0745: Fall men in
0815: Start first parade. Watch late stragglers stroll in. "Why you late", I ask. "Traffic jam lah, sir." Give him benefit of doubt, but wonder what I'm going to say to him next time. Receive call on handphone: "Sir, got urgent business at home, can take urgent leave or not?" Resist urge to say no, tell him to be back by lunch. Note to self: call up home and ask about family situation. All the other stragglers sign 1 extra.
0830: Dismissed. Drivers start coming to office asking about medical appointments. I don't have the time (though I constantly swear to make time) to check on them, so I sign the Off Pass Book hesitantly. Note to self: Check on drivers.
0845: "Sir, I cannot go on exercise, not feeling well lah". "
0900: "Sir, canteen break?" *sigh. look at watch* Report back to me by 0930.
1000: Canteen dudes not back yet. Call them up: "Sir, we helping out at the other MT Line, will be back after lunch" "OK, but kanina next time give me a call lah, all have my number right? Cheebye man all of you..." "Sorry lah sir, busy mah." I let the matter drop.
1100: MT Sergeant (DXO, by the way) complains about drivers. Not signing logbooks, not signing stuff in and out properly. "Just give them extra lah". "Sir, you talk to them better lah". "Ok, I try, but unless the vehicles get sorted out there's not much I can do". Which is true: I'm busy enough trying to get the daily vehicle detailing (list of who goes where to do what in which vehicle. one list per workday. from 3 different units within the same camp.), so I leave maintenance under the care of the supervisors. Doesn't seem to be working out too well.
1115: Talk to drivers about lack of accounting. "Hard lah sir, some vehicles cannot even find logbook *mental eye-popping on my part here*, how to sign?" "Take another vehicle lah" "So many off-road (unserviceable) ones, troublesome to find lah. Take 5 vehicle, all 5 cannot drive" "This time let you off. Next time go and find one working one with logbook, understand?" "Yes sir". Don't like giving too many extras. Lowers MT Line morale, and any MTO would know driver morale is everything, since it is directly linked to attendance. Note to self: One of these days, fuck care them and just whack. One of these days.
1200: Receive call from QM: "Hey, want to go lunch?" "Go where?" "Cookhouse?" "Fuck lah, cookhouse food so shitty." "Then hawker centre loh." "Ok, you pick me up when you ready ar?" "Can."
1215: Honk from QM's vehicle. "Eh, sorry leh, today got many calls lah, stupid last0minute indents. you go ahead first, da bao for me can?" QM sighs. "No problem. you look quite stress leh, how's things here?" "Hoh, how's things ar? I ready to demolish 5tonner already leh." "Wah, lax man. I go now, talk to you later".
1300: Lunch arrives. I eat at table. Drivers comment. "Fuck you all lah, you want to eat in driver's office also can lah, you drop you lick up loh." "You say one ah, Sir?" "yalayala". MT sergeant not in office, so to hell with the no eating rule. I'm quite a slack guy; my command philosophy palces a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility, you see. Which the drivers still lack.
1315: Leftover drivers start vehicle servicing. Which is alot like weapon and equipment cleaning, but is more troublesome and has more implications.
1. If a weapon is unserviceable, you can still bring it outfield. If a vehicle is unserviceable, bringing it out will guarantee a good fucking from log(istics) branch.
2. Unserviceable weapons and equipment is portable, and with any type of vehicle you can easily bring it to D/GSMB and get it repaired after the paperwork is done. With an unserviceable vehicle, you need to acivate the tow service. Meanwhile, it sits there and you sit there waiting to get fucked (even though it's not your fault, but this *is* the SAF).
3. To clean and maintain a weapon, you just need to bring it out of the armskote. To cleam and service a vehicle, you need to drive it to the servicing bay, and you need someone who is proficient enough in preventive maintenance. People like them are in very short supply, since they are drivers and have to go on detail too.
4. Armskotemen and storemen don't have to go outfield. Drivers do. Even then, armskotemen and storemen can do equipment maintenance outfield. Drivers cannot, except for basic stuff (tyre changing, for instance).
1330: Mid-day parade. Spend 1/2 hour tracking down all missing personnel. Water parade. "Eh, driver movement board not for decoration one leh. Better update, or got nice stuff coming your way". "Yes sir *giggles coming from behind*" "Funny right, ar?" "No sir." Note to self: find one day, do spot check, all those never update sign extra. Well, there's not a whole lot of choice I have in terms of punishment. No push-ups. So there's extras and suspension of leave (moot point, since most of them will just get appointments, some with valid reasons), and summary trial. Not that I can spare any drivers sitting idle in DB.
1400: Phone call. "I asked for driver for today leh, where's he?" "Eh, dont' have yoru indent here leh" "Eh, I indented 3 months ago leh *yeah, and I was still a fucking cadet leh*, you all say can how come now cannot" "Wait, I check for you" MT sergeant says he cannot confirm, since his inbox got wiped out when they installed the new LCD screen WinXP computers "I try to get driver for you now, so hold on, hor". I honestly think he's just smoking me but have no way to confirm, and don't really need another complaint being sent to my boss.
