Saturday, April 30, 2005

Dead Boring Stuff

Ok, I am back again...

... This time with two videos (not porn if that is what you are thinking of)

Officer Cadet School Song Video - I made this for my friend initially, he is die hard about going to OCS. So good luck to him.

Standard Obstacle Course Video - I made this for those who are enlisting soon, and wondering what/how the hell the SOC looks like and what those obstacles are called.

Video are not totally "made" by me, please refer to the credits for more information.

...Oh well, that's all with the good ol' boring stuff.

Now back to UniformGirl's post.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Excerpts from a Brunei Diary

Day 1 :: We arrive in base camp to discover, much to our surprise, that there actually are SAF barracks more rundown than ours back in Singapore.

Even if we did have to go to another country to find them.

Our longhouses are right at the top of the hill - joy.
There aren't enough lockers, so we are forced to keep our kit under/next to the double bunks. This does nothing to ameliorate the cramped conditions. What lockers there are have all been vandalised with ominous messages promising eternal suffering, ripping of hair and much gnashing of teeth.

And that's just the ones in reference to the camp food.

Discover the toilets are infested with giant cicadas with suicidal tendencies - they fly around blindly, hitting the walls, ceiling and you. All but the bravest lose inclination for a shower.

Day 2 :: Compass course. First impression - Ohmygod this place is hot.

Day 3 :: First navex (navigation exercise). Realise that an alarming number of knolls are of the variety which need to be climbed on hands and feet and sometimes even with the help of a toggle rope, and descended on the seat of your pants.

Despair of ever making it through 17 more days of this.

Thank God we'll probably never have to go to war in Brunei.

It starts raining torrentially just before we harbour, resulting in a cold, miserable night.

Day 6 :: Swamp topo. An assault boat (glorified name for what is essentially a metal bath-tub) drops us off along a river bank - not a river bank as in, picnic-on-the-river-bank, rather, the mangrove variety.

We hop off the boat and promptly sink waist deep in mud. Morale sinks exponentially. Wish we had brought money with which to bribe the boatman to drop us off nearer the endpoint.

Extricate ourselves only to find the morass extends quite some distance inland. Wonder what happens if everyone gets stuck at the same time.

Eventually reach dry ground (dry is an extremely relative term). Stinking mud is replaced with impenetrable thorns. Everyone gets a good workout with the parang.

Kick myself for not having bought full-finger gloves. My fingers resemble shredded meat more and more as the day goes on.

What appeared as a stream on the map has been swollen by rain into a fast-flowing river. With much trepidation we load the live rounds issued - purportedly to protect against crocs, but which are seeming more and more like a quick end to the misery - and combat-swim across the river. Someone is almost swept away.

Later we find ourselves waist-deep in a very large, stagnant pool of water. With water running low, the endpoint still an eternity away and no streams on the map, I attempt to strain the particle-filled brown water into my bottle with a wet tissue. The water can't get through, so i just fill the bottle and pop in a puritab. Drink some, constantly repeating "what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger". Try my best to ignore my traitorous brain placing emphasis on the first half of the phrase.

As the dusk cut-off timing for pickup draws closer we strike back out towards the river bank as we reach the endpoint. At one point we are neck-deep in water, with a soft mud bottom. Try to avoid thinking about sinking into the mud.

Eventually reach what we think is the endpoint - we can't get a GPS confirmation - with exhausted relief. Radio in for pickup. Blow our whistles wildly as we hear the boat approaching, approaching, approaching...Then it passes us and the sound of the motor fades in the distance. We've overshot the endpoint. Our point man suddenly takes an intense interest in the ground at his feet.

Part 2 coming soo...when i can get off my ass to write it.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

What to bring to BMT

Some idiot senior of mine, told me to bring pajamas to sleep in. i asked him if this was a joke, his response was "Joke? no lah! all my sections mates wear pajamas to sleep one!"

Thank god I ignored him and i seriously think he is gay.

Fuck you lah!

The day before we were to pass out from Basic Training, we were all in a really happy and relaxed mood. We were pretty much given free reign to just chill out and relax. All of the sudden, we heard swearing and shouting coming from inside the company line office. 2 minutes later, my platoon mate came out with a very dejected look on his face. This is what we found out had happened.

My platoon mate had gone in to the company line office to check on what time we were to fall in for lunch on that day. By this time, the Sergeants were really slack with us, and we were talking to them more like friends, even though we still showed them respect. My friend cracked a joke to my Sergeant who then retorted with a “Fuck you lah!”, which my friend quickly responded with a middle finger and a “Fuck you too!”. Both men were laughing all the time this was happening.
What they both did not notice, was just as my friend raised his middle finger, my CSM (Company Sergeant Major) walked in and saw him in the process. What followed was a very loud and gigantic dressing down by my CSM. 2 days later, while we were all packing up for our 1 week block leave, my poor friend was sweeping out the company line office as he had to sign 7 extra duties and so all his block leave was cancelled.

Commando vs runway

I have a cousin who was the squadron commander of the C-130 Herc squadron in the RSAF. In fact, I think if anyone was in the RSAF about 6 to 7 years ago might know of him, if was quiet a character and pretty infamous. This is one of the stories about him and his little games.

As we all know, the Herc is a transport aircraft used by the RSAF to carry big loads and also to air drop Commandos and their equipment. Although my cousin was a pilot, he incredibly has a phobia of heights. In fact, he always used to call the Commandos “Siao!” for wanting to jump out of a perfectly fine aircraft. As I am sure most of you also know, airborne jumps are always kinda risky things. If you land just wrong, you can easily break an ankle.

My cousin, being who he is, used to play this game while the commandos were out jumping. Upon hearing an ambulance driving onto the landing zone, he would move over to the squadron ready room white board, draw a line down the middle, and write a header of runway on one side and commando on the other, followed by a 1 under runway and a 0 under commando.

