This is sort of like a tribute to the times during my NS days, I wished I can talk about everyone and everything through out the 2 years, but my memory is really bad especially after I came out to work and met Claire. What stuck to my head more vividly was those times I spent with 6th Coy Det 2, because thats the group of people I’m
forced to be with for the longest duration. 😀 But nevertheless, all the soldiers in my batch are my brothers in arms.
When I enlisted, the whole batch of recruits are in the same Alpha Company and we were all separated into 4 platoons. Each platoon has 4 detachments(det)? I remember I was in platoon 2 (the platoon of people who failed their NATFA Test, don’t ask me what that stands for) det 3. There were a lot more people in the coy then, but as we move along through our trainings lots of people either chao geng till they down pes to do lighter duties, or genuinely injured and were unfortunately forced to go out of course. I myself nearly kena kicked out of the unit too as this unit has a number of criteria to fulfil in order to stay inside. One of the reasons being the meds for my acne I was taking for awhile that would’ve kicked me out due to the photosensitivity side effects, but I chose to stop the meds and let my face rot. Hence one of my nicknames was ‘mopeng’. Might be a stupid choice, but at least I didn’t regret it.
After 3 months of BMT (basic military training) we got separated to one of the 5 vocations. I chose weapon course of which during my one-to-one session with my instructor, he called me stupid, he said he wanted me to go for the leader course, but of course I told him I don’t think I got any leadership qualities and who knows, he might’ve said the same to every one of us anyway?
Weapon course to me was really fun because I always had an interest in all those firearms and to be able to learn how to handle a wide variety of them was really enjoyable. And then after another 3 months, we went for our Basic Airborne Course (BAC) which I won’t go into details here. I’ll just say it was a very strict course for our own good, but I picked up an injury there in a stupid way and would have to join another time.
And then and then and then, we moved to another camp and from there we got rearranged to form operational detachments consisting of men from all 5 vocations working together in each det. This arrangement will be our final one (or not), and everyone in the detachment will be your closest brothers till the end of our tour. I said “not” because there was another small shuffling of men again and I was one of them, I moved to another det and despite being a newcomer I slowly got integrated as one of them.
I remember one night the instructors was being secretive and when we ask about training schedules etc they gave us cryptic answers. That night we had our virgin ‘turn out’. We were very worried then, kena jialat jialat change parade (i dunno why people can kp say change parade is degrading. People nowadays complain too much) push up sit up change change change. Now when i think about it, i thought it was super fun! Maybe because I’m not doing it anymore.. One other time somebody lost some money, the whole company kena turn out too, thats the virgin experience of ‘stand by universe’ where we had our beds down on the parade square and kena tekan, humiliated, messing our stuffs up. But then doesn’t stupid things like this bring us together even more? Youngsters need to see the big picture instead of selfishly ‘protecting your rights’.
Well after saying all that I guess I’m just
weird different from most people, right?
We did so many stupid things in the bunk, wrestling, push up competitions, fight monsters in Monster Hunter 2 on our PSP, nightsout walk to Changi Village in PT kit buy nasi lemak/bak chor mee/red tea longan, I kena Veet-ed and kena burnt by the chemicals for leaving the foam on my body for too long on my birthday, we always bully our ‘short-arms-short-legs sergeant’ who went on to be our CSM during our ICT. And yes our sergeants are all a little whacky, the other one just look like a middle-aged man with all his facial hair but trapped in a kid’s body. Just watch him carry his ALICE pack when we go outfield, when fully packed its like him carrying another one of him on his back. But saying them whacky is a little like pot calling the kettle black here.. since people already called me ‘psycho’.
When eventually the 2 years is up, I became a free man. But instead of euphoria, I felt lost. What does the society have in stall for me out there, what is ‘society’ to me? And what does 2 years of my life spent serving NS meant to the society? I feel really detached when I’m in the army. (Most) Women won’t understand.
Anyways moving forward (this phrase has become an internal joke with my colleagues), now I’m working in the civilian world and my annual ICT has became something like a holiday camp to me. Even though its in no way easy to go outfield and fight imaginary enemies, (most) women won’t understand!!(I hurt myself again while over exerting myself, strained my right triceps, over stretched my left wrist ligament and my right achilles tendon. this rocks!) But being able to get together with all my bros is really something else, we go back to how we behave during our NSF days, however old and fat we became, on the inside we never changed. We continue to do stupid things, prank each other, go out and make a fool of ourselves come back but still never learn the lesson go out and kena whack left-right-centre again. Although I spent my time not getting too involved (read: sit in toastbox enjoying a cuppa while waiting) being with everyone again still feels the best, its the camaraderie we shared as fellow soldiers.
If anyone ask me was NS beneficial to me, I’d say yes without any hesitation. It changed me from someone who would sweat profusely when interacting with other people and would much rather avoid all human interactions, to someone who would sweat profusely when speaking to female strangers (no romantic feelings involved ok I’m just shy hor!!!). Good improvement right!! Gave me the much needed confidence in myself as I used to have none. Taught me some self-esteem to survive on my own outside and stupidly believe I can do anything… well at least for awhile. Lol!
NS can be good, take all the good things and leave the rest. To all those who are still serving NS, GROW UP! Stop whining about every f thing that didn’t go your way and start making your 2 years worth it. Its all up to you.
P.S. all photos used with permission from det-mate Wei’an (the cute breaded man with the pack). Btw if reading my post makes you angry, then you are guilty. Well, not that I care in anyways. :p
to my fellow bros, FHAG.
CFC Simon ‘Meat Stick’ Tey