Company Outing

June 19, 2010

Week 8
The Company decided to take us to the Singapore Discovery Centre (SDC) and the Army Museum this week. They are all in mainland, which means we get to book out. Yay! The Company was also nice enough to let us do so one day early so we report at the doorstep the following morning ourselves. At least we got to go home for one night in the middle of the week. The bad thing was that the outing morning I had trouble waking up because I had to force myself out of the comfy bed early in the morning at 5. Torturous.

Actually the SDC wasn’t all that fascinating. There wasn’t much that could catch the eye there. For me, it only helped us made out an outing session to get away from Tekong once in a while and make life a little less uninteresting. The real purpose those NS high-up-there people schemed up this event is to get us to the Army Museum anyway, which is just beside the Discovery Centre. Oh, and did I mention that the Officer Cadet School is like beside the SDC too? What’s the Singapore Discovery Centre doing cramming itself in between two army-ish grounds.

The Army museum was also quite boring. It’s a museum after all. At least I kind of learn something related to my current life there. Other than that I think the design of the exterior of the place was actually kind of nice.
After the whole trip there was a group discussion. And as usual, this kind of thing is always very boring and uneffective. Nobody really listens.
***
IPPT
Completed the last official IPPT. I got a Silver. Damn proud of my performance. I jumped from zero for chin-up to eight and completed 2.4 km in 10 minutes, my personal best hitherto. *pat myself on the back. The platoon officer still wants me to retry next Monday for a gold. Two more chin-ups is quite a feat for me, and I have to run 20 seconds less. I doubt the re-test can make a difference…

I noticed that my leg below the knee hurts every time after I run. My friend tell me I may have shin splint, and it may affect my ability to run if I don’t do something about it. I’m worried. Wonder what to do. Should I go to the medical centre to get it checked and not take IPPT? But I don’t want to get status and miss drills competition next Tuesday. sigh…
***
Canteen Break
Total failure. The canteen break was supposed to be an attempt to get us out of the cook house once in a while to enjoy other tasty food in Tekong. Sea view, variety, paid-by-money quality food. It’s supposed to be considered a privilege to the recruits or something like that.

Totally not. The canteen was disappointing. Only four stalls were operating, including one snack/drinks stall. One noodle stall was selling Maggi Mee noodles.

Once we got there, the queue started to pile up. The whole company was there. You can imagine 240 people standing in line in front of three stalls (minus drink stall).
Then the stalls operate at slower than snail speed. They take orders individually and cook with their own sweet time, oblivious to the string of people standing in front of them. Especially the Roti John (muslim food) stall. I waited 30 minutes for the queue to move thirty centimetres forward, and I’m not exaggerating. After that the stall man/lady (I didn’t even get to see his/her face) announce that bread was out so Roti John was no more.
One hour canteen break I end up not eating any real dinner. Desperate, I went over to the drinks stall to order half-boiled egg set… That concluded my dinner. Pretty unsatisfying. But I heard from my friends that the food was nice. Good for them then. Those up-there people should have let separate platoons come at different days right? So everyone gets to eat. I think so too. Canteen break fail.
***
Route March
Had a 16km RM on Friday. The officers like to arrange a whole lot of strenuous and fatigue-ful events the very day we book out in order to fully tire us out, so we recover at home. Smart ass… The weather was good  so I found the RM really a breeze. Maybe it’s also because the load we were carrying are lighter than the one during the 12km march (plus I cheated a bit on the required items, of course). I’m starting to feel I can own route marches. Bwahahahaha
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Zzz… ?!

June 13, 2010

After BTP, life like got easier at the coyline. My BTP happened on a Tuesday and for the next two days I was slacking like mad. Because we got back really late that Tues night and still had to get up early for first parade, everyone including the sergeants were tired.

