Exercise ORD: A Second Trip to New Zealand!

DISCLAIMER: This post has been so freaking late that when it is out, I already ORD-ed LOL! Nonetheless, I’m still completing it as this is quite a unique experience that I would like to pen down and leave as memories. Starting this new post took much longer than expected, and this would most likely be the 2nd last time I talk about things army-related. (with the last one probably a round up of everything from BMT to ORD) I think I have exhausted all possible talking points regarding army, but since this one is an overseas exercise (in beautiful New Zealand!) I would just do my usual post, and in chronological order.

For most of us, we didn’t see this exercise as Ex Thunder Warrior, we saw it as Ex ORD; as we move closer to the day we get back that coveted pink IC. (which I got back, omg its been a while you beautiful!) [I’ll try to post more pictures to make this post less boring haha! ^_^]

Flashback to the day we flew off, nothing special happened. It was just the beginning of the new year 2014, and we were already going to spend the most of our January on a army exercise. Not the most exciting thing, but hey it’s a free trip sponsored by SAF to New Zealand! Bid my mom farewell and I took a short MRT ride from home to the airport (I’m so lucky to be living near to the airport). We had a chartered flight to Auckland on Singapore Airlines. SQ!!!! Omgosh first time sitting on SQ so exciting hahaha. The seat was quite spacious and service was not bad, maybe I felt it was so good because I have been sitting on budget airlines to Taipei too often. Do you know how nice it is to actually be able to ask for water to drink LOL? I was playing with the in-flight entertainment throughout the whole flight, watching shows and movies along with playing some games. There were also some songs in the system and they had the I Got A Boy album in it! Wanted to catch a short nap before landing but poof they turned on the lights on the plane so no sleep. Landing in Auckland Airport, all of what I saw 3 years back came back to me and seemed familiar to me, from the immigration counter to the waiting area outside the airport. In the end, I just caught up all the sleep needed en route on the 5 hour-long bus ride to the training camp situated at Waiouru.

IMG_1588

Some music for the fanboy haha!

The whole programme was similar to what I experienced in Thailand: Preparation, outfield part 1, break, outfield part 2, packing up and rest, R&R. Had some briefings, did some setting up of radio sets, nothing significant as the first few days were more of me just getting used to the place. The weather was really very good, a comfortable 10-15 degrees which made it feel like there was permanent air-con outside. The only downside was that there was a lot of wind so sometimes even 2 layers would not be sufficient. I took a while to get acclimatized to the weather there, having to wear my neck gaiter and gloves everywhere and also constantly applying lip balm to prevent my lips from cracking. The meals we eat inside… really as good as hotel since it was a buffet style and there was desert, a salad bar, coffee machine… this is supposed to be a military camp! The bunk was spacious and we each had two pillows and a thick blanket, perfect to just huddle in and enjoy! There was night snacks everyday as well and the toilets are so clean, with heaters equipped as well so that I could enjoy a nice hot shower everyday. The New Zealanders were very friendly people and it was a whole different culture unlike back in Singapore. In short, the New Zealand camp wins our own camp back in Singapore hands down, but of course there was this slight feeling of being homesick which always sucks but with my army friends all here with me, we spend day by day here and await the day we go back to Singapore (and of course, prepare to ORD!).

IMG_1597

Breakfast @ base camp, ohnomnom~

Onto the actual outfield, the whole training area is huge and provided many places for deployment, so everyday we see ourselves at different places. The scenery here is just really daebak! From the not so green but clean grass, the blue sky to the fluffy white clouds, everything here is very beautiful. It is here when I confirm my view of Singapore being a concrete jungle, and highlights the importance of traveling to other countries if given the chance to do so, you see a lot of different things, A LOT. I got to see Mt. Ruapehu as well as the supposedly Mt. Doom, which were all magnificent and I can go on forever about the praises I have for the scenery here in New Zealand: the sunrise and the sunset, the starry sky at night. The altitude of the actual live firing area is even higher (supposedly 800m above sea level), so the wind here are even less forgiving. I had to wear a total of 5 layers: my long-john. my admin shirt, my jacket, my I could barely use my phone for a few minutes, and it was outside where you will cherish the warmth back in our bunk. I should have brought along some of my own heat packs, because the ones issued to us were close to useless. Other than battling against the warmth, there was also the battle against the hunger. I haven’t had combat rations since BMT and I was not going to eat them, so I just ate tidbits instead. During the first phase of outfield, there was fresh rations but they were delivered so late to us that our lunch became an early dinner instead. Needless to say we were all just counting the days to the end of the whole exercise so we could enjoy ourselves around the camp as well as during our R&R. We only had a day for our technical break (which ws too short), but as if we had any say so we just go with the flow and did all what we were told to. And onward we went to Phase 2, also known as ATEC where we would be evaluated.

IMG_1642

Mt Ruapehu!

IMG_1618

Just one of the many beautiful sights in NZ!