He would then announce “Ok runway 1, commando 0, anyone want to take bets on the final score?”

NS was soooo HOT!

It was a bright and sunny day, actually no, it was a freaking hot, humid and lazy afternoon in Nee Soon camp, 7BTS (Basic Training School). It was less then a week to our POP (Passing Out Parade) from BMT (Basic Military Training), and we are all in a very slack mood. I was down at the company line with one of my Sergeants drinking Coke and talking cock (See I told you damn slack) when all of the sudden we heard what sounded like a helicopter flying near us.

Hearing a helicopter in camp is not an unusual thing, especially considering my training school was a Guardsman training school (Guards = silly guys who like to jump out of helicopters) What made it REALLY unusual was that we saw the helicopter landing on the parade square in the middle of the camp. Now as many of you know, this is done only is extreme emergencies for the parade square is the sole domain of the RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major = big scary man you don wanna piss off). My Sergeant were very cuious about what was going on and so got up and moved in for a closer look.

I asked him “Got emergency exercise today huh?”

“No leh, nothing on the schedule” he replied.

Not long, we started seeing some recruits running from the canteen with what looked like bags of ice. This went on for quiet a while, and then before long we saw the main event, 2 medics carrying a stretcher. We thought “OK must be heat stroke” and started walking back, no big deal. However, just as were turning around, ANOTHER stretcher appeared from around the corner. Then in the space of 1 min, yet ANOTHER stretcher appeared. A total of 3 stretchers were being loaded onto the Super Puma helicopter! 3 heat stroke victims all at the same time!

After we soaked in the whole scene, we both said the same thing at the same time, “PTI (Physical Training Instructor) and the PC (Platoon Commander) sure die liao!”

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Cable Guy

Nicholas Liu never fails to deliver some of the funniest lines about his stint in NS, which he's still serving:

This week was cutting wire, stripping wire, reeling wire, unreeling wire, untangling wire, knocking chopsticks into the ground with rocks (wonders of technology!) in order to tie wire around them, and bashing through vegetation carrying 20 kg of wire on my back.

I am getting a little tired of being what is essentially a combat electrician.

Read more about Nick's week here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

All World Leaders Should Read This

10 Dos for Presidents and Heads of State who wish to come to Singapore on official state visits. (So as to make life easier for us, the poor sods who have to mount the welcome honour guard.)

1. Please give ample notice of your arrival. By protocol, a Head of State or President will have a 72-man Guard-of-Honour to welcome him. So, for 72 men, not including the parade markers, Colour Ensigns and Colour Escorts, to get their drill movements to coordinate well is not easy at all. So rehearsals are needed. So we need TIME.

2. Arrive at the time you indicated. Reasoning is very simple, arrive earlier than the time you said you'll arrive, and the Aide-De-Camp will be scrambling to get the parade formed up the moment the advance warning is relayed by the CISCO duty personnel at the Istana main gate. Arrive late, and you'll have about 80 men standing in the hot sun waiting for your grand arrival. And don't forget, protocol also dictates that the counterpart will receive the guest. So if a President visits, our very own Uncle S.R Nathan will be the one who receives him. It is not nice to make an old man wait in the sun for you. No matter how dua bai you are, have some courtesy and punctuality.

3. Come with a small entourage. The Istana is landscaped like a park, not some multi-storey carpark. There's no need to come with a procession of more than 10 vehicles, with your Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister, father, mother, wife, mistress, son, daughter, uncles, aunts or cousins tagging along. And really, there's no need for 5 vehicles to be filled with just personal bodyguards. Singapore's a very safe place, no one will actually attempt to assassinate you here. And if you're that dua bai to the extent that someone might actually assassinate you, Uncle Nathan will be the one visiting you, not the other way round.

4. Adopt a National Anthem that's short and sweet. Before visiting Singapore, kindly persuade your Parliament/Congress/Senate or whatever legislative council in your country to change the National Anthem to a piece that's less than 1 minute long. As protocol dictates(again), as the Presidential Salute is presented to the visiting President, the accompanying music will be of the guest country's National Anthem, followed by the host country's National Anthem. Readers out there, you have no idea how tiring it is to stand absolutely still in the Present Arms, or Hormat Senjata, for 4 mins (South African National Anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika), followed by another 1.5 mins as Majulah Singapura plays. Arms go numb, rifles start to wobble, and bayonets begin to rattle. How unprofessional-sounding.

5. Make your way to the dais fast. When you arrive, the Guard-of-Honour would probably have been waiting for more than 20 minutes in the sun. Refrain from making small talk with Uncle Nathan after you step out of the car. Just make your way to the dais for the Presidential Salute.

6. Make the inspection of the Guard-of-Honour a quick one. For a 72-man GOH, only the front rank (out of 3 ranks) will be inspected. That means a total of 24 men to walk past, plus the paying of compliments to the Regimental and State Colours. For that, it's only a quick salute (for military personnel) as you walk past the Colours, or a acknowledging nod (non-military personnel) as you shuffle past. And for goodness's sake, NEVER EVER stop to ask a guardsman questions, since you won't remember what you asked of him 5 minutes later. You know that, WE know that.

7. Don't act blur. After the inspection's completed allow yourself to be ushered back to the dais. After that, whatever the Parade Commander asks of you, just say yes. If you can't even say that in English, just nod. Please do not stand there and act blur. Logically the Parade Commander's asking for permission to carry on with the ceremony, and not, "how's the wife and kids?"

8. Just get on with it. After you give permission for the parade to proceed and the salute's presented, just acknowledge and allow yourself to be ushered away into the Istana main building. Please do not launch into a speech there and then thanking all and sundry about how honoured you are to be in Singapore and how impressed by the Guard-of-Honour that you just inspected blah blah blah (this happens, really). You ought to be anyway.

