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All the about Pkchukiss's life in the Singapore Armed Forces

Saturday, August 28, 2004

5 day work week

I seem to be slightly behind my blogging schedule lately. Ok, I admit, I have not been disciplined enough to think about what to write. Recently thinking has been a foggy haze which prevents my brain from functioning properly -- especially when I have been through some streneous physical activity. Just yesterday, I caught myself calling the "Battalion Signals Officer" the "Signal Battlefield Occifer", and almost addressed my company sergeant major as "sir", something which would have earned me even more extra duties...

Besides that, the interesting thing that happened for the whole of this week would be the commotion over the recent announcement of the "5-day work week" for the civil service. "It includes the army, you see," my buddy, with his ears permanently stuck to the radio told me. "So I guess our long week-end would now start from Thursday?" one of my bunk mates asked, to shouts of delight, and causing some of the inquisitive sergeants to pop right in...

I guess now that we are no longer trainees, regimentation would take a practical twist. As my platoon sergeant put it, "I will not demand from you guys what I cannot do myself". I guess that means the days of doing push-ups over the speck of dust on the otherwise spotless table are over. But since our cupboards was in a mess, he made us tidy the whole place up before allowing us to book out. We watched ruefully as some of the platoons left first... But hey, at least we didn't do push ups! (Or did that have something to do with the sergeants, whom have left their cupboards in the same condition?) The mind boogles...

My computer was in a mess when I came back. The amount of junk programs was astonishing! I had plenty of old "productivity suites" which I had painstakenly downloaded when I was still on the drag of an internet connection. The amount of data I freed up? 3 gigs. I am personally horrified at what a troll I have become!

Have you done spring cleaning on your computer yet? Maybe you will end up dumping even more data than I did!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Physical Exhaust!

Mental stress paid me an unwelcome visit this week. Imagine carrying a filled sand bag, along with rain water collecting in the SBO webbing, and do a 8 km walk up and down a slope, with other platoons carrying much lighter loads and singing merrily away without a care for the world. Now, imagine that you have just had Close Combat training in the morning, which included some form of intensive training (push ups, push ups, and push ups).

I admit, it was an extremely trying experience, with the pain in my shoulder threatening to bend my spine (I had to rub some of that magical Counterpain on it afterwards). But amazingly, I held out mentally. In fact, everyone in the platoon held out, and nobody fell out of throughout that fast walk in the rain. It could be the psychological effect of the almost exclusive jungle hat on our heads, or it could be the constant encouragement from the rifle companies, but we pulled through this one. I heard from somewhere about the indomintable "human spirit", but this is the first time I have felt it by my side, as if guiding me...

Anyway, before we were let off the hook today, we were hurried into a 5 km run (the commanders originally had planned for a 7 km all out run, but thankfully, common sense prevailed).

I must thank all you readers out there for your comments! I was beginning to lose heart in this little pet of mine (I can't even begin to talk about my personal website, which is essentially just a beautiful white elephant "housing project" relegated to the equivalent of the forth world country! I am really happy that you have enjoyed reading my rants so far!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Broadband experience

I got myself a cable subscription, at a very cool 1,500 mbps!

Now I am free from the tenacious grip of the local telephone monopoly, which charges exhorbitant fees for dial-up connections. Can you believe that for the same amount of time I go online, they charge more than my new cable providor, and all for a much lower speed? How about paying S$58 flat fee per month for cable, compared to S$100 odd for 56k dial-up, with the charges continuously incurring every minute you are online?

I guess it is only in Singapore that we find idiosyncracies such as this.

Having a huge pipe can be an unnerving experience. When I went to the Windows Update website, I stood up from my chair, expecting the thing to take eons to download, and was surprised to see the web page fully downloaded and waiting for me to pore through even before I could finish standing up. Yea, I guess I kind of forgot that I now have a speedy connection to the World Wide Web.

So what is your connection like? Leave me some comments! (Ok, I guess I am getting desperate for some concrete evidence that I am not sounding off a blank wall out there.) Anything will do! Say Hi! Somebody, anybody, everybody..... comment! (I plagiarise it from Gurmit Singh.)

Course graduation photos are out!

Come and see them!

Platoon photo:

See the bigger version

(All files below are approximately 100 kB in size)

Team 54-Alpha
Team 54-Bravo
Team 54-Charlie
Team 54-Delta
Team 54-Echo
Team 54-Foxtrot

Have fun with the pictures!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Entree Entrepreneurship (Enough with the goofy titles!!)

The entrepreneur virus seems to have hit me recently. I found myself gravitating towards the bookshops, where I started paying for self-help books on starting a business.

