How I met my mother-in-law
While most people would have first met their wife-to-be, followed by their in-laws, Captain (CPT) Rudie Imran did the reverse. He first met his wife’s mother, 2nd Warrant Officer (2WO) Saloma Binte Johari, as a young lieutenant while serving in the 2nd People’s Defence Force (2 PDF) Training Centre. 2WO Saloma was the Chief Admin Supervisor there.
As fate would have it, his father-in-law, 2WO (Ret) Mawi Bin Mohd, was serving in the SAF too. Yes, it is a little complicated so we let the family do the talking instead.
How did you meet your wife?
CPT Rudie: It was at a unit event celebrating Hari Raya. 2WO Saloma’s daughter (who is now my wife) was one of those who were asked to perform and I was also performing. We dated secretly for a few months before I told 2WO Saloma!
2WO (Ret) Mawi: We knew! People would come up to tell me “your daughter going out with this young lieutenant, you know!” Before Rudie she had other boyfriends too but I told my daughter “now is study time, trust me, you will get a better man.”
What’s the best thing about having family who are also in the SAF?
CPT Rudie: They understand what is going on and why I have to stay late in camp sometimes. But it also means that I can’t lie about having to work late then sneak off to do other things, because my in-laws’ network is so wide, they would surely find out!
2WO Saloma: For my son, Sadali, I used to take him along to unit healthy lifestyle runs on weekends and sometimes I would bring him along to work. So when NS came around for him, I think he didn’t get too much of a shock!
CPT Rudie: During big events like SAF Day and National Day Parade, it can feel like the whole family is involved too. We would call each other and ask for help on certain things.
Does being in the SAF mean that you expect more from your children?
2WO Saloma: Our standards were higher in terms of discipline. We expected them to show respect and also be responsible for their own things.
2WO (Ret) Mawi: I used to set out certain tasks for them which they had to complete daily. If they didn’t do it and went to bed instead, I would wake them up in the middle of the night to finish the task.
How has being in the SAF influenced your family?
2WO (Ret) Mawi: There aren’t any specific SAF influences but we do bring back stories to tell our children. For example, I was deployed to East Timor (now called Timor-Leste) in 2002 and I saw how bad conditions were over there.
When I came back, I told my children about how the people lived in East Timor. I particularly remember the mission: We had to climb mountains to receive satellite signals to call our families.
CPL (NS) Sadali: Hearing these stories makes us appreciate what we have here.
2WO Saloma: The main thing is discipline and knowing the right things to do at the right time. Without these, everything will go haywire. Luckily, our children have been quite easy to manage.
PNR: What is it like having parents in the military?
CPL (NS) Sadali: Like being on Pulau Tekong! People always think that if your parents are in the military, your upbringing must be very strict but it was not that bad, really. In a way, being strict is also a good thing because we all grew up fine.
2WO (Ret) Mawi: How I learnt to relate to my children was through the NS boys (Full-time National Servicemen) and NSmen (Operationally Ready National Servicemen) under my charge throughout my career in the SAF. Getting to know new people all the time was one of the perks of the job.
2WO Saloma: We manage soldiers and we see some of the issues they have, and we can share with the children when we come home.