The time is approaching fast.
Soon, most of the guys in the battalion are going to be civilians real soon, braving the storms of the working world. One where the only uncertainty is the only certainty.
No jobs laid out on a silver platter for the taking. Instead of being told what to do, for once, they would have to learn to navigate the course of Life by themselves.
It is their future at stake: already, some are blemished with a prison record for being absent from service without official leave. Some get into accidents. Some have passed on.
I wonder, how many of us would see each other again? Though I still have some way to go before I ORD, many of us would have gone on to greener pastures, become rich and famous, or simply dropped from the radar
We had our ORD function yesterday at the Neptune Restaurant, an unnoticeable existence among the endless row of glass facades along the business belt of the Central Business District. The building was unassuming, which partially disappointed, since we actually paid a whopping $70 for the entire event. (I wasn't totally disappointed, since this is a camp organised affair, I have learnt to keep my expectations low enough.)
I met the rest at the nearby Raffles Place MRT station, from where we streamed against an incessant home-bound crowd. They seemed to be in perpetual hurry, and kept knocking into us. In customary Singaporean fashion, the inevitable crossing of paths is met with a cold stare, a barely mouthed apology. Rinse, dry, and repeat with the next stranger.
In the same vein, Singaporeans are notoriously late. The event was slated for 6.30pm, yet at around 7.15, barely half the restaurant has arrived. We took the opportunity to take photographs with the RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) and the CO (Commanding Officer). Those turned out red-eyed, and gave everyone who was in the picture a soulless look. Photoshop made all the difference.
I remembered to drop my lucky draw ticket stub into the bowl, and arrived at my designated table to find it fully occupied. Along with a few other displaced platoon mates, I went to an unoccupied table, where we got a sound reprimand for not following the seating arrangement.
The proceedings of the event is documented by Timothy in his blog, so I won't be a tired old copycat. Instead, I will focus on the food. I forgot to take photographs of the dishes: I got pretty engrossed with the stage, even as the
food disappeared within moments of being served.
The appetiser consisted of spring rolls, curry puffs, some minced pork cooked with herbs and rolled into rolls. The guys at my table were content to leave exactly ONE piece untouched on the plate, which I gladly polished off. There were some whole pieces of chili cut into decorations, but nobody touched them. (I am sure Mother would have. She loves eating chili at its rawest.)
Next came the sharks fins (I presume). Again, nobody took the last bowl, and I was forced to finish it by the waitress, who could not get the others to take it.
The fried rice was unexpectedly dry and tasteless, which surprised me. This coming from a caterer which charges $21 for a plate of chicken rice, is really a revelation. Nobody is good at everything. We had some fish and broccoli to go with the rice. This time, I had to compete for the broccoli. These guys seem to like it as much as I do. I still remember eating 3 servings of unwanted broccoli some time back...
The dessert came around midway through the magic show, but I was so enthralled by the illusions that I didn't notice it coming. It was when the same waitress came along the second time to collect the bowls that I found my mango pudding untouched, just waiting to tango with my mouth.
The highlight of the night was a highly-energised dance by a Caucasian group. The dancers belted out high octane moves and jumps that would look very impressive on a standing broad jump record. The dancers always managed to land within centimetres from the edge of the stage, and for a while, I thought that they would miss, and jump right onto one of the dining tables.
Like Timothy mentioned, the ladies bared their mammaries in an artistic dedication to their art. The grace of their movements really astounded me. Their slim legs could kick so high, I thought that they would hit their heads. The difficulty is raised by the high heels, yet they spin without hesitance. They could lift off the ground, and land without making a mis-step.
The entire event ended with the drawings for the top 10 lucky draw prizes. They had given out 20 prizes so far, and barely one of the drawn tickets came close to my range.
A toaster came and went, HQ CSM won a cappuccino maker. All the prizes so far had gone to tickets 80XX, 81XX and 86XX.
The 2nd prize got claimed, and we did not think that it was possible at all for one of us to claim the top prize.
The emcee grabbed a bunch of tickets, and hurled it in the air for CO to catch the winning ticket. He barely managed to grab the last one.
The emcee looked at the fallen tickets on the floor: "82XX will go home empty handed. 81XX will hold his hands and they will both leave together," he commented dryly, to the audience's laughter.
He then took a look at the winning ticket.
"Oh, look at this. It is a nice number. A repetition."
"The first prize goes out to 8...."
"Remember, this person might not be here."
The person sitting next to me pointed to my ticket excitedly. "Look, you have a chance!"
"I must stress again, the person might not even be present today."
"8...... 3...... 3."
"8.... 3....3... 8! Come on up!"
I was in shock. I stared at my ticket again to make sure that it really was 8338 printed on it. Then, I dashed up the stage to claim the prize. I was in such a daze that I didn't notice my own platoon mates sneaking up on me. They sneaked up on me, and grabbed me to give me a sound poling...