All posts tagged: National Service

Water displacement formula, 40th attempt

Back when I was in full time NS, the cleaning of weapons was a mundane, time-consuming, daily chore. Between the 7 troopers in a combat section, we’d have around seven small arms (M16S1), couple of grenade launchers (M203), couple of light automatics (Ultimax100), two GPMGs, and a heavy machine gun (Browning .5 HMG). Carbon residue would get stuck in the crevices and barrels of the weapons, which is the real reason why we were really really reluctant to fire our weapons during training. Of course, this was marketed as ‘ammunition conservation discipline’. Every day when we were in camp, we’d be cleaning our weapons. When we were in the field, we’d clean our weapons. Nothing to do? Clean weapons. If there were to be a war, it’d have to have been put on hold because we were cleaning our weapons. One of the hardest, and somehow most satisfying part of cleaning a weapon was the barrel pull through. This entailed putting a folded piece of flannelette (variously mispronounced as flannel-lite, fannelite and fantalite) in the …

When once the flag flew me

Once, during NS, me and two other guys were made the battalion’s flag raising party for one of many early morning parades. This task entailed picking up the flags from the Regimental Sergeant Major’s office, checking the cords to make sure nothing was frayed, and rehearsing our marching to the flag poles at the top of the parade square, and then doing it for real during the actual parade, complete with raising the national flag and the Army flag. We were told several times to check and make sure that the loops for the flags were attached properly before raising the flag during the national anthem, and told in no uncertain terms, on pain of pain, that we should never, ever, raise the flag upside down. To our horror, as the anthem played, the white portion of the national flag appeared to creep up the pole as we hoped against hope that the flag was merely impossibly crumpled and would unfurl itself soon enough. It didn’t, and it was the longest Majulah Singapura I had …