9. Disappear, fast. After you enter the foyer of the Istana main building and the 2 sentries present arms, kindly move quickly into the building and just disappear from our sight. As long as you're within view and earshot of the Guard-of-Honour, the parade cannot be dismissed. At that point of time, all we want is to fall out and get a well-deserved break. So just make yourself scarce.

10. Don't even visit at all. Enough said.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Psycho Theory"

As we know SAF comes out with lots and lots of “campaign” to reassures our citizens that our land is well-protected and to attract the youngsters out there to join the SAF.

1) The posters/media – They are all around Singapore, in practically every location possible. Advertisements better known as posters appear on the buses/trains terminal, and also on bus/train itself, advertisements clips on television/movies threatre and the modeling toys/recruitment postcards that they sent to your mailbox. They are working on something called, “what you see everyday can influence you.” These stuff are wonderfully crafted, and always have that very “cool” look. And one more thing is that, no obese personnel had been featured in the posters yet.

2) Uniforms – The uniforms, be it the common camouflage number 4 or the ultra smart looking number 1 uniform. SAF uniforms have made differentiation of many servicemen hard from far (provided they wear their head-dress too). But many women have certainly found uniformed man very attractive. Yes, I agree, all the uniform looks smart and cool. I personally hope to have a chance to wear that number 1…

3) Exhibitions – We have got all sort of open house, where the army/air force/navy exhibit their skills, technologies and equipments. They allow people to “play” with rifles, take a ride on the vehicles, put on camouflage cream on their face, allowing young kid to wear the different type of uniforms and so on… At the exhibitions most of the personnel there would be very friendly to visitors even the most unfriendly person in the SAF. Good public image achieved.

4) Songs/Music – You would have to agree that songs does affect people’s mood. I don’t know how to say it but the songs here but I kind of got sucked into the lyrics of the song…
Music played on certain/different occasion will have a very strong impact on someone feelings too. Here is a very simple example, when you go to school (primary/secondary school), the national anthem would be played, and you are “forced” to sing along, and you don’t like that at all. But if you are at the NDP, and when the national anthem is played, you would actually feel that “something special”.

Maybe there is more, but these are the few I came across.

I guess they are people out there that are immune to all these but I am not...

Again, pardon me for my bad language.

In the mind of a “brain-washed” pre-enlistee

I was totally ignorant about national service a few years back. But now I am definitely better informed about it, and it all started with the mini series by Steven Spielberg, Band of Brothers.

I became so interested in military stuff after watching that show, it "made" me to start reading about soldier's gears, rank structures, ceremony procedures, uniforms/fatigues and more. I visited soldier’s blog, different military forums and read news article, and everything seems so “beautiful” and “perfect”.

I am now very ready interested to join the SAF. I can’t really comment about life in the SAF but I sense that it would be rather interesting (many would disagree). How I wish that I would be enlisted tomorrow, I am getting bored with school life already.

Maybe I am just being exposed to too much “SAF propaganda”. (Those “cool” looking posters and recruitment advertisements.)

But of course, they are the fears too, like

  • What isit like living with some other strangers. (Will we 'click'?)
  • Can I cope with the training?
  • Will something bad happen during training to me?
  • Will I lose interest after I eventually see the real thing for myself.

Maybe life just got too bored for me…

…and maybe that why I wrote this.

And oh, sorry for my poor piece of writing, I am trying my best already, ;-) and oh don’t flame me.

The Misadventures of Encik L - Part Deux

We come to another accident-filled installment of The Misadventures of Encik L.

The names of people and companies in this blog have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent and of curse to protect my a** from being whooped by the not-so-innocent people if they find they have been named as the not-so-innocent… erm… hope you catch my drift.

Now, where were we? Ahh… the hills are alive with the sound of… BAM!!!!!!! Contact!!! Tututututututututut! Hostile at 12 o’clock! Tututututututututut! Cover me!

The mundane sounds of GST, no not your 5% tax but group and section training – that wonderful opportunity for a soldier to get to know his fellow sufferers out in the smoldering heat of the dense lalang forest of Singapore’s premier integrated resort island, Tekong Country Club.

Of course GST, feels just like the 5% we pay for everything – not worth it, all for nothing, and occasionally bloody painful. “WTF! Eh bruddah! 5cents extra?!? Kacang putih also got GST!?!”

In our case of course, GST out in the middle of Tekong sets the scene for our hero Encik L. Encik L, well, what can one say… you either love him or just laugh the hell at him.

So here we are, a hot stifling day. The men have been through rounds of tekan…ah I mean loving attention… by the friendly people who just happen to have squiggly lines on their arms or crabs on their shoulders (often a result of illicit partnerings at the near-by Changi Village… aiyah… wrong type of crab).

Encik L was sitting in the shade of the three-toner, feeling a tad lost in thought, which in layman’s terms means he can’t remember what he was trying to remember to remember.

In a moment of inspired genius, Encik L decided to become fully involved in the training! EEEE-ORRRRR! EEEE-ORRRRR! EEEE-ORRRRR! Alarm bells rang in all our collective heads… better take cover just in case he blows up the island.

In the most garang voice that an over-sized hamster can muster, he shouted: “Oi!! Men!! Let me show you what real GST is! All you coo-coos like bleeding sissies!” (to provide the context for the sound effect his shouting induced, imagine Mickey Mouse speaking after inhaling helium…)

So, all of the squiggly lines and bars and crabs retreated to the relative safety of the nearest shade to watch the Encik L Sideshow unfold.

The recruits by now have grown to fear every time Encik L decided to take matters into his own hands and many were beginning to look as if they wanted to wet their pants…

Our brave and intrepid Encik L put on his gear and sauntered to the front of the men, leading them to the edge of the lalang patch.

