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~ 😀