1405: try to wake up driver. "wah sir, so many drivers sitting around you get them leh" "fuck you lah they all storemen lah" "deh! got so many drivers sleeping in rest area?" "those 2 resting for night exercise lah! go and check vehicle now!" "sir, exercise also can go now right? we last time also like that one what..." *kureshii controls urge to fall all drivers in and make them watch as this fucking driver checks his vehicle before moving out* "just go now, no questions" "sir, got off or not" "fuck you, understand?"
1410: wanker calls again. "yes, your vehicle going down now. jt wait a bit. ok? thank you, bye bye".
1430: plan detailing for next week. I just took over detailing from the previous guy a week ago, so things are still quite hectic. notice that the local training school has intelligently clumped 4 major exercises within a 3-day slot weeks down the road.
what the fuck is wrong with these training branch people? I have 30 drivers on paper; 10 are on course, 3 are excuse driving long-term, about 3 on average will be on MC each day, 3 are going to ORD, how many does that leave me with? You do the math.
1440: Send request for more drivers to XTptBn. Meeting in 2 days time to confirm results of request. [update: they gave me 4 drivers, out of 19 requested]. Send email to training branch, informing them of their oversight. Request for them to push 2 exercises to the next week. Email comes back: cannot push, last week of course for trainees already, and training area need to bid 3 mths in advance. Try asking from other units. XXXXXX camp: cannot support. XX SAR: drivers on 4NTM. XXXXXXX Camp: 10 drivers just ORDed. XXXX Camp: Yet to be confirmed (but they are the POI Bn, yeah, so what do you think? Their vehicle consumption is bonkers.) [Further update: Thank God for training branch personnel who understand ground problems. Redistributed available drivers among exercises. training school isn't pleased, but accepts new arrangement]
1450: Send email again, regretfully informing them of likely inability to support. "Please try. you have 30 drivers right?" Riiiiiight.
1520: Email arrives in inbox. Not my inbox; OA account still being set up, so I'm using a storeman's account. Pathetic place. "from major A: meeting at 0900 hrs tomorrow to discuss vehicle indent. inform major B also.". Great, they just invited me for crab steak at the conference room tomorrow. again, not my fault; training requirement only came 2 weeks ago, and some people continually insist on neglecting to factor in logistical support,opting instead to tekan the QM or MTO.
1540: Send out email. "11 drivers supporting Ex XXXXXXXXX overseas in june, please send vehicle requirement for june ASAP and keep this in mind during planning." that should show them. Will send out final email briefing the whole camp on procedures for requesting vehicle, but decide to do that once my OA account is ready. Don't want to have PTE X in the From: field, lah.
1600: Urgent indent again. Can send vehicle anot? Cannot lah, no mroe drivers. Please, dis wan veeery ergen leh, need to [snip]. "Ok lah, I try lah". New officer, need to build up HR lah. And not just for my own good also; All the driver welfare has to go through HQ also. Bad PR = slow processing of driver incentives, no goretex jacket, etc. you get the idea. And I'd be too embarassed to chase them for it. Activate 1 X supervisor to drive vehicle. Thankfully he gos willingly - these guys are real dedicated, man. Says something about your MT Line when you have to resort to activating regulars to support indents.
1630: "Sir, nothing else to do already leh, fall out early?" "No" "Please, sir?" "Go and do area cleaning" "sir, quite clean already lar, no need lar" I give them the look "ok lar sir, we go and do lor".
1700: "Our vehicles for tomorrow exercise parked already or not?" "Parked already what...some of my drivers (freshly back from detail) bring them down already" "still short of 2 rovers leh" Move heaven and earth to find them, only to discover they have just been moved down. Big time fucker man, no patience at all.
1730: Last parade. MT sergeant and CSM scolds drivers.
1740: Fall out drivers.
1830: Go home. Forget all my notes to self.
Repeat for Tuesday, Wednesday and all them other weekdays. Thank God it's a 5-day-week camp.
Well, if you're wondering, all the in-between time isn't spent sleeping or anything; just all the mundane stuff like confirming stock status with storemen, checking on vehicle logbooks (which are wrongly filled in many times), making phone calls, getting phone calls, taking phone calls for duty driver ("hello, CMTL" "who's this?" "MTO" "orh, MTO Sir ah, ..." you'll notice a distinct difference between the first and second response when an LCP and below makes the call), etc.
I tell you most honestly, it's a really shitty job. With trainees and men it's much easier, because "just chiong a little more and it'll be over then we can all go for OFF!" The drivers know better: "chiong so hard, next week still got exercise, then the week after that and after that..." and I can't give them OFF so easily since I need all of them. It starts to sap you a little when you have to deal with drivers with such low morale. And it's hard to motivate them, since the rate at which indents come it's almost guaranteed they'll get their civvie license anyway, and most of them have no idea what they want to do after ORD so "wait and see lor".
What hurts most is that it's so difficult to reward those who really work hard, because I end up calling them back when things get so bad I have no choice but to. Final note to self: Give PTE Y his long overdue promotion and ORD gift and super-kilat testimonial when he ORDs in 4 weeks' time. And remember to prepare all that stuff.