Today marks the commissioning parade for the hundreds of OCTs as they embark on a new journey as officers. Although the rain poured in the late afternoon, they did not succumb to the rain, and continued standing there, proud and strong. I salute the officers for having endured through 9 months of intense military training, which really tested their mental and physical strength and ability as well as developed strong resilience and acquiring leadership skills applicable in their life. I am really proud of my classmates as well as my schoolmates from Hwachong who have managed to take up all the challenges and make it on stage today. Congratulations Shuyang, Woonyang and Jonathan! To the rest who are still in the midst of intense and arduous training, 加油! Continue reading “相信我吧,新加坡!”

Looking Back

I was catching an episode of Every Singaporean Son, which is a series of short clips depicting the life of an army recruit in Singapore at Pulau Tekong during our Basic Military Training ( BMT). The clips were very real, in fact they were real since they were produced when I was in BMT, and I knew they were embarking on this project to create these series. Yup, the army recruits in these videos were from my batch, and I can actually recognise some familiar faces in the videos.

These videos really gave every Singaporean a glimpse of what army is like in Tekong, especially for the younger generation of Singaporean boys who may be interested to know what their future life in army will be like. I did not have a chance of seeing this video before entering army, and I should say I could have been much better prepared mentally if I were to see these videos. Every feeling and emotion captured in the videos were so vivid and clear, I felt so connected to the recruits inside the videos, and I felt like I was suffering together with them.

One special mention would be episode 9, where they were having their fieldcamp. The tears and sweat were so natural, it made me tear as well as I recalled the tough trainings I had during my fieldcamps. I might be from Leopard, which is well-known as one of the slackest company in Tekong, because it is a warrant-officer company, but we still had our fair share of tough trainings and physical activities. Furthermore, my tough trainings in Specialist Cadet School (SCS) made me feel the pain of the soldiers digging the shellscrapes. There were some negative comments regarding the younger generation of Singaporean boys. From the crying, many had this impression that we are weak and dependent kids who will not be able to survive harsh conditions. I beg to differ, our physical fitness are shown to have improved dramatically over the past decades. This bears testament to the fact that we are in fact physically stronger than the older generation. Secondly, we have a stronger sense of belonging to our home and family. In the past, our fathers are not the only child in the family, and they may not experience family love as much as we do nowadays. Being humans, we will naturally tear when we think of our loved ones, but once we dry our tears, we are as strong as ever, being confident as to who we are fighting for, and who are worth fighting for. So to those ” Oh-I-really-hate-the-younger-generation-because-they-are-so-weak” people, think twice before commenting.

In a separate case, this NTU student who had a dialogue session with SM Goh in NTU in late October resulted in some debate over the internet. He said that he does not know ‘what he is fighting for’. Lets not care and comment about the answers given by our SM, but the fact that he asked this question shows that many other youngsters in the auditorium at that point of time actually agreed with his statement, if not he would not have dared to give such a statement. And while I do not agree with him fully, I understand what his point is and what message he is sending to our SM. That the younger generation of Singaporeans do not have a sense of belonging to our country, because either we are not satisfied with how things are running here, or we feel threatened by the influx of foreigners (which is inevitable for any small and open economy). He may mean that we have no freedom of speech and human rights, resulting in the lost of love for our country.

He may have a point here, but we do have reasons to fight for our country, and it is the very fact that our loved ones are living here, the fact that we are born here, for all the ordinary Singaporeans who need to have a peaceful night sleep and to repay for what our forefathers did to build up this tiny nation, we have the every responsibility to fight for the survival of Singapore. Thats what we are fighting for.

Moving On

Somehow I just cannot accept the harsh reality of army life. It is possible to enjoy army life. But sometimes there are certain things that make me really feel that army is too harsh a place for me to survive in. It is true that in the army, to reinforce discipline and order, punishments must be given to soldiers for their wrongdoings so that they will not make the same mistakes again in the future. However, these punishments given are not what you will see in schools. When I was a student, from my kindergarten to JC years, punishments given to me were very few, literally zero. I remember the punishments that my friends and I got in Sec 1 when we hit the tables, chairs, and maybe broomsticks to create sounds or rhythmic beats which got our principal so agitated that she complained of headaches. LOL. Well we had to stand in front of the teachers’ room for the whole of our break and we got 10 hours of corrective work to do. In the end I had to help out at the library, cleaning book shelves and sorting out books and books and books. Somehow I did not feel the pain at all. But in the army its different. Very much different.