That day we practically did nothing serious. After after lunch we were told to go back to bunk to do area cleaning for 3 hours. That very obviously hinted at something else. After lunch the sergeants just outrightly told us to go back bunk and do Individual Body Maintenance (IBM). That was official permission to sleep on the bed in broad day light for the first time (after lunch some more)! No need to hide or act or do anything stupid to prevent getting found out.Then it was just cleaning of rifle for the next few hours till the day ended. I loved the day.

The next day was somewhat equally pleasant. 🙂 Miss those two days.

I got into the Drills Competition. Heheh. Its kind of fun, and I’m actually quite enjoying it. Holding rifle and march brings back memory of marching in TK Band. The new commands were interesting too. Also, the entering the squad also served as a good shield against being forced to participate in those neglected games for Games day. Hydro-Change, Tentage Building (not even a game)… weird stuff. Lol.

The whole week like really was very pleasant. Slack, drill comp, then Friday’s lunch at cook house was totally awesome. It was like all the planets aligned on that day. All the good food came together in one meal. Lol Western set (with tender chicken thigh), SOYBEAN MILK, and banana, plus ample eating time for a western meal for the first time!! I was totally full and satisfied from that meal. Too bad no afternoon nap straight after that like the past two days. haha.

I was supposed to have Routine Training for failing IPPT and was supposed to stay in till Saturday. But I managed to skip it, because of a compulsory audition by SAF Band on Saturday morning. Yay! I got to book out on Friday. My bunk buddy can pass the IPPT, but instead he had to be confined for RT because he missed the IPPT the other time due to fever. Irony right. haha.

Last thing. It’s like the company likes to rush a lot. Every time we book out we have to rush like mad. This time we had to make our way to the cook house for dinner then head to the ferry terminal in twenty minutes. Wth? Nobody took any real food, just a small scoop of fishball or meat or rice to make the dinner an official dinner. It’s like a totally unnecessary procedure in such a rush time like this.

Bang Bang Bang!

June 13, 2010

Week 7 (of 10)


Officially the sixth week of nine. Basic Trainfire Package (BTP) is the last high key event in BMT. We went to the live firing range to pit our aiming skills to test. It was quite near the grenade range, and we could occasionally still hear the earth shattering explosion of a grenade when the C4 detonates a blind. (They are louder than normal grenade explosions)

SAR21

All I can say is that the rifle made the shooting a hell. The scope was not precisely in line with the barrel, making it a necessity for all of us to aim away from the target (and away by a lot for me) just so the bullets can hit the target. It was difficult. Plus the fact that the hand just cannot keep still when aiming, hitting spot on was really a challenge.

It was roughly like a whole grenade day again. A lot time I was just sitting in the shed and waiting for the hours to fly by. The only differences were that at least there was a “Ninja Van” selling overpriced tidbits that we could waste our money on and then indulge upon when feeling bored, and there was more activity that day as we kept getting summoned back into the range to do different shooting practices and test instead of just throwing two mere grenades. With that the whole day was once again wasted. The whole thing started at 7 in the morning, and ended at 1 in the morning.

***
Bitching

The section came back from a day time firing test. Many people didn’t manage to pass the requirement, and so had to redo the test (and possibly redo over and over again). So they were kind of sad. Then this one section mate SH did pretty well and scored 31/32, only missed one shot. But he decided to be an insensitive ass and started whining about how disappointed he was with himself during that one shot and his aspiration to be the “Best Marksman of the Company”, and started emo-ing like mad in front of all those who failed terribly and disregarding how they feel. Bitch.

That night during the night shooting, he said his rifle got problem and he had to redo (serves him right). So he asked me if mine ever IA-ed (encounter technical problem, eg rounds get stuck). I said no and he asked me to lend it to him for his shooting. After his shooting he came back and was all emo, so I asked him how he fared during the test. He started blaming me for lending him a lousy rifle. First the rifle IA-ed on him, so he blame me for telling him the rifle didn’t IA before (which it really didn’t). It’s like my fault that I didn’t clean my rifle properly enough for him and then didn’t foretell that it will encounter a technical fault that caused him to IA.

