ORD LOH!!!

This is a long overdue reflection of my days in Army. But here it is!

I can remember vividly the first day of my enlistment. The night before, Tammy and I were packing what extra stuff I would need in BMT, writing my name on all my barang. I was writing T. KWOK but she was writing THOMAS. K and we were discussing which would be better. The next morning, my parents, Tammy and I were in Tekong and I handed over my pink IC, never to be seen for 1 year and 10 months. And so my Army journey began.

I was in PEGASUS company and I had such wonderful memories there. BMT wasn’t like our father’s days where they beat you down and mould you up. But these days, it’s more of learning from experiences. The people in my section and platoon were awesome. I think my buddy Qing Fa deserves a special mention. I call him Raf, short for Raphael, his Christian name. We shared crazy times together, being punished together for some one else’s mistake, covering each other’s asses. He saved me from guard duty once by leaping onto my rifle and I saved him from a huge centipede crawling on his helmet. They say that in BMT, or Army in general, your buddy will become the most important person in your life for that 2 years. It’s true. Without his encouragement and support, I wouldn’t have made it through the tough times in BMT. Of  course my section was there for each other too. I’m glad that we all turned out ok and had awesome postings after POP. It was a joyous and sad moment, to finally complete our BMT phase but leave your friends for different pastures. I was fortunate and privileged to go to OCS after BMT, much to the joy of my girl. But I owe it to my friends in Pegasus platoon 4, and more importantly, platoon 4 section 2.

My 4D number in pegasus was 4209.

Once in OCS, I realised that BMT was just the appetiser. OCS made the tough times in BMT look like a stroll in the park. It was there that I was stripped down to nothing and treated like dirt. It was there that I made a foolish mistake, I committed a Negligent Discharge, which resulted in a 14 RCP (cadet version of SOL) right after my 10 day field camp. So essentially I couldn’t go home for about a month. And Tammy was leaving for London 2 days after my RCP ended. Those were trying times for me. Being stuck in camp gave me time to think about my existence in Army, ponder about my sufferings in OCS. I never had a conclusion then. But again, I had the support of my wonderful section mates. GOLF Wing Platoon 1 Section 3. And my buddies Yao Hui and then Josh. Both of whom has helped me greatly.

In OCS, there’s a saying that goes: When you’re suffering, look left and look right, your buddies are suffering with you; you are not alone. Without my buddies, I would never have completed OCS service term, got my first GOLD for IPPT, dug the cursed fire trench, navigated in the jungle and most importantly, reach the glorious commissioning day. It was in Golf wing that I saw the best in a man. How self-sacrificing my buddies can be, how they stick their necks out for their friends, how they bounce back from adversity stronger than before and their fighting spirit to achieve what has their goals. Never had I felt camaraderie as strong as this and my only wish was that I were half as good as the men they were.

My 4D numbers in OCS were 1309 then1301

After service term, I was lucky to enter the artillery formation. A new twist to all the infanteering that we had done since BMT. New relationships were forged and lessons learnt. Here in FAOCC (Field Artillery Officer Cadet Course), I saw, again, the best in a man but also the worst in a man. I will not describe the ill things I have seen. I have learnt many new skills and values but the most important of all was integrity. Be true to yourself and be true to your friends. In artillery, we had tough times and joyful times. Never had I taken a longer exam in my life, a 4 hour planning exam beats the longest A level paper hands down. Fast march with at least half our body weight. But we had fun times in the officers mess too.

My 4D numbers were X301 then L101

Finally the awaited day came. We received our swords and our graduating certs but my proudest moment was marching into the parade square during the commissioning parade. My parents and Tammy were there. Tammy came back from London for my commissioning. All the blood, sweat and tears and memories condensed into that 1 bar that I will wear on my chest till the end of my service as a NSmen.

Yes, blood, sweat and tears. Blood, sweat and tears that my buddies and I have shed for 9 months, finally came to an end.

Now being an officer is a whole new ball game. I was posted to 21SA as the Dy S3. Life was very eventful and again, many lessons were learnt. My upper study was very helpful and experienced and he taught me the ways of the Dy S3. Gone were the days trying to shirk responsibility, every morning when I come down from work, that bar on my chest reminds me that it’s time to start performing, living it up. Again it all boils down to responsibility and integrity. Responsible for my work and the guys in the branch and integrity to hold myself together. I have learned that command and control is not only outwards and directed to your men, but also inwards to command and master yourself.