My bunkmates and I woke up one morning to the sound of Victor’s voice telling us to wake up. I looked at my watch and my jaw dropped. 545am. Isnt it supposed to be fall in timing? My heart started beating so madly that I had difficulty breathing. One small mistake, your weekend is gone. I rushed down with my bunkmates only to find everyone waiting for us down there. We got an extra tml, which is a public holiday, Hari Raya. I expected this weekend break to be one of the best this year, and it got ruined by some fked up mistake by us. Yes it is our fault. But sometimes I feel that the punishments given are too harsh. Maybe we could have been given a lighter sentence like booking in earlier or booking out late. If its school, we will never get to have a burnt weekend for being late for school. The most is first time offender get a stern warning, and third-time offender will get marked in the records with demerit points.So its like in civilian life, it is possible that you will not get punished at all, but in just a few months in the army, you can get one very easily.

I have been having a number of nightmares regarding getting extras, to an extent that I would wake up, sweaty and panting all over in the night, and feeling so relieved that it was all a dream. I seldom make mistakes which will get me punished. I am not a naughty and stubborn guy, but in the army, all these do not matter at all. As long as you do something wrong, there is no forgiveness. This is army, cruel, bitter, and sad. I am trying hard to get used to the life here as a soldier, as an NSF. But it is really hard. Its already my 7th month as an army personnel, but I am still trying to adjust to military life. I am willing to work harder, and make as little mistakes as possible, especially when I am a sergeant, and an MP, which means I have much greater responsibility to take. It is not easy, and mentally, I feel stressed at times. And physically, I am not there yet. But I am trying. I have never broken the 11 minute barrier for my running timing. Finally, today, after my 6th IPPT, I got roughly 10 minutes 45 seconds for my 2.4km, which is a drastic improvement from my previous timing of 13 minutes when I first got into BMT. I am now aiming for 10:30, before slowly reaching my target of 9:45.

I am going back to Pasir Laba Camp on Wednesday for my CAT term. And two weeks later, I will be having my commissioning parade, and I will then officially become a 3rd sergeant. Its really fast, all these time, hoping to finish the course quick. But somehow I feel like I am going to miss the carefree recruits/trainee life where you have fewer responsibilities to handle. You do not have to control your men. Now I am on my own. I have to do something to survive. Its a bitter world out there. But I will make it. 🙂

Marina Bay Wonder

Wow look at how much Marina Bay has changed over the past year. Now we have Helix Bridge, new commerical buildings, and best of all, the Marina Bay Sands!
Look at these two videos and you will realise how cool this new addition to the skyline is.

I am definitely going to stay there for a night during the countdown on 31st December this year. Yeah!

Anyway, today’s bookout day and this whole week has been filled with 4.8km runs to 6km runs, with strength trainings like pull-ups and loads of push-ups, and other static exercises that make your whole body ache for the whole week. Now the aches are part and parcel of my life, and I dont seem to be bothered by the numbness and ache anymore. LOL. I have been surviving on chips and tidbits to keep myself awake during lectures everyday, but surprisingly I have been attentive most of the time during lectures compared to school days. I think thats because I sleep more in the army compared to school days where I have only about 4-5 hours of sleep everyday. I still miss school though. But now I am not sure. I kinda like army life too. Somehow it trains you to be disciplined, and pt trainings keep your body fit. I am learning ways to protect myself from suspects or criminals, and to protect my weapons from them. I am also learning the different arrest methods by handcuffing, as well as military law. These knowledge and skills are so valuable, you dont get to learn in the civilian world. We are a unique bunch of people. Thats why after an emotional and inspirational talk by our RSM Singh I learnt that we as MPs should uphold the image of Military Policeman and although we make mistakes, MPs cannot make any because the public and SAF look at us in a different way as their impression of us are different. They expect more from us. So we must contribute more. Right? Way to go, my fellow coursemates. We will pass this course as great MP commanders. =D