He continued to whine about how weak my rifle laser was, as if I have any control over it. Not even a thank you. Bitch. Even other people beside him heard his lamenting and helped me tell him to just be a bit more thankful that I’m lending him my rifle. And the rifle like came back from a mud bath. He wasn’t even taking care of my weapon at all.

One more thing. He was still talking about my rifle when we got back to the coyline, and again the next morning. He just don’t know when to stop. Asshole

Sitest

June 5, 2010

Week 6
Just when I though outfield days (in BMT) are over after field camp, I was hit in the head when I realised the often talked about “Sitest” we were to have this week was also an outfield event. Three days two nights out in the wild again. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. And I only realised this after booking in.

It started off with a route march, unsurprisingly. Twelve kilometres this time, under a blazing hot sun some more. By the eighth kilometre we are dead beaten. We passed by Zulu Company, KK’s Coy, which was having field camp. They donated a few jerry cans to us when we ran out of water. Pretty nice of them yea?

That night was a complete opposite. IT RAINED!!! That thing flooded the entire basha area we were sleeping at. The whole night I was fending off invading waters attempting to soak my stuff. We had to keep attending to the roof in case it collects too much water and collapse. Then the shelter was so small I couldn’t change out of the wet No.4 or air my feet. The whole night was just a disaster, no one can even lie down. No one could sleep properly, it was really uncomfortable. I really felt like that was one of my lowest moments in life. Why didn’t it bloody rain in the afternoon while we were having RM instead. Outfield isn’t bad because of the programmes. It’s bad because of all the jungle lifestyle we have to adopt, and raining is one of them.

Other than that, the Sitest itself wasn’t really worth mentioning. Everyone was trying to show off their leadership skills and was kind of serious. One guy from another section in the platoon that was in my team kind of shocked me with his sudden burst of leadership qualities. Kind of a changed man when he transit over to Sitest mode. The situations we were given were pretty fun, and the whole thing was kind of slack considering that everything always ended in the afternoon and we have the rest of the day to clear up the disaster of the first night. I can only say I didn’t do well because I wasn’t putting in the effort to make up a show to the assessors, and I totally went off key in answering one of the private situation questions.

So you bet I was totally over the moon when we finally got to book out. But then it’s for less than 24 hours… Well, better then nothing. At least I got to release myself for the weekend.

Grenaaaade!

June 5, 2010

Week 6
In the army there are so many first times for me, so many new things I got to try. I got to throw a grenade. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for NS men. For others, a grenade is something they probably don’t even get to touch at all. Therefore the having the chance to throw one is probably quite significant for me.

The grenade range was situated away from the School. I thought it was very well designed and calculated for safety, even though the place is old and tattered. Like, the admin waiting area was high uphill, and we go had to proceed downhill to the throwing range. I suppose that’s some kind of idea to make the fragments lose energy if they happen to fly up in the direction of the waiting area. Just a guess.

Anyway we had to be at the place the whole day, just to make one fake grande throw and then one real grenade throw. From 7 to 5. The rest of the time we just stare into space, talk a bit, eat lunch. And sweat like crazy under the LBV. That’s it for the day. The sweat like mad and do nothing was torturous. The day could have been shorter, but too many people threw their grenade at too low an angle it could not explode. We have to had a mandatory exercise standhold of fifteen minutes (by right thirty) for everyone of them individuals, before the C4s could go in to detonate the failed grenades.

When the turn came for me, I (in a group of 4) waited outside the range really nervously. Then, go in, get through with the preparation procedures, throw and shout “GRENAAAADE”, duck. BooM. Get out, and all’s done. Other than that, the grenade moment wasn’t really that epic.

Quite a waste of a day for a one-minute thing. hmmm…

Half Way Through

May 29, 2010

Five weeks has gone by, four more weeks to go. I’m getting used to Tekong now. “Getting used” as in finding it comfortable to go back and live in the place again. I guess this is partly because I just spent six days out in somewhere more dreadful than the bunk…
I just got back from a field camp. It commenced last Saturday and only ended this Thursday, which explains why I went missing last weekend. It was burnt away by the event… Living in a forest made me appreciate my coy line living space even more now. I actually don’t mind spending my nights there, or doing those Physical trainings anymore.

