Monthly Archives: March 2015

15 days to BMT POP

And 13 more days by the time I book in on Sunday.

I’ve been overwhelmed with fatigue these two weeks in camp, I spend my weekends too productively that I barely get to recharge for the next week’s activities, but more than anything I feel accomplished and alive. I remember the start of BMT when I was still feeling lost and confused about what I got myself into- continuous days of PT sessions, strength and speed on the same day, when my body was not at all conditioned to such physical exhaustion. I slept at night happy, listening to Chinese music that gave me a sense of home when I considered myself lying on bed in a faraway island. It was slightly more difficult to cope with in the initial weeks, but I survived.

Days in BMT pass really slowly. You start the day as early as 0515 to tie hair wash face brush teeth (in order), and end the day as late as 0100 (like last night). But the weeks are passing really quickly- I can’t believe I’m done with field camp, I’m done with live firing, I’m done with the live grenade throw (okay to be fair I didn’t do it because I was on compassionate leave), I’m done with Urban Ops, I’m done with the 16km route march (and 4 and 8 and 12 of course), I’m done with the 3 IPPTs, I’m done with SOC, I’m done with practically everything that determines whether or not I’ll pass BMT. Except one more: BIC. It’s so surreal because day by day I just anticipate the next day, the next bookout when I can finally take slow showers, the next bookout when I can eat trash from my dining table without having to sneak around, the next bookout when I can finally condition my hair because of twirling it in a bun all day every day.

Field Camp was far from easy for me. It was the last 5 days of a 13-day confinement, with IFC right before our field camp which was really tiring. We didn’t have adequate “rest time” I would say, having had to prone, leopard crawl, do everything BEFORE field camp. And then there’s the 12km which I survived well surprisingly, probably because of the fact that I nailed the best possible arrangement of my field pack which allowed most of the weight to be supported by my hugeass butt rather than my shoulders. Given my lack of physical ability, I took longer than everyone to dig the shell scrape and was sweating so so so profusely as usual- on top of the fact that it was code black. I had difficulties doing danger area crossing and fire movement because of the pain in my lower side back, the continuous getting up and getting into proning position was pretty painful for me. I am also some stupid IA idiot because while the IC was shouting “SECOND MAN MOVE!!!”, I was busy removing my ammo pouch to remedy my IA. Overall it was a really memorable experience, especially as I stayed awake in my shellscrape at night knowing that this was what I signed up for, simultaneously watching the twinkling stars through the sparse cover of trees. These were little moments that I really cherished and would definitely remember for a long while. We cried really badly that day too, on the shell scrape day. After digging aimlessly for 4 hours, we were brought to a separate area to enjoy fresh rations, canned drinks and read our letters. Even before the letters were given out, many of us were already tearing. Thankful that we were given rest, despite being exposed to the hot sun I guess. Unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy myself that much because I had heat rash (zzzzzzz). And of course we can’t forget the funny moments: OC Night, movement by night. I laughed so hard I nearly peed in my pants. We, too, got to laugh heartily that night.

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Really big thank you to those who contributed πŸ™‚ Especially Edina who has to do all the collating as usual.

There are several people who have been disillusioned, and many times I’m also angsty at the various things that have happened to my sectionmates because of the regimentation and rigidity of the organisation, but I guess everything is part and parcel of what I signed up for. While I may be angry, I guess the only thing we can do is to “suck thumb lor”, just like what my section commander told us. In every career I guess there will always be days like these, and we can’t fight negative vibes all the time.

I can’t think of any female friends who are going to understand this post of mine because all the terms are so technical. And I guess this is what makes my choice of career special and different πŸ™‚ Thank you to my heart for urging me to take this step forward and try the military despite everything that everyone has been telling me. I am thankful today. I can’t wait for POP, Korea during my block leave, as well as what’s going to be ahead of me. OCS (if I make it to command school) will be a completely different experience, and I really hope I’ll be able to keep up this optimism for the many years that may be ahead of me πŸ™‚

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and of course, thank you to my section for everything. I’m so so so so so so glad to have been put in Section 4.

Pseudo Block Leave

This weekend has been a rather packed one.

Book out was good, I went to Adventure Cove for the second time in my life with the SMS girls who were more than happy to spend their first pay. We caught up quite a bit, laughed over BMT jokes, sang army songs along the lazy river, laughed even more at large groups of guys we saw knowing that all of them are probably in the same organisation as we are- the SAF. Day by day I become increasingly thankful of the leap of faith I took few months ago when I submitted my scholarship application, I’m glad because of everyone I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. Where else would I find a group of girls with the same sense of purpose; girls who face the same questions over and over again “why you sign on ah?”; girls who are actually crazy enough to enter BMT and drag field packs and duffel bags up five levels.

