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All the about Pkchukiss's life in the Singapore Armed Forces
Monday, May 31, 2004
The civilian test appears to be a tough nut to crack, according to some of my friends who are currently taking it. The traffic police screens out many people every test (the passing rate is an appallingly low 47%!) I was initially shocked by the figure. Were this coming from an academic school in Singapore, it would have been thrown into Davy Jones' locker, or relagated to the ruins of Infamy!
Now, even as I mull over whether to pursue a civilian licence (it sure would be helpful to ride to my camp, as it is about 40 km away, just about the other side of the island), the realities hit me. Being a military personnel would mean no time off to pursue the lessons, let alone take the test. This means that I would have to go for the lessons on Saturday and Sundays. Probably not too bad a sacrifice though. How much suffering would that amount to, if I can have the leisure of driving to camp? (After all, it is located in some extremely isolated part of the island...)
Now, how do I get to that driving centre...
Sunday, May 30, 2004
It is with a sombre mood that I share this, even though I have expected it for some time.
The rejection letter from NUS (National University of Singapore) came in my mailbox. Frankly speaking, I was not really holding my breath for an entry at all, given my dismal A level scores.
That said, I think I can carry on with my plans to re-take the exam. Forget about the C and Ds I've gotten. Time to look ahead, and plan. I am going to shock everyone with triple As, so much so that this time, I will be the ones rejecting universities clamouring for my grace. That is my vision.
I remembered that two years ago, just after I've gotten my O level results, I was planning to give Junior College education a shot. I've managed to pass it, which definitely proves to me that I have the ability to score. Time was not on my side, and I must say, I did exceed my expectations.
Time to surf the Internet for private tuition courses! Watch this space. I promise that three years from now (that will be when I am discharged from my national service duties), you will see positive news on my exam results this time!
Excerpt from the rejection letter:
While reading a book on financial management, my brain somehow decided to get excited about my portable CD player. Don't get me wrong, it has nothing to do with sexual stimulation. I was getting so involved in it that I began to dream about all the possible featuers of the perfect CD player. Thought I would like to share it with you:
- 500 seconds buffering for playback (effectively placing 2 to 3 songs snug for when doing those crazy aerobic workouts)
- Dual pick-up lens (so that if one gets knocked off, the other can pick off)
- 100 hours guaranteed long play on 2 AA alkaline batteries (2 batteries is all you need for that holiday trip of yours!)
- Error correction algorithm to over come reading errors from the CD
- CD-R, CD-RW support
- MP3 compressed inside ZIP/RAR archives support (Now that will pack a lot of music inside)
- Virtualiser for 6 channel sounds (Great for surround sound CDs)
- Electronic equaliser with 25 tunable frequencies, including an "Gain" lever, and bass booster
- Anti-rock positioner helps keep pick-up lens stable from all the shakes and knocks, effectively eliminating skipping music
- Internet connectivity to stream Internet radio formats
- Pick up over the air FM radio transmission, with advanced tuning for out of the area broadcasts
- Lyrics display support
- Sleep timer for those who bring their CD players to sleep with them, and do not want to waste the batteries (hell, I think this is redundant if a CD player has 100 hours of playback!)
- Organic LED 65535 colours display to display a visualised version of the music (Refer to Winamp's Visualiser to see what I mean)
- Song bias information to give more opportunities to songs which the listener likes to be played when in "Random" mode
- Fingerprint access system to allow only the owner to operate the player
- Support wireless headphones and remote control with wireless range of 10 metres
- Rubber armour to keep the player safe from water splashes, accidental drops, or simply to smash over a moron's head.
- Auto-protection of the lenses whenever the player is opened
- Negative air-flow system with high-grade air filter ensures clean air goes into the CD player, and keeps the system cool
- Air suspended rotation tab to minimise friction, resulting in less mechanical wear and tear.
I guess I had better stop. The drool is already threatening to flood the keyboard. Perhaps that will set the challenge to the engineers of CD player systems. Hopefully, I would be able to see such a product in my lifetime (perhaps I might pay a premium for it?), and fulfill my craze. As we can see, some of these features are within reach, while others will remain just what they are: a dream. What was I thinking? Negative air flow system? I've got to be kidding. How could anyone port a clean room technology into a portable CD-player?