I would like to thank the guys in my branch for teaching me so much, all the precious lessons I’ve learnt, I shall never forget. Gary, Isaac, Desmond, Teng, John, Kai Sheng, Kuan Wei, Chang Lok, Ryan, Rong, Beng, Heng Sui, Roy, Ananda, Fabian, Xerxes, Chee Kiong, Kelvin and of course my beloved Dy S2, Boon Bin and understudies Philbert and Suresh. Not forgetting my batch of officers: Ian Yang, Erusha, Mervin, Rakesh, Zong Ye, Nicholas and BSO Zhide. Thank you for making my life a joy in 21 SA.

During my life in 21 SA, I’ve been to Wallaby and Thunder Warrior. A rare privilege that I am most thankful for. ORD was bittersweet, I’m finally out of a regimented organisation, free to pursue my fancies but also to leave my friends behind.

Finally, for those who would say that Army is a waste of time, I beg to differ. I have learned so much and gained much more out of Army than I would in 2 years in any other organisation. When pushed to the extremes, the true colours of people will emerge and trust me when I say I have seen the best and the worst in people. There are many role models that we can find in army but also many negative examples. Army is what we make of it. Everyone is faced with the same 2 years, you can only gain as much as what you put into it. For those who have yet to enter Army, go in with an open mind and seek to learn new knowledge. For those who are still in Army, try to learn as much as you can and to try new things. For those who have come and gone, don’t forget the things that you have learned back in your glory days.

As of now, my days in Army has drawn to a close and a chapter of my life come to an end. I regret nothing and I am proud to say that I am no longer a boy but a man.

ORD loh!

Army Revelations

Revalations that I had while being stuck in camp for the weekend. Not for punishment but to serve the nation in case somebody decides to do something funny. So I’m ALERT during the weekend to cover the nations hind so we can all go shop, watch HARRY POTTER, eat and play with peace of mind.

Officership in the SAF is quite a lonely job. There’re loads of men and specialists who are waiting for an opportunity to undermine what you do. Some times it’s just healthy seargent vs officer rivalry but to some it can be an obsession if the officer is a real mess up and well…messes things up on a daily basis. It’s comforting to know that most of the men in my unit are friendly to us officers and not officer-adverse since we don’t torture them and stuff. So we do get their respect and sometimes sympathy when we are arrowed to do officer-specific jobs like being on 2 NTM for a week, being safety officer or having to conduct all sorts of stuff.

Being in the army is like being in a two year dream. You wake up and everyone’s in the future. Take a look at your female JC friends, driving cars, second year in university, new stuff. Take a look at your phone, you’re 2 years behind technologically speaking. You haven’t found the time to watch a movie that was screened two years ago. People talking about things that you haven’t even heard of. Off you go to uni and every single morsel of academia has evaporated from your brain. v = u + at seems, at most, vaguely familiar. It’s the start of real life and the end of the dream. It’s like being a stranger in your own land. I used to be able to teach tuition, now I can hardly remember anything. Sometimes, it’s not fair. Why we are called to serve our nation, forfeiting 2 years of our lives to defend a nation whom nobody believes will stand the tide of war. How can we have faith in the army if the very people whom we defend have no faith in it. Is army just a waste of 2 years of our lives? 2 years and more because of reservice. I beg to differ.

The army has taught me many life lessons that the normal pursuit of academia can never provide. That’s why to a certain extent, I believe that the fairer sex should also serve alongside their countrymen in defending the nation. How can you tell if someone is genuinely telling the truth? How should you deal with someone who claims family problems as an excuse? How do you command the respect of your peers without being “wayang”? To some extent, the army experience does simulate real work experience for us most-probable white collared workers. Interactions between your superior and subordinates. Being taught from the ground up and stuff like that. Invaluable experience.

oh pity me…

Oh pity me… Rant rant… My life is at a all time low. Call it the mid-NS life crisis. Feeling the blues…

First things first, it’s REALLY not my fault that I “don’t have a life”. The last thing I need is someone who’s unappreciative of NS. And, no offence but it usually comes from the opposite gender.

“Do you watch *insert some random angmoh TV serial like Glee or House*?”

“Er…”

“Oh wait you’re in NS, you don’t have a life”

Maybe she said that without ill intent but it’s REALLY annoying how insensitive people can be towards NS. Here I am, making the most out of NS, hoping that whatever little I contribution I give to the SAF as a young second lieutenant can change a little something and there’re people who probably don’t give a shit. And treat you like shit. I mean I’m serving the nation here. At least TELL me what’s going on in your *insert some random angmoh TV serial like Glee or House? And for the record, I DON’T watch those shows anyway. Fallout 3 is waayyy more exciting. Muahahaha. But anyway, it really does hurt to be cast aside by people you’re trying to protect. Bah.

