Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Malay guy cock picture"

I recently got this search referral on my blog, Balderdash. Such brought back unpleasant memories and induced me to wax lyrical about the last time I was faced with such a sight, like so:

Everyday now I thank Allah on bended knees and with my forehead pressed firmly to the floor that ever since passing out from the School of Military Medicine (SMM), aka the 'School of Many Malays' - as someone dubbed it, I have never had and hopefully will never have to see this awful sight again, after having to see such most nights for 3 months running. Having people walk around the bunk naked almost every night does nothing for your sanity, especially when their members all look oddly shrivelled ('peanuts', as someone else described it). Luckily only one non-Malay ever walked around in bunk naked, and even then it was infrequently, otherwise I think I'd have gouged out my eyes long ago.

At the time, we were housed in the Ulu Pandan campus of SMM and indeed were the last batch to graduate from that wretched place. Well, actually it wasn't that bad a place - quite slack actually, except for four things. In no particular order:

1) The food

Being a small camp, Ulu Pandan had but one cookhouse, which combined the worst aspects of Muslim and Non-Muslim cookhouses, being a compromise between the two; the Muslims complained that the food had no taste, since unlike in Non-Muslim cookhouses, the food in Muslim cookhouses is liberally dosed with chilli and curry to mask the bad food (both in quality of raw materials and quality of cooking). Meanwhile, the Non-Muslims could not eat pork, and some of us weren't fond of chilli.

One thing both groups were agreed upon, though, was that the food sucked. Indeed, a contract slave (Regular) who had done his Full Time Slavery when NSF cooks were still making the food commented that the Ulu Pandan food was of about the same standard. Breakfast and Night Snack were the best meals the cookhouse could provide, simply because they were not prepared by them, but instead came pre-prepared (For example, Paos [chinese buns], lor mai kai [glutinous rice with chicken] and above all, the heavenly 'tau sar delight' [a pastry with sweat black bean paste]). Despite this, and despite our constant rating of their food as 'poor', they always managed to get satisfaction ratings in the high 90s (as is the case with most SAF cookhouses). Either SFI and NTUC Foodfare rig the polls or they have a really unique way of measuring satisfaction (eg A 'good' is worth 5 points, a 'satisfactory' 2 and a 'poor' deducts 0.5 points)

On the upside, SMM was (and probably still is) also known as the 'School of Many Makan', since 2 canteen breaks a day were the norm. The canteen wasn't anything to write home about, but hey, at least you had the illusion of choice (after 3 months there we were all bored of the limited variety of food available - I don't know how the permstaff survived) and could supplement the cookhouse diet with something at least mildly more palatable.

2) Injections

Every week, the guys would have at least 1 16G (16 Gauge) needle (cannula, rather - a hollow needle inside a plastic shaft) shoved into them by their buddy or some such person. This was done to train us in the art of Infusion (aka IV) - setting drips.

In real medical settings, nurses and doctors get trained by poking patients. However, in the good ole SAF, we had to practise on each other. Since I had a phobia of needles, and had a reaction to them dividable into 2 categories: crying and screaming, this was undoubtedly the part of Medic School I hated the most. Oh, and it didn't help that 16G cannulas are the size of Yakult straws (no, I'm not kidding), being much larger (~1.4mm in diameter) than the 23G (~0.7mm), 22G (~0.8mm) or at most 20Gs (~1.0mm) used in real medical settings, since the SAF is kiasu. Hell, even other armies don't make their medics use 16G cannulas. So, yes, this was much more painful than your average injection. If normal injections are mere ant bites, 16G IVs feel like a soldier ant has bit into your flesh and won't let go. And the scars are pretty much permanent, or at least semi-permanent. At least I have big pores, so it's not that obvious. The females, incidentally, got a slight concession and used 20G needles, supposedly because their veins were finer.

3) Handphones

For some weird reason, trainees were not allowed to bring handphones into camp. At the time, well nigh every other SAF camp allowed handphones, even Obedience School (BMT). So this was puzzling. The official reason was that since the camp was falling apart as we spoke, handphones were prone to be stolen, and this measure would reduce incidences of theft. If previous batches, we were told, could survive without handphones, so could we. Of course, we all knew that this was in line with the SAF's policy of torturing Slaves, and probably also to make the camp appear less slack that it actually was.