Saturday, May 29, 2004
Yawn... It appears to me that this blog is still mired in the deep bowels of the Internet, and apparently, I am expected to harbour no hopes of being rescued from this virtual rubbish dump unless Google, or any other search engine decides to show some grace, and finally give me some decent exposure on their search result pages. No matter. My optimistic nature dictates that I soldier on, regardless of the unsurmountable task (I've always liked that word). My blog shall be as famous as Microsoft's website (my mission), and I shall be adding tons of laden blog posts to achieve the vision!
Fame. Reportedly, it seems that people of my star sign (I am a Leo) have an incurable addiction to being in the spotlight. I guess that it does apply to me. I am seeking attention through my blog. Perhaps this is a manifestation of an extremely deprived childhood? (In case you were wondering, I did not play with teddies, nor did I ram toy cars against each other. I just, well... slept.)
I took the time to get down to SAFRA (the local club for national servicemen) to redeem the "free" gift they said they were going to give me to sign up for their 5-year membership plan. Being the sucker for deals, I went along, and judging from the product they were giving me in exchange for my $150, I figured that I would be better off spending the bus fare (a mind boggling $3 in total, not including another side trip I took to procure some decent biking equipement) on a decent tube of ice-cream. I could use some fattening before the huge slaughtering when I start my scout course.
In case you were wondering, my writing seems to have taken a significant change from all that weary details of my life. Well, I have decided to focus more on my thinking, instead of documenting my life (I could have used a diary for that!). Now, that should bring in the crowd!
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
As the last continuous post mentioned, I was at the driving circuit to take my circuit riding test (a pre-requisite before they would take the risk to unleash me onto the public roads). My course mates were left scratching their heads, and wondering whether I was going bonkers. I was telling them lame jokes the whole time since that blog on Monday. What did the light bulb say to the switch? You turn me on!
Guess it is probably my own way of dealing with the enormous stress. Sweating it out in the sweltering tropical extreme heat inside a helmet, hands covered in gloves, and feet covered by shin guards, boots and knee guards, I was probably going derilous waiting for my turn to start...
Finally, the chief examiner waved at me from the start point. Time to move out. I could feel a lump wedging itself into my throat as I began to signal. Ok... turn on the right signal, check back, signal with the hand, check back again, ease off clutch and gently increase the throttle. It turned out that the testers had lesser interest in me than I had thought previously. They were obviously concentrating at some of the other weaker riders, and eagerly scribbling condemning notes on their notepads.
So, what was the result? I passed, with a total of 4 demerits, for forgetting to check back before tackling a bend, and for checking the wrong blind spot. It still eludes me why I checked the kerb side blind spot instead of the traffic side... Perhaps I was in a trance, or was I more interested in going through the motions? Ah... a potential road hazard in the making.
It so happens that I found out on Tuesday that we would be given fresh new number tags to don for the actual road riding -- to my extreme horror. Images of how I would be attracting stares to me with that big glaring yellow tag, with the number "14" printed proudly in big, bold, black colour made me embarrassed.
"We are going to wear this on the road?" one of my course mate asked incredulously, his eyes showing obvious disdain at the tag.
"Or would you prefer the old number tag?" came the shot-back, refering to the old dilapidated number tags we used for the circuit test.
With no choice, but to offer numbers for the public to punt on in the lottery, we set off. I was actually unaccustomed to travelling at 45 km/hr consistently, having no chance to speed on a straight road. I took to it with glee, before realising that I was supposed to switch lanes before a traffic junction...
Having learnt my lesson, I proceeded with more caution this time, and I applied all the techniques that I have learnt. The highway situation problems class did do some good (for all its hair-tearing experience!), for I saw the hazardous state of the road! For the first time, I saw for myself how dangerous the road actuall is. Motorcycles weave in between stationary lorries, and vans cut sharply into one's lane at 70 km/hr in a 60km/hr road zone without signalling, Mercedes and BMWs dashing across the double white line (in Singapore, vehicles are forbidden to even touch that line), and Protons accelerating across the zebra crossing, forcing pedestrians to watch in bewilderment (in case you were wondering, vehicles must give way to pedestrians at the zebra crossing). I actually rubbed my eyes in amazement! (sidenote: forgetting the fact that I was wearing gloves, my eyes ended up smarting with cotton fibres caught in my eye lashes...)
