Author Archives: nghuiping

About nghuiping

I like to eat, sleep and play. I think happiness is the key to life :) River Valley NCC (G) Delta '12 River Valley 4G '12

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.

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.

Get well soon please

This is about the longest any illness has lasted in me, other than the rare loss of sense of smell and all the terrible things that accompany it. I feel nauseous when standing up or sitting down. It actually escalates into puking episodes, because my body fails to digest anything that goes in (which explained how all of my anniversary dinner came out at 4am). It feels so terrible to vomit, I hate vomiting, why have I been doing so much vomiting in the recent weeks?

Then there’s the prolonged fever that cannot seem to screw off. There’s also the recent onset of a migraine (throbbing only on one side of my head oh god), sore throat and earache that are bothering me when all I am trying to do is recover quickly. It was really a tragedy that my anniversary was spent at home keeping my puke in, sweating profusely on HT’s shoulder because my body was confused by all the medicine.

I have been sleeping 15 hours out of 24 hours in a day just to reduce the time I’m awake, just so that I do not feel any of the symptoms. Or maybe I’m truly making up for the lack of sleep all this while, as I burnt weekend after weekend. But honestly I am left with 4 weeks of VA and I do not really have anymore time for this. Please let me go back to ship soon.

Edit: I have totally forgotten that I talked about intense period cramps the last post. Turns out that they were real abdominal stomach cramps from stomach flu, and not period cramps. I can’t differentiate them. 😦

First year anniversary

My body has been thrown off-rhythm with all sorts of eventful happenings this week — my period this month with exceptionally bad cramps, my fever that keeps coming on and going off, and (suspected) food poisoning last night. I have yet to fully recover even though my MC has run its duration but I have reached a point whereby it is highly inappropriate to extend my medical leave given my (already long) 3-day absence from ship.

It was unfortunate that yesterday happened to be our first year anniversary, which should have been a good night at the end of it. He ended late, we met late, but he ended up sending me home really early (like 1-2 hours after dinner) because I felt so so queasy, with very intense period cramps. I tried to vomit at 12am but decided not to because it would make me feel really shitty; I ended up waking up at 4am with the queasy feeling, and a stronger urge to vomit. I hate vomiting and I don’t usually vomit (I try to sleep queasiness away), but in the past few weeks I have been vomiting so much from seasickness and (food poisoning?) that I am inclined to believe that my body has been subjected to a lot of stress all this while.

As I sit on my chair now I am hoping and hoping that the sea state today will be much better. My body has had enough and as strong as I may be going through the hectic ship routine with dozens of weekend sailings, I don’t think I can tolerate it for very much longer.

1 full weekend out of 10

If there’s a perfect description for the word demoralising it has to be this.

I’m very tired. I feel like an engine running low on fuel. The recent weekend sailing had in store plans to boost the crew’s morale, by planning a birthday celebration and “special makan” by the chef. It didn’t go too well, I puked it all out. Even with consumption of ginger pills (seasick pills). The sea state throughout the sailing was terrible. I will never forget the feeling leaning over the toilet bowl and puking my entire lunch and dinner out and imagining how I could be at RVNCC’s steamboat (which I had to miss even though I was in Singapore) or at my house’s dining table talking cock with my siblings. In my limited time left in Singapore I had to lose weekend by weekend, and it really hits me right in the heart.

I also remember that this same ship rolling may happen again next weekend. There are also 3 Sundays in August that are going to be burnt. I find it so so difficult to be positive because Sundays are so valuable to me. I also have less than 3 weeks left with HT. I am going to luck out eventually because I only have a few months left (or maybe weeks) in this squadron, but I can’t imagine having to stay positive losing every weekend when I’m back for good, and coping with sea state on top of that.

I hope things get better, because they have to. I am so desperate that I am already checking the sea state conditions for this weekend. It looks better, I hope it really will become better.

Freedom

Hi. It’s been a long time. Every time I blog I amaze myself at how quickly time passes, and as of today I have one full month left before HT leaves me for his long deployment.

It’s been about three weeks since I came on board and it certainly could be easier.

