Dealing with criticisms by people has never been an easy job. Even the most popular person can't help but bend to its negative powers, though temporarily.
I am not talking about myself, but rather another platoon mate. He is on the verge of downgrading his medical status. If it is successful, he will be posted out of the platoon. He has this foot problem bugging him for some time now, which always makes sure that he stays well behind the rest whenever we do runs or fast marches. (I won't reveal who he is, but his blog is in my links list.)
The trouble is, not only does he have to deal with the pain in the foot in the aftermath of the activity (in the heat, to quote BadAunt), he also has to bear the brunt of criticisms from some of the less understanding people. They heap much scorn, much of it due to jealousy borne because he is a designated driver, and does not join in missions, except as a ferry. So far I would say he is handling it pretty well (I broke down when something similar happened to me in secondary school), but judging from his sleep-shouting (usually rude words) I guess he is at his breaking point. So far he has threatened to get the downgrade letter and leave.
Deep down inside, I really hope that he would stay. Now I don't care if there is a logistics nightmare when he leaves, but I really liked him as a good friend. I didn't really talk to him (except for the night before we came back from Brunei), but he is a likable person. It would be real sad if he were to leave right now, especially after 9 months of weathering tough training together. Another person lost in the high drop out rate. So far, 8 have left since this platoon was formed. Now with this Friday my platoon commander's (PC) last day here (he's posting out), it might seem as if we were old men sending off our friends... I really hope that this is the result of a high-attrition job.
So far, I've tried to deflect some of the gossips (humans are at least compassionate enough to do it behind the subject's back), but the visual stimulation they get when they see him struggle with everything would always distance my words from their minds. Well, I can't do anything to stop them from gossipping (heck, I bet they also gossip about me behind my back), but I feel that there is a need for them to be a bit more kind in their words.
Before the PC left, he gave us a final talk. During the last day with him, he revealed the promotees slated for the next promotion. I was one of them. Not to draw a parallel with a rocket blasting off into the sky in excess of 11 km/hr, but the close vicinity of these two promotions make me wonder whether they could have done it only just once, instead of forcing me to sew on one rank, and then tear it off and sew on a new one just weeks after.
Anyway, his announcement propelled me to cloud nine (I was dazzled that I was going to be the forth corporal in the platoon of 16 troopers), but I landed with a thud. This high is artificially generated by the CO (Commanding Officer, essentially the boss of the whole battalion) who only wanted to promote people in select batches, instead of raising everyone in a one off parade, as was the norm. Once again, I silently cursed him.
I was a bit taken aback when Badaunt was shocked that I found 3 km a short distance to run in the sweltering tropical heat. Today, I present to everyone: I did a 8 km fast march without any rest breaks in between on Thursday, and managed to complete only 4 km of alternating between walking fast, and running like crazy before breaking ranks with the rest, and became a laggard. I finished the whole event limping on a cramp in my calves, with the fact that my platoon managing to finish before the rest of the battalion the sole comfort in my mind. To put it mildly, I was crushed that I couldn't keep up. The two other guys inside my section (section 2) also had trouble catching up. Is this it? The end of Section 2? I didn't want to relive the glory times, but we were the most outstanding section (not bragging) before we went to Brunei. Did we do something wrong? I doubt so. So were the other guys getting stronger faster the cause, or is section 2 just plain lousy? I am still trying to figure out.
Maybe I will go and sleep on it.