Then, as I looked into the mirror at my instructor, his lips set in a grin or grim line reminded me of how motorcyclists always get the raw end of the deal. I swore to myself: If I ever were to get a motorcycle, I would get a monster bike, at 1600 cc or above, to ensure my safety. I ended up returning home totally shacked out from all the mental stress...
Things took a turn for a worse today. In theory, changing lanes only involve signalling to the appropriate direction, and after checking the mirror, one would accelerate gradually into the next lane, and the vehicle behind would accomodate by slowing down. What difference! As I signalled, I saw the vehicle accelerate with such abruptness, I lost the courage to pull into the lane. After that vehicle passed, I attempted the lane change again. This time, I opened the throttle more, and only barely managed to get into the lane before the traffic junction. The resulting jamming of the brakes was probably something I do not want to happen very often. I hurt my sensitive part...
While things are turning to be less favourable than I expected, I figure that I would be able to adapt quickly to this extremely realistic world... Hopefully, I do not turn out to be a worse devil (probably hardened by all that hard driving) than the drivers currently on the road now.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Anyway, I will try to update the blog as soon as possible (probably via my cell phone tomorrow), but given my current state (I am struggling to keep my wrinkled eyes open even as I type), it is already a miracle that I have not committed a bunch of grammatical mistakes in my typing!
Monday, May 24, 2004
Anyway, I've just passed my balancing and emergency break tests. What is left is the actual circuit riding. If I pass, you might see me on the roads tomorrow. If I fail, well, it is back to the balancing and emergency break tests again, before going through a NEW test route! If I pass, I will be rewarded with a long weekend this Saturday, which means more time to blog! Now you see how important it is for me to pass!
Sunday, May 23, 2004
My course will end somewhere at the start of June, and that is when I would have to report back to camp. That will mean the end of daily updates (as you would technically expect it to be). However, I will try to keep a chronological log of my blogs in camp, and try to upload them all at one shot during the weekends.
Meanwhile, I will rant all I can during the whole duration of my stay-out course!
I do sincerely hope that my effort will be rewarded by your viewership. So... come back often!
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Inside the sheltered environs of a circuit, I found myself waiting impatiently at a T-junction as many budding jeep and 5-tonner drivers struggled to tame the apparently wild beasts. My finger came very close towards getting glued permanently to the horn button on my bike. Though I didn't use it at all in the end, that I found myself extremely annoyed at these drivers (who obviously had the right of way) was an interesting, and perhaps disturbing revelation about me. Am I a impatient jerk, a potential road bully?
Perhaps what saved my day was my addiction to popular music. I started to hum my favourite tune (from Martika -- Toy Soldiers), and it made the waiting seemed all that easier to take. However, it seems that some of my fellow course mates couldn't take the pressure. They decided to overtake me, and drove straight into the jeep's path. They ended up pushing their bikes back to the start point (the instructor was seriously contemplating making them run with the bike).
Balance is an important part of life. Without it, one would be... unbalanced. Anyway, we had plenty of it today, after all the balancing tests we went through today, with promises of more tomorrow, we were quite tired of the bike!
The complete test course includes a 6 second driving act on a long flat log (one cannot fall off or stay for less than 6 seconds), ribbed log, a figure-8 course, and finally, a mini-salom. Fail any of the items, and the whole test is a gone case.
I managed to pass all the items on the two assessment they made me do, which is good. Because if that were not the case, I would still be at the circuit making rounds instead of ranting over here!
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The tough part of the whole test is not really about "forgetting to mention the important parts", but rather the pressure the tester puts you in, with their extremely hostile attitude towards you. To put across the point, they position the stop-watch such that they are able to start it as if they were timing a swimming athlete...
A maximum of 5 scenarios would be set out, and a minimum of 3 perfect scenarios are needed to achieve a pass. Making a mistake will render you a fail in that particular scenario. Tough indeed.
