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

Monday, October 31, 2005

18 year olds: Teenager Armed Forces

National service at a tender age of 18 is surely a huge amount of responsibility for the young minds that are still beginning to come to grips with the whiplashes of human relationships, gradual realisation of the many undercurrents moving the world. Not only are they forced to grow up quickly, they also learn inter-personal skills, such as back-stabbing, avoiding extra work through various antics, and a penchant for the ultimate escape from reality: sleep.

But is 18 years old a mature enough age for a teenager to bear arms?

I asked all these at the same time as I witnessed a 5-tonner truck reversed into my Company Sergeant Major's car.

The tonner, already filled to the brim with passengers, was about to leave the camp. The driver put the vehicle in reverse gear, and forgetting about the Toyota in the blind spot, must have stomped upon the accelerator, since everybody could hear the engine roar from the sudden rev. This was followed by a sickening sound of metal striking metal, and the screeching sound of protesting metal.

The impact caused the relatively new Toyota to be dragged a few metres, with its bonnet totally crushed in.

Now, cars in Singapore are extremely expensive black-holes for money. To secure one, a person first needs to bid for a certificate of entitlement from the government, of which the price floats around SGD$30, 000 (Around US$17, 000), before being eligible to purchase a car. To make things worse, these little pieces of paper only last 10 years, after which it must be renewed at the prevailing price. Can you even begin to imagine the mental anguish?

The spectators cheered, either at the the prospect of having another gambling inspiration from the car's licence plate, or they must hate the encik (a malay word which commonly used to refer to Company Sergeant Major) very much.

This, coming from the people who bear arms, and drive heavy-load vehicles. The wielders of lethal force.

Simply magnificent.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sick: again.

I am ignorant when it comes to matters of personal health.

I don't wash my hands whenever I pick up finger food from the tray (though I make the effort to soap my hands before major meals), I shake people's hands, and then neglect to wash mine. I rub my eyes with my fingers after hours at a time striking the keys of my keyboard... the list goes on.

Now, [::: a new discovery :::] to the complete health idiot here reveals that excessive work-outs do affect a person's immune system.

In fact, I am experiencing it right now, first hand.

Still remember the [:: headache I had yesterday morning ::]? It's back, with a vengance. And it is not alone. Phelgm and nasal unmentionables stand astride. All these, thanks to my hygiene habits after a week of back to back Standard Obstacle Course tests and trainings.

Updated: Ambiguity that could be construed as an insult to my friend. Phelgm does strange things to my writing.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Yet another meme

Ok, so I got shot by this little meme (that's what they are called):

Rules of the game: Post 5 Weird and Random Facts about yourself, then at the end list the names of 5 people who are next in line to do this.

  1. I am obsessed with current affairs, and history.

    That always makes for a boring day with my friends, most of whom roll their eyes when I start talking about DeLay (and NO! The capitalisation is correct!)
  2. I have a shy persona:

    The internal cogs that turn me still keep me from opening up, except to my close friends. However, I can make friends fine, which is a tremendous improvement from the past, when I was the person sitting there waiting to be acquainted. My friends can also attest to how lame my jokes can really get.

    "It's snowing in Singapore!" - close friend from my secondary school.
  3. I live on the 16th storey:

    ... which could shock dear readers from countries without tall public housing.
  4. I love peanut biscuits:

    Hitting the chart is a mundane and uninteresting trivia of mine: I absolutely love Julie's Peanut Biscuits. Nobody bakes biscuits like Julie!
  5. I now have many City Harvest Church friends

    ... for a Buddhist. I can't find anybody who is in this interesting piece of trivia. But that is the point of this meme: pure trivia.

I now fire the arrows at



Han Xian

Ming Guang

Kin Chung

6th division anniversary

My cell phone (Side note to concerned alarmist: also known as a "handphone", which has entirely nothing to do with terrorists) woke me up at the crack of dawn, to a similar crack in my mind. My brain was cold and protested at being jump-started. Moments later, Father came in and woke me up.

"Don't you have to go to camp now?"

"...mmm... it's just 5 in the morning... WHAT?!"

And that marked the perfect awakening that I have not had ever since I enlisted.

Today is our division's anniversary. 29 years ago to this day, the cobra division was created as a reservist formation, housing all the servicemen whom have transited back into their civilian life. On the odd occasion when they return, the old campus at Nee Soon is bound to be a gathering of beer-bellies, whom would gather jovially with their sacks of canned food for their reservist training.

To commemorate this vital event of our lives, we have enthusiastically stretched ourselves out, bowled over each other in a frenetic attempt to be selected to join an extremely coveted bunch of lucky NSFs to join in a parade filled with polished-boot dirtying mud, a sky that keeps taking a toilet break, and a murderous sun that threatened to preserve us like plums.

I thank my lucky stars that I was selected for the exhibition instead. Our display was located at a secluded part of the camp, which is very easily missed amidst the adrenaline of Bronco tank and Light Strike rides. That meant only the dedicated seekers of our exhibit could find us: The big shots.

Soon after the parade over at the other side of the sprawling camp finished, we found ourselves drowning in a crowd of Majors and Colonels, together with their family. Camera-totting, with some even delicately carrying their ladies' handbags, they seemed far from the commanding figures that hundreds of soldiers fear. The pot-belly helps too.

Taking special advantage of the situation (cameras are not normally allowed), I snapped a few photos of our motley display.

