The 1 year soldier. Journey back to the pink IC

And finally, I’m halfway there. It feels really good to know that you’re less than 1 year to escaping the grasps of the SAF, the shades of green, getting backing your pink IC that we never treasured and the coveted rank : CIVILLIAN. 

Still the best time in army~

Still the best time in army~

After 4 months of being a recruit and 2 months of being a signal trainee, I’m now settling into my unit life at 21SA HQ. No more falling in at what so time, no need to wayang to go to SCS/OCS, no more getting treated like trainees. No wonder I finally feel like myself now, because there is absolutely no need to act differently or hide anything. So what do the signalers at HQ exactly do? Well, we fix computers, do photoshop, replace fire extinguishers and set up PA systems, all of which is non-army related. Seriously? Yes seriously, and other than that we just do any other stuff that we got arrowed to do. Although life has been mundane and rather uneventful so far at unit, I shall not complain as my life is so much better than the other signalers at battery side/10C4I/SIRs/combat engineer units. At days without activities, I can to wake up whatever time I want, I do not have to dread force prep or outfield exercises, and if I got really nothing to do, I sleep and sleep and sleep until I ruin my sleep cycle, winding up sleeping late at the end of the day. With still a relatively long journey ahead, maybe its time to really plan out how I want to use this free time I have, rather than wasting it away. Run 1 hour, study Korean 1 hour, watch K-drama 2 hour, something like my own timetable. Of course I would be rather be of use as an admin clerk than rotting at bunk nearly everyday, but again, be careful what you wish for as they may come true and I’ll be like “Fuck this shit”. No wonder I feel like I lack a direction in life these days, because I have nothing to work towards to. Maybe I should really complain less regarding army, because really there are many more out there who go it much worse than me. Rule of thumb: Practice contentment. Because if you don’t, you will never be happy with what you have.

The burdening green uniform

The green uniform I can’t wait to get away from

Being 1 year in the army, I definitely learnt some life lessons. The most obvious one applies to everywhere I have been at, and would apply to the workplace in the future, which is how people would ‘wayang‘ just to impress people on top of them. The way people try and achieve this feat seriously disgusts me, all the bootlicking and sucking of dicks. There’s a fine line between being enthusiastic and wayang. The first time I saw this was in BMT, and this is where the natural leaders earn respect among their peers while the wayang just get hated on. They didn’t have to fall in first in the morning, or did extensive cleaning during stand-by areas (ABTM reference hah), they were themselves and their unchanged behavior is what made them well liked in the platoon. The only plus side of having a wayang king in my section is that he does our area cleaning very extensively. Subsequently, these people made it to OCS, while the “wayang” king in the platoon only made it to SCS. To rub salt into his wound, his application to be a pilot in the air force got rejected as well (HAHAHAHAHA). In SI, there was very little signs of this since we are already stuck as man already, but when we entered unit, the bootlicking got multiplied so much more. Seeing how some people try to act close to those superior and the stark difference in treatment of different people, these people… *censoring of words*, are really no different than a bunch of *more censoring of words*. I know I’m going to see a lot of this as well when I head to the workplace after graduating from university, and now I’m not sure if I can take seeing such behavior. The only advice I would give myself is to act the way I normally am, not need to change myself to impress others, people have eyes.

The hierarchy system in the SAF is the thing which disgusts me. In the SAF, rank always wins, and maybe this is the reason why people wayang in hope for a quick promotion. Just because I am of lower rank than my superiors, I am compelled to listen to them, or else I would be charged with the much commonly heard “insubordination”. Sometimes the regulars need to drill this fact into their head, that they are dealing with a bunch of 20 year olds who don’t care about and do not owe anything to the organization. This is the main reason why I find it hard to respect any people, as the only thing that is protecting them is the rank on the chest. Take it off, and see how people change and treat you. Through your actions and words, that is what earns you the respect, not the number of bars, crabs or stars on your chest.  It feels good when your superiors acknowledges the work you put in, and similarly, you feel cheated when the work you do is not recognized. To quote an example (so GP-ish), me, Tai Yun and Sylvester cleaned up a control point which was under Cyrus. I saw it as me just being unlucky and did the saikang we got arrowed to do. Surprisingly, my upper-study Sean recommended half-day off for us, which was given, and Cyrus BC Cpt Tay bought Gong Cha for us in liew of the work we did. This is also seen by how two of my sergeants used their own money to treat the people doing guard duty with KFC, expecting nothing in return. Fast forwarding to the ORD function, a group of us had to stay back Tuesday night to prepare stores while the others get to book out, and had to return to camp to keep the stores while people get to go home after the function. Cpt Tay and S3 recommended one and a half-day off for us, which made us happy that our efforts were recognized and we were rewarded accordingly, then the *even more censoring* CO (I dont care if you have 2 crabs, all of which wouldn’t matter when I get back my pink IC) cancelled the off and gave us 1 nights out, 1 fucking nights out. WOW, thank you so much for the generous reward. Maybe some of these people have been at the top too long and have no idea what the people below do for them. It also sickens me that these high-rank people get all the recognition while the true fact is that its their man’s hard work. As great as you are as a high-rank officer, you are only as good as the men you lead.