So this time I stayed in for two weeks, much like another confinement week all over again. The first week (aka Tekong Wk 4) was the usual daily stuff, happening like they should be. Special mentions would be the Hand Grenade sessions, and a movie screening that week. Pretty much insignificant things compared to the field camp that happened the second week (Wk 5).

The Field Camp

Field Camp kicked off with an eight kilometres route march. Like it’s mandatory or something, their objective seemed like to tire us out completely before an even more tiring mega activity began. Remember how disastrous the 6km one was? This one’s got to be tougher. Before we set out. The fear of the march was all over my mind. I was worried about it more than I did for the next six days of wilderness.

Luckily I found the trick to forget the fatigue in the middle of the march. Sing the songs. It worked really well. I screamed my lungs out throughout the entire journey once I found out it helped me overcome the tiredness. I survived the 8km march feeling pretty energetic even. I do not fear Route March now. Anymore. Ahahahaha

Some other things I thought were interesting in the field camp.

One morning we had a tactical route march when shifting from one campsite to another. I had to run with all those miscellaneous stuff and a rifle just to catch up with the person in front. Then all of a sudden drop down within a bush and high kneel. It was bloody tiring. Then we reached a rest point within some tall grasses where we get to rest, but still be tactical position.

So everyone prone down on the leafy cushion. Combined with a strategically position tree that provided us shade and plus our tiredness, I fell asleep proning in the cooling comfy tall grass. The rest was really great. I woke up in between to seep some water.

Lying on the grass with my face down, I saw the grass beneath me and the insects crawling around. I smiled to myself and just thought, “what a wonderful world”. That moment live in my memory. That should be how nature should be like. =)

Lights out in the wild is really serious matter. When the sun is down, it means really no light. Finding the stuff from the pack was a real challenge even when we didn’t bring along a lot of things. Of course we could cheat a bit and secretly flare the place up with torchlight, but that could not be done very frequently (and openly in front of the commanders). I spent a good two to three hours just changing clothes, powder bathing, and sorting out my stuff at night. Everything just don’t fall in place when you need it. It was all very time consuming and very frustrating. I could totally feel for the blind that first night.
And the place is super wet. Mildly damp sock I remove from the feet to air in the night turned wet in the morning… Wth

I though combat rations were going to be bad. They were delicious! Not all of them. They came in different menus. Some were awesomeness! Others were… just preservatives. And I used to think it’s going to be a problem to eat out field. Instead, I started to look forward to every meal after having my first pack, to see if my food was going to be delicious like the previous pack. Tasty as it may be, that food is highly chemical-ed. Someone mentioned that you can’t shit after taking those things down. It seems true. I only got to clear my bowels (finally) on the fifth morning. The volume was scary… lol

The big pack is the combat ration with the main meal

The combat rations came in packs. We were not suppose to use cutlery and mugs during the meals to save the trouble. The whole squeeze-out-of-pack-and-eat method was new to me. I couldn’t understand when people told me they squeezed pasta from a pack into their mouth. Sounded impossible, but it’s entirely possible and practical, and fun.
Drinking powder beverages was done without a mug. Just dump the packet powder into the mouth with water and gargle. Tasted just as nice. The new ways I learnt to eat in were really interesting things I hope I will not forget the times.
One more thing. We were showered with so much rations it was impossible to finish. I was sad when we had to surrender all of them back. Should have gorged down more biscuits at night. sigh…

So much to talk about the rainforest. But most of them are largely insignificant. I don’t want to sound like an oldie grandmother.

