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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Smelly Social Experiement

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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