Saturday, June 04, 2005

Staying In/Out

Actually, I really don't quite understand the so-called 'prestige' attached to having a 8-5/8-6 job requiring stay-out. I was a stay-out personnel and personally felt that stay-out life was even harder and tiring than staying in.

Initially, my branch colleagues were downright jealous of the prviledge given, afterall, to every stay-in personnel...to be given a permanent stay-out status was like granting a night's worth of freedom to the otherwise, inhibited, restrained life of staying in. Even I was thrilled of the prospect of being granted limited freedom. However, as days and weeks rolled by, staying out begins to take a toll on a person...here's the lowdown.

1. Depending on where you stay, you may have to wake up at the same time you wake up when you were staying in (~5.00am) (Or even earlier!) just to catch that first bus that leaves in order to get to camp before 8.

2. Spend more $$ on transport. Even if you are in those camps with shuttle services, the shuttle service doesn't bring you right to your doorstep right? (Even so, shuttle services are mostly reserved for regulars and have limited capacities and frequencies)

3. You don't really have much time, if you take public transport from a relatively ulu camp, chances are, when you are dismissed at 5pm, u'll most likely reach 'civilisation' at around 6 plus to 7, after jostling with the peak hour crowd...you reach home at 8-ish? Dun forget you need to wake up at 5 am the next day...so you need to sleep at 12, the miniumum?? That allows you 4 hours for your personal pleasure stuff.

4. Lethargy sets in. By the time you get home, you are really too tired to really engage in any activity, except sleeping.

5. Let us assume that you are the minority who stay-out, won't your colleagues get immensely jealous and start to pile work on you just they believe you can go around gallavanting after dusk whilst they can't? (Point 5 does not apply if you are in a fully stay-out unit)

6. Staying out does not equal to 'chionging' until the cow comes home and get a hangover the next day...and turn up for work with bloodshot eyes and dark rings ala 'The Ring' style. Do that a few times and see what happens.

Nonetheless, some may choose to argue that...

1. at least you get to sleep in the comforts of your own home.(Refute: Unless your pillow is made of down and mattress as soft as silk, with an air-conditioner, I rather agree that the bunk has the same conditions as your room.)

2. you need to spend time with your significant other. (Fair enough ;)

3. you can do tuition to supplement your measly pay and offset your transport costs. (Yeah, provided you get a kid that can start at 9pm at night and end at 11pm...cos you won't be able to make it at 8pm, without reeking of sweat.)Maybe I am right, maybe I might be wrong or maybe I was downright oblivious to what can be achieved with the time given.

Comments?

23 comments:

ShianG said...

how can you compare the sleeping conditions at home and in camp???

1. its either you never had the "honour" to sleep in sponge mattresses or you might be sleeping on one at home?
sleeping on sponge mattresses is totally bad for the backs...

2. how can you sleep when your bunkmates want to watch tv or play games? and how to sleep when they talking super loudly? and in units, there isnt really such a thing as lights off, people can play games and talk c**k until the wee hours

these are just some examples, but of cos its differs from individuals to individuals...

HuR|cAnE7 said...

well i had a stint as a stay in personnel as well as being a stay out guy... i believe that no matter wat, staying out beats staying in.. when u leave camp all ur worries go away, whereas in camp, u r always juz a phone call away.. maybe i'm wrong but i haf not heard of anyone being recalled back to unit at like 9 pm to do a standby?

azzurri81 said...

Yea, I totally agree with hurlcane7. I too was stay-in and then stay-out in my last six months and just having the freedom to do what I want is good enough an incentive. Especially if you consider things like computer, sleep whatever time you want (my platoon keeps lights off strictly), watch whatevr you want on tv, opportunity to meet up with people in the evening etc. I dare say that I would not have lost contact with so many of my friends from school if I could have had stay-out.

Besides, if you stay-in, what else do you have to do but meet the same people you see everyday anyway? And stay-in life gets pretty boring very fast even with tv, playstation, radio, cards etc.

Gerad said...

shi@ng:
We dun have sponge mattresses already. They were new spring mattresses with nice big 2-door cupboard. (The mattress is almost the same as what I have at home)

hur|cane7:
We already had a computer with broadband internet surfing in the mess already. And we are left much to our own devices after 6pm..so its nothing much anyway, can do whatever stuff we want at our own time, rather than to rush and rush when you stay-out.

azzuri81:
How to keep in contact with the rest of your peers when so many of them are staying-in and you are the only one staying out?

Kev said...

I would still take stay-out over anything.Freedom to pursue my photography and be able to do my own stuff in the comfort of my bedroom never lost to anything else.