No one was happy, and tensions were high. What seemed to be a 4D3N ATEC got extended by 1 day, and morale dropped drastically as well. At that point of time, close to no one cared about whatever score we had and just wanted the whole thing to end. Everyone had their own set of problems, from mechanical failures to just superiors venting on us, I think we were fortunate to be able to achieve a reccon 2A (2nd possible best grade) for this whole exercise. Luck was also not with us, with temperatures dropping and the mist getting worse, affecting the visibility of the area which made firing unsafe so we had even more delay in the schedule. It was also raining for one or two of the days, which feels absolutely horrible when it’s already very cold and your whole uniform is wet. I for one wasn’t too happy at all, especially with the guy who I was working with. He didn’t have a working phone with him so relaying information to him was just burdensome. He even woke me in the middle of the night to ask me something, and already with minimal sleep you could imagine the vulgarities I wanted to spew in front of him. To make things even worst, another egoistic guy who chaokeng joined us and was ranting about stuff when his poor mates at battery side are getting evaluated outfield. I hate stuck-up people who thinks the world revolves around themselves, so I was sort of a loner the whole exercise. Seeing any familiar faces lifts up the dull mood, and I just passed the remaining time by reading books and watching drama in the phone while trying to preserve my phone battery life as long as possible. To all those whining about how much of a ‘slack’ role I got as compared to the others, well it was not like I was given a choice. During the times when you had your outfields months before New Zealand, I was stuck in Thailand for 3 weeks, and after a month I was off to my month-long driving course, all of which I wasn’t given a choice and got forced into it. I was also paired with one of the most egoistic guys in the platoon and unfortunately I exploded at him and he still doesn’t realize what’s wrong so I’m just happy I do not need to face him again. (shall keep this as rant-free as possible hahaha). Maybe I shouldn’t rant so much given the role I was given, so always count on your lucky stars haha!

IMG_1690

The silver sky (When rain was coming T_T)

IMG_1679

rainbowwwwww

The aftermath of outfield was nothing much, we just dismantled the signal sets from the vehicles and returned the relevant stores. The post- exercise wasn’t anything significant as well, just go some beer to drink and interacted with some of the New Zealand soldiers there. Some people got high and drunk as beers and shots keep coming and coming. It was a real pity that we didn’t have time to explore the whole camp since we were stuck outfield most of the time, but in all I could say I had a positive experience here (of course excluding the outfield haha). We packed up our duffel bags, slept our last night here and into the next morning, we boarded the bus and bid the camp goodbye. We stopped by some tourist attractions as well, such as the mud pools, hot springs and waterfall. I actually visited some of the places here before with Tinjun during our Geography trip but had no memory LOL. So perhaps I wasn’t really of a good student. We were all disappointed when we learnt that we wouldn’t be staying at a hotel and would be staying at a university hall instead. After arriving to our accommodation, we went to our individual rooms and ventured out to Auckland again! Yet another dejavu feeling again as I began to remember all the places in Auckland again, remembering most of the gift shops LOL. Bought tons of honey, as well as honey-related beauty products for the mom. Got my dad a mug (since I couldn’t think of anything), soft toys for my sisters and a bunch of other stuff for friends. I resisted buying a shirt for myself as I already had too many shirts at home. I felt really bad to my bmt buddy as although the day I landed back in Singapore, I was going to his 21st birthday BBQ, but I totally didn’t get him anything >.<“. Arrived back to the hall and played around in the games room! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to witness any of the hall culture here, but I bet it would have been awesome!

IMG_1743

room in uni hall! It’s actually around 1.5x bigger compared to the nus halls i saw during open house haha

At our last morning in New Zealand, we ventured around the landmarks around Auckland. Beautiful flowers, green grass, with a view of the harbor and the glittering blue sea, I’m just glad that I was given the chance to be back here again in New Zealand. It was free and easy from the afternoon, and the group of us ventured to the Auckland Seafood Festival which Lihwei found out about online! At first glance, it wasn’t much and I was a bit fussy regarding the 20 NZ dollars entrance fee. Once we tasted the seafood, we knew we had to try all of the available cuisines. We had oysters, fish, prawns, lobsters, mussels, scallops, there was a group of us so we just tested everything and once the food was on the table, out comes the phones to take pictures before we savaged on the food. I think we were the only 21SA people to have found such a place, so yays to ourselves haha! The group kind of dispersed when one group of people were focused on shopping for clothes while the others weren’t *points at myself*. The other group took like 2 hours to shop which was way too long considering the small amount of time we have remaining here so I decided to split from the rest. We just tried to spend all of our remaining New Zealand money through the gift shops. Boonhao and Conghui bough sheepskin mats (or whatever you call it), which were of course comfortable but really not the way you want to spend your money on. I just bought more souvenirs and on the way back, we bought Dominos pizza since it was like $5 for one here. Boonhao bought too much and on the way back we gave it to a group of students chilling at the park. The cool thing was that they just readily accepted it and I loved their reaction, where they thought it was too good to be true haha. And on to the bus we went, and it was goodbye Auckland, hello Singapore!

IMG_1748

Pretty awesome right!

IMG_1755

just one of the many seafood we ate, SEAFOOD SPAMMMMM!!!

IMG_1759

And the aftermath…

We flew back on Air New Zealand (which was equally awesome!) and landed at around 3am, which was actually a good timing for me since my mom could pick me up only during that timing as the car was available. Bought some duty-free but the queue was epic long. Sorry to James, Conghui and Boonhao whom I used your boarding passes to buy all the alcohol to myself. The first thing I felt (as always to those who travel and come back to Singapore) was: “Why is it so freaking hot?!”. In spite of the hot weather and being back from NZ, it feels so great to be lying on my bed with my laptop, along with being able to shit in my own toilet LOL. Of course, it was great to see my family again, and they all liked what I bought for them, as well as my friends who also liked what I got for them. Double win haha I am such a good buyer LOL! And with that Ex. Thunder Warrior is officially over, and most of us would wait till we get back our pink ICs as this time, we can finally countdown to the day we have been looking forward to… O-R-D!

