Talking army again

At ten pm Friday night, E called and asked for tea as per usual. I drove to pick her up and we had a jolly good time at a different location this time. We went to the beach at East Coast Park and had beer and chicken wings, cooled by the sea breeze and I would like to have said, lulled by the waves, but the resident Mat Rok band at the pub put paid to that notion.

While we talked, a man around my age (can tell because he’s soft around the middle) walked up and called my name. I looked up and recognized him and we spoke a fair bit, exchanged numbers and promised to catch up. He was a company mate of mine in the Army and the last time we saw each other was when we ROD’d in June 1991.

At a little past midnight, the beers and noise were getting to us, so we decided to call it quits and head home, and while driving her home, E’s boyfriend calls to ask what we’re up to, and she tells him, and she suggests meeting him for more supper. He says he’s tired, and she hangs up. She had wanted to have Chee Cheong Fun with him at this place up north in Sembawang. The mention of Chee Cheong Fun makes me peckish, and I suggest we go there anyway, with or without him. As courtesy, she calls him to notify her intentions, and he grudgingly decides to come along. After all, his girlfriend can’t always have fun without him, right?

We get there, order food, he comes, we eat, and we’d have gone home, but he starts talking. Normally, he and I would have nothing to talk about. But here’s the Singaporean commonality, the glue that bonds all Singapore males. Nothing in common? Talk Army. Always works, always has. Tentera Singapura. Yang Pertama dan Utama.

We spoke of getting lost in Thailand, hiking hills in Taiwan, getting sand in our eyes in Australia and so on. We were about to go full circle and talk about getting lost in Thailand again when E very abruptly said “Go home, can?”

I am very thankful she did that. Else I’d be stuck in Army lingo land with her boyfriend, just like I get stuck in Army lingo land with just about every other Singaporean male who has had combat training in the Army.

At least, tonight, the Chee Cheong Fun was good, it was the melt in your mouth variety, and certainly a lot easier for E to swallow than our conversation.

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