Friday, February 25, 2005

A moment of silence for the conscientious objectors suffering in DB

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." – John F. Kennedy

***

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Monday, February 21, 2005

This goes out to all your army uniform aficionados out there

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

A wonderful shot from my archives of a topless army boy.


And since My Miyagi nominated me to be the posterboy for February:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Me in my "Army Sucks" singlet, which reads:

"Army Sucks
Big Time"


Enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Traffic blues

Part of our major excercise consisted of splitting us up into groups of 3 to run traffic control points, in which we were supposed to operate a check point with the main guy stopping vehicles (pointsman), another covering him (security) and the third providing support in terms of communicating with the control centre and other checkpoints (radioman). Other hilarious stories to do with this excercise include one where the trainee stopped a non-excercise vehicle that belonged to another unit and made the driver get out and give the password (which of course the poor chap didn't have a clue); and another one where one blur radioman called in to verify a password with the control centre and the conversation went along the lines of

Radioman: "Hullo Control, the password they give is WRONG TONGUE while the correct one is LONG TONGUE, they insist that they are correct, can we let them through?"
Control: "Hullo Radioman, thank you for announcing our password to the world, see me after the excercise"

But i digress from the particular incident i had in mind which would have made for a great slapstick skit (and i'm not making any of this up!).

It was a hot day and i was tasked to the radioman with my buddy as point and the third guy was made security because that was the easiest job (and he was the blurrest bugger i've ever met (save for that one clown in BMT who wore a No 4 top with shorts in a hurry)). Then a call comes in to stop a particular vehicle for checking (licence plate number XXXXX), as it was suspected that they were smuggling guns. Lo and behold, the vehicle in question comes along the road and my buddy the pointsman stopped and challenged them. Since we had to search the vehicle, he directed it into a sideroad just around the corner and followed them on foot. As i had to man the radio, i couldn't help him, but security could. Unfortunately, the blurfuck was still in dreamland and only awoke when i threw a stone at him (couldn't yell at him like i wanted to since that would have given away our position) and he got up to give cover to the pointsman.

Meanwhile, the two occupants of the vehicle (actually instructors) decided to test the reaction of the pointsman by getting out of the vehicle unbidden. My buddy promptly freaked out abit because there were two of them while he was still alone (yelling from time to time for security to cover him) and they were advancing upon him. He took decisive action in commanding the two suspects to lie down on the floor, when security decides to show up and is faced with a barrage of "Lie down!! Lie down!! Get down on the floor! NOW!!" from the pointsman (by now) yelling at the suspects. So security lies down on the floor in the middle of the side road to 'give cover' to the pointsman. This was met with "Not you lah you idiot!!" from the pointsman and the scenario was ended by the instructors because they couldn't stop laughing.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Staff Sergeant S***: Our Buay-Gan (Cannot Make It) Platoon 2IC.

Ok, so you’ve heard about blur-fuck platoon mates, how about cockanaden commanders. Our beloved Staff Sergeant S (SSS), a SAF regular who is our platoon second-in-charge, is one such person.

Battalion Exercise Joker

We were having our Battalion exercise – the one just before our ATEC, so our Brigade commander went down personally to see how we are doing.

We just moved out from our camp into our first holding area (I don’t know the correct term – it just means that we are going to stay there for the night). The first thing we are supposed to do is “stand-to”, which is something like to be in high-alert – this is done to guard against possible ambush when we settle in a new area.

So, we need to get out of our vehicles (we are from an armoured battalion, btw) and prone and be in high alert to guard against ambush. Trying to impress our Brigade commander, Staff Sergeant S ordered some people in our platoon to shout “bang-bang-gang”. (I don’t know the full story here because I was quite far from Staff Sergeant S). Either he just order the platoon to shout “bang-bang-bang” when no enemy is spotted (which stupidly gives away our position in real battle), or there is actually enemy spotted, and WE WERE issued blanks, but he just damn scared to order us to fire blanks, so told us to just fire “verbally”.

Either way, he made such a fool for himself that he was chao gan by RSM, “S***! What the fuck are you doing!!”

SOC (Standard Obstacle Course) Joker


Staff S took pride in teaching us how to do SOC, personally demonstrating how to clear the obstacles. – well, he was in his vest-slack and we in our Skeleton Battle Order, that is.

Finally, everyone in our platoon has passed SOC, and his turn to do the SOC came.

