If Benjamin Kim could become a superhero, he would choose to be Superman because – he asks rhetorically – “have you seen Superman?”.
But Kim doesn’t have to dream. He’s already Superman, or at least as close to being one as humanly possible. As an aviation professional, he is part of a team of unsung heroes who carry the weight of national security on their shoulders. Like Superman, they take to the skies to ensure the safety of those back on Earth.
It’s a mission Kim has taken on with pride for the past 26 years. He’s a receiver of the Sword of Honour, which is only given to the top cadets, and also a holder of the F-16 and F-15 top pilot awards. “I want to ensure Singapore’s rule of law and way of life is preserved. I have lived in many places and I wholeheartedly support the way things are done here,” he says. “The question, ‘we are so safe, why do we need to spend so much on defence?’ is something I would like to change. It’s a misconception. We are so safe because we spend so much on defence.”
The need for defence may be necessary, but it isn’t a fact Kim takes joy in. “I would like to end all wars and physical conflicts because no one wins in a war. You only get death and destruction. But humans have been fighting since before recorded history so I have little faith in this,” he confesses.
Despite his accomplishments, Kim is modest about the impact he has made, saying: “I don’t believe I have any meaningful legacy.” It’s a statement that many Singaporeans would probably disagree with as they sleep safely and soundly in their beds at night.