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Army Open House

September 6th, 2009

The story goes that a huge group of National Servicemen, who all spend 5 tough days a week stuck in camp, decided to spend more time in a military environment. And so they all went for the Army Open House today, on a beautiful Saturday which normally is very treasured by them.

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Another story mentions something about them being forced to attend the event, but I’m not clear on the exact details of that. Maybe you can decided for yourself.

Anyway, so there were cool war machines.

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Maybe one day the military forces around the world will understand that by just selling off one of their war machines, they have enough money to travel to a third-world country, feed every single hungry child in the slums for some years, and then attain the status of God and maybe even immortality. Also, you would probably have done enough good in this world to go to heaven twenty-three times over.

There were a few booths and areas that had us laughing our sanity away.

Like how they renamed the grueling ‘Standard Obstacle Course’ (which has a lower passing rate than the toughest Additional Mathematics test you took in school) to ‘Adventure Land’.

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And how the horrible, acne-inducing camouflage cream is being introduced as FACE PAINTING to the public.

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Posting Order

August 19th, 2009

Basic Section Leader Course concluded last Friday, after 8 weeks of training as an infantry specialist.

And with that, I’m posted out to another vocation.

My condolences to my fellow comrades who got posted back to infantry, and will continue with the Advanced Section Leader Course. Spending the whole two years of your army life in infantry must really- *emotion censored by Official Secrets Act*.

There are the happy people who were posted to Provost. A highly selective group of honorable, honest and well-behaved bastards who have such clean history that the military police would want them.

There are the lucky people who were posted to Air Force. A highly selective group of lucky kids who probably don’t need to carry a rifle or wear the kevlar helmet for the rest of their national service.

And there are the confused people who were posted to CBRE. A highly selective group of expendable and insurance-covered dogs whose duty requires them to stand up against major active terrorist threats, and not some imaginary enemy the rest of the defence force is preparing for. They are also known as the bomb squad.

I happen to one of those expendable and insurance-covered dogs.

CBRE, which is Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives in full, is exactly what it is.

We deal with chemicals that burn your eyeballs out. We deal with biological nanobots attack that may destroy the entire eco-system. We deal with radioactive things like… North Korea. And we go around defusing explosive mines that those infantry bastards planted, or unexploded bombs that those Air Force kids dropped.

Just kidding. We do nothing but suffer in training, actually.

I have read, online, the horrors of being in the unit.

But what I don’t understand is this:

Why must we dig shellscrapes in the chemical-proof suit that seems like winter-wear for Antarctica, when we just need to deal with terrorists threats?

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Outside: Total coolness. Total protection.

Inside: Living hell of sweat, heat and tears.


National Day Parade ’09

August 10th, 2009

As…. usual.

My family made our way down to the ridiculously packed City Hall area for a glimpse of the National Day Parade. As with many other years.

The differences this year:
1) The Police decided to close down the routes to prime locations [to view the parade] early, leaving these best spots hardly full, while the other lousy locations packed.
2) The fireworks were bad. So bad. It may probably be the shortest display of fireworks I’ve ever seen. My family thought the display was simply a prelude to the big, real thing.
3) My photos are utterly terrible this year.


Workaround

August 8th, 2009

This could be a fictional piece from World War II. Or maybe a recount from today’s highly modern world of iPods and broadband. I say it’s the former. You decide.

I don’t like camps. Friends who went through them first told me what they were like. I didn’t want to go. I knew what I was going to.

We had to dig. For about six to eights hours, we just swung the blade at the hard ground. Rocks. Tree roots. Insect nests. The earthwork was about two feet deep, maybe three. The length of your body. Mud, water and sandbags. You slept on the bare soil, if you could, in an unchanged clothing you’ve been wearing for the past few days. Filthy.

Through the days you don’t get to bath. We have powder, but the comfort doesn’t last that long. When you get home, you feel like burning your clothing instead of washing them.

The helmets were like meeting hell, in reverse. You sweat from your head, your hair, a lot. And the helmets cover these areas well. They trap sweat, dirt and mud very well. And whenever we were made to put on our full gear, the helmet would instantly kill whatever little optimistic we have left.

And the insects were merciless. Sandflies. Mosquitoes. And even ants with huge jaws. For each of them, they had their own bite. And for each bite, there was its own itch. And for each itch, there was its own way of driving you mad, scratching till you get scars all over.

Sleep. Can never be a comfortable thing, but you were just that tired. But you couldn’t. You have to be on duty, on guard. Should anyone infiltrate your base, that was it. During dawn and dusk, you could have a doze. Not much more. Six in the morning, six in the evening, stand-to and you had to chew on biscuits to stay awake.

I need a break for now.


42 Days

August 8th, 2009

That’s how long it has been since my last entry.

Blogging just simply fell out of my list of routine to-do’s as I still struggle to lead a normal civilian life outside of Army. And I have two days (weekends) out of each week to do that.

I still check and read through the 25 odd emails I receive every day. I still keep myself updated with blogs and news. I still follow TV series, movies, anime and manga. And I still monitor my little portfolio of stocks.

Which all takes up 130% of my time, even as I try to accomplish as much these tasks as possible in camp, using the mobile broadband on my phone I specially signed up for.

I’m the guy who lies awake in bed after lights-out timing, updating himself on the daily stock market activities in the darkness using his phone, while half of his bunk mates are chatting away to their girlfriends and parents. The other half are sleeping seven hours a day, about 1-2 precious hours more than me.

The first phase of my School of Infantry Specialist (SISPEC) is coming to an end. I’m left with one more week of the Basic Section Leader Course (BSLC), which is pretty much just a graduation parade and cleaning up everything before we leave. Life has been better, but it still has to improve.


Licence to uh-

June 28th, 2009

I obtained my private boating licence over the week, mailed to me after I passed my final practical test over my block leave.

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So now I can go out and drive a yacht in the highly cramped waters of Singapore.

Powered Pleasure Craft Driving Licence sounds like I am now capable of operating this mechanical sex machine or something.

I have this personal goal of obtaining all the licences for all the elements of travelling – on land, on water and through air. I did intended to take up piloting a few months ago, but it was unrealistic on the long term as National Service would disrupt my course. I’ll get my driving license sorted out within the next few months.

Uh. Well.

RIP Michael.

It’s utterly sad to know that someone who is so massively talented died in his life’s low, when preparing for his comeback. I don’t know. Let me go shuffle and play my iPod’s MJ albums.


Moving Forward

June 21st, 2009

I’ve been posted to the School of Infantry Specialists, also commonly known in the Army as SISPEC and Suffer In Silence Plus Extra Confinement.

It’s basically a course to become a Sergeant, and you’ll pass out from it as a 3rd-Sergeant after 6 months.

I’m not too sure what to make of it, and there are many differing opinions on how life is like in there.

So, anyway, you may have already noticed, I’ve changed the photo of the homepage. It’s a cropped image from one of my Passing Out Parade photos. I guess it reflects better on my current status.

Today is also the last day of my 12-days block leave, which apparently is the longest holiday I have in the whole of my NS. It’s quite a sad and difficult fact to comprehend.


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