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

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Practise your skills!

Before my secondary school's wildly successful course on studying methods, I was stuck to inefficient and mundane rote memory work, which really took up plenty of my time after school. Staying back in the quiet environment of the school library then happened to appeal to me, and hence I was able to accomplish the mammoth task of memorising scientific facts, mathematical formulae.

Some were not so lucky (or are they just not disciplined enough?). They had to resort to interesting tricks to get past the numerous tests the teachers had to impose on us (by the ministry's mandate). To help these people improve their skills, a [:: two-part ::] [:: program ::] has been created for their practise and perusal.

I got intravenous needles stuck in me again ¡ยช by my platoon mates. The anticipation on Monday morning (when it was announced) mounted into a great climax that saw me trembling behind another guy as I saw somebody else getting poked in the arm. Not that I mind other people practising their skills on me, but the sight of a needle in any human flesh is enough to drive me nearly bonkers.

It was easy for others to poke me: I only had to look away from my arm for it to be a nonchalant experience (though I was in excruciating pain the entire time, because my buddy was doing some major topography inside my flesh), but I tried to plead with them to excuse me from poking my buddy. Which of course was a no go.

"You are a scout, and you will be alone with zilch logistics support! Not only do you have to carry your own food and water, but you will also have to take care of your team mates in case anything goes wrong!"

Oh well, at least they didn't do the usual scream-at-you-and-make-you-do-push-ups routine that was reminiscent of my earlier days in the platoon.

First I tied a tourniquet around my buddy's arm: it was supposed to restrict blood flow to expose the starved veins. Next, some alcohol swabs would fatten the vein further, making the catheter thirst for blood, literally. I didn't. Thankfully the catheter did. I had to avoid looking at my buddy as I pricked his skin with trembling hands.

"Don't tremble... Calm down." (The same advice again. Either I am really nervous, or there is something wrong with my hand.)

Thankfully (I've got tons to thank), the needle made its way into the vein easily and the catheter slid in with a surgical ease, upon which the medic congratulated me.

"See! You have done it!"

I guess he just didn't see the pool of sweat on my forehead... It sure wasn't easy to do that: I had failed five times previous, with only one success (with the medic's help), so this is probably some major accomplishment. A few moments later, another medic came up to me.

"Is your arm free?" He grabbed it, and started examining it carefully.

No it isn't. It's attached to my shoulder.

"Yup, my arms are free. Who's the lucky guy?"

"Your team commander."

[::: Comments :::]

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Finally, I find myself getting some real e-mail!

Amidst the flurry of money lenders clambering for me to borrow from them, I found a tiny piece shouting out, desperate to be heard above the cacophony. Rubbing my hands in glee (and glad to have somebody write to me for a change), I opened it.

And found another future scout! It turned out that he was looking around for more information into this very obscure vocation. Of course I was quite happy to find somebody else trotting down the same path I bashed into just a year ago. It would be nice if you could put your journey down on your blog too!

I am re-discovering the joys of watching television. The feeling is not unlike a cave man learning to start a fire for some purpose other than to burn his hand. The goggle box holds my attention for half-an-hour at a time, and my computer is left in screensaver mode most of the time. Even this blog entry took hours to conscruct! I would write a sentence at a time whenever the commercial comes on, but my train of thought is lost as soon as the program comes back on.

Oh.. Where was I?

Yes, television. I remember vividly my childhood addiction to television shows. They didn't have 24 hour screening back then, and all they showed throughout the few hours it was on air were mundane local dramas with those similar themes of family, children, and job woes. Although times have changed (my platoon mates sedate themselves in front of the box whenever we are not doing anything), the theme remains the same. Thank goodness for imported shows.

Ok, the distraction is getting frustrating. I really should be concentrating on either one of these two, but the television is situated strategically in the living room, along with my computer. I can't help cranking my neck to stare.

Shucks. Sorry for this mess. I will clear this up when I get the opportunity to turn the box off...