Guess what, he got stuck at the LOW WALL (that’s the bloody first obstacle), just can’t get his ass up, stuck there for 3 minutes, gave up, and FALL OUT.

Again, I didn’t get to see that humiliating scene. Someone from our platoon volunteered to pace Staff S for his SOC and told us. WTF.

Gana Arrowed to do CO Change-Of-Command Parade

Our RSM was basically arrowing the most slack regular to do something for our CO’s change-of-command parade. I guess he wanted to arrow Staff S one big one, but then I think RSM just scared that Staff S will screw up the important parade, so our Staff S is only given the petty task of Music IC: Finding a suitable march music so that the troopers can march in according to the music. There are standard march music in the SAF, but then our RSM wanted “something different”, “something refreshing” for our beloved CO.

And so, the first thing our Staff S did after he received his instruction from RSM was to transfer the arrow. Our fellow-contributor, Hai~Ren (who is my bunkmate hehe) is gana arrowed (as usual) to save his ass.

Staff S took his new task with pride – he drove home (during office hours) and bring back one whole trash bag of CDs. He brought HaiRen with him to go to RSM office to choose a suitable tune for the marching in.

I think Staff S just like to think that “MORE IS BETTER” – according to HaiRen who accompanied Staff S into the RSM office, Staff S poured out his own collection of CDs – pop songs, oldies, some Indian music(opps, revealed some info here).. blah blah blah – RSM was shaking his head and HaiRen was laughing inside: “You want us to march in the tune of… Ricky Martin??”

After gana chao-gan by RSM, Staff S decided to completely push the arrow to HaiRen – the initial task of “assisting Staff S to pick a song from his CDs” has been upsized into the task of “find a suitable song by hook or by crook”.

So diligent HaiRen helped him find a suitable song (haha the Imperial March from the Star Wars.. it’s actually quite cool to march in that tune), burn into a CD, and gave it to Staff S. Staff S then bring it to RSM, who wanted him to do some editing.

Staff S then hurried back into his office, and I don’t know WTF is he trying to do, tries to make a copy of Imperial March by SQUEEZing that IMPERIAL MARCH (ok, it’s mp3-compacted) into a 1.44MB floppy disk.

Squeeze a 5mb song into a 1.44MB disk? You give the floppy disk how many confinement plus guard duty it also cannot do for you lah!

And so HaiRen received an emergency phone-call from Staff S, asking him to go down to his office immediately to solve that problem.

Ok, I am pausing here for HaiRen to elaborate on this…

- more of the Legend of our Staff S to come… yes, Staff S with the S logo in front wearing red underwear outside ™.

Friday, February 04, 2005

stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door!



finally jumped yesterday! the past two tasks had been cancelled because the rsaf's pilots are humji ( too much wind! too much rain! i just painted my nails! )

i was in the second sortie and as we waddled out to the plane - the 'chute's harness straps are awfully tight around the crotch - we passed some of the first sortie's jumpers on their way back to the admin area and they were looking pretty chuffed. everyone was in good spirits - finally we're jumping! - and my main concern at the point was to make the jump before the wind picked up and get this bloody 'chute off my back - the damn capewells are breaking my shoulders!

everyone cheers as the plane takes off - then the jump door opens - the wind rushes in - awfully strong and frighteningly loud - we're going to jump out into that? and suddenly silence as everyone looks at each other with "oh shit!" expressions.

but it doesn't take long before the enthusiasm returns - we've done the tower jump and everyone says that's more scary than the real thing, don't they? just the same there isn't quite so much chatter - the roar of the wind doesn't help - any more as people start to worry. jumping out into thin air when all your instincts for self-preservation are screaming no? uh-oh.

then the command from the jumpmaster comes - "sortie! prepare for action!" - this is it - and we fumble for our static lines - we've done this a thousand times before on the ground but suddenly i can't for the life of me remember which hand i should be holding the line in.

i'm in the 4th pass and we watch the first 3 passes go out - the jumpmasters push them out, no pause, straight after each other - and i remember thinking, "so much for a positive punch out" because there just isn't time for you to shuffle into position at the door and take the leap before the jumpmasters frantically shove you out. the wind slaps and sucks each jumper backwards, almost horizontally, so strong is the slipstream, as he topples out.

then suddenly its our turn next - it sure as hell didn't seem so fast when we were on the ground watching the first sortie!