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You find those hotties here. I honestly don’t think we look like regulars, especially with ALL of us here unwilling to let go of our hair. HAHAHA.

My book out is unfortunately slightly longer than everyone (book out Thursday night book in Thursday morning wow is this block leave), because I’m on compassionate leave. Grandma has been struggling for the past few years, having been in and out hospital rooms, operation rooms, emergency rooms. It’s sad knowing that I never really did grow up with her which explains the inability to converse in Hokkien, there were several times I went to the hospital to visit her but had to rely on my siblings to translate questions that she had for us. I’m always saddened by the fact that I didn’t put in effort to learn the Chinese language or dialects when I was younger because it’s much tougher to pick up now. Regardless, I’m glad that my Grandma’s in a happier place with less pain now, and that I managed to see her the night before she left us. My sister and I merely happened to drop by my cousin’s house, but we got the golden opportunity to speak to her and acknowledge her that night. I’m really thankful for that. Even though CNY gatherings may be more superficial now that she’s no longer around, and that we will no longer be able to celebrate “Ah Ma’s xxth birthday”, she lived a really long life (92!) which is great πŸ™‚ δΈ€θ·―ε₯½θ΅°.

And of course the highlight of this long weekend which was the main reason why we had such a long book out: A Level results. “I did really well” is a freaking understatement for me- this set of results was what I always dreamt of achieving, and I dared not believe it’s in my hands. During the period between June to November I worked my ass off, I woke up every morning remembering results day 2014 and seniors’ names on the slides, seniors crying because they were upset, and I was hell determined to do well. I met so many obstacles in J2 frankly, I was 13 percentile for Geography, I flunked Inorganic Chemistry (the Group II and VII nonsense test), I got 17/75 for my economics essays for Prelims, and 21/50 for my GP Paper 1. These are the true highlights man, I can remember them to this day. I met teachers, had one-to-one consultations telling them how afraid I was of taking the A levels, texted my friends so many times to tell them how bloody screwed I am for so many subjects. “I think I don’t even know how to write an essay.” They say I “clearly underperformed” that test but the truth is I thought that was the best I could do at the point of the Prelims. With shrinking balls and a smaller ego I worked on every subject day after day, I finished TYSes and redid them (my favourite buy is the $4 GP TYS from Carousell), I finished nearly all the papers in revision packages… I read all my Geography notes two or three times through which is freaking admirable because I don’t think I ever imagined myself to even finish reading one chapter, I redid ALL planning questions from every school that I could memorise by heart the titration steps WORD FOR WORD. I would study from 11 to 8 at Starbucks everyday before returning home for a freaking heavy dinner, and then finish a 3-hour Math paper before sleeping. The cycle repeats the next morning.

I’m glad that I had no life then, because the happiness and sense of achievement I attained from my results have been amazing. I’ll never be able to find the same determination I had during then, to keep me going even when Starbucks empties out as people finished their papers, even when people start to leave earlier in the evening. I’m thankful for everyone who had faith in me, for teachers who believed that I could do it despite my cool results at certain points. For teachers who were much more hardworking than we were, preparing slides and worksheets, planning interesting lessons just so that we would absorb better. Thank you to my dearest teachers πŸ˜₯ also, grateful to people who encouraged me to take on GCME, people who knew that taking Geography (for me) was playing to my strengths. I can’t imagine myself taking another subject combination (ie Physics) and despite the shitty introduction to Economics in Year 5 with even shittier results (3 marks for MCQ out of 10 or 20), I’m glad all turned out well with proper guidance.

The future ahead of me looks amazing, especially having taken this path much less traveled. I hope I’ll be able to qualify for the scholarship eventually, and while it may get difficult from here with field camp upcoming, I have faith in myself and my decision to join the force. I believe that everything will turn out well, and even if I suck at the very end, I will be really glad to have tried and completed BMT. It’s something that not any girl can boast about πŸ™‚

For people who didn’t do as well as they expected for As, it’ll be okay. I know I’m not in the best position to be making such comments, but I believe there’s a place for everyone in this world. And that place may not necessarily be determined by what we received yesterday πŸ™‚

Going out to sea to spread my Grandma’s ashes tomorrow morning, upon her request. In the future, I want my after life to be led in the sea too. πŸ™‚