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Monday, June 13, 2005

Computer Games, and me

A minion monster my character has become, a minature bug manifested on the game mini-map, just pleading with the other players to come and put me out of action: for the umpteenth time.

It has been some time since I have touched DotA, and not only have my skill level fallen drastically, I also made some stupid mistakes that qualified me for the hall of the greenhorn. Should I say that I would be an old greenhorn? Never before have I suffered such a humiliation under other players. Ok, I admit that they are good. Multitudes better than me.

I can't help finding excuses.

I was a poor player, a big cheater when it came to games: the very first computer games I played were offline ones, which enabled me to hack and crack, tilting the scales very much in my favour. I never failed to do this with all the computer games that I played offline, so that pretty much accounts for the lost opportunity I could have used to develop my basic gaming skills. Later on, as newer games came out, and the specifications of my computer stood still in time, I found myself unable to play, and had to resort to exhorbitant LAN shops. That made me play even less often as compared to those privileged enough to splurge.

The end result?

A total push-over. The cannon fodder whose blog you are reading right now needs some time alone.

To mope.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005


It is quite ridiculous that I am so predictable. It gets worse when I realise that I am unpredictably predictable.

The moment I entered the show hall, I was gravitated to one of the booths set up by locally unknown brand, Shiro. They had a professionally set up booth in the centre of the exhibition, with green-clad sales executives milling about busily behind the glass counters displaying their digital cameras and MP3 players. At the side was a promotion poster announcing a $369 5.2 megapixels camera. Without knowing, I found myself fondling with the sizable bulk, which led me to plenty of questions on the camera, and finally led my ATM card out of my wallet...

I also bought a MP3 player, though it was not Creative as I had expected earlier. Samsung won my heart with its digital surround sound, coupled with voice recording functions and its support for OGG Vorbis files (though there were a few cheaper imitations of this model floating around elsewhere on the exhibition hall). Here are pictures of the boxes of my recent indulgence: (taken by my new camera of course!)

My Camera

My new MP3 player

Coincidentally, I organised an outing to the zoo on Saturday, which provided me an excellent opportunity to flaunt my photography skills (the lack of). My first attempts at manually controlling the shutter speed to achieve natural lighting for my shots all failed (the samples are still with me, due to my false hope of the miraculous Photoshop wand). Some of the better photographs taken from my house (taken courtesy of the camera's automated function):

My Rig

My Rig (Notice the huge mess)

It's a long way down from here

Oh my goodness! It's a long way down from here!

The industrial estate just before the horizon

The industrial estate just before the horizon

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Sorry I left out the comments link... Oversight on my part.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


The middle of 2005 crept upon me before I realised it. Two more months, and I would be packed off to Taiwan for my unit's ATEC; This final bastion marks the ultimate peak of my national service stint, and precedes an inexorable slide into skill decadance and physical irrelevance all the way till my reservist stints.

So far, the last two weeks have been feverishly fast-paced, with a marathon exercise (4 days spent humping a monster load on my shoulders and waist) sapping my physical energy, while re-defining my leg muscles out of the useless mush that has ensued from months of neglect on my part. Today is a cumulation of a week of "recouperation" getting ready for the last exercise before ATEC: a day leave, unexpectedly cleared from the dusty leave book (which has not been touched since March last year).

I woke up this morning to be completely aroused by the companion guide to the local electronics exhibition on the dining table. Flipping through the guide was a total disappointment: not many retailers were participating this year, and the [:: official website ::] was a reminscient of a website straight out of the early 1990s. The buzz online confirmed my suspicions, there was only one retailer selling digital cameras, while the rest were small resellers contented with displaying alien brands like Shiro (surprisingly, a Singaporean brand, which is something to be ashamed of, given the bad experience my friend had with their MP3 players).

I am going down for a reconnaissance session, though it is likely I will find myself saddled with an MP3 player from well-known Creative long before my conscience catches up with my card.

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