A week of reflections and fishing luxury goods along Orchard River

Orchard Flood
I realised Orchard Road experienced the worst floods in decades after reading the newspapers in the barber shop in camp on Thursday. Living in camp makes you deprived of news from the outside world, one thing I really hate about.
Anyway, this flood has created lots of debates over the internet whether to blame the government for neglecting the drainage systems around the city area, or to applaud them for being the first to analyse the situation and giving a quick response to the situation along our famous and only beloved shopping street. Singapore is so small that we only have one shopping and entertainment area of such scale, and now it seems nature is so jealous that it wants to destroy it. Well, simply because the litter clogged the drains…leading to the flash flood which resulted in traffic chaos across the city and inconvenience to thousands of commuters going to work that day. I think if there are any more floods coming up, lets say outside the Esplanade area, the PUB will come up with the reason that it was due to the old unwanted musical instruments thrown into the drains that resulted in the floods. Seems like it is now time for the PUB to seriously check every major monsoon drains in Singapore, and the whole drainage system in our country. Judging from the fact that flash floods are occurring more frequently, we must now look into the urban planning policies, whether we are able to sustain our infrastructures on such a tiny island.
Maybe it is time to improve these systems before planning to increase the urban density of the country. Or maybe its just the litter, so its time for us to love the environment and stop littering. In fact there is now one more reason for not littering, its not just to keep the city clean, but to prevent mega huge flash floods from occurring again. I have not heard of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district under water before, and this is a huge embarrassment for Singaporeans. This is a major shopping belt, with lots of tourists and foreigners living, working and visiting that place, what will they say? Please, I dont want to call Orchard Road Orchard River. I LOLed so much when I read news about ugly Singaporeans picking up accessories, bags, iphones, ipods etc washed away from shops by the floods. ( How I wish I was there!! ><)

Missing School days
After watching the video clip of my band juniors playing for HCI impressione 2009, I was filled with emotions as I started recalling the happy days spent practising in the band room with my band mates, learning a new instrument as well as making new friends every now and then. Those were the carefree days, where friends and happiness were abundant. Now, while I make new friends in the army, I dont feel as comfortable as I do in school. The people I meet in school somehow have the same personalities as me, so I can click well with them. Same frequency, as we say. Thus until now, I am still very close to my hwachong friends, as compared to my army friends. I learn a lot from the army, but somehow I just feel that it is not what I want. Although I got into the vocation I most badly wanted, I was rather put off by the regimentation and strict pt that we get every alternate days. Maybe I am weak in my physical fitness, but this is giving me mental torture, and I dont like the feel of it. I am missing my school days so much that I really hope I am Hiro Nakamura, and stop time, or even reverse it, so that I can spend more precious time with school work and friends. I totally wasted my two years in jc, with my disappointing Alevel results, so I really want to go back to where i began and start all over again. The orientation week, the athena fac com selection, band auditions, school activities, concerts, faculty events, school exams, class outings. I MISS YOU! 😦

2nd Block Leave

I have finally graduated from 55th Basic Section Leader Course ( Foundation Term). Congratulations Jonathan! Haha. I am so glad that I have finally completed this gruelling 8 week course. Although I was under the new syllabus where there is only one fieldcamp, the fieldcamp which I experienced was one of the worst times of my life. Urban operations was total mental disaster for me, and navigation at Mandai was a complete failure. I cant talk about my mission there but after that incident I really swore to myself that I will never ever step foot in the forest. On the last few days of my course, I prayed so hard that I will not get ASLC, where there will be at least 3 more fieldcamps and mision exercise in Taiwan. And I prayers were answered. Thank you god. Thank you. I am posted to the vocation that every NSman will die to get it. MP command. Not MP man, but a commander. So after the next course, I will be posted out as MP sergeant, which is really big shot because I am able to catch the officers if they break any rules. Haha. So I am having the same post as JunJie, although he will be my senior. I am really excited about my new course, which will not be at Pasir Laba Camp anymore, but Mowbray Camp at Kranji. I will be able to meet some of my secondary school friends or my BMT mates. Cant wait!

I am spending my first day of block leave at Sentosa Resorts World Hard Rock Hotel. I am rather disappointed with the service there. There is no dine-in service, and the restaurants on the ground floor were fully booked. We had to walk out of the hotel to the Forum to check out the other restaurants. In the end we ate at the RamenPlay which was the same restaurant as the one which I went with my 6a classmates during our last class outing.

