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

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Sheares Bridge Run!

Run away! I am going to go on a 12 km fun run tomorrow!

Cool scenery boasts Singapore's highway bridge, the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. One major army event, and I can get to see many of my friends who are in doing their national service right now, because practically the whole of the NSF population is going to be running the 12 km.

Army Half Marathon Website

Friday, September 24, 2004

Residue pain

In aid of the noble cause of learning the life saving skill of poking one's buddy, my right forearm was brutally sacrificed.

The actual poking was stretched out over the whole of five days, but I got my turn only today. I was actually relatively relaxed, having watched more "murder-scene" like blood spots form on the floor, and the added experience of having donated blood meant getting pierced was a relative no-brainer for me.

My buddy took his time getting the catheter. After tying the tourniquet on my arm, he took his time pulling the latex gloves on and let it snap, showing me his favourite psychotic look. He proceeded to rub the alcohol swab across my arm slowly, not unlike a butcher fattening up the cattle before the slaughter. I ignored his deliberate attempts to unnerve me, and talked to one of my other friend (another psychotic, judging by the way he poked his own buddy a few moments ago).

Then, with the assistance of the medic, he started to penetrate my arm with the needle. A dull sensation in my fingers suggested to me that he hit my muscles instead of the intended vein. I could hear the medic asking him to shift the needle here and there, not unlike a navigation exercise. When he was done, my muscles were as sore as they would be after any gruelling training.

After a few minutes (well, sixty odd minutes) of recovery time from the muscle ache, and I was prepared to do the deed on my buddy. But being in such a high demand, he was invited to be another guy's victim while I was massaging my sore arm... Probably just as well he did, because I was really jittery about inserting foreign objects into another person's body. In fact, I was slightly traumatised by the thought. My new partner made it worse. He seemed kind enough, offering his arm to be poked.

The medic encouraged the match, and hailed the new partner's hand as the "fattest vein to ever be poked by a newbie". He turned out to be a mini-nightmare. He complained throughout the procedure:

"Wah, why is the tourniquet so tight? My arm is dying!"

"Can you hurry up? I cannot feel a thing!"

"Do you know what you are doing? Why is it so painful?"

I ended up speeding through the preparation and nearly dug the needle into his arm (that should shut him up!). I managed to miss his vein (it wasn't easy, with my needle hand shaking so badly; the medic asked me to relax for the umpteenth time), and had to conduct topography inside his skin, before finally drawing blood. He winced, and cursed at the pain. But it was a success. Later, my victim drew me aside and told me what a great experience he had with me compared to his last partner. It seems that his last partner managed to cause a swell of blood in his skin a few days ago, with painful results.

Perhaps I might make a great nurse, eh?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Needle phobia or fear of scary buddies?

I am pretty nervous about this coming week in camp.

Not only have they arranged for the close combat grading test to be this Thursday, they have also plonked us in the middle of a basic medic course. The highlights of the course includes poking intraveneous cathers into one's buddy, a skill which will be tested on (incidentally) Thursday!

I have not yet started on the actual poking lessons yet, but everyone is jittery about the whole thing. The senior medic who is conducting the course gave us a briefing last Friday, and he gave us a frightening demonstration of the actual poking on a guinea pig...

The poor guy was too frightened by the needle (well, it is VERY long!), and he thrashed about as the medic was inserting the cather. We ended up with blood all over the lecture room. In fact, the scene was not unlike that of a murder case. A few of my platoon mates nearly fainted at the sight of blood, while a few giggled. My guess was that they were trying to pretend that they are evil, to scare their buddies before the actual poking session tomorrow and on Thursday...

My buddy has assured me that he would try his best to target my vein (which would be a LOT less painful than if he were to poke it inside a muscle...), but failing which he would navigate the needle into the target... (I cringed at that, and he laughed his evil laughter.)

And in case you were wondering, it seems that all the guys here enjoy playing mind games with each other...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Let's Roulette!

Did you still remember the very first time you stumbled onto my blog? You might like to post it in the comments box.