"stand up!" - legs a little wobbly as we adopt good-shuffle-step position, chest firmly against the 'chute of the jumper in front.

"hook up!" - fingers have turned to wood and i desperately fumble with the safety pin - damnit, why won't the bloody thing go in?

"check static line!" - yank yank - these are the things which are going to open our 'chutes - they had better work!

"check equipment!" - what the hell is this thing called again? everyone touches each bit of gear in sequence but nobody is calling out the parts as we're supposed to - my mouth is dry and damn i should have gone to pee just now!

"sound off for equipment check!" - the count goes down the line: "6 ok! 5 ok!...1 ok, stick ok!" and i mumble my "3 ok!" while trying my best to ignore my brain screaming "no, goddamnit, not ok!"

then soon we're good to go, just waiting for the green light - i see hdb flats, a bus terminal, the tpe through the port jump door - i'm on the starboard - as the plane banks. the green light comes on - the port side jumpers go, right-left right-left right-left, one by one they shuffle inexorably forward, and soon they're done - this is it - starboard side, my side - the doc goes out, then its alex and oh shit my turn right-toss static line to the side-left then i'm at the door, left foot in front on the sill of the door, right foot behind - then the shout "go!" - the jumpmaster must've pushed me out - i don't feel a thing - and i'm out.

i remember to tuck my chin in - the instructors've regaled us with plenty of horror stories of what happens to jumpers who forget to tuck their chins in, or keep their feet locked tight on landing - whatever it is, they've got a horror story about it. the damn helmet slips down and knocks my goggles down and i automatically reach up to adjust them - so much for hands by the side protecting my reserve. then the sensation of being pulled upwards as my canopy deploys at the end of the static line and for a moment i'm a little stunned. then after a second or two my brain starts working again and i distinctly remember thinking, "right, now i'm supposed to look around" and i do - i'm alone in the sky - no other jumpers anywhere near - total silence and a feeling of total...solitude, for lack of a better word. like you're the only person in the world.

"an amazing sensation. perfect stillness, perfect silence. a fantastic and absolutely magnificent feeling. right out of this world."

then i look to the ground and shit, the wind is blowing me towards the runway - a tarmac landing is bad news and i reach up for the toggles and pull. the instructor on the ground with a loudhailer is yelling "jumper over the runway! pull your right toggle! pull the right!" - that must be me - so i pull my right and the 'chute turns. i later find out he wasn't addressing me - it was chew, behind me, but what the hell, just as long as i land on the grass.

then i'm in position in the middle of the grass - face the wind - the ground is suddenly approaching awfully fast - head down, legs locked tight, toes pointed up, knees slightly bent, elbows in - this is ankle breaking time! hold it there wait for the crunch - and with a sack of potatoes crash i hit the deck and fall backwards in a butt-landing - so much for pushturnrollover like we've practiced millions of times. for a second or two i lie there wondering if i'm ok - the canopy floats down on top of me - i am and i'm feeling great!



n.b. i'm recycling this post so i didn't actually jump yesterday, nor is that picture of a first jump or even of me.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

this's for the ladies!

i think the stuff posted below will send some of the readers into waves of orgasmic pleasure.



this's my coy in bmt.




before embarking on 24km. all bloody happy cos 16km was a cakewalk to us.




most of my platoon.




and finally, my section in MP Basic. the no.3 looks pretty sharp eh? its tailormade for us, and too bad mine wasnt ready due to some alterations that's why im in no.4.

Help needed

Here's a reader email I received this afternoon, and I've asked permission to post his email on this blog. Please help advise this poor sod who's about to be enlisted. Leave your comments.
Hey.. I'm irfan.. no, i'm not mailing u to put up one of those army stories.. i'm going to be enlisted to tekong soon.. 12 march.. and CD paramedics (i applied to sign on there) ask me to go for an interview. At the same time, i've got this gutty feeling that Army might be the better choice.. i'll like to hear a personal opinion from those who served in the army be4.. can u help me out by telling me how army life is? Thanks.. u can reply me at -@hotmail.com .. hope to hear from ya

We present to you... the trained soldiers!

Reading Merenwen's account of her boyfriend's POP, as well as Kureshii's narration of how he was almost decapitated, I was inspired to give my own account of my very own POP.

