Monthly Archives: August 2017

COC

I have taken my baby steps for the many many hurdles ahead, and despite an awareness that today’s assessment was an underperformance I truly cannot be happier. In all honesty today’s assessment could have been done a lot better — if I took a step back to observe myself conducting my assessment, I would have realised that I lacked a lot in my technical steps, my reporting procedures and prioritisation. I forgot, once again, to establish boundary cooling as soon as possible until I was prompted. I forgot, once again, to remember the positions of all my manpower allocation. And many other things, many other mistakes that should not have been made by this stage. I was however given an opportunity to proceed, despite knowing myself that my performance for the assessment was sub-par.

But today more than anything I am thankful for the support that was rendered to me. At the start of this VA I set goals for myself and priorities — I thought to myself what was important (to myself) to deem myself fit for the awarding of the COC. Competence, confidence, and rapport. Competence and confidence could slowly be built up during the course of the YO journey as you learn more from experience and cope with new situations each day, but I thought rapport was something I could not neglect in my journey of COC attainment as well. It became increasingly apparent as I witnessed fellow peers struggling because of this very fact attributing to the lack of support from others. Today re-affirmed the importance of rapport for me. It was a non-duty day, and I struggled to obtain manpower for my fire drill because there was honestly no obligation to do a favour for me. Nonetheless most of the crew positively showed their support for me, and this was when I realised I showed at least slight success in achieving the third. Today I also found out who were the people I could depend on when I require any form of assistance on ship, and I am especially thankful to those who set aside prior schedules and postponed their commitments just to provide me support when I was lacking manpower (“ok la, I support you” / “See you tmr” when they were originally not intending to come).

I still have a lot to improve on. And in my message to my CO, I promise to stay humble and to continue working hard to become better.

Edit:

I will remember the moments I sat on board 84’s bridge crying endlessly because I felt so much like a failure. It hit me harder when my then-CO told me that I was nearly there, and then I would only need another VA. Another year?! It triggered my water works immediately. I imagined myself having to start at ground zero once again, re-learn everything like a rookie and once again regain my standing among the crew. I felt so terrible because I stuck out like a sore thumb among everyone else in my batch who had no problems obtaining their COC by that point in time; I felt so, so, so useless when I came to the wharf for the first time again this year. I felt “overdue”, and I also had to face crude comments in my face such as “you’re from the 74th? Even batches should have no problem getting their COC.” I was discouraged again and again when I failed assessment after assessment, and received so, so many debrief pointers from my fire drill training opportunities repeatedly. It was made worse by the knowledge and awareness by myself that I am now on the wharf for the second time, and I had little excuse to continue being mediocre. I started wondering whether I had to come back again for the third time to continue my fight for the COC, and it only made me feel worse knowing that no one takes this many tries. It may be bad luck for rare individuals, but for many (and to me) it signified a lack of aptitude or attitude, or maybe both. “Am I that lousy?” was something that continually occurred to me as I saw myself drifting further away from my goal whenever I failed an assessment, especially as it started tapering to the end of my attachment.

My stress was illogical to many, and I knew that having the label of a “scholar” proved nothing as it only reflected that I must do better than anyone else. I had no one to rant to because it seemed like a “first-world problem” (an appropriate analogy) that would not be well-received by others, and I found myself heavily drowning in my negative thoughts especially in countless debriefs with officers telling me that “time was not the issue, most importantly you must be ready”. I felt beaten by those comments as I felt that these were targeted at me, and was afraid that there was no intention to train me up because I was due to leave in a short while. In my inability to share my “elitist concerns” I ended up writing reflections on my leopard book nearly every fortnightly, and I can only say that looking back they were words riddled with desperation, stress and worry. Right now I am more relieved than anything for having obtained the paper certification, but the true burden of responsibility and stress will now weigh down heavily on me especially as the squadron implements their changes to become better. In my limited time left on board I hope I will put what I have learnt and trained up for all this while to good use, and with this knowledge I seek to have very very safe watches after I close up as a OOD/DPO for real.