But the price had to be paid at end of every month when reports had to be done..so OT till 11pm.Goodness.

Samuel said...

I have to agree stay out is definitely better than stay in because of the freedom and flexibility. Being able to do something in the comfort of your own home just cannot be compared to having to share a mess or bunk with other people. Even if there is broadband connection/tv/whatever in the messes I doubt there is sufficient for everyone to use.

I'm currently on a stay in course that has optional stay in, and no one bothers to stay in, even when some people live in Pasir Ris when the camp is in Jurong West. Lol.

kureshii said...

If you ask me, staying out beats staying in just about any day, except in a couple of cases when I would much rather have stayed in to catch up on work, then take a shower and go to sleep. If only my camp actually had extra bunks for me.

Agagooga said...

Well often those who stay out have the option to stay in. The reverse is not true though.

Grim monolith said...

MY fren, how wrong you are,
If you stay out, you can request stay in

BUT

If you stay in, you can't request
stayout EASILY

SO its confirm good one what,
it will give you additional options right?

You like to stand by bed?

azzurri81 said...

azzuri81:
How to keep in contact with the rest of your peers when so many of them are staying-in and you are the only one staying out?

Female company, lah!

Whitem00n said...

Wah cow you are trying to justify your stay out as something difficult...hey that is what you started with , even if you are studying or working...don't give the crap that staying out is less advantageous than staying in.

Whitem00n said...

you know what is the bottomline is?
you are having a easy time in the army and you are whining about whether it is better to stay in or stay out
try looking at your peers or others where they don't even have a choice to have a stay out vocation, probably chionging sua and hoping that eventually they will be relieve of their physical , mental and emotional stresses.
Count your blessing dude.

Whitem00n said...

do the guys who are having a hard time a favour...keep your "problems" to yourself.

If you don't understand the privilege of staying out while others stay in , try requesting for a chiong sua vocation.

Water only tastes sweet when you are have been out hours in the sun exerting physically.

You will only appreciate the privilege of staying out when you lose it.

Kev said...

in my unit, stay-ins are not welcome.

phil said...

army would be so much more bearable if everyone gets to stay out. remember those days when u dreaded school but know that the bell will ring and your worries will be gone after that? i guess its the same. if everyone gets to hear the bell at 5pm in army, everyone'll be happy and there will be no depressing soldier, no much "P" cases in the medical centre. nothing beats freedom and the comfort of ur own home, unless u're really fine with mediocre living condition and environment.

Gerad said...

Would like to clarify my post, I was a stay-in personnel before and I have slept in sponge mattresses and later in spring beds as well.

Being granted a stay-out status does not neccessarily mean that I am having an easy life or whether I can leave my troubles locked within the camp gates. It is an escapist attitude, when you return the next day, the hounds will sure be set upon you.

Of course, it was mentioned that "Water only tastes sweet when you are have been out hours in the sun exerting physically." Been there and done that. The failure is being short-sighted and see staying out as tempting option. The real bottomline? The grass is always greener on the other side - the main aim of this post is to expose the fact that a stay-out life may not be as what it is imagined to be.

One mentioned that staying out is better than stay in because of the freedom and flexibility, and cites an example. I would like to put forward this scenario: What if your camp is in Pasir Ris and you stay in Jurong? How would you feel if you have to travel across half the island everyday and be on time for work at 8? In the course context, it is easy, for the situation being short term. How about in the long run? Has anyone considered the transport expenses incurred? Has anyone considered the fatigue experienced when you reach home after a long journey everyday?

Gerad said...

I re-iterate that this post is never about whining. Conversely, it is being able to see the entire situation as a whole and puts the entire picture in proper perspective.

Maybe some years down the road, you will reminisce the times in the bunk during your stay-in days, the tinge of mischief, the slight shiver down the spine of being spooked in the bunk.

But to a full stay-out person, it'll be 'Huh? I stayed out throughout my entire NS life. Nothing much really.'

NS builds character and fosters camaraderie and espirt de corps. I have friends from fully stay out units and I observe that the bonding is not as close as those whom I've seen for a person who experiences a stay-in life.

Kev said...

Well,I do look back on my recourse days as being somewhat fun..lol

兩鈖錢 said...

aiya happy you stay in lor not happy stay out la easy only.

As for me, drunk in camp, planning, duty, type report stay in,

All other activity stay out.

No one care about whether stay in or stay out

chrischoo said...

I stayed-in for most of my NS life, with stay-out perhaps for 1-2 months when I was on course or was on some task that gave me more flexibility.