For starters, my BMT company, Taurus, either had very good commanders, or had been arrowed by BMTC School 2 CO to provide the necessary manpower for this POP. For the parade commander was my OC. The parade regimental sergeant-major was my CSM. The announcer and emcee for the parade was my PC. Heck, 2 of my company's sergeants were standing at the front to give "pandan kekanan, pandan!" (for us to turn our heads to the right and face the audience as we marched right in front of them), and "pandan kehadapan, pandan!" (turn head and face front) when our column was about to leave the parade square.

It was threatening to rain during the last leg of our route march, and we were all fervently hoping and praying that it would not (literally) rain on our parade. Then, just as we began to form up outside the BMTC School 2 parade square, the skies began to clear.

Completely tired out from the route march, and unable to do anything much but remain frozen on the spot while the announcer said some things, some music was played and we were given the command to stand at attention and at ease from time to time, I got a little faint and shaky. I sought strength by gripping the scabbard of my bayonet hanging from my webbing.

Then came the VIP... some stuff about the British pull-out in 1971, yada yada yada... some of the recruits couldn't take it any longer. Suddenly, I heard a little commotion behind, and heard the footsteps of people running. Simultaneously, the crowd of spectators gasped and some pointed. Someone must have collapsed.

As the VIP droned on and on, more and more recruits started dropping. Of course, we couldn't turn to watch, but the sounds behind us and the shocked gasping of the spectators indicated that another man had fallen. Little indignant whispers rose up from among the recruits, as many softly cursed the VIP who was wasting our time and stretching our endurance to breaking point. You can only stand still for so long before your legs and even your fingertips grow numb, and the weight of your field pack and webbing are almost too much to bear.

The recruit to my right, some nerdy-looking guy with buckteeth, suddenly muttered, "I think I'm going to faint."

I replied, "No, you will not faint. You'd better not faint."

Then, I heard him say, "Fuuuck..." and before I knew it, he had collapsed backwards and fallen to the ground.

Sigh... 1 more down. Eventually, out of what I think were 6 companies, only 1 company (Scorpion I think) didn't suffer any casualties.

The medics were quick to tend to him and quickly stretchered him off. And it turned out that he was quite dumb for having finally given up at such a late stage, because after he collapsed, it seemed the VIP suddenly cut short his speech and before we knew it, the speech was over. Maybe the sight of so many recruits tumbling to the ground was indication that he ought to shut up.

For us, it was finally about to end. The parade commander quickly gave us the commands:

Sedi....a! (Finally! We could move, even if it only meant changing from standing at ease to standing at attention)

Ker kanan pu.....Sing! (At this point of time the medics had only just opened up the stretcher and were lifting my neighbour onto it; which goes to show how if only he had hung on for a bit longer, he needn't have suffered such an ignominous fate. But oh well, perhaps if he hadn't fainted, maybe the VIP would have carried on until the next casualty *shrugs*)

Dari kiri cepat ja... Lan! (Yay! We can march and look all serious and synchronised while our parents and girlfriends look on at us with pride. We were boys, now we are men!)

We exited the parade square, quickly changed from FBO to smart 4, then quickly formed up again for the final part of the ceremony.

My own parents took some time to find me; in fact, my dad had been snapping photo after photo at some other guy in the front row of the company, mistaking him for me... oh well, from a distance, without the hair and given that we all wear the same black plastic-framed glasses, we probably all looked the same.

The family members returned to their seats, the emcee spoke the line that is the tile of this blog post, and we threw our jockey caps in jubilation (I am quite sure that the one I retrieved wasn't my own, but never mind... as long as the previous owner of the jockey cap I picked up didn't have head lice or dandruff). 10 weeks of sweat, tears and a little blood had finally come to fruition. We were no longer chao recruits; we were chao privates.

There was plenty of photo-taking, and at times I didn't know which camera to look at. Which is why in almost all of the POP photos I took with my bunkmates, we're all looking in different directions. *rolls eyes*

Perhaps the heavens had heard our prayers, and held back on the rain for the duration of our parade, for as soon as the parade had officially ended, the dark clouds had returned and half an hour later, the rain came pouring down.

It felt good, having survived the POP and being showered with care and attention from my family for having survived the full 10 weeks. It officially marked the end of my initiation into the institution known as the SAF, and would herald many more adventures and escapades with an entirely new bunch of friends. But those are tales for another time...