This handphone policy was enforced with occasional raids and searches (even a strip search, once). Most of us put our phones on a small ledge just above where our drawers slotted into the cupboard; a casual opening of the drawer would not reveal the handphone's location, ensconced as it was. I wager that all of our instructors, having been trainees before, knew of this, but closed an eye and a half, in deference to unofficial SAF ethics.

One time, though, there was a massive raid and search carried out after, IIRC, someone lost $50, and just before a night off to boot. All of us were cursing, especially since the person would never see his money again; the raid and search were just for show, and any thief worth his salt would've long spirited the money away to an undetectable location. My platoon had a small squad of Bruneians, so most people sent their handphones to the Bruneians' bunk (which presumably was protected by diplomatic immunity, or something). I, however, somehow missed the boat, perhaps because the Malays (who were the link to the Bruneians) were not very fond of me, even mummifying on one occasion the soft toys I brought to camp (though that didn't stop many of them from stealing my food, of course). And so I was left wondering what to do, when I hit upon a solution that to this day I am still exceedingly proud of - I sealed my phone in a ziploc bag, and stuffed it into a bag of Ruffles, then tied it up and shook it around a bit. My phone, needless to say, was never found, despite a thorough search.

Luckily, midway through our course we were allowed to bring phones in, and subsequent batches have similarly enjoyed this self-styled 'privilege' granted by SMM: they have been returned one more of the rights so unjustly snatched away from them on their enslavement.

4) Accommodations

"You're right. It's a dump" - Tim on his impression on passing by Ulu Pandan camp.

"Looks like a mental hospital" - A fellow trainee

At least after SMM Ulu Pandan, no accommodations, however bad, could faze me anymore. Hell, I wasn't even very fazed by Brunei (Lancer).

The camp was sited right next to the forest, so not only did we have no wind to cool us during lessons in the fan-less training sheds, we often had monsters coming into our bunks, including giant spiders and all sorts of mutated insects (SMM also stood for 'School of Many Monsters'). It didn't help that the foam mattresses we slept on were bedbug infested, with each morning bringing an ugly rash of itchy welts on our legs.


All in all, SMM wasn't the worst time of my indenture, in part thanks to the efforts of one of my instructors - a Sergeant Feroz (fittingly and amusingly called 'Fei2 Rou4' - Fatty Meat - by some of my platoon mates) - who helped look out for me and prevented me from getting bullied too much. He acted tough, but was really a nice guy.


For more stories of the old SMM, including imaginatively named food, SAF-sanctioned cross-dressing, someone eating a grasshopper and a snake in the training shed, do browse my April 2002, May 2002 and June 2002 Archives - search for the words "Restored Post".

Choice excerpt: "Something very disgusting happened on Friday. Fortunately, I did not witness it as I was slumbering, but from what I was told, Khairul, who always likes to parade naked in the bunk, went in front of Steven and started spanking his monkey. Steven proceeded to spray his anti-blister spray on Khairul's genitals and buttocks. Apparently they wanted to do it to me, but were sure that I'd cry and complain to the CO."

Quotes from my time in SMM are also available.

"[On many people not bringing their water bottles for Last Parade] Nevermind, later go down and drink 2 cups of Milo." - SMM Instructor

5 comments:

Johnny Malkavian said...

What about the School of Movie Making? Anyone who has been through the medic course will know that passing it is all about knowing how to run through the script, beginning with..

"Hello hello, are you ok? (to a person lying unconscious on the ground) I am a medic with the SAF..."

kureshii said...

LOL, school of many malays? i thought that was STC, aka driver school...

Agagooga said...

But "School of Many Malays" doesn't spell STC ;)

Hellraiza said...

My goodness..STC/1 TPT..mat HEAVEN down there man!

Anonymous said...

Here's your joke:::
Military pilot who had sex with an 11 year-old boy when he was 17!!
A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL AND AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BOY.
As a child he was an aggressive sexual preditor who violated his brothers whom went on to have homosexual experiences.
How long did he continue to think about boys when he masterbated??? In basic training? Into his flight training?
Dave Letterman:::”Creepy rotten grape attached to an otherwise normal group.”
Joke's on you.
Joke's on him too::: He would have shaken this label of pedophile if he found a boyfriend he could have swallowed.