 

Today is my ORD day and we are so happy ah~! (and the obligatory TTS gif haha :P)

 

ttsfeb3ttsfeb2ttsfeb1

 

Advertisements

Driving 102

Experiencing snow in Korea: 1 in the bucket list

Experiencing snow in Korea: 1 in the bucket list

Oh look. there’s snow falling on this blog now, which shows it’s my favorite month of the year, DECEMBER! Everyone loves December, it’s an indication that the year is ending and everyone is in the festive and holiday season. For the most of December, I will be clearing off and leave (although I still need to go back some days due to stupid army which I won’t digress on). I like how I keep saying I want to dish out more posts but NEVER actually go do it, so will this be the month? I shall start the first post of December with the army driving course I was in during October and November: a summary of the things I did there, my thoughts regarding the course as well as my learning process (along with some criticism too LOL, early apologies for yet another dry post).

Rewind back a few months ago, I along with Bin Xi and Ivan, got arrowed to go for army driving course since all 3 of us have civilian license. With a few months left to ORD, I don’t really see the point of getting a license but our incompetent officer then had no idea of any shit and just shot this arrow. I didn’t have much complains either since I live pretty near the driving centre plus I get to polish my driving skills during my army time, so at least I’m doing something constructive. Despite living so close to the place, it’s still a pain to wake up 6.30am everyday and tiring to travel around even though I only take the bus a few stops and take the MRT for a stop. There are some days where we are only let off at 7pm and 9pm, which makes the course even more tiring as when we reach home, we can’t do much before going to bed. IT DOESN’T STOP HERE, every Saturday morning I need to go back to that goddamn place again, so it’s a 5 and a half hour work week. I know when I go out and work it’s going to be worse, but the course can get physically and mentally demanding as they want to cramp and teach everything within a month. It took me close to 7 months outside to get my Class 3 license, and they want to achieve the same thing within a month. Imagine if I hadn’t have any driving experience, a slow learner like me who have positively and absolutely died. As I go on further, I might continue to criticize this course, but truthfully there are many plus points as well. This is like when you judge people: you tend to only remember the bad points that you block out the good points. Before I go on, let me just say that after this course, my overall driving has improved tremendously, but the way the course was conducted, my opinion is that it could have been a lot simpler and better.

Driving an SAF vehicle, such a disaster

Driving an SAF vehicle, such a disaster

First week of course was mainly lessons studying for Highway Code (Army version of BTT+FTT), along with some theory lessons. Lessons were super duper dry and boring, I was either sleeping or using my phone during these lessons. Most of the theory we learnt is quite overkill and unnecessary, especially Highway Code where I learnt a whole lot of new signs which some are really not applicable. The most applicable thing I learnt was regarding driving in the bus lane, but other than that most of the stuff were the same as BTT+FTT. Since I wasn’t paying much attention during the lessons, I won’t comment much regarding them, but I believe driving itself helps much more than lessons itself since it’s so much different when you actually drive as compared to learning those theories. The driving simulator lessons were just a waste of time as well since it is nowhere similar to the actual driving (plus it makes you dizzy), but it’s good to be indoors and not under the hot sun. For the first week, we were only dismissed at 7pm everyday, which kinda sucks since I will have a super late dinner at home. It was a shift to stay-out life, as well as being a trainee once again.

Moving onto parking: yes my worst enemy in driving we meet again. After failing twice to striking the kerb during parking, you could say I wasn’t confident at parking at all. Even after getting my civilian license, I still have a lot of problems when I park outside. The parking slot for our parking test is really small and there is no room for much mistakes since we have also a time limit. Outside when you park time isn’t really a factor, but for here it’s a race against time and every action has to be accurate and fast. During the test, you would have to go out of the vehicle a total of 7 times to ‘check’ for safety, which logic-wise is absolutely pointless but it’s the SAF. For parallel parking, I used all the sighting points the parking instructor taught us, while for vertical parking I use more of feeling and squeeze my jeep into the slot. Failed my first test due to hitting over the time limit, after which I drilled quite a number of practice sessions to get used to finishing under the time limit. I was super nervous during the second test but it went well and I completed it safely under 8 minutes.

Onto the main part of the course, the driving itself! Did around 4-5 sessions (can’t recall correctly) in the circuit, had to accustomed to army driving rules, such as having to put up the handbrake for every complete stop as well as turning into the correct lane according to army regulations. (for example, when you do a right turn, you would turn into the most left lane instead of the most right lane). The jeep I was driving had no air-con, no side windows, so when the sun in blazing, it gets really hot to the degree that my right arm gets tanned and the difference becomes pretty obvious. The side mirrors had to adjusted manually, and it’s just a wreck driving a 30 year-old jeep. My first few driving sessions went well and smoothly as I was getting used to driving manual again, changing gears and working with the clutch. We had to pass an evaluation, which was like a mock test, before taking the actual test. Despite being a license holder, I failed this evaluation twice, which is pretty embarrassing… My instructor for my 3rd evaluation was a really nice guy, who was a driver for artillery units during his NS time and we had a good chat, and he wished me all the best for my test before passing me. Towards the end, my confidence started to drop as I was failing these evaluations and the instructors were starting to become more angst, venting it at the expense of us trainees. I myself actually have a short temper, but out of respect I have been holding it in and only rebutted once (that was because insults towards my family took place). There’s more to come at that fiasco, but I’ll talk about the test part first.

