My Army Life

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I hoped for this day to arrive, and very soon, this day, 2 December 2011, will come, and I will be able to change my green IC to a pink one, and declare myself a citizen of Singapore, and no more a military personnel.

These 2 years have brought significant importance to my life. Some may say it’s a turning point of my life, while others may describe it as the beginning of a new chapter in life. Indeed, I have learnt a lot of new things over the past 2 years which I will never forget. I learnt about my capabilities, my strengths and weaknesses, my tolerance level, and all other things related to army. I always thought that running is my weakness, but I peaked during my days in MP command and managed to clock a timing of 10:15, which may not be great compared to countless number of Gold runners below 9:45, but to me its an amazing achievement, considering the fact that I have never gotten even a silver in my secondary and JC school years. During my days in SCS ( Sispec), I was stretched to my limits. All those tasks I was entrusted upon as a training sergeant was beyond what I had ever imagined. I was dirtier than ever, I carried unbelievably heavy weapons, marched long distances, bashed through SOC without collapsing halfway, survived the ordeal of digging trenches late in the middle of the night, with rain pouring on my back, flooding the hole I digged so hard for the past couple of hours. My fitness level improved tremendously, something I never thought I was capable of achieving. I made great buddies and friends. I learnt to trust the good people around me and stay away from those with evil and selfish thoughts. I overcame my fear of being surrounded by forests with nothing in my hands but a compass and a map. I survived the toughest moments of my life.

In MP command, as a training MP sergeant, I learnt even more interesting things that would later help me a lot in my life. Instead of outfield and and more outfield, I learnt the high standards of discipline and got the phrase ” I serve my country with pride, discipline and honour” embedded in my memory. Everywhere we went, we had to march and greet. Every step we took we had to present our finest. That was the obstacle I had to overcome during my course there. Being a Military police isn’t as slack as what many people may mistakenly imagine. The standards of fitness is much higher than in SCS. My warrent officer will always remind us, we need to be fit and strong, and faster than everyone else, if not we will never be able to catch up with suspects or law-breakers, and that may result in loss of innocent lives. I learnt things that a normal military personnel will not learn, like learning about dog handling, how detention barracks work, court marshals, etc. I passed out finally with my head held high, ready to take on new challenges as a specialist.

My next journey as an NSF is filled with both happiness and misery. I was posted to an air base and was put in charge of a section of Field Defence Squadron. My early days there were quite normal. I learnt new stuff about how air bases functioned. I watched F15s take off into the nght sky with awe. I was finally doing real stuff. I was not like when we were in training schools where everything was just a practice or a mock exercise. Here, everything was real. I was on the ground, controlling and maintaining the security of the base.

As time passed, I found out that it was not all meant to be.  Somehow, I couldn’t fulfill my dreams and aims as a sergeant. What were my aims initially? Guess. It isn’t difficult. Somehow in the base, its totally different management as compared to MP command, and I had to live with the changes, it is like a foreigner trying to learn new rules and regulations in a foreign country. That was how I positioned myself in the air base as an MP. I met great superiors, and at the same time, bad ones which I knew it is unavoidable because you meet good and bad ones in the workforce too.

This year, my position was raised to Assistant Platoon Sergeant, which is basically like a PS, controlling and managing the entire platoon. I thought everything was at my fingertips, and soon I realised how hard it was to control and manage an entire platoon. While everyone was having off, I was busy replying messages and calls from men taking leaves and offs and taking MCs. It was never an easy life. Certain people may think that we have good life because we do lesser duties compared to other normal specs, but what they do not know is the hard work we had to put in behind the curtains, something which they will never see. The pressure from both the men and officers are overwhelming, so much that sometimes I can hardly take a breather.

1 year on, my time in the air base is ending soon, and in two weeks time, new specs will take over my position, and I can finally step down and take a rest, clearing my offs and leaves before saying goodbye to my green ic. When I see the new specs, I see myself in them when I was first posted to a new place, clueless and disoriented. I hope that before I leave, I can impart some of my knowledge and experience to these new specs, and hope that they can continue improving the standards in our squadron.

2 more months, and I can say goodbye to this great journey. It has been indeed a memorable 2 years of my life, something that I hope can remain in my memory for as long as I am alive, and of course, I hope that after a few years, I am able to re-read my blog entry and relive the days spent in the army.

 

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3 thoughts on “My Army Life

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    By way of introduction, I’m Norman and I represent the NS45 Organising Committee (45 Years of National Service) as the PR & Engagement partner.

    I came across your blog with NS related article which I politely request for excerpts to be reposted on our NS45 stories site (www.ns45.sg), with full acknowledgements to you.

    We feel this story is real, raw and highly emotive – and I feel Singaporeans ought to hear authentic NS stories that are online to reflect and celebrate 45 years of sacrifice and contributions in National Service.

    Concurrently, we have invited Singaporeans to share their stories, best stories will be published into a commemorative book. Please feel free to share what you think, and we would be most appreciative to share your interesting story to public audiences at the earliest opportunity.

    Thank you, and look forward to your favourable reply via ns45@starnet.gov.sg

    Regards,

    Norman

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