For those who have no clue about military matters here is a not-so-accurate but sufficient primer to set the scene. If I tell you more then it will compromise national security and I will have to kill you by making you laugh too much: In combat situations out in the field, if the lead man or in fact any man spots the enemy/hears the enemy/is tragically shot by the enemy, he/she/it shouts in the loudest manly-voice he/she/it can muster: CONTACT!!!!!! Which in the army is not pronounced as it should, and this will be made apparent to you shortly.

Back to Encik L. There he is, poised, ready for combat, ready to pounce like… a giant green hamster!!! Oooo… cuddly… and so, with men spread out, the tension in the air grows thick, the suspense builds to a crescendo, and violins screech out a dramatic tune in the background…………… the men follow their leader into the dense lalang, not knowing what awaits them…

Then, all of a sudden, the giant furry green hamster goes down flat into the undergrowth. In an instance, a well-trained-sharp-eyed recruit sees the danger… he turns his head sharply and shouts like he’s never shouted before: KOTEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We pause for a commercial… Voiceover: “Kotex – the solution to the sophisticated woman’s solution problem.” And no back to the show.

The men react in an instance to the shouting of the name of a sanitary napkin and react as all men do - they jump for cover and cower in fear. The entire company hits the ground and sends up a collective cloud of smoke that is bound to attract the attention of the imaginary enemy (if the sanitary napkin has not caught their attention already.. doh!!!)

At this moment, Encik L begins to take his leave of his intimate liaison with Mother Earth and clamours onto his feet. He turns and faces the troops, and then it becomes apparent to the collective cluster-f**k of squiggly lines, bars and crabs what had happened…

Standing there in the middle of lalang-lalang land was a giant green furry hamster with with with… a line of bright red streaming down his protuberance.

In a moment of inspired brilliance, Encik L has tripped over dead lalang and had fallen flat on his nose!!!! It hadn’t occurred to him that the wet trickle down his face and neck was not sweat and so he heroically turned round to praise the men for “reacting quickly and remembering their training well.”

Again with "well-trained" men, not a single one wanted to be so disrespectful as to interrupt their garang Encik to let him in on the fact that there was BLOOD running out of his NOSE.

At this moment, the scene pans over to the old cluster-f**k of squiggly lines, bars and crabs, who are suffering the most cruel and worst possible military torture allowed under the Geneva Conventions – laughing themselves to death.

When the group recovers enough, an unfortunate medic is arrowed to quietly break the news to Encik L. Thereafter, no more extra GST…

More Encik L coming soon!

- zayam

"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

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"Who you talking to?"

In my full-time NS unit, duty armourers were scheduled for duty on the same day as their guard duty - especially where there were trainees in our unit. When our Armourer IC and 2IC do guard duty, they will also stay in. On such a "joyous" occassion, our Armskote office would become the refuge of trainers wanting to chill after night training.

One night, I was scheduled as the duty guard together with my Armourer IC. One of the trainers, a regular, returned early from training, looking very pale and frightened. This was a bad sign - he was one of the most "bo-chap" and fearless trainers we had, as well as one of the friendliest. After being fed a few warm milo's he finally told us the source of his fear.

Apparently, he had taken his trainees out for a night orientation course as usual. As was usual for him, he was chatting away with the trainees. This night, he had been chatting away with one particular trainee. He yakked and yakked until this trainee suddenly became quiet, which prompted this trainer to turn around. No trainees were in sight! He had been so engrossed in the conversation that he didn't notice that his trainees had disappeared!

Our intrepid trainer did the only thing he could - he backtracked until he found the trainees. He eventually found them cowering away under some undergrowth. The strange thing was, they all refused to say anything to the trainer, until the trainer threatened to recommend them for charge.

At this threat, one of them said...

"Sergeant ah chua ka ka ki kong we?" (Translation: Sergeant, why were you talking to yourself?")

Monday, April 18, 2005

played CounterStrike the whole week and it SUCKS!

I've always enjoyed playing Counterstrike. A memorably fun game for many guys. Yes, CS is very fun. Until that unfortunate week. That week of training was dedicated to urban warfare. In particular its called Fighting In Built-Up Areas(FIBUA).

Indeed it was a week of running into rooms, kicking doors, climbing up stairs and ladders, jumping from windows to windows, camping at rooftops, etc.

For one it was a much awaited change from fighting in the jungles for once(goodbye u stoopid mosquitoes!). We arrived at FIBUA village at Lim Chu Kang area with much anticipation and excitement. 5 days of urban warfare definitely sounds better compared to 3 days of jungle training.I am definitely not going to bore all u ppl with the details of my training. But allow me to highlight some of the things i learnt in FIBUA training.

Fact#1: It is never possible to do a 'Jackie Chan' and storm a building full of terrorist alone.(Ever wondered why you only see it in movies?)

Fact#2: Never fire blanks in an enclosed area without your earplugs on. I nearly went deaf after the first day.(forgot my friggin earplugs! Grrr.) Sheesh.

Fact#3: Your buddy is your only key to survival in urban warfare. Dun leave home without it!(unless u got eyes at the back of ya head too)

Fact#4: It is irritating when you storm from the first level to the fifth storey only to hear your instructor shouting 'semua'!(redo the whole thing from ground floor) because you forgot to shout 'House Cleared'! at the end. You will die from all the running. Trust me.

Fact#5: Check every corner of every room. If not check and checkmate to ya.

Fact#6: Of every Urban Warfare operation, less than 20%(according to instructors) of the troops will survive. God willing, may we never have to fight in one.

Fact#7: Better clean ur weapon, if it screws up, you'd get screwed too.