drew_drivinglesson

Don’t ask, just do and listen – the essence of life as a driving student

Okay test time! First test, I had a strict tester (by the name of Mr. Pandian, all future trainees please take note LOL). I had a hard time calming my nerves down, forever nervous before taking any tests. He was pretty demanding, but I already knew most of his tricks since the instructors warned me beforehand (He would ask you to do directional change but in fact you need to do a 3 point turn, along with e-braking you outside of the circuit). Got an immediate failure halfway outside driving and was sent back straight back to the camp. To be honest, for a first try I did decent to go outside of the circuit. There were many people who failed in the circuit and didn’t even have to chance to drive outside. There was this 1 guy who only drove 1 turn for his first 2 tests, 1 failing to give way to pedestrian and 1 forgetting to on his headlights. For the army driving test, you can only clock at most 10 points, which is really hard because they fault you for the really smallest errors (fail to check mirror while turning, before moving off, failing to give way to others when you have the right of way). Second test started off really bad, was rejected by the first tester as I forgot my pre-vehicle checks (aka wayang), my fault but seriously… super anti-climatic. Fortunately, since that tester already had a bad impression of me, the instructor arranged me to get tested for another tester, which was much more lenient. There was much at stake (will explain later) so I really had to pass… and I passed on my 2nd attempt, BARELY JUST BARELY. I stalled twice during my final parking (stupid old gearbox, if I had stalled 1 more time I would have failed), but I think I did well for my circuit and outside driving (there was a car doing an illegal turn into my lane but I reacted well), so the tester was really nice to pass me despite my mistakes at the end. Woohoo, passing the test is really what counts in the course, and it marks the near completion of the course.

I was the 2nd guy in the course to pass, and the passing rate for our batch were supposedly the worst in history. Only 4 out of 36 people passed out of the course in time, so you can tell how ridiculous the requirements for the army driving test can be. Towards the end of the course, everyone could tell that the testers were more relax and started to pass more people, but even with that the passing rates were low. It’s really ridiculous that the test demands a super high level of the trainee handling the vehicle, when the average person only drove at most 15 lessons, which is surely not enough when they want a level of driving that much higher than one expected during an outside driving test. I drove 200km for my island driving, which was really boring when you can only travel 50km/h on the expressway. I managed to drive on the auto jeep for most of my driving, which was really fun (since its auto and the jeep is like a convertible as it’s open air). When I was vehicle commander in the auto jeep, it unfortunately rained and since the auto jeep had no rooftop and we were driving on the expressway, so inevitably I was caught in the rain. The instructor who accompanied us was the one who passed my evaluation, was really a chill guy and brought us through different variations of the standard route to make the trip less boring. Ended course and two days later, I flew off to Taipei and enjoyed my holiday!

Onto why I had to pass during the 2nd try: As I was going on overseas leave 2 days after the projected end of the course, if I had failed my 2nd test, I would have to extend my course and the head of the centre was threatening to cancel my leave and holiday (seriously?). Needless to say it was a HUGE sigh of relief to pass the test and get this burden course off my shoulders. The disgusting thing is that from what I heard, a week after I went off for my holiday, a bunch of Guards sergeants were also in the same situation as me and didn’t finish the course in time, were allowed to go off for their holiday in Korea. Reason? They are commanders. HAH! The passing rate for our batch was so horrible, that the preferential treatment became super distinct. It was obvious the chief instructor was venting his frustration on his poor trainees, holding us back as late as possible, forcing us to read useless theory books during the time we aren’t driving outside in the training shed. Of course, after you passed, the opposite happens and as one of the lucky few who passed early, it’s a disgusting scene to witness. During one day I came back from clocking my island-wide so I casually just took out my phone and browsed through, and one instructor came up to me and started unleashing. Only when he found out I passed then he toned down and just walked away without apologizing… is there really a need to treat people like that? These are things which aren’t really worth getting angry over, you are mad; I’m mad, we rage at each other, no one wins. Maybe because our results affect your bonuses, but please remember that we are also humans and most of us just touched the vehicle. Karma stroke to one of the instructor as someone lodged a police report against him since he raged at someone while driving outside. In the end, another instructor had to go down to my unit to get a statement from one of my signal mates and tada, total 180 degree attitude change! I’m not saying that you should be nice to people just because they may “be of use” in the future, but there’s no need to make an enemy out of nowhere.

There was also off-road driving as well as night driving, but I’ll skip those as I think this post is already that dry and boring. If you’re too lazy to read all of this, just a quick summary: Course did help me improve in driving, but was treated badly, unfairly and it was one I was glad to complete in time. Okay no more army-related stuff here please. Less than 3 more months to ORD, and the biggest burden would be gone. Here’s a gif of kid leader Taeyeon to make up for all this dryness of this post haha!

tumblr_mw3mf0pyal1sy8jtro1_500tumblr_mw3mf0pyal1sy8jtro2_500tumblr_mw3mf0pyal1sy8jtro3_500

The Last 25%: Final months as a NSF (Part I)

Post 90! So apparently my 80th post was during last November, so yes the frequency of posts here have been getting really slow (forever talking about this but still not posting enough). Hopefully I would be posting here more often, because I really miss just typing out stuff on my MacBook in this personal space of mines. It hasn’t been long since I came back from Thailand after my overseas exercise ended (EDIT: I started writing this 2 weeks ago but haven’t been able to complete it, so much for more posting here LOL), so it’s only natural for me to talk about it, which will be the focus of this post. Since there is much I can type out with 6 months remaining as my time as a soldier, I would touch on what the rest of all army-related thoughts in another post. (WARNING: DRY POST INCOMING SORRRRY >.<)

fh2000

MEN OF STEEL! ARTILLERY!