I thought I was in for a good start, when the tester appeared docile and subdued (contrary to complaints from earlier test takers). However, he pounced on me immediately when I forgot to "check that my exit was clear".
The good news was that I was able to trudge through the other three scenarios he put me through, but not without plenty of linguistic flaws. I ended up describing everything in a typical Singaporean flavour, with all the "lors", "huhs" creeping their way into my speech. But who cares, I managed to pass, and that is all that matters to me.
Sunday, May 16, 2004
My blog was previously at http://pkchukiss.tblog.com. However, as I've found a better blog host over here at Blogger (powered by Google), I've decided to make the move and shift into the neighbourhood. Feel free to comment on the contents!
Since I've made the impulsive decision to leave tBlog, I took the easy way out towards starting my blog here -- I used one of the templates available here, which explains why some might find the layout a bit cliched.
Do visit often!
I earned myself a knock on my helmet on Wednesday when I accidentally threw the clutch in first gear, which resulted in me overshooting the stop line, and I stopped in the middle of the T-junction, where other learner jeeps and motorcyclists struggled to avoid me, even at their snail paces.
After much chastising, I could not possible forget that lesson! Anyway, from what I heard from the instructors, it seems that the actual circuit riding test involves much acting, or wayang, as one might say in Singlish. We would have to check the mirrors every few second, turn the head to check the blind spot, essentially turning the whole affair literally into a lion dance with all that head turning.
Now that it is all temporarily past me, I can finally let my hair down. With the thermometer bursting its bulb at 30 degrees centigrade (even at night), I decided to pamper myself with an aggressive swim with my friends. However, the huge crowd there (it seems that hot weather is a huge driving factor in Singapore) made it impossible to complete laps properly without encountering a head-on collision with another swimmer. We gave up on the swim and decided to watch "Troy" instead.
To save time, we went to a cinema chain nearby, which happened to belong to a company which I had a bad experience with in the past. Wanting to give it a second chance at proving its worth, I relented on my usual complains, and gave up my crisp ten dollar note.
It proved to be a costly mistake. Firstly, the movie happened to be almost 3 hours long, which made me extremely restless (couldn't get all that energy out of my system at the swimming pool), the seats stank to high heaven, and (to my extreme horror), I spotted cockroaches scuttering around on the floor. One even had the audacity to invade a girl's shirt, which raised a small commotion as she endeavoured (read: screamed) to remove it... ... Needless to say, I'm never patronising that chain ever again.
Just to prevent any possible lawsuit, I am not mentioning the guilty party's name, lest I have to get funding to fight a court case! It does not hurt, however, to mention that this company has a cinema in both Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh...
Post Edited: It seems that attempting to type at 1 a.m. in the morning has profound effects on one's ability to produce grammatically sound English. I seek your kind understanding... (In fact, I do believe that I am just about the only Singaporean blogger who bothers to type in prim and proper structures...)
So now it is on to bigger things, like the highway situation problem test, in which we are tasked with crossing junctions safely. Judging from the lessons so far, it is simply a rigid set of answers which the tester wants from you. However, the memory work required is driving my brain nuts!
"Beware of traffic coming from left going straight, oncoming turning left. Check rear mirror, blind spot, beware of vehicles turning with you, beware of pedestrians, tap horn to warn motorcyclists..........." <-- Can't believe I am supposed to parrot it out whole.
So far, riding lessons are pretty fun, and tiring at the same time. We rode our bikes in standing position, and I must admit, attempting to grip the petrol tank with my ankles while trying to push my stomach in and jutting out my chest proved trying to my previously undeveloped muscle groups. The end result? Many weak legs which trembled uncontrollably. I even had problems dismounting from the bike without dropping it!
Resistance training, anyone?
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
The bike course is proving to be more tiring than I thought! There are tons of simultaneous steps to even move off, something which I managed to get upside down on my first try, earning me a sharp knock on my helmet from the instructor... I opened the throttle, then set to first gear, accidentally released the clutch too fast, which resulted in me jerking forward (nearly up the far kerb!)
