Category Archives: Else

End of VA2 

It’s the last day of two long and stressful months. I have felt a lot through these two months, felt desperation, helplessness and unfairness at many points, and most notably, felt bitter and unhappy.

I remember encouraging my juniors (when I met them) to strive and achieve their COC as much as possible, and I truly meant those words when I stood in a position without so. I would not have the opportunity to even make a choice between summer school and UGPMET back in Singapore, I would have to go back to the  same squadron with an equally taxing routine, or even worse when I’m supposed to be “enjoying” my summer holidays. In my current position and extra experiences from these two additional months, I can see on hindsight why I did not succeed in my previous assessments. It truly takes a lot of moral courage to vocalise that you are not ready because that means you are way behind your peers, but I can say with certainty now that I would not trust that unconfident individual one year ago. One year on and I am far from being perfect. But I am much better and I definitely will be way more confident when dealing with unexpected scenarios in harbour.

I also had a brand new crew this year, much to my surprise when I did not get posted back to the same ship because of their constraints from an exercise. I was initially apprehensive, at the same time  happy, because I was worried that I would be identified as HT’s girlfriend when I’m on board instead of my identity as a YO in the process of learning. I regretted that decision along the way because it was once again a struggle to establish rapport with the crew as well as gain support in your endeavours when they knew nothing about your competency. It eventually paid off, but I cannot deny at many times I regretted not expressing a preference to return to the same ship. It seemed much much easier, and it would also have been easier to return to the same page where I can continue learning instead of restart learning.

This year I couldn’t wait to get out of VA because I was extremely stressed and it was really taking a toll on my mental health with all the tears shed after demoralising debriefs. I thought about the possibility that I may have to restart this journey all over again, and I felt so so so beaten every single time. I am extremely thankful that all this is over, and I am happy to leave on a good note with my last day at FF Training at Mandai. I learnt much much more about fighting fire in a more realistic setting (which was my very weakness since last year), and where I managed to have great conversations with the crew over my farewell lunch. I definitely feel attached to everyone especially after seeing them day in day out for 2.5 months despite the rough start, and am thankful that I had a unique experience despite having stayed put in the same squadron.


In everything, there is a lesson. And I am thankful for the many lessons learnt this year.

Advertisements

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.

Volunteer chauffeur 

He made me take this picture exclaiming that he has been waiting 6 months for me to take his car. LOL. I love this shot — in my hand is a charizard pikachu I delivered to his home for Valentine’s Day, and on his car dashboard is a row of 8 Tsums (brought home from London) that I forced him to put up. I also happen to have unusually slim looking legs in this photo unlike the usual elephant trunks that I go around in.


Loving the late night Bowling sessions, dessert sessions (bingsu!) and exploring… NUS UTown (?) in the dead of the night. All condensed in one day. Thanks for being all that you are for all that I am.

It’s been a long time since an update because I am lazy and I have tons of excuses for myself, for example sending my MacBook off to the new Apple flagship store in Orchard. I would also take this chance to express how thankful I am to be safe and unaffected by all the terrorists incidents in London so far, as well as not having been subjected to the horrific weekend delay by British Airways having lucked out by just one day. I will update more soon (a note for myself).

Nice weather

Because it’s really not a joke that British people start off conversations talking about the weather and the cold and the cloudiness… LOL. I have lots to complain about how it’s supposed to be double digits and how I miss texting on the streets.


But I walk out at 9am, I get blinded by the sun and see clear blue skies. It makes 4 degrees absolutely fine! I don’t pride myself on being a morning person but it’s a hella beautiful morning today.

It can only be a better day. The homesickness (and lovesickness lolol) have gotten to me very much especially as of late but to be honest, schooling in London has never been better.

Another year down

I am spending Christmas in London for the first time, streets are lit up with Christmas lights, shops are playing modern Christmas songs, post offices have long lines of people sending parcels and so many people (like me) are going Christmas shopping.

But I remember this familiar feeling — I listen to 听海 and I remember my brother’s off-tune voice next to me when we were at KTV this summer.

And I just want to be home. 😦

A week into your absence 

The Snorlax you gave me has stopped smelling of you. 😦


I want to keep reminding myself how blessed I am to have had this trip with you, and how lucky I am to grow independently by myself, yet together with you.

Tonight was hard and there will be harder days, but please let all be worth it.

Little joys

Yesterday I woke up at 10.30am, went to dye my hair red, went out with my Uncle and took a photo with a cute plushie.

Today I woke up at 10am to head out for my wisdom tooth extraction (all 4), teared quite a bit on the dental chair because the dentist accidentally scratched a part that wasn’t covered by anaesthesia. I went home, mulled around till 4pm for the numbness (at least 8 jabs of anaesthesia I swear) to wear off. 

After cooping myself up at home the whole morning I went to catch Pokemon with my sister at the VivoCity hotspot in a surgical mask. And managed to squeeze in some time to meet you too. We had Mr Bean and Koi while chasing Magikarps and it sounds simple and retarded but I’ll always remember today.

I dropped a lot less hair tonight and cried less today. I am definitely making progress, I am much better and I envision a day 10 years later into the future when I can be like this too – when I can set my phone to airplane mode and not get worried about being recalled. And not get all stressed up about my competency or the lack thereof.

I will miss you a lot, 10 days left.