Sometimes you wonder in your bunk whilst staring at the ceiling. Why the **** did I have to go through 9 months of OCS, tekan, torture and flood of nonsense to do what I’m doing now? I carried half my body weight for more than 8km, ran my lungs out to get GOLD for IPPT, bruised a few fingers stripping the GPMG in record time, get punished for absolutely no reason or for someone else’s crime. Now I sit in the office, clearing email and running almost half the battalion. Ok maybe I overestimated myself, but I do run at the very least a small degree of the battalion. It almost seems that all that training has gone down the toilet. Mental strength, physical tenacity? My privates clear emails better than me. what the fish is going on? So here I am, trying to find my place in the whole stream of the SAF. Till I find my answer, I’m still going to be staring at the ceiling.

Second, there’s this special someone who is REALLLYYY getting on my nerves and poking me the wrong way. Pardon the understatement. This person is probably the personification of irritation. Honestly all I need is one little shove to get him/her/it out of the way but I don’t really know why I’m not doing that. I’m too merciful..

Third, I’m being consumed by my own pride. As much as I enjoy waiting for someone’s pompous arrogant ass to come crashing down to the depth of the Atlantic, I realise that I am too being that pompous arrogant ass. I’ve come to believe that I can do anything on my own. That help might sometimes just get in the way. I use my past achievements to thumb down others. I laugh at the weak. How often have I found myself using “officer power” or indirectly pulling rank. How often do I undermine a weaker acquaintance’s academic achievements with my own. I’ve been blessed thus far. It’s time to share God’s blessings for God did not bless us to be proud but to share it with everyone. So splash some cold water at my face, I’ll never be proud again. For I came from humble roots and humble I shall stay.

 

Ok, totally random but I found this pic lying around in my com. A Starcraft battlecruiser made from Spore! Quite nice hor?

Battlecruiser operational

Spore Battlecruiser

 

COMMISSION LO!!!

DAMN RIGHT! COMMISSION LO!

All the suffering in OCS has finally come to an end.  It’s hard to imagine sometimes that 9 months of nonsense has come and passed so quickly. Well honestly, the years are short but the days are long. Going through OCS day by day has been quite torturous but looking back, time really flew. My buddy used to tell me:

OCS is all about breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you wake up, it’s breakfast. Do abit of things then it’s lunch. Do abit more than hey! It’s dinner. After dinner, sleep. The next day just rinse and repeat.

Tis true I say. As I was marching into the parade square during the commissioning parade, all my memories of the hardships and fun times in OCS just flashed before my eyes. I’m not dying, only my OCS journey flashed before my eyes, not my entire life. It’s quite intriguing how the brain just suddenly throws out images through your eyes for you to see. YES I know it’s weird. But it works like that. It’s like watching a projector screen but only that your eyes are the projector lens.

Mom, Dad and I at the dinner after the commissioning parade

Throwing of the peak cap was probably the most emotional moment. Screaming and running around, hugging all your buddies who went through the same shit as you. That’s something to remember for the rest of your life. Not forgetting my dearest who was there at the parade as well being there every step of the way. *hugs*

So now that I’m an ossifer, what next? I refer to myself as ossifer because I’m not as straight laced as other officers. I don’t really like how the officer corps does certain things and I’ll change it in my own little way. I received my posting a few days prior to commissioning and I’m in 21 SA at Kranji Camp II. I was quite sad to be posted away from Khatib but it was a nice change on hindsight. The bunks are AWESOME. I feel like I’m in a chalet haha.

Right now, just clearing off that I’ve accumulated over my OCS days and loving every minute I’m spending at home haha! Finished playing HALO REACH that my darling bought for me in London as well as Fallout 3. AND, I’m getting pretty scared of studying at Imperial so I visited the library and started borrowing books to read and prep myself. But I’m still at level one. I’m still reading books that any dunb-**** sec school student can pick up and read. My intellect has decreased somewhat over the past year…sadly…

Now on to the fun part!

Darling came back to Singapore and we had such a fun time together. It’s a pity that we couldn’t spend more time together but she’ll be back during the summer which is in June, only about a month away, yay! Shall let the pictures do the talking.

Tams and I at Commissioning Ball on the 16th April at Shangri-La hotel. She wore a beautiful gown from London. So sweet hor?

At the pool!

Tams and I at the airport. She's so teary cuz she doesn't want to go back!

