Friday, January 14, 2005

Join the army, they said. See the world, they said... I'd rather be sailing.

From: I rock, you suck

The army recruitment department should hire me as a consultant

Recently I've noticed that there have been a lot of army recruitment posters at bus stops. Usually, the posters show one or more infantrymen in camouflage, holding their rifles and standing in vegetation with serious expressions on their faces. Those of you who are Singaporean will know what I am talking about. It's usually something along these lines.

Usually, it's accompanied by a lot of rhetorical crap about how cool being a soldier is, but that's not my point. My point is that pictures like these paint a wholly unrealistic picture of modern warfare. Let's face it, infantrymen no longer play a really pivotal role during war these days. There are only two circumstances in which infantry get sent out. The first is when your artillery, planes, ships and tanks have blown the shit out of the other country's armed forces. Then, infantry gets sent in to finish off the groaning survivors and also to pick the pockets of the dead.

Another circumstance in which infantry actually needs to be deployed is when the other country's artillery, planes, etc, has blown the shit out of your country's equipment. If I were an infantryman and I was being deployed without having been told that we've won, my knee-jerk response would definitely be "fucking what?" Seriously, no matter how good your infantry is and how hard they train, if your machines suck, you lose. And that's the fucking truth. So basically, if you've seen those posters and think that being an infantryman is all glam and shit, you're sadly deluded. Anyone who has a brain would know that signing on as an infantryman is the worst possible career choice of all.

Mistake me not. It's not that I'm not patriotic (although I'm not), and it's not that I do not respect soldiers. I respect soldiers just as much as I respect everyone else (read: not at all). It's that if you're going to ask people to sign on to potentially die for your cause, the least you could do is not insult their intelligence. Therefore, as a civil service, I have taken the time and the trouble to come up with a template for a realistic recruitment poster for the army.

Now, that's a far more attractive poster, wouldn't you say?


huckerby said...

i interviewed the guys behind the whole Army ad campaign before. basically, the aims of the ads are (in order f importance:

1) to keep citizens' morale high and to tell (urm, perhaps delude) them that Singapore is well protected, no worries

2) to keep soldiers' morale up

3) to recruit people to join.

kureshii said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roxanne said...

Shameless plug: See my blog post "The Singapore Army Wants You!" on alternative army recruitment tactics at

On a more somber note, I am reading "Achillies In Vietname - Combat Trauma and The Undoing of Character" on combat post-traumatic stress disorder in American soldiers involved in the Vietnam war. It is a deeply moving book (and I am only 30 pages though it...)

If the book was to be translated into an army ad, it will probably go something like this:

"Join The Army! Become a mental wreck!" poster showing this guy doing his perimeter rounds in his HDB flat with fruit knife in hand at 3am in the morning.

Or those warning labels "Army is hazardous to your health" with pictures showing a young daughter being bodyslammed into the wall by the neck because she was approaching from behind unawares. Or choking the wife in bed in the grip of a combat nightmare.

Merenwen said...

Like I've said before, if SAF adverts featured good-looking hunks in their uniforms with hot, skinpily-dressed babes draped all over them instead of the current posters featuring the guys with mud, dirt, camouflage paint and sweat all over them, I think it would do wonders for SAF's recruitment drive. It's the same principle as how they always feature hot babes at motor shows and in car adverts. Guys will be attracted to buy/do whatever the babe is endorsing. Advertising psychology at its best.

Merenwen said...

Dang, earlier spelling mistake. I meant "skimpily-dressed".

kureshii said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChomSky said...

Some good points ir,ys!
The whole propanda machine, blind patriotism and army crap has been getting on my nerves for years already anyway. Also in other countries, not just S´pore. Although it´s really intensive here.
Patriotism is so useless and just a tool for authorities to keep their population in check and obedient for the so called "interests of the nation". My ass.

If you think about it, every government trying to make their own ppl more patriotic. And in the end it results in one population thinking it´s better than the other.

Soldiers are brainwashed killing machines - don´t be fooled.


lun said...

oh kureshii u know what, remember how the poster says, "its not what u leave behind, its what u gain in the days ahead." we used to say since the picture shows the gf the slogan should say, " its not about the gf u leave behind, its the bf u'll get to know inside." hehe.

yourregularsoldier said...

Heard of how Infantry is the Queen of battle? Intel tells you where and how, fighter planes bombs the damn place, but it's the Infantry that plants the flag.