Previously, we had to rely on search engines to search for blogs. Not that the approach is particularly flawed or anything, but what happens is that new bloggers get buried under the deep pile of search results, and since visitors rarely dig so deep, valuable gems get unpicked. And I know how it feels, to have splurged all your brain juice onto a cyberpage without any readers: My personal home page is a deserted backwater in cyber space.

Now blog providers are giving these new guys a chance. Introducing the random blog feature! tBlog has its "Updated Blogs" feature to allow visitors to view freshly updated blogs. Blogger now has a new feature that allows us to visit blogs on its network! Look at the mini-bar right at the top. Go ahead, give it a spin. Who knows, you might even find your long lost friend's blog!

Blogger's Next Blog (Hold Shift and click simultaneously to open in a new window)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Sterile, very sterile

I wonder if anybody has ever thought of this: Being in the armed forces, opportunities abound for those colourful descriptions of the various human body parts. Why is this blog so devoid of the actual army experience?

Firstly, let me assure you, that I am in no way some weirdo who does not spew sailor-grade swear words. In fact, they come out of my mouth as often as any one else's. However, as any child-protection agency can attest to, this is one of the most sterile blogs they would ever see -- from a military personnel.

I have set this goal: to get people to read about my writings (ok, typings), so I figured that vulgarities cater to a too exclusive audience, so I thought I might want to come clean on my writings. There is another reason for my doggedness for proper writing: If you have been following my musings ever since the first post, you would have realised that I was mulling over re-taking my "A" levels. I doubt that the script marker would have a high opinion of writings of that level.

Besides that point, one of my agendas (yes, that practical word. I have an agenda!) is to expose a crack to the military world, and maybe help change some misguided conceptions regarding military personnel. Like how some people think of people wearing army uniforms as smelly, when the various camps enforce compulsory showers before an appearance in the public...

But I guess certain stuff that I do would have to be kept under certain amounts of cover -- who knows what sensitive information I might reveal accidentally on this blog? Ah... the realism of doing intelligence work.

Laid back for 3 more days

In a situation typical of the Singapore Armed Forces, we are forced to take 3 days leave as the superiors go for their live range this week. It all sounds like a major conspiracy to clear all my leave this year, so that I would have to beg for "offs", which are extra leaves granted ("A privilege, not an entitlement," my platoon commander told us very seriously).

Anyway, the rest of the guys in my bunk seem very excited by the whole thing (I guess I should, since we are kept locked up in camp for 5 days out of 7), and they have started planning for all sorts of outings. I for one am not very excited. Even though being on the Internet 24/3 is a very tantalising thought, I figured that my mom would not be very excited about me staring at the computer the entire day.

"I would not want you to become a geek, staring at the computer all day," she would begin...

"Be careful! You will burn a hole in the monitor if you keep the computer switched on the whole day!" she berates 3 hours into my online world.

"You will pay for this month's electricity bill?"

"... Do you want to spoil your eyesight?"

"I am sure your brother would appreciate it if you kept the computer switched off while he is studying..."

I guess her concerns are valid (though I am doubtful about the part regarding the big black hole in the monitor), but did she have to keep it up every hour?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A cold week

Apparently, this week seems to pass in the flash. Already, last Sunday seemed like yesterday (pardon that cliche, I couldn't think of any other way to express it), and right now another week stares straight at me.

We did not have much activity the entire week, except for the odd close combat lesson, during of which we finished quite fast, and session and after session of parade rehearsal. The commanding officer is leaving, and we did one elaborate show on Friday to send him off. Wayang, as we called it.

(Sedia - attention), (senang diri - at ease), (hormat senjata - salute with rifle) and all the other drills. In fact, my body began to get used to standing like an erect rod throughout the better part of the one hour, unlike previously where I had to fidget like a bee.

However, I began to wonder about the practicality of such a parade. Firstly, we were organising the whole parade by ourselves. That meant painting the display boards, setting up the pedestals, the stands, installing our audio system, cutting our own sound tracks (we do that for our marching in tracks), and not the last of all, catering. In fact, we even painted the vehicles used in the parade ourselves! It seemed more like a showcase of the Singapore Armed Forces' ability to organise an activity without out-sourcing than a farewell parade for the out-going CO (he's out-going too, if you know what I mean).

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