However, after much hard work (compounded with "choice" words from the instructors), I managed to get on the road, and successfully go up to the third gear (previous experience with a bicycle has finally paid off), and tackle easy bends. My reward? I got to leave the place before the rest (only 4 people from my group got away from the tenacious grip of Remedial Training).
I ended up falling asleep on the bus, and nearly missed my stop.
I guess that tomorrow will be another interesting day for me, even as I tackle the Yamaha...
Sunday, May 09, 2004
While I was on my way home immediately after my booking out, I ran into something that rather annoyed me on Friday night: The MRT intercom was playing an advertisement advocating courtesy.
In fact, I was sleeping when it happened: Two men talking over the intercom. Initially, I thought that it was just a mistake by the driver (you know, the kind when people accidentally press the wrong button and broadcast their private conversations), and tried to sleep. Then after a while, it happened again. Irritated, I listened carefully, only to discover that it was a courtesy message by SMRT. How ironic. Does disturbing me in my private moment count as being courteous?
Also, this points to a trend of aural invasion, even as we are inundated by the flood of visual stimulus around us. No longer are we only subjected blatant television advertisments on buses and trains, now we are about to lose our peace of mind; one can shut off his eyes, but ear plugs are hardly useful in covering out these sounds (one can still hear it through the ear plugs).
What's next? Advertisements which overload your taste buds? How about some McNuggets which taste like coffee to promote StarBucks?
The course briefing was yesterday, and my, the restrictions are so shocking. I will not be allowed to take any leave, apply for offs, or arrange any specialist appointments during the entire one month of the course! In addition to that, the Course Orderly Executive threatened to put anyone of us who does anything wrong to be out of course!
Talk about a positive head-start! :rolls eyes:
Anyway, I went back to my college to pay a visit to the teachers there, and found that I could dunk my favourite teachers, and all proceeds from the dunking would go towards a pocket money fund for needy students. I obliged, not merely out of generosity, but also out of the admiration for the teachers who thought nothing of being dunked! I also got to vent up my pent-up frustration in the morning while I am at it! That's three birds with a stone.
As my platoon sergeant would say, it is "absolutely outside-standing".
Singapore is a small country in south-east Asia (at around 685 square kilometres), with a tropical climate all year round. We are most famous for our "campaign" oriented approach to everything. The Speak Good English, Stop at Two, Clean Toilet Awareness campaigns are just some of the trademark campaigns which many people have ridiculed to no end. (I have not taken a stand as to their effectiveness, but heck, at least they tried!) :lol:
Enough about my country. The individualistic element inside me dictates that I must extol my talents within the next few minutes, or suffer a serious withdrawal. (I am no ego-maniac I assure you)
I am currently serving my term in the Singapore Army (compulsory for all 18 year-olds, for a term of two, or two-and-a-half years, depending on one's education level) as a scout (but I am still under training). I studied in the following schools:
1) Mee Toh Primary School
2) Chung Cheng High (Main) (For my GCE "O" levels)
3) Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) (For my GCE "A" levels)
not to mention the following military school...
4) BMTC 2 (Basic Military Training School 2)
(Ninja Company 45th PTP Enhanced intake)
I have a strong interest in current affairs, have intermediate knowledge in many Internet technologies, some of which I am still hesitating over on my way to building my own website.
I do hold liberal values, while remaining grounded with sound moral guiding principles, which essentially makes me a moderate lefty.
Frankly speaking, I did not do well enough to qualify for university education, which is something that weighs heavily on me, even as I excel in the military. Somehow, I do hope to be able to get a good degree, preferably in the social sciences. I am actually seriously considering re-taking my "A" levels, at least to assure myself that I can achieve my goals, especially in this goal-oriented society.
- ► 2005 (74)
- Imaginary CD player
- Blog reborn?
- Short Circuit
- Lack of updates...
- Bike test commences...
- Prepare for tardy posts
- Towards greater balance, and circuit tolerance!
- Leap through another hurddle!
- Mega house shifting
- Erractic blogging
- Bike course speeds up
- Shackness Galore
- Aural Invasion!
- Driving a matter of course
- Welcome to my blog
- ▼ May (17)