Rich Dad, poor dad was my first acquisition (I got intrigued by the controversial theories thrown up), and that set me back by $19.90. Then, after a few minutes of aimless browsing, I found myself picking up a self-improvement book written by a Singaporean author who managed to make $1 million by 26 years old. He confessed in the book that he was a problem teenager, and only turned around when he went through a neuro linguistic programme. Sounded good to me. If he was such a baddie-turned-successful, surely I can manage better?

Feeling inspired, I wondered over to the business section, where I procured a book on starting a business, and since then, I have been deep in study of it. (Oh, and the bill came up to $69, a rather princely sum given my monthly National Service allowance of $500).

I must say, the self-improvement book was quite effective. Now I am full of drive, and my head is full of giddy ideas to publish a book (probably a fiction story). With enough effort, I will be as successful as Tom Clancy. Please do give me some feedback on my mini essay (The Reluctant Instructor). I will be writing more often to brush up my skills, and prime them up for the Big One...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Reluctant Instructor - A mini-essay

I dedicate this mini-essay to all my BMT instructors, without whom I would not have survived my army life till this far... Please do tell me what you feel of it. I wrote it when I was thinking about my BMT days. Hope you enjoy it!

The Reluctant Instructor

The droplet fell onto the hot asphalt road, and sizzled into steam. Many similar droplets were covering his face, and his arms were buldging from the effort.

"... and up" the instructor spoke. With a mighty grunt, the recruit heaved himself from the ground, more sweat poured forth, and drenched the ground. Around him are 40 other similar bodies, doing push-ups in a synchronised dance, an apparent entrancement which all their souls have been ensconced in, effort etched deeply in their faces.

The instructor furrowed his eyebrows. He wasn't used to issuing physical punishment, and seeing many trembling arms under the threat of giving way, he decided to let them off.

"Recover!" He menaced. "And next time, wake up your bloody idea!" he snarled, to the cowering faces before him. Then, he spun around, and marched off to the office in military precision.

He was wasted, a mere shadow of his own personality. Forced to dress himself into the instructional role, which demanded him to be a mean bastard. But the soft side in him didn't want to, and now that the iron mask had come off, he began to weep.

The silver bayonet, the mark of his achievement, laid in its display, an air of mysterious glamour wafting from its very core. He caressed it gently, the fine hilt, with its many specially crafted diamond-shaped grooves, the symbol of a sergeant's achievement.

Had I gone through all these just to become the most hated person in this place? He pondered, his eyes resting on the three stripes sewn onto the sleeve of the neatly pressed uniform, swaying gently in the breeze from a golden hanger (a gift from his girlfriend, "for your best uniform," she had said).

No other instructor could match his dedication. He had single handedly took charge of the recruits' welfare, from cleaning their bunks before their enlistment, to preparing their orientation program. He was also the strictest with the trainees, ensuring that they learn from their mistakes. That also meant more frequent meetings with the Orientation Officer, whom would summon him due to complaints from the recruits' doting parents.

The effort was murdering his soul. Why can't he be himself, like the other instructors?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A gift, or a curse

Being contactable at all times can be really annoying...

Having enough of being chased by enemies, hiding in mosquito infested bushes, and sleeping on a knoll full of unactivated live ammunition, in addition to being at the receiving end of countless aggressive talk (also popularly known as a 'scolding'), I thought I would goof off my Sunday in bed. How wrong I was.

At exactly 9 am, my cell phone rang out in a jarring melodious ring. It so happens that one of my platoon mates wanted me to help him get some ziplock bags. I sat there on my bed sulking for a few moments (why didn't I just switch the thing off?!), before going back to sleep again, his message unreplied.

At 9.10, the phone rang again, this time a continuous repetition of The Black Eyed Peas (Where is the love) echoing throughout the room. The impatient fellow decided to call me! I decided to put an end to the nonsense. I condemned the call to voicemail heaven, and turned the phone off. In fact, I took the battery out for extra measure, and was about to take out the subscriber identification module while I was about it, before I got knocked out again.

After what seemed like only 5 minutes, there came a loud knocking on the door.

"WAKE UP! There is a call for you!" came the shouting from the other side.

That proved to be my breaking point. I snatched up the extension in my room, and roared

The poor guy apparently decided to call my house number after I disabled my cell. Some people really don't get the hint. I looked at the time: 9.15.

It was only when I was slightly more conscious that I realised what I had done. I called the guy up and apologised, but he seemed to be too shaken by my roar (probably my Leo trait). Perhaps I should keep all phone calls till after breakfast...

Like they say, a sleepy man is an angry man (or was it me again?)

Blogging in Singapore

Well, it seems that blogging has finally become a nationwide craze (even though I don't see the corresponding crazy sign up numbers). With this website, even more muted, hormone raging teenagers are able to shoot their mouths off online.

That's besides the one-day only blogs from those three-minute thrill seekers.

Talk about ranting...

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