Hell, it’s about time…

Yep, hell it’s about time for everytime to come to a nice close. Commissioning is on the 9th of April, my darling’s coming back next saturday on the 26th of March and there’s comms ball on the 16th of April. So many things happening at one go it’s hard to keep track of stuff.

Finally my cadet life is about to end. Time to put on a new rank and up game. Gone are the days when we will have to march to the cookhouse or get pumped for no rhyme or reason. Very soon, I’ll get to choose and set my on path without anyone screaming down your neck. It’s like the forbidden fruit suddenly made permissible. I can almost taste the freedom. But there’s still 3 more weeks of Joint term to go. GAH!

AND, my darling is finally coming back!! Got loads of presents for her and she has loads of presents for me too! :DDDD After the 7 long months, arguments, fights, it’s about time to just cosy up to one another and make up for all the lost time spent away from each other. I even dream of her arriving at the airport. Lovesick or what have you. I’m just really glad that she’ll be back real soon ❤

Life update & CNY!

Long time no blog. Hardly had time or even when there’s time there’s no mood heh. Life’s so-so right now. It’s discomforting to know that my whole life is practically revolving around army life. Weekends need to study and do homework (yes there’s army homework). And seriously what the heck a 4 hour Fire Support Tactics exam?? My A level H2 math paper wasn’t even that long. Funny how the longest exam I took in one seating was in the army.

For those interested in going to Liaison specialisation in arty, it ain’t that bad. In-camp is chill (but of course don’t let discipline standards slip) but outfield it’s terror. And when you can single-handedly fratricide or friendly-fire your entire company, the instructors make sure you don’t mess up in outfield. It’s quite interesting to see how you specialise, like maplestory and stuff. First it’s arty then liaison then future specialisation. Mage then fire/poison mage then sth else.

It’s CNY today and I have off! Meaning I’m not in camp! Yayness!

Commissioning soon in april and DARLING IS COMING BACK!!! Super duper excited. So many many things to do together. Long distance relationships suck. It separates the relationship but brings it closer together in another way..

Sa and I at Social Night. The theme was masquerade and everyone had to wear masks so LOGICALLY...

My buddy Josh and I

Cutest girl alive enjoying herself in Kew. Wished I was there T.T

Long weekend!!

Ah… gotta love long weekends. Yesterday was Deepavali so I get Friday, Saturday and Sunday!! WAHAHA!!! Get to talk to my most beloved. Heh heh. We talk for hours over Skype. Talk about the most random nonsense. Shall upgrade my webcam when the next IT show comes around. Then my face shall be crystal clear! Lolx.

Went to SAFRA resort at east coast on friday morning to run on the treadmill. I missed my IPPT gold timing by 5 seconds in Khatib and boy was I upset. I already prepared my heart, mind and soul for remedial trainings (RT) on saturday till they announced some fluke in the 2.4 run timings and all IPPT results for that day was voided. So no RT on saturdays till the next IPPT. THANK YOU GOD! I was already thinking “God, if this is what you want then so be it.” HAHA! Everyone was jumping up and down laughing. But those who did get gold (around 20%) weren’t too pleased.. Heh.

Went home, did my Arti homework and fried my brain.. I don’t really like trigo for the time being.

Went to watch Megamind later that night with the sailors. Thanks to Xuan who treated us to half our dinner bill and to the other sailors for sponsoring my ticket as a bday present! (Xuan is pure scum, he draws regular pay, around 2K+, but does nothing but loaf around in camp. It’s only right that he treated us! Just kidding Xuan but not about the pure scum part.) Anyway, Megamind was a really awesome show. You’ll be rolling around laughing throughout the whole show. Shall not disclose the plot but the twist to it was epic. Kudos to the director and scriptwriter.

“You know what’s the difference between a villain and a super-villain?”

“What?”

“PRESENTATION!!!”

Gotta love that line. Today’s a sleepy saturday, watched some anime called Occult Academy (Hey, doesn’t mean I’m Christian then I cannot watch can?), talk to my darling, type essay (yes there’s homework) and went shopping. Nothing much except for the shopping part where I spent very much.

Gundam: $169.95

Dakine duffel bag: $79

Army of 2 Xbox 360 game: $25

Sweets and groceries: $20.25

I think I shall starve for the next month till my next next pay comes.

“With great pay comes great expenditure”

Must start saving more for my London trip. I’m going to visit my darling straight after ORD. Wahaha. Anyway, some photos to round up this blog entry.

It's finally finished after a million years! Tams agreed to come back and help me paste the stickers. Whee!

My plate of seafood from a buffet at Carousel

New Gundam Project: Shin Musha Gundam