The second one would apply more in my days in the university, that not everyone you meet will be friends, you are bound to meet some people whom you can’t just along. In BMT, I didn’t encounter this problem as my whole platoon, especially my lovable Section 2, were all sociable and easy to talk to (except for the exceptionally weird people). Maybe it helped that my batch all came from JC, so our backgrounds didn’t clash so much. I only encountered this problem when I went for my signals course, where I met people which came from much diverse backgrounds. When you meet with these people, your world start to open bit by bit because for 6 years, I have been meeting the same people in the same school and never considered how other people from different backgrounds would be like. Being at DHS for so long, it was very easy to stereotype these kind of people who may not come from the same background as me, but I am glad that the army was a revenue to meet these different people who actually existed. My first impression of people from mono-intake was that they only know how to resort to violence and threaten people aimlessly, thinking that they are all that big. Some of it still holds, but actually most of them are approachable and easy to talk to. You won’t like everyone you work with, but sometimes you have to act indifferent and put all the hate away if you want to accomplish something. I hope I would carry this attitude to me with the people I work with in university in the future and be less judgmental of my peers.

So what’s up at 21SA now? Our new signal sergeants and BSO posted in recently, and you could tell easily that the culture in my current batch is much different from the previous batch which ORD recently. I think all of them got a culture shock when they first saw us, especially our BSO, just like us when we got posted in 6 months ago. The first thing our BSO saw was a group of us sitting in the office watching TV, reading newspaper or playing games on our camera phones, which was the total opposite of what he visioned to be I supposed. After going through 9 months of shit, I think he expected himself to lead a platoon of signal man in setting up the radio set and establishing communications. I shouldn’t be judging him so early, but I feel like all of us isn’t going to have an easy time if he continues to act this way. The important thing he needs to establish that he’s an officer now, not a sergeant who still need to seeks approval. That’s why the gap between sergeant and man is much closer as compared to officer and man. I respect sirs who is able to establish a link and are close with their man, and this is why I wished our old BSO would extend his ORD LOL. He’s a fair man who goes the extra mile for his man, and also gives incentive for our hard work. The current BSO gives off like the off is part of his flesh. Maybe I need to write a 5 page economics essay on why off is good for us LOL. You could tell the mood isn’t as good as before, all of us are less willing to do things. Maybe because I’m stuck at HQ too long, so doing things is not a given but now seen as just you suay.

So 1 year… Being in the army hasn’t been all that bad. The confinement period where I was away from home from 3 weeks really thought me a lot. Throughout my army path so far, from Tekong to Stagmont and to Kranji, I learnt bits of pieces about myself and how to treat others with all the different people I have met so far. It has also thought me to treasure the people around me, mainly my family and friends. And no, army didn’t teach me to take our country’s safety for granted and any of the bullshit. The only reason why we stay strong is not for the country, but for the people around us, whom we do take for granted at times. Although 2 years of my precious youth were taken away, I will try to make the most of the time out of it rather than suffer in misery. Asides from the miserable pay, the only bright side is that we do not need to look at the books for 2 years and our brains get to have a rest after years of studying and continuously being under stress (as compared to our poor female peers). I have seen people who really ROT their life inside and achieve nothing at all. I do not want to fall in that category, so it’s time to get off the bed and do something productive. But remember that my worth is not pegged to what I achieve in camp, I still have a life outside in camp. Time to buck up, Nick. Or in army terms, WAKE UP YOUR IDEA.

This is more of a post filled with rants and I may have not covered the things which I wanted to, shall keep that for the next army-related post. So congrats myself for hitting the 50% mark. We’re halfway there gentleman.

Hitting the all important 50%

Hitting the all important 50%

 

 

 

Off-topic: Today’s Taeyeon 25th birthday (OMG she’s 25?!). I’m sorry that my bias has shifted to Seohyun, but still Taeyeon was my 1st bias! Happy birthday to our butt loving, forever ahjumma and kid leader~

My 2 bias together kyaaaaa

My 2 bias together kyaaaaa

생일 축하합니다~

생일 축하합니다~

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#MarchWish

I realized that there is a lot of stuff that I want to write about, and I have been restricting myself to a single topic for every post. So for this post, I decided to do a summary of how the first 2 months of 2013 has been. I know it may seem a little early, and although nothing much may have happened, I would still like to cover them in here.

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And boom, it’s March!