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In dedication to you

I am not coping very well right now, but I definitely am coping much better than our previous few departures. I will not be seeing you for 6 weeks as you are on deployment, and after these 6 weeks, I will see you for 1 day and 1 night before I am off to London again. I don’t think LDR gets any easier. I struggled to fight my tears when I waved my final goodbye to you earlier, but recalling our times spent together this summer triggered me so badly and sent me straight into the toilet in tears. Why are we always subject to this? I hate LDR so much.

I had a lot of highlights with you this summer. Off the top of my head I will miss these the most:

  1. Seeing you at the airport after arrival, hearing your high-pitched voice again and wondering when your voice was this high because I never got a true sensing over Skype (I have actually forgotten how you sounded in real life after 6 long months). You were holding a bunch of flowers and a cup of Starbucks which was heavily diluted, and you mentioned that you had been waiting for me for a few hours already. We got lost in the carpark… because you forgot which floor you parked at. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were reunited, and here we are separated again 😦
  2. Bringing you around my neighbourhood (namely Clementi Mall), with our bubble tea hunts — Large ice-cream milk tea orders from Koi and large royal milk guan yin orders from LiHo. Large llao llao cup with white chocolate toppings, strawberries and bananas. Who is going to share these things with me to reduce my guilt now? 😦 Thank you for always hanging around Jurong and Clementi simply because it would be easier to send me home from these places 😦
  3. Seeing your car drive into my car park on several occasions and running excitedly straight into the middle of the road to enter. And seeing my small Tsums arranged nicely at the top of your dashboard, remembering that this is my boyfriend and this is how I mark my territory :’)
  4. Meeting past 8pm, 9pm or even 10pm for dinner because it was always time-consuming for us to meet each other given that we were separated between Tuas and Changi, at the extreme ends of the island. Pretending to get angry as I was kept waiting even though I was always touched that you would pick me up/have dinner with me/send me home subsequently despite reaching home much later than I would. Just to honour your word on multiple occasions, and to maximise the limited time we had left together.
  5. You ferrying me out from Tuas to go out after a duty Friday, ferrying me to the hospital when I felt unwell (and waiting for me and even buying something prior to meeting me just so I would have a plastic bag to vomit into), ferrying me out of base for dinner when my fire drill debrief ended late. You often came all the way from Changi or home (which might even be worse), and that meant I took up a lot of your petrol consumption and time all this while. Thanks so much for the sacrifices πŸ˜₯
  6. All the food dates we had together — Sembawang 白米粉 when I first arrived, Imperial Treasure at Orchard when I was grossly underdressed while you were in No.4, Sushi Bar, another Imperial Treasure at Sentosa, Ramen King, Swee Choon when you were too in No.4, On The Table, The Book Cafe, Wings Zone when I desperately wanted to eat fried chicken after my recovery from stomach flu, Poulet, Thai Express, ζ΅·εΊ•ζž, Na Khon, Prive Cafe, 2am dessert bar, Chomp Chomp, random Hokkien Mee stalls (it was GREAT) and Curry Rice (this was nice too!!!) in Bukit Merah/Tiong Bahru just because I was craving after my recovery, IKEA, the multiple late night bingsu hunts in Tanjong Pagar and Orchard.
  7. All the family days we spent together: Korean food with my siblings for the treat you agreed upon last year, Ban Heng when we met officially for the first time, Prima, Jumbo, and the couple of times you came over because my mom was cooking. I met your family for Din Tai Fung, too.
  8. Ice-skating in Kallang, running around the playgrounds in West Coast Park with kids, Adventure Cove, enough said πŸ˜₯ Mostly I miss how we got lazy queuing for rides, lied on the beach chairs facing the wave pool and just ~slept~ side by side holding hands for a few hours in the sun because we were so tired from the early morning.

We had very very limited time together because of both our busy schedules, but we made the best of the nights we had together. We barely shared any weekends because my weekends were continually eaten up, and it was only until recently we got to share weekend afternoons together. Unfortunately it is time for you to go and in my position I should be the most understanding of all girlfriends. I will miss you very very much, and I know it will only get more difficult from here when I finally have a free weekend but you are no longer around to spend it with me. I will try to stop being lame at this LDR business, stop crying like a baby and earnestly yearn for the day we can spend time together again.

I will keep all these memories safe in my heart. I wish you very safe watches, very very pleasant sea states because you suck at ship rollings, and to stay safe on all your shore leaves. I will see you very soon.