EX BATTLE KING! Since no one wanted to go for it, I got unfortunately arrowed to go for this exercise. At first thought, it looked horrible since I’m going to Thailand, which is going to be extremely hot, and I would have 2 weekends burnt, and to add on my misery, be away from my friends whom I used to see and talk to every week. But as time passed towards the mid-year, I got used to the mundane army life as week after week passes by, with some of my weekends burnt due to regimental and extra duties. Putting everything else aside, I went into BK with surprisingly a positive mindset and looked forward to get the most out of it. I was actually excited to going overseas since it has been close to 2 years since I haven’t travelled out of the country and I invite any changes to the really monotonous army life of mines. The actual thought of me being away for 2 weeks plus only struck quite late, so I panicked a little but I left Singapore with a light heart and off to Thailand I go! I had my first meal on a plane since I don’t know for how long as I have been always traveling on budget (no joke). As with any change in environment, at first I hated Thailand: The 75 men bunk, the poor shower facilities, the lousy cookhouse food and worst of all, I had no one to turn to and was all by myself in this foreign country. But throughout the whole exercise, I got used to the new environment, and it helped knowing that we aren’t going to stay here for long kinda subsided any sadness I experienced. Before I knew it, this exercise only became a distant memory, which ended up as a relaxing trip away from everything in Singapore and made me realize how reliant I am on technology. Now moving on the actual exercise…

The first 3 days of preparation was hell. The weather was hot, and there were many signal sets to be mounted. Not everyone was doing their share of work, so being the loner among the group, I just kept quiet in a corner did more than my share of work. I probably mounted more signal sets in Thailand than I ever did back in Singapore LOL (yes it was that many and it was so tiring). I never felt so shagged out before and for those few days, I fell asleep easily despite the sponge-like mattress and lack of ventilation in the bunk. My admin shirt changed color from all the sweat I did and from Day 1 of doing work, I started to realize how lucky I was to have such a “boring” army life, in a way that having nothing to do always is better than having something to do. With all the prep done, I was given kind of a major role during the exercise since I was the only ‘corporal’ signaler in the team. I was given a role with some responsibility. RESPONSIBILITY! Who would have known that word would be in the same sentence with my name. Imagine in a net diagram you see names of officers in charge of something and under rebro, you see CPL NICK LIM. After being in the army for so long, I was convinced I was never the leader-type material and should just stick to being a follower. You could say that I wasn’t that comfortable with my role, but there’s a first for everything. I had to draw my own stores, be a vehicle commander and be held responsible for any screw ups. So you could say that I was easily a victim of any angst from the signal officer-in-charge, yay for responsibility…

Onto Day 4, it was time to move off and it felt good to be driven along the rural areas of Thailand which I wouldn’t get to see if I wasn’t arrowed for this exercise. I don’t want to be rambling about 9 days of outfield so I will just focus on the more memorable moments. The first 2 days it was raining and I had to cuddle into my jacket. When I was hoping for slightly better weather, the days to follow the sun was blazing hot and I had a free tan and eventually became more blacker than I would wanted to be. Nightfall was very early there and by 7pm, the sky is totally dark to the extent that you can’t even see your own fingers. It was during that time where my thoughts start to wonder and the thinking starts yet again. Everyday passed by so slowly as the only thing I do is facing the goddamn radio waiting for something to happen, but somehow 9 days passed like that. I had to save my phone battery so I spent most of my time reading my book, and with that limited battery life I re-watched SNSD’s Hello Baby. You can tell how much remaining time I had to just stare blankly into space and die of boredom LOL. By the 6th day and the words of “exercise cut” gets closer, the motivation was there and time past quicker (it seemed). There was a distant lack of human interaction, as the people I talked to most was my Thai driver and liaison officer. How I wished I knew more Thai so that I could communicate with them instead of them trying to understand my English and sign language. My buddy wasn’t really enthusiastic about entertaining them so I tried my best to engage them in any random topic, from exchanging our army stories to random things about outside of army, where topics we talked about were derived from the outdated newspapers delivered to us. It wasn’t exactly an eye-opener, but it helped me understand the outside world better, especially when there is little to see and know in Singapore.  They treated me super well, providing drinks and food from the outside world, and the driver was a super funny guy who I could joke with easily. Although the whole exercise, for our side, didn’t go smoothly all the way, along with me being angst at times, somehow we survived and as the last convoy, he drove our way back to base camp. Oh how I missed my crappy and being able to sleep in a building and not in the open. Since I was only a support staff, I didn’t need to put on my helmet or ilbv, or put on that disgustingly hard to remove camo cream, or even draw rifle. You could say life was pretty good comparatively for me hahas…

IMG_0842

The view from outfield

After outfield ended, time past really quickly as the pressure on everyone was gone. Although we were supposed to have a break, we signalers still had to do some work for the NSmen who are coming in for their subsequent exercise (forever saikang warriors), but what to do? Suck thumb and move on, and the only thing that is motivating me is seeing that percentage go lower and lower. In the middle of all the recovery of stores, we chilled a little and played some dota games as well.  I apparently drunk-whatsapp someone LOL (so freaking embarrassing) and realized how low my alcohol tolerance is. The educational tour around Thailand was okay I suppose… nothing memorable since we spent most of our time traveling in the bus and there wasn’t anything outstanding that we visited. Apparently R&R was counted as an off day and 2 of my off days were deducted which was super depressing. Fortunately, old BSO (who’s in ORD mood already) was kind enough to top up those 2 day off so I got 5 days off from this exercise. Life got back pretty back to normal after I returned to Singapore, but I became more appreciative of the things around me and I’m always glad to receive this kind of enlightenment.