All in all, it was a good experience that week. Was literally playing CS. Sigh. If only I can train permanently in urban warfare. Good bye grass, hello concrete. Oh well.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Misadventures of Encik L

Enciks, a rare breed in the army, men folk who make it their life work to be the eternal torment of every NCO and the occasional officer as well. Who can say that they’ve never heard of those giants of RSMs and CSMs like CPT (Ret) ‘Tiger’ Hong Seng Mak and CPT (Ret) Shamsudin bin Shadan (CPT Sham incidentally is now a senior grassroots leader in Buona Vista).

The RSM/CSM (Regimental Sergeant Major/Company Sergeant Major for the uninitiated) are perhaps what I would describe as Ministers without Portfolio, i.e. they had to do anything and everything, Cantonese call this yat kiok tek or one leg kick.

From regulating drills and disciplining errant soldiers, the RSM/CSM usually commanded the respect of their men, even junior officers have to rely on the acumen of their Enciks in making the right decisions. There have been many a time when my first CSM, Encik A, saved my glute’s skin and the collective backsides of the company and its permanent staff.

"Misadventures of Encik L" is a series of stories of one unusual CSM who will ever reside in my memory.

The story begins when Encik A transferred out of the company into the Training Office, there was great contention as all of us weren’t exactly excited with a new CSM – the infamous Encik L. When he did arrived, he was immediately caricatured as being a ‘no-hoper’ (he looked a little like a plump giant balding hamster) who wouldn’t last the competitive spirit that governed our company.

As if to confirm our predictions, Encik L wasn’t the most inspiring example of garang-spiritedness when he took the company out on an introductory run.

Early in the morning sun, we’re out running having fun, wayyy-looooww, wayyy-looooww, wayyy-looooww…” The plaintive cry of the snaking column of men and their sergeants wafted through the humid dawn air of Tekong as we keep a measured jogging pace.

Yes, not exactly an inspiring moment, no red rising sun in the background, no hazy mirage, no chirping of song birds in your ears (but helluva lot of giant mosquitoes and other blood-sucking Tekong mutants buzzing around). But this uninspiring moment was just about to take a turn for the worse…

I swear this is true… as the company turned back into the camp, Encik Y turned round and sort of ran backwards so that he could “inspect” his men and scream some vague vulgarity that would inspire the troops to respect him. The moment he finished that and decided to turn round, BAMMM!!!!!!!

WAHH KOWWWW!!!! He ran SMACK into a parked three-tonner!!!!

It was one of those arm flailing, head twisting, Stephen-Chow-moments. Steady dah! Must hurt like hell man. But with all the coolness Encik L could muster, he did some sort of awkward ballet (POI: Encik Y isn’t your model of litheness, rotund is the kindest word to use here) and steadied himself before nonchalantly half-run and half-stumble forwards.

All the platoon sergeants had to whisper sternly to the men “dounch u dare to laugh or u all sign extra” before all retreating behind a pillar to laugh their lungs to hell. At this point, I think Coy 2IC looked as if he was prepared to commit hari-kiri to redeem the company’s near miss with shame.

Seeing a three-tonner now will probably bring on a guffaw from everyone who was there that day…

More “Misadventures of Encik L” akan datang!

- zayam

All in a day's work

This is my first contribution to this shared blog. I'd originally planned to put in another entry which contains pictures, but I do no have official clearance from my unit (bmtc) S2 to use my camera phone.

This was a short experience of one of my COS (company orderly sergeant) duty.

It was on a Sunday, therefore there were no duties to be done. Meaning that the COS would most probably be watching dvds, playing x-box or ps2 or most commonly sleeping.

I was mindlessly watching Terminator III in the company office when suddenly the phone rang.


Sigh. I paused the dvd player and walked over to the phone.

Me(in false cheery voice): "Good afternoon, Mohawk COMPANY"

Unknown : "Erm did anyone call my handphone juz now ah?"

Me(puzzeled look) : "No mam, no one called you, you are miss..?"

Unknown : "I am Mrs.Ng. Sure no one called me ah?"

Me(exasperated look) : "Yes, I'm sure mam' no one called you."

Mrs.Ng : "Erm ok. Must be wrong number. By the way ah, what does your COMPANY deal in?"

Me(tongue-in-cheek): "RECRUITment mam."

Mrs.Ng: "Orh. Ok. Bye bye."

Hahaha. Recruitment. Ignorant aunties. Heh.

All in a day's work I guess.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Strange but true tales on a rustic military installation a stone's throw away from the Johor coastline. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Installment 1

Story 1 - The attempted suicide

Private Bang was a HQ clerk, enjoying the perks of being Chief Clerk's pet--staying out, lunches out of camp, doing duty in air-con comfort, frequent tea breaks and report sicks out camp (i.e., get MC from GP). This office slacker riled the feathers of the other more 'on the ball' clerks in the office, misplacing faxes, 'forgetting' important messages and more often than not, getting other clerks into hot water. One fine day the Hd MP (Head of Manpower) CPT Yap (CPT = Captain, one rank higher than Lieutenant) announced that Maintenance Company OC (Officer Commanding aka boss of ‘fix anything that’s broke’ company) has been repeatedly knocking on his door for a clerk and told the gang to 'choose' a volunteer. Guess how the voting went?

