Sunday, June 22, 2008

How did NS change you?

It was my first book out two days ago, and already I'm preparing to return to camp later this evening. I thought I was suitably adjusted to military life after a week, and wondered whether in typical Singaporean kiasu fashion they just wanted to keep us in a whole other week just to be sure. Turns out I learnt much more during the second week, and gears started running even smoother.

This is of course talking about life in the military, barring all the lessons (close combat training, rifle stripping/cleaning, etc.). Those are things you learn to become an operational soldier, and should be distinguished from everyday life and military culture.

And so with an intensive two weeks dipped in army life, one is bound to have lost some of your civilian habits and picked some up from the army. The most obvious ones are biological and physical changes, especially sleeping and waking up early. Also, I seem to be sweating at the slightest instance of heat or stillness in the air. Which doesn't actually bother me, but it seems to disturb everyone around me. I hope it's not the smell, I don't think I sweat that much, but I seem to have perpetual water blobs crowning my head, and I seem to radiate heat like a recently shut-off engine or something.

And then there are also habits that you find are good and hope to take back with you, but you don't. One of mine for example is the water parade. Water parades alone can make up half or more of a day's total intake of water. One would think that it would inculcate an awareness of adequate hydration, with or without physical activities, and make you drink more water, but no leh! I keep forgetting to drink water, and then the next moment I notice the color of my pee and I freak out and gulp down two cups of water.

One habit I hope not to bring back is swearing. I don't think much explanation is needed when I say swearing in the army is more for humor and laughter than for anger. You just keep throwing things out everyday, every minute, and that makes you so apprehensive to open your mouth when you're at home, just in case you slip and go "G'd mornin', fuckface."

A habit I hope not to lose is what you're reading now - decent command and execution of the English language. I probably can count the number of people on one hand that I speak to with my atas English in the Army, the other 96.3% I speak to in Singlish, crude Hokkien crude Malay crude Cantonese Mandarin Yugoslavian Croatian... and so I'll want to keep it because I'll need it more than ever when I ORD and go into the workforce.

Now, what did you learn and/or lose while in NS?


Aaron said...


I learnt not to overwork myself, how to blend in the crowd, and that in NS most of the time its not worth it to work so hard.

And yes, that's after i broke down a few times...

There's so much i learnt from NS. It truly is a good wake up call for me. The world is not as nice a place as i thought.


Ethan said...

I learnt about Politics and F**Kers exist in this world. DO protect your own ass @ all times. Not worth it to work so hard.

I had depression towards and after my ORD. The lowest point of time in my life because I did not get my license. I had 6200km when they needed 7000km to get the license. Because some bastard played punk n deny me of my details.

So... work hard for urself, not for the army. Have a positive outlook. Want chao geng... chao geng all the way.

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arzhou said...

Seems like I had a much better NS experience then most, probably because my direct superior (OC) was a really good mentor then.

Anyway wait till ORD before reflecting on NS :) Right now just try to take things positively and remember to take care of your body, do not be too garang and get injured. That was a really good advice given by a BMT officer before I went to OCS. After all army is just 2 years (2.5 for me then), your body is for life

Farinelli said...

thanks for all the comments. As adrian said, the army does stress a bitchload on taking care of yourself. And i guess i'm more interested in doing my appointment(s) with zeal than dash to be first to fall in. I see no point in winning the race if you don't win the battle eh?

Apart from that, i'm just glad i have such raucous sectionmates :)

Serberuz Hammerfrost said...

Closed combat training eh? My boy can kick some ass now huh! Hahahaha!! :D Gd for you mate! ;)