So there were many plus sides to this exercise, but nonetheless there always has to be an ugly side, and yes it was super ugly. Getting mistreated, scolded for absolutely nothing and unable to argue because doing so only would make the situation worse, which simply points to the problem between officer and men, and how some just want to show that they are superior to you. And what can I do? Nothing but SUCK THUMB! I do not have a good temper to be honest, but sucking it up ever since enlisting is something I have learnt well and just lived with it. There were also many showing of “bootlicking” (the civilized way of saying it). I have said this once and I would say it again, what is there to bootlick anyway? I know this would be common when I go to the workplace, but what IRKS me is the total attitude change of some, a total 180 degree change before and after exercise. I would love to continue ranting, but I would like to keep it positive and why so much hate over something that is over already right!

With all the negative things aside, this overseas exercise has taught me much, and one which I won’t be able to learn if I didn’t physically experience and see it for myself. I saw it for myself, how a less developed country (LDC) was and how blessed I was. And also despite them having a lower standard of living comparatively, they still led their lives happily. Whenever I feel life’s unfair, I should look at them and be ashamed of myself. They do not have many things and still living happily. You never realize how you take many things in life granted until they are taken away from you and you are put in a whole new environment without them. This experience also made me realize how different of a person I am with my friends and with people I don’t know, and it felt awful always being left out and alone. Fortunately, JJ came to this exercise as an instructor so yays for having at least 1 person I know here stuck in Thailand. I never really jelled well with the other signalers, would have loved to click with them but whatever, that didn’t happen so life goes back to the way it was before I left.

And that’s it for BK. Will do another post for the remaining army stuff which I didn’t talk about. To be continued….

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~

No more training to be soldier. Life after BMT and Signals

Through basics, we excel! Speed through skills, SIGNALS! 

In a blink of an eye, I’m now close to being a 8-month soldier, and I’m 30% through my NS journey already. I haven’t really got to experience unit life as a whole, with memories of being a trainee/recruit still fresh in my head. Another one of those long due posts, and one that is worthy to mention since being an NSF takes up majority of my current life now haha.

After 4 months of being an REC, finally POP lo~!! And it was bittersweet after going through 17 weeks in Tekong with our bald heads. The 24km route march was the 2nd worst thing that I have gone through in the army (I just hated field camp). Foot blisters, groin abrasions, drenched in the early rain and sleep-deprived, all of us wanted to just finish the damn route march and enjoy our block leave afterwards. But this being POP, the motivation was there and spirits were high, so everyone pushed and completed the route march. The moment when we grabbed our jockeys caps and threw it in the air, it all finally made it worthwhile. BMT for me wasn’t really all that bad since I was in Scorpion: nice welfare company, SUPER NICE sergeants (huge respect), nice platoon mates. What more can I ask for? The thing which made BMT so special was that transition from being a civillian to a soldier, which was probably the hardest part and one which you would never imagined to feel like until you actually enlisted. For me, BMT is still the most enriching part of my dull NS life. I actually miss the physical training sessions which I used to dread, the talk-cock/HTHT sessions after lights off, the pigging out of snacks and cup noodles after RO, how we spammed Saboteur/Monopoly Deal during breaks. But I still hate wearing ILBV and any outfield activities. With how my unit life is looking to be like, BMT is going to be the most memorable thing I gone through (and toughest LOL).

me with my buddy happy POP-ing^_^

During BMT, the end-goal was to attend our own POP, so there was at least something to work towards to, and at least a sense of pride since the parade was to show that you have passed BMT. No SCS/OCS means there was nothing to work towards to; no POC, no Commissioning Parade, no rank, and stuck being a man. Of course I was sad that I didn’t make it to Command School, especially after working hard to pass my IPPT and SOC, but things can’t always go your way right? I could have gotten worse vocations, so don’t complain and just move on; life isn’t going to wait for you. I wasn’t really a leader type of guy anyways, so as a man, I just have to listen and do my job well. There are pros and cons to being a man, but many just think of the cons and forget about the benefits. And looking at my life now, being a man could have been the best thing that happened to me in the army (to be explained below :D)

Moving onto a life as a private, I got posted to Signal Institue (SI) to be trained as a signaller. I felt more like a student at SI, attending practicals and lectures everyday. Which other place would let you be in smart 4 all day long sitting in a air-conditioned lecture room, no wonder Stagmont Camp has always been referred to as “Slackmore Camp” because your life as a soldier isn’t supposed to be that slack. I actually hit my low in there (for many reasons) and there was absolutely zero motivation. I was sleeping during lessons and didn’t study AT ALL for any tests since passing was good enough. For some reason, I just didn’t see a need to study since there was nothing to work towards to. I’m studying about ancient radio sets and signal stuff which would be totally irrelevant once I ORD, so as what I deserved, I got below-average results. Physical training there was very minimal that they might as well do not conduct them, and as expected my below-par fitness level dropped even further. It didn’t help when you could buy bubble tea and deep-friend snacks during our breaks, and I gained around 8kg there (I’m not kidding >.<). In SI, I also got to communicate with different types of people in my platoon. As supposed to having mostly JC peeps during BMT, there are many different kinds of people that I have met with (but JC students still take up the bulk). From poly students, dropouts to NITEC, it was quite hard to get along with them at first since their mindset are completely different from ours, but as time goes by, these group of people also become easier to get along with. I missed the final exercise due to a sinus infection, which probably pissed off my sergeant but I still passed out of the course safely and it’s off to the final phase of my NS life, being in a unit.