So hapless Bang was sent to the company line by the wet gap, a dusty, hot and mosquito infested pre-WWII concrete hangar. The CSM (Company Sergeant Major), a certain 2WO Boh aka Lao Boh (2WO = 2nd Warrant Officer, the 4th highest NCO rank) took one look at him and knew he was trouble. So he resolved to 'train' this soldier--Chief clerk let you stay out? Ok, book in 7 a.m. every morning. Chief lets you lunch outside? Don't let me catch you or you'll sign 7! Want to report sick out of camp? No way! You come back to camp and let MO (Medical Officer) examine you! Late to fall-in after lunch? Sign 2! Too free in the office? Go get my coffee and OC’s newspaper. (FYI: Signing = Committing in writing to perform extra weekend duties)

Pretty soon, the lazy bugger began to feel the heat, both literally and metaphorically--the mosquitoes were eating him alive during duty, the heat emanating from 40 cm thick stone and mortar walls was unbearable, and all his usual 'kenging' tactics were useless with the CSM. He began plotting a return to his fairyland HQ, writing petitions to Hd MP, calling Chief Clerk to help 'persuade' the boss, deliberately messing things up at the Company to make CSM so frustrated with him he'll post him back to HQ, and requesting an appointment at Woodbridge, citing intense psychological stress. But nothing worked. Time for the ultimate trick.

One fine day, after yet another sign-extra session in Incik Lao Boh's office, lazy Bang started crying and banging his head (lightly) on the table, crying 'I want to go back HQ! I want to go back HQ!' CSM, experienced soldier that he was, sat in his chair, waiting for the show to unfold. Bang, fearing his antics were not working, upped the ante by using 2 chairs to strangle himself, making horrible gurgling sounds and getting his face all red and puffy. By now, a couple of senior NCOs had gathered and a few attempted to save him but CSM just calmly raised his hand to stop them. The wimp, after several minutes of playacting, noticed that nobody was coming to his aid and quietly quit his act. CSM, by now totally pissed off, gave him a tongue lashing "CCB, what the F do you think the SAF is? Your mother's army? My surname is not Boh if I don't charge you!" Eventually though, the charges were dropped when Hd MP took pity on him and posted him back to HQ. The bugger's replacement? Me.

Story 2 - An SAF Guide to changing a Jeep's battery

Sergeant Ng, a regular, had just graduated from the automotive technician course. The newcomer was given an easy task. Sign a battery out of the charging room and install it onto the jeep. Easy enough for a man who had just gone through 6 months of training, right? Wrong. The sotong proceeded to shove the battery head in (for those who have never seen a car battery, the top with all the connectors is wider than the bottom, like an ice cube. Batteries are always placed tail first.). No surprise that it didn't fit into the holder, so what did the bugger do? Call for help? No! I am mechanic, I'll figure it out. "Bang, bang." Two blows with the sledge hammer cracked the battery seal. Still don't fit. How about sideways? Another 2 blows fractured the casing, releasing a dangerous arc of concentrated acid that burned mored than one hole through his coverall. His shouts got the section IC running over. "What the F do they teach you at OETI?", he shouted at the by now thoroughly red-faced sergeant. The battered jeep had to be sent to the machine shop so that a new battery holder could be welded in, the electric wiring replaced and rusted components replaced. Damage? A cool few thousand dollars.
Training to be Soldiers

Training to be soldiers, fight for our land
Once in our lives, 2 years of our time
Have you ever wondered, why must we serve?
Because we love our land and we want it to be free, to be free yeah!

Stand up, be on your guard
Come on everybody, do your part
Come on every soldier, soul and heart
Do it for our nation, do it for our Singapore yeah!

Looking all around us, people everywhere
Children having fun, while we are holding guns
Have you ever wondered, why must we serve?
Because we love our land, and we want it to be free to be free yeah

Joke of the Century

Singapore Army Stories - from MIW

MIW [Ed: Mindef Internet World, not the Men In White] has set up a blog, no doubt in response to the bad press that they've gotten, at times, from this one.

They've got to be joking.

Anyhow, as I expected, comments made on that blog are moderated. I highly doubt the comments I left will be approved, since they likely will want to whitewash the blog, as they do in all their Public Relations efforts, to blind people to the cruel truth of National Slavery.

Visitors to this blog are invited to post comments there and see if any which reflect unfavourably on the SAF are approved. [Addendum: They actually approved the comments that me and Mr Miyagi left. I still don't agree with comment moderation, but at least there's something to be said for this PR effort now.]

Stoopid Lee-Koot!!!!!!

Everyone knows someone like Recruit X. The fumbling soldier with two left (or is it two right? He never seems to be able to tell) feet, an amazing propensity to proverbially 'screw-up' any exercise or training session. Well, I knew one such Recruit X and boy was he a goner.

Most NSF post-1998 would know Tekong intimately. That sunny (read: damn bloody heat-stroke inducing hot) holiday resort just a ferry ride across from Changi Airport. Me, I was a trainee there and was eventually posted there (my first thought on receiving the posting was "Lord! Why has Thou forsaken me!!!"). However, I think the time I spent in Tekomg has provided me with some of the best Army stories ever to tell over a cup of tea or occasionally something stronger and darker :p

Having sidetracked enough, we come back to our good friend Recruit X. Now Recruit X had the unfortunate posting to the most garang of companies in BMTC2, with garang written into every sinew of the company’s ICs, right down to the Company Clerk. We were mean SOBs but we got results, and in the Army, that’s what counts. Recruit X was in one of the batches who had failed their fitness test in school and thus had the privilege of spending more time to get to know us SOBs.

Now, no one can blame him for being a tad like a klutz, but it was a tragic understatement. He marched with the usual gait suited to robots and R2D2 would have been an dancer when compared to Recruit X. Every drill session was a chore and I think it was safe to say his platoon probably hated him for dragging their sessions for longer than expected.

A whole string of screw-ups later, it was time for the great adventure for all Singapore boys – live-grenade exercise. Every possible precaution is taken for this, every SOP is read through and memorized by every officer, platoon sergeant, section leader, auxiliary instructor and medic. As Murphy’s Law will have it: 'Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.' In the SAF however, we take it one step further, we say anything that can go wrong will f**k up big time.