At first glance, it seems like an uneventful start to the brand new year, with life looking like merely Sunday night book-ins and Friday afternoon book-outs. This common feeling of a lack of direction in life started to creep in yet again, with life looking like just an countdown to ORD. There were many things that I wanted to achieve, but army have been just a convenient excuse to push all of them away. I failed my first driving test miserably due to the inability to calm my nerves and having need to go for a retest is going to cost me another few hundred dollars, along with some weekends. My Korean studying sessions in camp have been fading away, I have been getting lazier to run. I have been just so tired despite not doing anything that sleeping over the weekends doesn’t seem all that bad now. Slowly I’m starting to crawl back into the cave aka home, and I have been spending time alone rather than going out to meet other people. In short, I have been procrastinating a lot and do not have my end-point in mind. With so much free time, what do I really want to achieve before I ORD? Is army really the reason that is stopping me for reaching to my goals? I definitely need a change in mindset and perhaps a few short-term goals to kickstart my engine again. Hey, it may be only 2 months in 2013, but time waits for no one.

Running wise, running hasn’t been all that kind to me. Last year, the runs I did have been beyond my expectations and I’m quite satisfied with them. Did 2 runs so far, and the results from both were far from my expectations. Running around the NUS campus, my future torture chamber home for 4 years was quite cool, but the course was too hilly and I didn’t adapt well. For U-Run, my stamina was good but I was’t as fast as I wanted to be. Although I have been running a lot, my timings have not improved as much as I wanted. Shall not fret over timings since I picked up running not for the results, but as a hobby where I can feel great after doing it and also at the same, lose weight HAHA! With my second year IPPT window opening soon, maybe it’s time to head to the gym and work out a little to make sure I’m in shape. In the end, I’m still glad that I took up running and I myself could feel a lot more energetic and healthier as compared to the overweight me 5 years back who eats fast food everyday and doesn’t care about his body. If I want to accomplish something, no excuses can be given and there’s only one solution: work towards it. It’s not going to magically finish by itself. I have been procrastinating my running plans as well since I feel that running is now something secondary instead. Need to plant my end goal in mind (the 42km) to stay focus and to work towards that end goal, there’s only one thing to do: RUN

소원을 말해봐~! I wanted a SNSD Korean comeback, and I got 1! Other than the awesome performances they put out every week, it was awesome to see them make an appearance on several variety shows. Taeyeon and Seohyun’s solo parts are daebak, and I can say that SNSD is setting yet another trend in Kpop dances. They absolutely nailed a concept which was risky and I’m happy they are reaping the fruits of their hard work. The song did feel weird in the beginning but after a while, it starts to stick on you and it has become a must in my song playlists as well. It’s a pity that they had to end promotions so early due to their Japan concerts T.T. Watching them perform/appear on shows has been my vitamin and keeping me cheerful over the boring times in camp. Fortunately, I still have quite a few variety shows stocked up to watch (along with my dramas). I can tell I’m totally back in fanboy mode again. Although TaeTiSeo are my bias, it’s great to see all 9 of them back on stage together. I shall leave the detailed fanboying to another post as I do not want to go on and type out chunks of words on how awesome the 9 of them are. Yes, I’m still totally digging Seohyun’s bangs, she looks even younger than before! And yes, I’m waiting for them to come back for a concert again. SM, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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The obligatory Seohyun picture ❤

Just a few weeks ago, I told myself to move on from you. Instead, my feelings got the better of me and I did the exact opposite. It felt like deja vu when I sent that text, and I question myself on how I found the courage to press that send button, knowing that there’s a chance that I may get hurt again if anything was to start again from it. It’s a horrible feeling when you know that you need to let go, but somehow it’s just that difficult because I’m still hoping for the impossible miracle to happen. The same questions I ask myself a few months ago still remain, “How would it be like between us now if I didn’t confess to you?” along with many others which I’m lazy to type out. Now, I’m not opening to my friends regarding this topic like I used to. It feels like if I let them know, I become more vulnerable and look more like a joke, still holding onto this one-sided affair. All of the above is actually nothing much, it’s just that I decided to complicate things for myself LOL. For now, I shall try not to think much about it because it isn’t necessary at all and it robs away all the happiness. Shall just let the answer come out by itself as time passes instead of forcing one out. Anyway, I’m glad that we’re at least on talking terms again. I know that you will do just fine so just stay positive and strive hard to be your best k, fighting! 🙂

Okay this post feels like a mixture of here and there, maybe I shall fall back to my old style of posts. Other than that, cheers to being 50% into our NS life (will do another post regarding army soon, I promise!). 3 more weeks to my 2nd driving test… KEEP CALM AND GET MY LICENSE! And 4 more weeks to my first half-marathon. So my March wish? Just let it be a better one than how the other 2 months have been.

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Seriously how can you NOT love them?

One can continue to fanboy right hehe 😛