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

Monday, November 15, 2004

My personal point of view!

I have issues with the many issues that are all around us.

I have chosen to display my point of view, and let anybody come and participate in open discussion. The link (it is a re-directer to the actual website) is here:

So far, I am focusing on Singapore, but the recent U.S. elections hold much interest for me. I might start a section on it soon.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Blog Enhancements

Today turned out to be quite mudane, and the details are enough to bore anyone. What I found strange was that I slept around 8 hours, woke up feeling refreshed, hit the backlog of newspapers (I didn't have time to catch up on the news that happened during my suffering in Brunei), and fell asleep right there on the floor.

I only woke up to my mom's clucking. She had wanted to mop the floor, and I was in the way. When I hit the pillow, I was drooling in dreamland all the way until lunchtime. Definitely not a very healthy way to start my morning. Possibly, my body was trying to cure the huge sleep deficit that I had incurred in my slumber account.

After lunch, I had to fight the drowsy feeling that came along with a full stomach. It was tough keeping awake, but I had heard stories about how sleeping too much during the day can give rise to insomia at night. So I got myself a huge bottle of water (those mega 1.5 litre bottles), and downed it. I remained quite awake after that (not to mention the frequent toilet trips).

Then after dinner, I had an inspiration to enhance my blog, so I went shopping. The newest addition is a chat box, which I hope to use as a platform to unify all those comments which might not truly belong to my posts. I've also automated the long bar that you normally see on the right, so that it is broken up into many smaller sections that are displayed one at a time. You will see the bar in its former glory if you do not have a DHTML capable browser.

Dear Younger Brother was quite delighted to see me when he got back from school, and stuffed my face full of food. Probably does not do justice to the tough slimming down I have had over in the steaming jungles, but my stomach now loves me even more than before I hit Brunei.

Dear Brother also egged me to come up with my own design for my blog, instead of relying on pre-made templates by other people. "It's more original, and will make you look more cool!" he extolled. Well, I might do just that, on the account that he has pampered my stomach. We'll see, tomorrow. Perhaps after tomorrow? Or the day after tomorrow?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Temburong, Negara Brunei Darussalam

It has been a long time since I updated this blog. To some who fear the worst, let me assure you, no, the headache did not kill me. I was away in Brunei Darussalam for overseas training, and I touched down back in Singapore only just this morning. It was quite an adventure that I went through, I must add.

We were shipped to Temburong via a fast craft (the only legal way to reach that isolated part of Brunei without entering Malaysia, and exiting it again into Brunei, and directly into the murderous heat of the Borneo jungle terrain.

The main city is Bangar, which is a small town in itself. I had quite a rude shock when I noticed the absence of traffic lights in the whole area. We travelled down to Kampong Lakiun, where the training camp is located, and were initiated unceremoniously to the relics of Singapore army's past.

Longhouses greet one's eyes, with sponge foam double deckered beds lining both sides of the walls from one end of the building to the other. A narrow corridor serves the whole house, with ineffective fans always fighting a losing battle against the 36 degrees heat outside. From then on, the only relief from the heat would come around mid-afternoon, where the North East monsoon would bring with it temperature lows of 25 degrees, which soon proved to be a problem at night, especially when I had to stay out in the jungle at night.

Probably in keeping with the tradition of torturing trainees, we could only steal precious few hours of sleep each night that we were in camp, for the preparations and inspections for the next day's training took up much of the early night. I looked wistfully as the other platoons slept while we scouts busied till 1 am, waking up at 4 am to start the day.

Probably the most enjoyable moments I had for the whole trip were those of the 4 day 3 night navigation exercise in the Bruneian jungle. By day, we climbed up and down multiple steep slopes, some of which were so tough to conquer that we had to stop every 200 m to rest our breaths. By night, we cosied inside the hammocks, and slept the night away (which was from 6 pm to 6 am; we were not allowed to travel after sunset for safety reasons), and woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the next checkpoint.

Most unforgettable was the night we spent inside the swamps. After travelling through virgin vegetation (we had to hack our way through thorned plants, and battle persistent insects while struggling to keep our footings), we were forced to harbour inside the brackish water for the night. Certain parts of the swamp were quicksand, and threatened to swallow us at the first opportunity. When we finally reached the end point the next morning, I had a sense of achievement that I could never have gotten back here in Singapore. The feeling of helplessness, continuously proving that humans are but an insignificant part of the jungle, is truly a humbling experience. After spending one whole night cursing in the dark, we were in awe at what we can achieve if we set our minds to it.

Sad to say, I did not get to climb Mount Biang as per the schedule due to some serious case (sorry I can't say much, I am being gagged here). Instead, I spent the rest of my stay in Brunei doing surveillance. What a boring way to pass time!

This trip has made me appreciate my country more. The connectivity that we have, the easy access to entertainment and services cannot be found in Temburong without a vehicle. When my plane hit Singapore's coastline, I was full of pride as I snapped pictures of the coastline (perhaps I can share it after I develop the film). Have you ever gotten the same feeling whenever you get back to your own country after a trip overseas?

Ok, that's all I can write in my jet lagged state (don't tell me that there is no time zone difference - the sunset and sunrise timings are sufficient clues to the physical time zone difference!)

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