Recruit X had been primed and trained and whipped into shape, everyone knew the drill: "Pull pin, drop pin, throw grenade". That was drummed into him till he snored the drill in bed, nothing can go wrong right? WRONG!!!!!

He steps up to the throwing bay, the big concrete barrier that protects people INSIDE from any blast from the OUTSIDE of the bay. Our Recruit X saunters up confidently, the OIC stares at him, gives the order and away it goes "PULL PIN! DROP GRENADE! THROW PIN!"

In those dramatic Matrix scenes we are now so used to, the grenade makes a slo-mo drop to the ground INSIDE the bay. The OIC’s eyes go so wide his face disappears, his mouth screaming silently "NABE C*** B**!" before grabbing Recruit X and flinging him to the OUTSIDE of the bay in a drop roll and then said OIC leaps on top of him.

In that moment, everything slows down, you can hear your own heartbeat drumming away in you head. Your body tenses up like some mangled spring caught under a three-tonner. One one thousand, two one thousand, three, one thousand, four one thousand… nothing… no BOOM, no ARGHHH, no sound at all… is it over, has the explosion knocked out your hearing, have your corneas been torn by the blast waves, your back broken by the impact?

"NABE C*** B**!!!!!!" The dud had thrown a dud… the moral of the story is, if you're an officer or spec or instructor out there who thinks you're the most garang tough guy in the SAF, here's an experience that will still make you piss in your pants.

P.S. Pissing in your pants is as much a means of saving time as it is a natural reaction to fear. So dounch you go funny on me.

More battle-scar stories coming up soon :p

- zayam

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ever wondered...

We keep wondering what a real war would be like. Ever wondered what things would be like after the war?

1. Pack up shop. Fatigue party bury dead bodies or load into tonner.
2. Route march back to camp, FBO attire.
3. Cool down exercise. Water parade. Check strength.
4. Unload FBO in bunk. Eat night snack. Clean weapon.
5. Clean stores, return stores, sign in stores. Issue 1206s, posthumously if necessary. Write statements for investigation.
6. Inspect weapon. Oil weapon. Sign in to armskote.
7. All weapons inspected. Lights out.
8. Next day. Flag raising to half-mast. Breakfast at cookhouse.
9. SBO attire, back to warzone. Pick up RAI (ammo cartridges). Pick up lost items. Bury combat rations.
10. Post-war admin complete. Sir, can take Off Pass anot?

a smoke, a whiskey and a day in db for the driver's soul

I suddenly realise I do have stories to tell. Not my own, though; my life as a trainee, and now as an MTO, has been pretty uneventful so far. The drivers under me are a different story altogether.

A driver's life is shit. From one of their mouths. Of course, it's not standard across all SAF camps. It depends very much on the commanders and supervisors, needless to say. I've only just taken over for a week, so I haven't made any changes to the shitty life of the drivers, but after hearing many of their stories I'd really like to help them find something in what they are doing.

The typical life of a driver (in my unit):
0745: Reach camp, wait for first parade, which should have started.
0755: First parade. Get shouted at for being late. Duty IC reports strength. Forgets to salute. CSM shouts at him again.
0800: Supposaed to report for detail. Starts doing first parade tasks and checks after drawing out vehicle key.
0820: Leaves for detail late. Gets scolded again.
1100: If lucky, detail ends here. Return to camp. If not, eat lunch outside, keep driving.
1200: Mid-day parade. don't have green water bottle. Get shouted at again.
1500: End of detail. Return to camp. Do last parade tasks.
1600: Rest in driver rest area. Fall asleep. Get shouted at again.
1730: Last parade. Drivers no energy, look very slack. Get shouted at again. Finally fall in. Report strength, fall out. Get shouted at again for not signing book out book.

You can see that it involves alot of shouting. The not so typical day includes reporting to camp at 0630 for exercises that stretch the whole day, sometimes 2 days. Or else there's weekly maintenance to do on vehicles still in camp. The real shit is in the monotony: 50kph on the highway, doing the same checks on 3 vehicles in 1 day, getting shouted at for the same things...

granted, many of the things they get shouted at are their own fault. but just you try and educate a driver. they can't understand that the SAF does not run on their honour and fairness system, they find it hard to survive the politics in-office, and nobody takes care of their welfare.

So at this point in time the least i can do is hear them out and help them cover their asses with paperwork, at the same time figuring out what the hell is going on, what neds to be done, and waiting for my computer account to be activated so i can finally get cracking. With any luck they'll walk out of camp with their pink ICs, slightly more astute and with a future to look forward to.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Of Life and M203 HE Rounds

This is my first post so please be gentle. :D

Here's my story. It's a story that must be told. It's not a happy story, nor a sad story, but it was definitely life-changing.

I was an Armourer serving out my NS liability at training center (the actual unit name will not be revealed to protect the guilty). For those who are not in the know, an Armourer is an weapons technician - we're the guys that fix guns when they go wonky. Not to be confused with "Armour" - guys who get to ride tanks.

Anyways, one day, close to the end of my 2.5 years of service, my Armourer IC gets a call from one of his buddies. Without telling us what the call was about, he turns around and asks for a volunteer.

Needless to say, no one did, and he was "forced" to pick a volunteer - hapless me, very much against my will.

My Armourer IC, his 2IC and I were quickly packed away into a land rover and driven out to the live-firing area. On the way to the live-firing area, I was told what happened. A live HE round was stuck in the barrel of a grenade launcher and his buddy - the firing officer in charge - wanted us to bail him out.

I'll pause the story here for a few explanations. The weapon in question was an M203 - the grenade launchers we get mounted under an M16. The round in question wasn't a "curry-powder" round - it was an actual High Explosive round. In a situation like this, the standard procedure would be to report the incident and get a demolitions expert or Ammo Technician onto the scene. The Firing Officer didn't want to - because it would delay the exercise and everyone would go home late.

