in army speak is equivalent to being on Medical Certificate (MC). Attend B means light duties, while Attend A has no particular meaning.

“ORD” and “ROD”

Many people jumble up ORD and ROD, but here’s the crucial distinction.

ORD, which can be used as a verb, refers to the completion of one’s full-time national service, whether it’s the compulsory two years or longer for regulars.

On the other hand, ROD NS, also usable as a verb, signifies when one has fulfilled ALL commitments to the army, including the annual reservist trainings.

So, in a personal context, I’ve ORDed (finished my two years), but I have yet to ROD (still obligated to return for training yearly).

These terms have become so ingrained in our culture that I believe every Singapore resident should understand them.

During a recent downpour, I turned to my friend and asked, “Got Cat 1?” I wasn’t talking about a feline—it’s yet another unique army phrase.

So there you have it—a snapshot of the vibrant linguistic landscape of Singapore’s military.

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