Hai~Ren

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Midsummer POP dream

It's touching to hear everyone's touching POP stories. Mine didn't turn out so perfectly. Everything was fine up till the point when we were about to march in. I had never hated the CAT 1 siren (thunderstorm warning siren) until then. We sought shelter in the training shed, whined and complained for about half-an-hour, and just as they asked us to return to our Coy line, the rain stopped.

For me it was a blessing in disguise. Being the chao on OCS wannabe I used to be (you can't be a pilot unless your'e an officer, you see), I was running around clearing rubbish, helping people with their packing (you'd be surprised how much stuff a recruit needs even during his last week in Tekong) and trying to be everywhere at once, since I was one of the few dumbos who changed into Smart 4 more than an hour before the parade. Unfortunately, I have a very bad habit of always leaving one item upstairs in my bunk whenever I fall in (a habit I failed to kick throughout my OCS term), and on that day this item happened to be my jockey cap *cue gasps from audience*

Went back to Charlie Coy line, sent arms, prepared to throw our jockey caps at Coy line, then I realised mine was still on the clothes hook upstairs. My sergeant nearly twisted my head off.

---------


My commissioning parade wasn't much better. I didn't collapse, but I was so tense I screwed up 2 homats, hoepfully not too noticeably. And I stuck my chin up too high during the slow march, couldn't see less than 2m in front of me, didn't dare to tilt my head down, and... missed the first step in the flight of stairs. Doh.

Cocksters Galore.

After reading so many entries about the laugh-inducing legendary blur kings from some of the authors I feel compelled to share some myself. Mainly because I've been tripped up countless times by their antics, which sometimes leaves me in I ain't sure should be tears or laughter. So, below will be a list of the uh, legends I've encountered so far.
BMT
Justin W H Gan
Nicknamed Sun Wukong aka Monkey God. He talks funny, acts funny, walks a little funny, and sad to say yes he looks funny as well. For the record, he has a problem keeping his mouth closed, literally. His nickname's derived from the fact that in 16 weeks at Tekong he still hasn't learnt to salute in the correct manner. Now try to imagine Sun Wukong scanning the horizon with his palm slightly curved, shading his eyes and you have a pretty good idea of how Justin looks like when he salutes an officer. When he was platoon I/C and had to "diam" the whole platoon to greet a passing officer, he never failed to make us break out in guffaws after he gave "At Ease" with his monkey salutes. Somehow he has a problem making his palm flat, his fingers will inevitably stiffen and curl up when he salutes. And back to his mouth. Throughout BMT we always were on his back, "eh Justin, close ur mouth lah. Knn like goldfish like that." But our CSM takes the cake with his rebuke. During POP rehearsal, Justin just had to be sized in the first rank of our company's contingent. And with that half-closed mouth of his it was a impending disaster. CSM walks down the front rank, sees Justin with that mouth of his and goes, "OI GAN! GAN NI NA BEH CHEE BYE! CLOSE YOUR FUCKING MOUTH CAN?! YOU WANNA SUCK MY COCK IZZIT?!"

W B Tan
I had the dubious honour of being this goondu's bunkmate. Actually he was a late addition to our coy, as we were a ptp coy but he was direct bmt who came to fill up the beds due to numerous OOCs. He's the epitome of one of the SAF's many unoffical taglines, Shag Cannot Think. Misfires, crossfires, he's been there, done that. Without fail his alarm clock will go off at 5am in the morning, without him waking up. And each morning his buddy has to go to his bed and knock him on the head with his clock to wake him up and get him to shut the damn thing off. Champion episode has to be the time when we were told to fall in in SOC attire and he started pulling on his boots while still in admin attire. He only realised after he noticed the whole bunk staring at him in amazement/bewilderment/incredulity.

Mohd Shafii
Our platoon's extras/confinement king. On a saturday morning before book-out he was confined for not push-ups properly. On his very first regimental guard duty he signed extra, for falling in late. Kena-ed sentry duty on alternate nights during 7-day field camp for allowing his weapon to be stunt-ed 6 times in 2 days, after which our platoon sergeant told him to consider signing on as a RP. And we still wonder if he did it on purpose. Enough said.

