Entering into the army virtually strips any person of his civilian identity. You don't call yourself "Mr. so-and-so", and former-fellow civilians take special care to steer a wide berth from you whenever you attend a formal function in that dizzy green camouflage pattern. I know, it is like getting a contagious disease.
I was made to be extremely self-conscious on my very first book-out almost 2 years ago. Decked out in the smartest uniform, yet smelling from the physical activity I was forced to do for the ritual book-out bunk inspection, I could only flap my hands helplessly while commuters wrinkled their noses in their blatant expression of disapproval.
I can't blame them. Multiply me by the entire company of recruits on the train, and you get the picture, or rather, the aroma. Thank goodness for the Arctic air-conditioning on the trains (at least during that time). I doubt that recruits nowadays are fortunate enough (ever since the train operator decided to keep the thermostat at a warm 26 degrees) to dry up as easily as I did.
Come to think of it, surely the other passengers are suffering from the overwhelming stench of male pheromones? I doubt so. I was sure that hiding somewhere among the seated crowd pretending to sleep (while the elderly and needy stand) was some obsessed girl with a morbid fetish for men decked in army uniforms ogling at me hungrily. I could not put my finger on it, but I definitely felt watched.
The same thing happened all through my days booking out in uniform. It stopped the very first time I took the train home in civilian attire. No eyes boring through to my skin, nothing to make me stand out, which suited me fine. So recently, I decided to conduct an experiment, to see if I wasn't simply being pickled in paranoia.
There was once I had to attend a function in full uniform, and I took the opportunity to dress as immaculately as possible, before taking the train. I was surprised when girls actually picked seats next to me (on an empty train), in turn snubbing other males.
I didn't know what to make out of all these. Either I really was paranoid as a recruit, or I smelt too nice on that particular day, looked too smart, or it was really just girls with a fetish for men in army uniform.
What do you think?
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All the about Pkchukiss's life in the Singapore Armed Forces
- ▼ July (6)