I can't agree that stay-out is no better than stay-in, even if you lived very far away from camp, because the option to stay-in would always be there for you.

There are good points about bonding, long journeys, having friends who stay-in etc. But I think most people would be more than willing to pay more for their journey to camp, have the freedom to do what they want in the evening, and maybe see their gfs.

I guess that stay-in may be better than stay-out in a very small number of circumstances such as when your company returns from the range at midnite, or if you have too much work that it drags till late... But hey how often does that happen anyway?

You won't have to fight for the TV, ignore your bunkmates if you want to sleep early, talk on your handphone with more privacy... Staying-out is just very different!

Unless your environment at home is more hostile than in camp (e.g. parents quarrelling, fighting at home, screaming...) I think the saying "there's no place like home" rings true.

oleandero said...

i mean, if you house is that far away from your camp, staying in is definitely more convienent. since there isnt that much of a time wasted on travelling (and money as well, since the fares are going up. AGAIN!) but if you're like my bf who is coming home to see me, i guess all the hard work in travelling to and fro is worth it.

true, grass is always greener on the other side, the moon is always rounder in the other lands. lets just all be contented with what we have.

Jack Chen said...

Go to Changi Prison, ask an inmate,
"Would you like to be at home after office hours until your breakfast time tomorrow morning?"

Even for only 1 day, anyone in Prison will leap at the chance.

You have comforts at home that only for extended periods of being deprived will you appreciate it.

We, who were struck with the stay-in disease, will always remember the addition of suffering privation and other inconveniences.

In prison, you are kept in a compound surrounding by fencing and barb wire. Your movements are restricted. You adhere to a timetable. You consume your provided meals in specific areas. You have to exhibit discipline and show an iron face all the time. You have to face other people who work with you, sleep next to you, et cetera. You have guards patrolling the compound all the time. YOu misbehave, you suffer for it, sometimes going to worst places.

Now, for those stay-in personnel, are we seeing parallels to the Prison system?

Sure, we are accorded some small freedoms after 'office hours'however you must understand this, this 'freedom' is given to you because the higher-ups decided not to pursue any disciplinary rules after 'office hours', by the grace of these higher-ups, you got your freedom, do not think for 1 sec, it's a given, it's never, it's a gift. Furthermore of course, most higher-ups are regulars who are married and go home to sleep in their beds.

We didn't have the luxury of internet during our time, I could have spend my stay-out time in a more worthwhile way, if I was staying out. I could have attended short courses to enrich myself. Even taking up a unit or two of a university course part-time, so I can gain a headstart when I start my university life after emancipation. Imagine that, I saved both time and money by doing that.

I met a medic, when I was doing my last Uni unit during summer sem in Singapore. He was a stay out personnel, he was very happy, he managed to cover about half of the university units before ORD, and he only need to study another year in Australia itself before being awarded the degree.

Therefore, any freedom given to you, how much is it worth, depends on your own actions.

Of course, you were simply unlucky in having a far off camp as your workplace. Many of us now in the workforce is in the same position too, but why were we willing to do so? Think about that for a second.

I also know of this guy who happened to be a medic again. He is a clerical medic though, after SMM, he simply ended up paper pushing somewhere taking care of medical records. Now, he happened to stay in the HDB estate as his camp. When serving NS, when people call him up, he refer to himself as 'being in the OFFICE'. Now, can I do the same?

For the longest time, we the more intellectual ones in the coy, sought an answer to all this that was pushed to us.

We can not find an answer, because most of the rhetoric we face was very philosophical, meaning it's very art and propaganda like. The real things that we are looking at, that we sought to find a rational explanation to, doesn't have an answer simply because it was irrational. It wasn't right. Why is he "some guy in Signal Platoon" who has an economics degree in Signal Platoon?

There were many people who have skills and technical expertise who were simply wasting away in camps.

I resort to reading aggressively during my free time. In return, the sargeants rewarded me being awoke while the rest was sleeping "taking cover" with clerical work, various work details. "WHY?"

I chose not to pursue the injustices, through diplomatic manuvering, we sometimes managed to reform our higher-ups. There were always those who are insolent fools who will always be cursed soundly whenever we recalled their names. They will be part of our memories for life.

Many of us in the end turn out to be zombies, the 'Singaporean' that the Government wants to see. We have no control over all this, when opportunity comes, we run, we migrate.
'What else is there to do?'

vandice said...

8-6? Stay-out personnel in Seletar had to book in BY 7 a.m. leh. That's the 'privilege' of staying out during my time leh. No joke man I tell you.