(To any potential enemies: the photos of the equipment you see are so widely distributed, you won't even find them the least bit interesting. See for yourself:)

The armour display on the parade square
The armour display on the parade square

The primus in action
The primus in action

120mm mortar
120mm mortar

Our exhibition of infantry weapons
Our exhibition of infantry weapons

The humble ordinary servicemen have all left in a thunderflash, leaving the catered lunch with little takers: Ponnifer shoved a handful of chicken drumsticks on my plate, and I managed to eat many servings of ice-cream, all just for being the only few to grace the "buffet". I didn't take any photos there, since I was too busy eating.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Week in camp after ATEC

Due to some unforeseen technical difficulties with my will-power, I am forced to delay the production on the long awaited series of unfortunate events. Rather unfortunate, it is.

Anyway, things back at camp have largely settled down into a steady routine: I go on a very tiring physical training in the morning, then slump on my bed for the rest of the day, occasionally rousing to interrupt some excited debate going on in the bunk.

Lying on your bed motionless, even when you are not really sleeping helps aplenty, especially when you get to overhear interesting opinions about you that would normally never fall within the cavities of your ear... Talk about reconnaissance.

The schedule for these few days are evenly split between Advanced Close Combat Training (which teaches us to do fight unarmed) and the Standard Obstacle Course, which is an eleven-obstacle long run, with a 700 metre run down, and a 600 metre dash to the finishing line. SOC is tough, we have to finish it under 9.5 minutes to pass. The course in the camp ups the ante with a continuous upslope gradient all the way from the start till the finishing line. I can't see myself believing the words of conducting officers who claim that the ground is actually flat.

We got partially lucky today. They managed to book a much easier obstacle course in another camp. It has very steep down slopes, little hindering gradients, but a seemingly long run down and finishing dash. I took the test there before (which I very obviously failed) so I pretty much had a pre-conception on what to expect.

To further improve my chances, I applied all the psychological techniques to mentally prepare myself for the test. At around 3 pm, all the test takers assembled on the ground, and boarded the vehicles that would take us to the camp. Just as the vehicles got into the second gear, the first drop of trouble fell onto the roof. Then the second. And then came the third. Soon, the road was wet with the sudden downpour. The conducting officer had no choice but to cancel the test. This coming after two weeks of running, and an entire day of mental psyching, was a real wet blanket.

You couldn't see the urgency in my passing the test right?

Well, a few weeks ago, the big bosses up above suddenly decided to impose unrealistic sleeping timings, and have largely curbed the nights outside camp, such that the only realistic chance of even going out for a little bit of LAN gaming would have to depend totally on me passing the SOC. I won't go into a discussion into the morals of the people involved, but I have to say that I am quite disappointed. Call it the feeling of betrayal if you would.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Specialists have ORDed!

On a lighter note, I would like to congratulate all the commanders from 4th Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment for having completed their National Service. ORD! Time for you to return to your civilian lives, and make that painful transition back to civilian life. Time to worry about your next paycheck, your future, not to mention waking up at an unearthly 11 am in the morning!

Life is full of uncertainties, but one thing is for sure: the road will reveal itself to you when you get to it. There is no point fretting too much about the dark unknown. Take the plunge, and things will fall into place by themselves.

I mean, haven't it always been this way? Remember when you first stepped into BMT as a bald head always getting pushed around by instructors? You have managed it magnificently, and had even qualified to go to SISPEC, a commander school. You have what it takes to go through the works, grit and mettle being your tools, digging your way through your national service till this day.

So lift your heads up high, strut your stuff with confidence, and all the best in your future projects!

I will be joining you come 9 April 2006. Wait for me!

Terror attacks

They have done it again.

The lives of ordinary people ¡ª lives yearning for normalcy only just recently restored ¡ª have been brutally disrupted by the very selfish act of terrorists: again.

Bali, an island dependant upon the hospitality industry has been dealt a set back by these monsters, dead set against the establishment at large, and determined to establish their own regime through acts of terrorism.

But what all these dastard deeds have done is to strengthen the world's resolve to continue their lives as best as they can.

Historically, war has always been waged around the hearts and minds of people. To win them, or to strike fear in their hearts would mean a tremendous advantage to any side in a war, regardless of the original purpose of the conflict in the first place.

We also know that fear is a poor motivater. People can, and they will, eventually overcome the terror struck in their hearts by these faceless, merciless killers, and get to the root of the problem. That we see dictatorships which rule through instillation of fear collapse through the test of time is simple proof of fact that terror will not work towards the eventual motives of the terrorists. If their cause is worthy of the world's consideration, shouldn't they come out in the open to present their ideals? If what they do is rational, surely the cause would survive the test of critics? Won't the best idea be embraced by the world with open arms?

It is obvious that these terrorists have no real contribution to society. They are merely misguided folks tightly binded by their blind faith in psychotic manipulaters, whom use them for their own agenda. At the same time as I hate these people, I pity them. They would never gain acceptance in this world.

The world will rise up, and rid itself of this scourge, just as we overcame the two world wars. The world goes around, long after the terrorists are defeated.

Dedicated to the victims of terrorists:

  • Bali, 12 October 2002 and 1 October 2005
  • USA, 11 September 2001
  • Madrid, 11 March 2004
  • London, 7 July 2005
  • ... and more.

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