Return to concrete palace!
Back at coy line. Before returning to mainland, the whole day was hectic. We were rushing just so we could catch an earlier ferry. Area cleaning was especially rushed, and we had to do all sorts of concealment to hide those things we didn’t manage to do in time. During inspection, the sergeants accidentally knock over HX’s pail and discover a lump of clothing hidden underneath. We were rewarded with some punishment for that. It was such a funny incident.

Around this time I guess we start to know our mates a bit more. Negative perceptions of some people and bitching starts to surface. Let’s not bitch here. I guess this kind of thing happens everywhere. We just have to learn to live with it.

Sia la! I’m back!!!

May 13, 2010

I’m back! I survived 17 days out in an ulu island! Its a celebration, people~

Welcome to Tekong~ (Picture from internet)

In that span of time, I didn’t get to watch television, didn’t get to go online, and had close to no free time. I feel so lag behind the world right now. hah. So much seemed to have happened in there, but it’s only been two (and a half) friggin weeks. and that two weeks already felt so long… That’s only the beginning of National Service. I still have 7 more weeks at Tekong, and then another one year half of life to be sucked away somewhere else. Activate emo mode…

Week 1 (26 April onwards…)
Life inside was better than I expected it to be though. At least I made it through the first three weeks of confinement period safely and managed to get through the physical training, something I was worried I could not. But then I was not meeting expectations. At the first IPPT test, I realised to my horror that I could not do a single chin-up! I dropped from a six chin-ner last year to a zero fighter now. I knew my standard would drop with no consistent training whatsoever but I didn’t expect to de-prove so much.* So I gracefully failed the test.

*There was only to close to ten of us who could not do a single chin-up out of the 240 in the company, and those sergeants subtly doubted the authenticity of our NAPFA result. Activate emo mode 2

Started to get to know the people in the bunk better by now. At least we talk, and we know each other’s name. Can’t imagine we will miss each other in eight weeks time, after we go our separate ways in Army life… Oh, and Jar got into the same section as me. Lucky for me right! I got a friend right from the start.

One more thing. I think look good botak. ahahaha

Week 2
There is this event in there which I don’t know whether or not is supposed to be a kept unrevealed, cos none of my friends that has been through BMT mentioned it before. There’s this secret practice (I guess) that was done for a particular event for recruits. We were woken up in the middle of the night for it. Other people in the room were already busily dressing themselves out of their night gown, while I blur blur stare at the sergeant at the door for close to ten seconds shouting at us before realising the whole thing ang getting myself moving. That makes me think I’m not actually very prepared for unplanned events. hmmm…

We started learning field craft, in preparation for a (dreaded) field camp to come. I put on my first camouflage cream and made a mess out of it. I totally dislike it. I’m perspiring like mad after a march and wiping off the water from my face is just impossible. Those camo smudge like mad. Can’t we just wear a mask? lol But camouflaging among the vegetation was fun. To know that you are there but those people in front of you can’t see you. That’s a sense of achievement. Other than that, field practices are shag, that’s why i dread it…

Week 3 (aka Day 15-17, aka counting down to book out on 12 May)
Everything we do we take motivation from the book out day. By the 17th day, book out sentiments was already at its all time high. Can’t blame us. It’s our virgin experience.

We did a second Route March (the first was done on Week 2) on the last day. Nightmare. It was 6km. SIX BLOODY KILOMETERS ONLY and I felt like dying already. My ultimate test is a 24km march. How can I get through that!!! The bag pack and water pouch was heavy beyond words. The fatigue on shoulder, the abrasion from the bag straps and rifle sling on the neck, excruciating pain on the feet due to blister and abrasion and three hours of none stop action (including an almost non-existent fifteen minutes rest). I was totally worn out of energy for the rest of the day. Standing was a problem. Walking was a bigger problem. Marching… even bigger problem. I limped through the marches. I officially hate RMs.

So much to say, too lazy to write. The section mates, first route march, the nearly-failed swimming test, the sick people’s untold story, the aftermath of confinement week (it was very serious, seriously. I’m not trying to be a whiny child). Let’s not even get to the commanders, yet.