When I got the scene, the Firing Officer had left the offending weapon beside a concrete firing station and posted a few guys around it. When we arrived, the Firing Officer called off the sentries and asked for help - and my Armourer IC started fiddling with the M203 - with the live round inside.

After about 5 minutes of fiddling around we all see the situation - the round was jammed inside the barrel, the extractor (the part of the barrel that "pulls out" a spent round) was bent out of shape and the High Explosive round was "primed" - meaning the round was armed and an impact would probably set the round off.

Which my Armourer IC promptly ignored and started fiddling with the weapon some more.

When I started to get up and saying that the situation was dangerous, my Armourer 2IC put his hand on my shoulder and pushed me back to a squatting position - saying that they wanted the problem to go away "quietly" and that "everything would be okay".

Right on cue, my Armourer IC had forced the round out of the barrel - and fumbled catching it. The round dropped to the ground business end first.

I think you can guess the result by now - the round turned out to be a dud and didn't explode. I was soundly ribbed for being a "kia-si coward" for the rest of my days at the unit, which were thankfully short.

It has been 8 years since that incident. Some nights I can still see the round dropping to the ground in slow motion - and yet too fast for me to do anything. I know that two years after I ORDed an NSMan died in an incident very similar to the one that I had gone through - and on the very same live firing area. I could not help but wonder if that person could have been me. I wonder sometimes if I had been spared for a reason, or if it was some incredible twist of luck that kept me alive, but left another dead.

So here's my story. I apologise that it isn't as funny or entertaining as the rest of the ones I see on this blog, but I do want people to know that people should be proud of their sons and boyfriends making it through NS in one piece - some weren't that fortunate. I should know. I was -this close- to being a statistic.

(Note: Mr Miyagi, I edited this from the original email I sent you for accuracy.)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Si Beh Luan Engineers.

Hi everyone, this would be my first post on Singapore Army Stories. Some of you may have heard of the CBRE before: well, in private, we call it the Si Beh Luan Engineers, because it is, well Si Beh Luan. In reality, it stands for Chemical Biological Radiological Explosive Defence Group (OR CBRE DG for short). I just ORD-ed from that unit about 2 weeks ago, and decided to give a short introduction and squash all relevent rumours about 39 SCE once and for all.

Yup, I'm was from 39 SCE in the pioneer Bravo Company. There was always one company only, until the government and MINDEF decided to give CBRD more money because of terrorist threats and tada. 39 SCE was formed.

First impressions when you tell a taxi driver you going Seletar Camp is - "BOY AH, you from Bridging is it?" or "Boy, you from Guards is it?" or just "Engineers ahh..." Then you have to tell them no la uncle, i'm from the chemical corp (we can't even call it chemical corp, because it's not as big as a corp).

rumours abound about such a mysterious unit in the northeast of Singapore. The best ones I have heard


firstly, if I did MOPP 4 SOC ever, I won't ever be on this planet. And if I chiong sua in MOPP 4, I'll probably die. over and over again.

(For those not in the know, MOPP 4 stands for mission oriented protective posture and is the chemical suit. ala here. Scroll down for the pictures of a poor man in MOPP4).

So it's the full suit with Chemical mask.

Most NSmen go through the TORTURE (yes torture in the GAS TRAINER (not chamber as many of you call it), at least 3 times in their entire lives. The tear gas is no joke, even after so long i still can kena effects. But it's one of those trainings the instructors love to tekkan those people inside the chambers. There are some people who are thankfully immune to tear gas. My encik told of one aussie dude who just walked in and smiled at everyone and was fine when he exited the chamber.

After 30 minutes, normal people just want to tear off the whole suit and mask. Well, so do I. But then, training sia, cannot just tear off. must *ren*. Normal CBRD folks can stay in for around 4-6 hours. minimum requirement also. and really, the suit is kinda fun. you can sleep (cos no one can see your eyes), and you just want to slack, cos it is so hot in the damn suit. and after that, you can tahan any hot weather in any country liao. (even a car boot can stay inside for half hour, but that's another story).

and btw, some things we do in MOPP 4 are true: LIKE dig shell scrapes. Buay tahan I tell you. you actually dig faster. I did mine in 45 minutes, because you get to take off the mask after you finish, so everyone CHIONG to get the stupid hole dug. then you can fall asleep inside and breathe normally again.

quite fun sia? And who else gets to earn more money in the SAF then the si beh luan engineers:)?

more to come...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The SAF and Stockholm Syndrome

On August 23, 1973, three women and one man were taken hostage in one of the largest banks in Stockholm. They were held for six days by two ex-convicts who threatened their lives but also showed them kindness. To the world's surprise, all of the hostages strongly resisted the government's efforts to rescue them and were quite eager to defend their captors. Indeed, several months after the hostages were saved by the police, they still had warm feelings for the men who threatened their lives. Two of the women eventually got engaged to the captors. --- Societal Stockholm Syndrome

Some slaves come eventually to support the institution of slavery. One reason for that might be Stockholm Syndrome, where emotional bonding occurs between captives and their captors, and the former come to adopt the viewpoint of the latter, even coming to defend them.

Stockholm Syndrome kicks in when the following conditions are met:

* Perceived threat to survival and the belief that one's captor is willing to act on that threat (Read: Sending those who refuse to be slaves to DB)
* The captive's perception of small kindnesses from the captor within a context of terror (Read: Allowing bookouts and other 'privileges')
* Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor (Read: Propaganda and spiel about the necessity of National Slavery)
* Perceived inability to escape. (Read: 'Lan lan must serve')

Stockholm Syndrome is a survival and coping mechanism which kicks in under great stress, and those who suffer from it deserve compassion, not ridicule.