And as we anticipated, most of the platoon got posted to 21SA. On the first day, I was already missing Stagmont Camp and dreading the new unit life. None of us knew what to expect, and the people there didn’t know what to do with us as well. At first sight, the place was just filthy and layers of dust covered the whole bunk. The sight of the toilet was revolting and I was thinking: “FML this is my home for the next 1 and a half years?!”. Fortunately, all of us cleaned it thoroughly and now the place is much cleaner. When we heard how our lives are going to be like, I was like “dafuq?” since it was the total opposite of what I expected. I wouldn’t be touching radio sets for a very long while, I wouldn’t be going outfield most of the times or doing force prep, nor I would be getting fucked while I’m being inducted into the unit. And army life just gets easier for me (the perks of being posted to HQ)…

Life at HQ 21SA is perfect for me, I get to OTOT exercise in the morning, do my own stuff during the afternoon and get plenty of admin time at night. Aside from the occasional sai kang that we need to do at times, most of the time I just sit in the room and rot till RO. When I thought BMT at Scorpion was slack, I experienced life at SI. And when SI wasn’t relaxing enough, I got posted to one of the best places for signaller. I always expected an army life where I would be running around and sweating outside in the hot sun; and I experiences culture shocks every time I got posted to a new camp. Since the whole signal platoon is going to stay together for the rest of our NS life, I have gotten closer to some of them. I still miss my BMT mates dearly and wish that they were here with me to slack around, but I get along good enough with most of the people here. Even the relationships with some whom I used to have conflicts with during our time at SI have improved. Of course, there would be one or two assholes who you just can’t get along with, but all the other people make up for that.

21SA HQ Signal Branch!

My NS journey may not be as colourful as all those who have gone through SCS/OCS or even normal man who have exercises everyday, but given the large amount of time, I intend to spend it well and improve myself even further. OTOT runs in camp, reading and learning Korean, and just making use of the time in camp. People always tell us to make good use of our time in NS since there is no escape, and for me the way of me spending it would be irrelevant to the army context, but whatever… Like one of the SMEs said, where else would you have 10+ other guys being in the same bunk together and be able to talk cock and do stuff together without being stressed about schoolwork etc. NS is also a mini break for me from school and I’m enjoying my brain being able to relax and not be cramped with useless information. After all of us ORD and get back the pink IC which we never really treasured, no one would really care about what happened in the army.

Still looking forward to ORD, but life’s good for now. Definitely contented with life now~ 😀

Training to be soldier! How the life of a recruit has been so far

Never knew I would have made it this far, 5 more weeks to POP as we are so happy YAH!! 😀

So how should I start this post? I wanted to write about something army for a while, but my mind is currently at a blank of what to write now. There is really a lot of stuff to talk about army, all the drills, PT, outfield experiences etc, but I shall touch on those more relevant stuff and those which made a bigger impact. (I’m sure no one wants to read a 500 word post regarding strength training, AGR and foot drills ._.)

Image

on the uniform it goes, which would remain for the next 2 years

In the end, I ended up in Scorpion company, which is seriously a welfare coy due to our commanders being old army regulars instead of the usual NSF officers. Sometimes in Scorpion, it is so slack that it doesn’t even feel like being in the army! We are given much welfare as compared to others: we get punished much less, we get to have more admin time, discipline is less strict etc. In a way, my BMT experience may be less memorable since I got it much easier than my fellow peers, but definitely much happier and I am totally enjoying my stay in Scorpion coy. The sergeants here are really nice as well, they aren’t reasonable and we can tell that they enjoy being in Scorpion coy, which gives a quite family bond since we are put under much less stress as compared to other coys, where even falling in and standing in a file can be a chore. Like what 1 of the sergeant said, although other can brag how much shit they have been through in other coys, it would be without a doubt that we would have the largest smile during POP, because we had the most enjoyable BMT experience out of the rest. Every recruit will have their own unique BMT experience, all would enjoy it nonetheless. So right here, an advance thanks to Scorpion company for taking care me for the first 17 weeks of my 2 years as a soldier!

Army for this recruit here is quite an experience as well. Confinement period was the worst for me so far, the home that you were so used to seeing everyday is gone for 3 weeks. Once your pink IC was taken away, you said good-bye to many things: your family, your friends, your freedom and most importantly, your civilian life. (That’s why people say the highest rank of all is called Civilian, not some brigade general trololol) Perhaps I wasn’t prepared for such a drastic change in my life, which kind of explains my crying for the 1st few days. Didn’t really know what got into me, but yeap I cried quite a bit trololol. Although I have been in the army for only a short period, it has already thought me much about treasuring the people around me, especially during the mail run in field camp. After enlisting, it made me realize how much I take for granted the family and friends who have been with me. Ok I admit I have probably one of the smallest circles of friends, but truth to be told, I do not ask for anymore and am very satisfied already. Now even a meet-up between the guys is a tough task due to our different schedules, and although we have been through the same shit in Tekong, there is always something to talk about between us. This is why I enjoy an outing between guys rather than a class outing (not saying that girls are horrible or anything…), it’s because I talk much more between guys but awkwardly find myself just nodding around during class outings, because others are talking and I would like: “Yeap yeap”.