The world cup fever is on, even at Resorts World. At the Forum, there were at least 5 TV and LED screens showing the first match South Korea against Greece. And South Korea won!!! Yes! Anyway I can watch the match from my iphone at $1 for 24 hours, which is not a bad rate compared to the rate Starhub offered for the cabletv.

Thats all for the first day of block leave. This is a rather informal post, and I will be writing another post on religion and science after reading Angels and Demons. Sleeep time! =D

Life as A Section commander Trainee

I am not supposed to talk about my army life on my blog anyway, so I will share my thoughts sensored. 🙂

This week we went for our SOC once again. (standard obstacle course) I should say I have definitely improved over the past few weeks. I could still vivdly recall my first rundown in full gear ( SBO) during my BMT days which was only 50m rundown and I was nearly dead at the end of the run. This time round, it was a full 600m rundown and 600m back to end point, and I survived it without much pain all over my body. And I passed all stations rather smoothly, except for the low rope which I struggled quite a bit trying to get to the top. And I got rope burns all over my hands when I slid down the rope. Ouch.

Thursday was spent doing Chemical defence. We were put in a gas chamber, where we were made to do the 5BX (5 basic exercises), after which our staff sergeant would give us the signal to remove our canister( filter) one by one and change a new one with eyes closed and breath held. This helps us train our confidence in times of emergency. Then we would one by one call out our NRIC and rank and name after removing our mask and then we were allowed to leave the room. In the chamber, when the tear gas was lit, I started feeling a burning sensation in my throat, like a very bad sore throat. I did not panick though, and kept calm throughout. After the 5 exercises, I tried hard not to pant too much so that I wont breathe in the tear gas. The changing of canister went smoothly, and unfortunately I was the last two in the queue to go out of the chamber. After removing my mask and shouting out my name, i tried to dash out of the room as I started to panic. I was really afraid I couldnt hold my breath for long. It was a grave mistake. Rushing out means more gas will enter the pores of my face. Luckily my SSG stopped me and when I went out into the open, my face started burning and I teared badly. I clinged onto a nearby fence while trying hard not to panic. Luckily after a while, I could control the pain and everything went back to normal. What an experience!

At least now I have lots of stories to share with my children. NS has made me a stronger person, not just physically but also mentally. The can-do attitude is very evident in the army, as the activities make you go beyond your limits. And hey sometimes things that you feel you may not be able to do it may just become a simple task for you. Its just mind over body. YEP.

Block Leave

I have been enjoying myself for the past few weeks, after the successful completion of my BMT( Basic Military training). Well, not completely though. I did not finish SOC 8 and 9. But sergeant YY told me if the school did not contact me to go back then its ok. I am really glad that I do not need to go back on saturday for guard duty though, it would have definitely ruined my holiday.

I went to Universal Studios Singapore with my HC friends last weekend, and honestly I was trying too hard to love USS. Somehow, because this theme park is found in my country, I have full of praises for it. However, there are lots of loopholes to the park too. For example, they did not announce the closure of the Jurassic Park rapids Adventure ride at all, and I was actually hoping that I would be able to sit on this ride which is one of the highlights of the USS. Anyway, it was still worth the money though, I managed to sit on Revenge of the Mummy, which was awesome. The effects was splendid, and I do not mind sitting on it again and again.

I have been watching 灿烂的遗产for the past few days, and I learnt a lot from this show. Yes its another korean show, and no it is not another Boys over flowers movie where the Koreans are trying so hard to show their wealth and status in their country. In this series it says about how being wealthy will not guarantee you a place in society in the future. With lousy attitude and character, you also wont be able to survive in this world. Yes its really true. So what if you are rich, do you want to live a life without doing anything to prove that you are worth something? Are you really going to depend on your rich parents to live for the rest of your lives? They may leave you a huge fortune, but by the time you are old, you will ask yourself, what have I done and fight for the past decades… So thats how this rich man’s son learnt from all the experience he got from his grandma who stopped giving him money so that he can work outside and learn about how people out there are suffering trying to earn for a living. Yes this series has definitely taught me something, and I will not forget.

Tomorrow I will be getting my posting results. It is almost as exciting as getting my Alevel results, but much better. I know I should be able to get into SISPEC, unless I failed badly in Sitest, and I will end up in MP, which is not a bad choice either. If I land myself in OCS, screw me. I am dead. Hahaha.