I think it’s easy to like your ship when it’s doing well. I was part of the work year that saw 82 getting best unit, and I saw for myself all the processes that made it possible. All the stringent checks on the crew, the tightened security measures and all the small safety checks that they conduct on the crew. I enjoyed my time on board too, I never understood why people hated their PV life so much. Why? The 82 ship crew was a great bunch of people. I enjoyed going to ship everyday because I laughed. I laughed a lot. People took care of me. They didn’t despise my gender for one — it’s really easy to come across as useless when you are unable to help to shift the gangway because it’s too heavy, and you probably wouldn’t contribute much other than highly possibly falling overboard. When you are unable to manage the running fenders properly because it’s bulky. When you are not strong enough to be a line handler on the deck. You can’t do seamanship for nuts. But the crew understood and were accepting about the weaknesses of my gender, and these weaknesses were hardly directed at me personally. Or even if they did, it was never blatant or disrespectful to me.

It’s then difficult to fall from the peak. So hard, in fact. I remember being so happy on my first few days or weeks on board 82 especially as I had less stress towards the attainment of my COC — these were great memories that I too detailed on my blog posts. A lack of a proper initiation on the very first day onboard a new ship this year showed the clear fleeting nature of my temporary presence. It’s honestly okay to me for this did not matter much to me, as I was bound to leave in a matter of a few months anyway. But there were some people I’ve known to be crew for more than half a year, who left without a sound. The ship really carries on without these people, without any regret. Where was the Navy family that they spoke about?

And of all times, something happened on the third day I was attached to this ship. From there, sailings were all cancelled. They were replaced with weekend duties after weekend duties, and there goes all my weekends. The crew had their Offs and SRs taken away as the ship continued to ready itself for operations. There were several knee jerk reactions that were put in place that put us through so much administrative trouble, there were so many initiatives that I deemed unnecessary but nevertheless had to go through with it because it seemed that ~we~ were the ones clearly at fault, and there were so many false hopes (“after this weekend it’ll be okay” “everything will go back to normal”) given to the crew again and again that remained false hopes because of the extra scrutiny put on us by the squadron staff and everyone else who deemed us unfit for operations.

Day to day I head to ship with a smile but the negative energy truly gets to me. I consider myself a relatively optimistic and cheerful person but I am too, affected by the dampened moods of everyone. I feel resentment for the crew and hopelessness from within. Everyone’s unhappy. Everyone’s desperate. In the past, I heard so much resentment about the sailing that was required from our squadron. Why does our squadron sail so much compared to the other squadrons? Why is there so much load taskings on such a lean duty crew in our squadron? Why do we work the hardest but yet receive little or no recognition from the rest of the RSN? Many people dreaded every single sailing so much, especially for those who may not see the purpose in what we are doing. But what all of us never knew was what and how it is like to be taken out of sailing. I draw parallels to being placed on the sidelines when all you want to do is to take part in the competition field after having been through tough physical trainings that you really hated and dreaded. Everyone on the ship right now is so desperate to be normal, to be on the same page as the rest of the squadron. We just want to sail. We just want to be seen as normal again, and we just want to be assigned patrols like any other ship in the squadron. We have been doing so much for this purpose but why have they been all reduced to naught?

I will remain thankful for this learning opportunity to cope with what I would consider a slump. I have been blessed last year to be assigned to an amazing ship with a great culture, but we cannot be lucky all the time. This year I will take this learning opportunity positively and keep the end goal in mind — to be competent enough and confidently get my COC.

Tomorrow

The start is always the most difficult (being posted to a new ship with no friends and no direction) and I will try to embrace it with optimism and positivity.

I will try to put away thoughts I have about being lazy on a hot weekday afternoon after lunch, and try to read much as much as I can. This may be the only time in my career that I have all the time dedicated to obtain as much ship knowledge as I can, before additional responsibilities pile on me which will be absolutely irrelevant to shipboard life. By then I no longer will have the excuses of being a YO, being a freshly commissioned officer new to the ship, or even being rusty given that I am back from a long year of studies. Now is truly the time to seek and learn.

I will stay humble and seek to learn and re-learn actively, and never be too quick to assume that the knowledge I have is the “correct” one. I will try my best to shut up and absorb, and try my best to minimise my insensitive remarks especially to superiors who have way more experience, knowledge, and rapport with the crew than I do, which is honestly everything I am seeking to achieve this VA.

Most importantly, I must prioritise my learning over everything else. I want to expand my mental map way beyond what I have already known — an additional VA on ship, while undesirable, only represents greater opportunities/chances than the rest to pick up new things. It will be tiring, I will be sleepy and I will be annoyed. But I must remember that some things have to be done, and this is one of them. I am only at the beginning.