Now about the army-related stuff, army is actually much better than expected (especially after all the shit I heard the other guys). Of course the physical training under the hot sun is tiring and you end up feeling shagged, but after which you usually have a sense of accomplishment since in the middle, you always feel like giving up. Foot and arm drills are stressful as well, but also fun since I have not been in a uniform group as well. Army has really thought me a lot of new stuff, which although are not really relevant once I’m no more in the army, but it’s cool to experience it. Although at times I would be jealous of the PES C and below people who do not have to go through as much as us and some even get to book out every day, but just take it. It isn’t everyday that you can say you shot a real gun before, marched 24km with a 20kg field pack, or survived outfield in a basha tent for 5 nights, and this is only life as a recruit! So to all those enlisting soon and thinking it’s the end of the world, don’t and just come with an open mind, don’t be too negative as it would spoil your army experience. Although at times you think that army is a waste of time (I do all the time), when you look back it would be something nice and memorable that you went through, kind of like your schooling days. When you were in school, you just couldn’t wait to leave the place, but now you would miss school and the schooling times (ok but I definitely won’t miss studying HAHA).

They say that army is the killer of relationships, since you are stuck inside camp most of the time. I have seen breakups just due to the fact that the guy is in the army, which shows how fragile relationships are these days. Otherwise, this is my personal POV which may not be true, but I think actually army strengthens these relationships rather than breaking apart. This applies to both your family and friends, since now you treasure the outside time you get to spend with each other. I’m not saying that army is all that good, but it clears my stereotypical view of the impact of army on relationships. You would see the support from your fellow friends outside, which although repetitive, but their small words of encouragement can really help when you are down and feel like you can’t make it. Even talking to your fellow army mates can help, because although army can make you feel pissed and unreasonable at times, all in all we are going through this shit together. It has been a standard habit for me to use my phone whenever I have the time to and just text people regarding any random stuff, since facing army can get really boring at times (maybe because here in Scorpion we are given excessive admin time LOL).

Hopefully I can get over the fears of SOC, clear hand grenade without any hiccups (curse you sweaty palms), survive the longer route marches to come and finally pass the freaking IPPT. After which in no time I would be marching 24km down the road to the Marina Platform and throw my jockey cap in the air!

(I know this post is lacking a direction because I just talked about any random stuff regarding army, but oh well this is how it turned out hehe!)

seriously can’t wait for this day to come ^^

Time to be a soldier

Supposedly, the previous post was supposed to be named “The Impending Doom I” and this post was supposed to be named “The Impending Doom II”. but what’s with all the negativity? POSITIVE, THINK POSITIVE.

Since I already touched on the topic of Results Day, this post would be regarded to the impending army life I am facing. (Although I’m shitting in my pants regarding this fucked up day in 12 hours, I’m ranting way too much on something that has been determined 3 months ago). I was ACTUALLY quite looking forward to army, went on the BMTC tour with Leon’s family and it didn’t look too bad. Went on to watch the “Every Singapore Son” series, which makes BMT look like a very enriching experience and has really changed many people. After the 1st bookout, everyone which went in were saying how shitty Tekong was, which freaked me out a little. All the army terms, the random pumping, the physical training, or the screw-ups which may send you straight to the Detention Barracks. I mean, my hands were shaking with sweaty palms when I was playing the drums during Centerstage, and now I need to hold a rifle and throw a grenade with the same pair of hands… *faints*. I don’t even dare to ride the stupid Galactica ride at USS and I was closing my eyes during the Mummy ride *faints even more*. Furthermore, most of the guys are much more fitter than me, and if they are dying inside, then I’m a definite goner LOL. The only consolation for me is the 8-week PTP, which would surely help me in preparation of the actual BMT. Our generation now is having it much easier as compared to our fathers during their time serving NS, and they have gone through worse, so why am I still feeling afraid? Both physical and mental strength are essential if you are to survive NS. The physical part, although a worry, is not the problem since the army would be largely able to help us through intensive training. The part I’m scared about is the mental part, which I have no idea whether I have the strength required. I’m really afraid that all of a sudden I just can’t take the training and go suicide, which is the dumbest thing to do. Yes, I know it is fucking dumb, but when you can’t take it, these stupid thoughts would slowly creep in. can I survive the confinement period? 18 days without your friends, your family and just you alone on the lonely island doing physical training day after day. Fortunately, I received some tips from the people whom have experience the “shithole”, such as counting down only when a week remains, and thinking about your friends who are going through the same shithole as you. (I’m looking at you Dillon and Jun Jie LOL)

Army for me is like the As: You know it’s coming, and avoiding it wouldn’t solve the problem, so might as well change your mindset and just take it with an open mind. I needed help on improving my physical fitness, and I would get it when I’m inside. I believe that army can be one of those life-changing experiences, especially for people like me who isn’t really quite independent and has no uniform group experience, perhaps you would say “pampered too Much”. In army, I get free training, accommodation, and getting paid at the same time! (killing many birds with 1 enlistment :O). And since you’re in that shithole and you aren’t getting out any time sooner, put in your best effort, as the only person benefiting in the end is yourself (just like the As and your results). Hopefully I don’t chao geng LOL, go out and do your best and ultimately come out as a better person. Chao geng would not help the cause of helping my fitness level during BMT. Make some new friends too, since we are all going through the same thing together for 4 months. I have been always using NS as an excuse recently to pig out so no more excuses (LOSE ALL THE WEIGHT!). Although it would be tough, it would be an exciting journey. You need some challenges in life, and NS is just one of many brick walls in the future, and that’s how you keep improving as a person. You need a first in everything in your life, and well getting screamed at by someone supposedly ranked higher than you would be an interesting first for me. As Terence mentioned to me, everyone would be looking forward to seeing you after your confinement, so I can’t come back as a fatter person or something.

Hopefully, HOPEFULLY, I will have the strength and perseverance to survive the confinement period and come out as a better person after the whole NS journey. I know that I have my friends and family when I feel demoralized and they are the ones which I would miss dearly during the confinement period. After that, 5 days is seriously nothing. So please look forward to a better me soon HAHA! 🙂