SAFPU
Thomas K H Thyng
This's the champion of champion cocksters. I've yet to see any soldier worse than him and I had the luck of being his buddy during my MP Basic course in SAFPU. Once he failed to inform me I was on the weekend's duty list after I booked out on Attend C and he insisted to my platoon sergeant that he already told me. The bugger nearly got me charged. Luckily my whole section vouched for me that I was never informed. As with the above-mentioned W B Tan, has a habit of not waking to his alarm and causing due grief to the entire bunk. Once he even woke us all up at 4am by screaming "FALL IN!!!" after he woke up and misread the time as 6am which was our fall-in time. I've yet to find out how he can read a 4 as a 6. Needless to say he was pelted with objects ranging from No.4 uniforms, water bottles, slippers and in the darkness I swear I saw a helmet flying towards him as well. With his tendency to cock up he was another disaster waiting to happen during outfield training. More often than not he leaves our sect com open-jawed and speechless with his bouts of blurness. If one day he ever goes to war, he would be a prime candidate to die of fragticide with his seemingly uncurable habit of charging into and across his section's arcs of fire. Still, the best bit of comedy has to be the time when we were outfield doing section fire movement. We were supposed to execute a retrograde, which in layman's terms means a coordinated retreat among the section in the face of overwhelming enemy fire. He was in group 3 of the section, which would be the 1st group to retreat while under smokescreen and covering fire from the other 2 groups. So a simulated smoke grenade was lobbed and the order was given from the sect com, "GROUP 3 MOVE!". He jumped up, and charged.

POP loh!!!

This is the story of The BF's POP - a momentous and, I believe, eagerly awaited event in every NSman's life.

When The BF called me 4 months after he got shaved bald and plonked into the monastery known as Pulau Tekong, he was in a fever pitch of excitement. His first words were: "Dear, next Saturday I P-O-P loh!"

My mind clicked into first gear. The engine roared. The wheels accelerated. And with that, my brain ran rapidly through my 21 years' worth of words stored in my cognitive database, trying to find one that matched and made sense of what The BF just told me.

P-O-P? P-O-P?! What the hell was that? 30 seconds of silence and very, very thorough thinking later, the closest I could come to a match was the sound a champagne bottle makes when it is shaken vigorously and the cork is removed.

I asked hesitantly, "What are you popping about?"

He replied, with a hint of exasperation, "Not pop, it's P-O-P! P-O-P!"

I countered, "Yah what! P-O-P is 'pop' what!"

The BF, sounding very deflated that his good news was met with such a reception, said, "Not that 'pop' sound. It's my Passing Out Parade!"

Orrrr... But soon...

Click click. My mind's engine geared up again before I realised: What in the wide world is a Passing Out Parade?

The BF explained, in slow, concise sentences meant to educate his stupid girlfriend, that the POP spelt the end of his BMT, after which he would be posted out to a unit.

"Why didn't you tell me this from the first?" I wailed, feeling extremely small and stupid. BF 1, Sheena nil.

Anyway, The BF then proceeded to ask me if I wanted to go watch his POP. "Up to 2 friends or family members can go per recruit. The persons invited have to put on the jockey cap for the recruit."

Of course, I immediately made up my mind to go. How could I disappoint him? I knew his parents would not be going. But as I was in a bit of a grumpy mood, my lack of SAF intelligence having been shown up by him, I lied to him and said, no, I didn't want to go because I hated having to travel all the way to Pasir Ris (I live in West Coast), cram myself into a TIBS bus and a boat, and wait around in the searing Tekong heat.

The phone call culminated in a big quarrel between both of us. It almost broke my heart, but I stayed firm about "not going". I wanted to see the surprise and joy on his face when I showed up that day.

When he booked out and met me that weekend, he threw me the invitation letter, saying that I needed it if I wanted to go and watch his POP.

I told him, "I already said I refuse to go!"

He turned his face away from me and said, "Keep it anyway. No one else will come for my POP so this letter is no use. Throw it away if you want."

It was all I could do to hold my secret to myself, just to sweep away his obvious misery and disappointment. But I am afraid to say that my sense of mischief overrules my sense of propriety and my love for The BF most of the time.

Anyway, I managed to get a female friend, a mutual pal of both me and The BF, to go with me on the POP Saturday.

As I'd predicted, the day was hot, the Pasir Ris bus interchange was packed, the shuttle buses were cramped, and the boats stunk. I bore it all stoically for the sake of The BF. As for my friend, she bore it stoically as well, I think because the thought of seeing hunky uniformed men was sustaining her (yes she has a uniform fetish like me too).

I got a moment of fright, though, when on the TIBS shuttle bus The BF called me. He'd just finished his all-nighter route march, and was getting ready for the parade.

