I’ve never been to an Army Open House because I don’t have kids to bring them to, and my family would scream if I asked them “hey you wanna go to the Army Open House and see Army gear and stuff?” and they’d scream, “We wash your Army gear every time you come back from reservist”, and they’d scream, “if that’s your idea of a joke, it’s not funny”.
So I’ve never been to an Army Open House.
Until Saturday, that is. And I was pretty chuffed about seeing the latest in Army gear, and was even more chuffed to see a sign pointing to one of them:
Good thing I slowed down. Might have hurt some people:
The teeming crowds didn’t seem to be bothered though:
Apart from Army gear, it isn’t every day one gets to give a comic book to a defence minister:
And then spend a few hours telling people “yes” at the Open House who ask in Mandarin, “Is this book for sale?”, when they actually mean to be asking, “How come it’s not free?”
Still, it’s not every day one gets to autograph books for kids:
And then meet the author of one of the country’s most popular books – one that was made a movie:
Outside, my best friend was getting photographed as often as some of the exhibits:
Inside, I was explaining to the Chief of Army that “no, I’m not the clown in page 36-37 of the comic book“:
But seriously though, “In My Time” is a comic book written by me with a lot, a lot of help from various people from the publishing company, Marshall Cavendish, Mindef (who gave me all the photographs I said I wanted, although for some reason, the old Ali Baba bag couldn’t be found), and the indomitably cheerful illustrator Chua Jon Dep, who, despite being Malaysian and based in KL, managed to draw the cartoons I described to him over the phone and email over a period of two months.
And if you buy the book, you’ll see at the bottom left corner of every two pages, there’s a little marching soldier who, well, marches as you flip the pages. Yes, I know it’s called a flip book animation. That was the idea of the layout graphic artist, Lock Hong Liang, another long suffering fella who thought it was a great idea to put in the marching soldier in all the pages, then did so, then woke up one morning in a panic because he realised the pages weren’t finalised yet, and if we had swapped or omitted pages, his marching soldier animation would have gone to shits. So it was a good thing we didn’t.
The one thing that really wasn’t fun at all was the fact that Naomi was at home, her back having flared up in the last few days, and she wasn’t able to accompany me to my first ever book launch, and to see Army gear. Hmmm…