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~ 😀

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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 ._.)

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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 ^^