"Are you really not coming?" he asked, forlornly.

"Err, I'm kinda out with N [my female friend] now, so obviously I can't come," I said, hoping and praying he wouldn't see through my trick.

He hung up on me, and I breathed a sigh of relief (tinged with a lot of guilt). He obviously hadn't seen through it.

When we got to Tekong, we got very nice front row seats at the grandstand, and it wasn't long before both N and I were almost hysterical with desire, seeing hunky, muscled, tanned officers and sergeants (all of whom had hair as an added bonus, unlike the recruits).

I swear, Tekong was chock-full of testosterone. N and I got a huge blast right in the face the moment we stepped onto the island. The pheromones in the air turned us both into preening, excited, giggly bimbos, and we just had to dash into the nearest female toilet to check our hair, arrange our clothes and apply make up. Yes, alright, go ahead and laugh and me. But seriously, i just... morph into a dumb giggly bimbo in the presence of men in uniform (and Jay Chou).

I know most of you are just going to say that what N and I felt was actually the stench of years of filthy, unwashed recruits, but nevertheless, it made us float on air. I am such a traitor to The BF.

Anyway, after the parade, the speeches (the boredom of which we alleviated by whispering comments to each other about this cute officer or that gorgeous 2nd sergeant), and various other things that I cannot remember now because my mind is full of memories of this particular 3rd sergeant with the most enticing dimples, who smiled at us and inquired politely if we were comfortable, the audience was asked to go down to the parade square and help the recruits put their jockey caps on.

I ran breathlessly down to Gryphon company where The BF was with N in tow, hoping that I'd be in time, because The BF had told me that his CO would ne putting on the jockey caps for the recruits who wouldn't have anyone coming.

I didn't count on the sheer size of the company. Over 200 identically-dressed, bald men standing together presents a formidable obstacle to searching for that one particular loved one, as I discovered much too late and to my chagrin.

All I could do was weave in and out of the rows, helplessly looking for The BF. All around me, parents and friends were happily chatting and hugging their sons/friends, and I began to have this sinking feeling that my trick may have backfired on me.

In desperation, I asked several guys whether they'd ever heard The BF's name and where he would be standing, but they shook their heads dumbly, even when I gave them all the details I could, including platoon number and bed number. Apparently they all had no idea how they were arranged. It wasn't according to platoon, or to bed number, or even to height (because The BF is one of the shortest guys in the company, and I'd already looked all down the front rows).

Finally, one of them told me the CO might know how the men were arranged, and pointed at this tall chap right at the other end of the company in a beret.

I was running towards the CO when suddenly I heard, "Dear, here! I'm here!"

I turned and saw my quarry, standing there with his jockey cap still in his hands, looking ecstatic.

I ran to him and flung myself upon him, almost sending him toppling into his company mates.

Just imagine the scene a la Meteor Garden, when Shan Cai is running towards Dao Ming Si and flings herself upon him and begins to sob with joy. Yes, later on I realised my melodramatic gesture carried all the elements of a Taiwanese soap opera, only without the tears.

Anyway, he pushed me away roughly, whispering, "Don't! You can't have physical contact with me; OC is over there! And my friends will laugh!"

I looked around and, indeed, the men standing around The BF were grinning at the ridiculous little tableau we presented. Some of them were covertly checking out N, who was in a spaghetti strap top, has a fabulous figure, and probably reminded them of how deprived they are stuck in Tekong Monastery.

I breathlessly put his cap on for him and gave him another quick hug before we heard, over the loudspeaker, orders to return to the grandstand.

So we went back, and after a few more speeches (which I tuned out, again), the men were told that they were no longer recruits, but privates.

At which a huge roar - "POP LOH!!!" went up from the guys, and thousands of jockey caps were flung into the air in jubilation.

I turned to N and said in amazement, "We came all the way down here and endured 2 hours of heat, hard grandstand seats and boring speeches, all for about half a minute of putting on his jockey cap for him, which he then throws into the air?"

N patted my back and tried to soothe my raging fury by directing my attention to a few other officers, who looked like they would fit in well in a Mr Universe pageant.

Later, back home, I told The BF how mad I was about seeing the jockey cap I put on for him being flung into the air (and later not retrieved because he lost it), and he replied, with a smirk, "Well, take it as retribution for making me so miserable all week."

I conceded defeat. BF 2, Sheena nil. Damn!