Month: January 2004

Singapore men are the new women

So says my platoon mate Dilbert Chua, 433rd Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment Bravo Tactical Team Seven Section One Second Light Anti-Tank Weapon Gunner and journalist. He makes that sweeping statement while we clean our new SAR21 rifle after a day at the firing range, and after receiving a phone call from his girlfriend, who has obviously exasperated him somewhat. We’re sitting at the foot of our beds while we meticulously rub carbon off the gas regulator and the other small parts of the unfamiliar weapon with pieces of flannel held with tweezers. Takes a lot longer than the old M16, we complain. Singapore men are submissive, can follow orders and are easily trained. Dilbert’s girlfriend apparently hasn’t been sensitive to the fact that he is in camp for all of six days sacrificing his precious time for the security of the nation. She has asked him to help her assemble her new IKEA cupboard on Saturday, the day we get out-processed, without as much as an iota of consideration for his tiredness and need for …

Welcome to Buangkok, a million miles from care. In fact, a million miles from anywhere

Today, I managed to see other people apart from my family, by visiting my platoon mate’s new flat in a new housing estate called Buangkok. I went only because I was curious to see what Buangkok looked like. It is very far. You can see Johor from the upper floors. It was a very nicely done up flat though, complete with government issued bomb shelter. A bomb shelter on the 16th floor sounds ludicrous, and everyone I spoke to didn’t have any explanation as to how people would survive trapped in a bomb shelter on the 16th floor when the rest of the building is hit by a bomb. Being Singaporeans, most people preferred not to question the government’s apparently unexplainable wisdom, and continued using their bomb shelters as spare store rooms. Tweet

Symptoms of fire

Symptoms of fire Last week during ICT, we were treated to the usual round of lectures, done by instructors in an army of the 21st century – powerpoint slides, flash animations, the works. Lectures usually precede practical field training, and despite our sniggering, they usually help in our understanding of what we’re supposed to do in the field. Except for our fire evacuation drill. The first slide was of five points, and titled ‘the five symptoms of fire’. My mates and I spent the next twenty minutes giggling, and could only remember three ‘symptoms’: heat, bright light and smoke. ‘Symptoms of fire’ became our catchphrase for the week. Tweet