Ok so here we go. First In-Camp training (ICT) or simply called, “reservists”. Contextually incorrect but Singapore got a lot of things like this. Incorrect use of words that are so commonly used that it has become normal and then becomes “correct”.
Sometimes people ask me, “reservist do what?” So this is a good post. It’s good for me to remember too.
I ORD on the 12th of December 2002. We didn’t have our first reservist call up for a number of years. I cannot remember already. I think it was maybe in 2004 or 2005. It was just for 5 days.
So basically you will have to go for 10 cycles of reservist duties. 1 cycle is a maximum of 40 days. So these 40 days can be spread out within one work year. If you are lucky, you can have just 3 days in one work year and one cycle is done.
5 days and below will be considered “Low Key”.
6 days to 40 days will be a “High Key.
You will need to do at least 7 “High Key”s and 3 “Low Keys” to complete your NS requirement.
So our first reservist was only 5 days thus it was a “Low Key” ICT. It was at this camp called Tanjong Gul Camp somewhere in Tuas.
The travelling there was a dread. Public transport will all your equipment; field pack, duffel bag, SBO, helmet from Boon Lay interchange to Tanjong Gul. I have never been there on my own and we didn’t have smartphones then. So it was the good old streetdirectory and bus guide book. Anyway, once we reached Boon Lay, we would see familiar faces, so just follow the crowd. Oh yes, I remember the dread. 2 years of freedom and it is NS all over again.
We checked into this old camp. I have been pampered with new camp complexes during my full time NS days so this one was quite, uurrgh.. but ok la. Cannot be choosy. As long can sleep comfortably, I am good. The toilets were old and of course no faucets. Just like in many parts of Singapore. So it’s like that. Shit in a cubicle, wash at the shower.Can never feel clean with just toilet paper.
So what did we do during these 5 days? Well, back to NS days. The exact same thing. So if you think ORD means you’re done with NS, you’re wrong. Reservist means, you will go back to doing the same thing. Only worse, you’re less fit. We wake up to normal 5BX, run around the camp before going for breakfast. Same old NS cookhouse and food. Basically everything is the same again. For these 5 days, we went through refreshers and revisions of our army stuff. Our weapons, technical handling and section level firefight drills. The objective is to be ready for ATEC 1 on the 5th ICT and ATEC 2 on the 7th. The only difference this time is, we had trainers. The camp is called Infantry Training Institute (ITI). They have trainers who are full time SAF soldiers posted there to be trainers to these reservist old men. I don’t mind them refreshing us on the things that we might forget like technical handling and theories. But for them to emphasise on firefight SOP when we had our own style, I think is a bit weird. We had our tested and proven ways of doing things while they stick to textbooks. Well, it’s Singapore and they are trainers, I understand that they have to have a standard for them to mark their markings and KPI. But I just find it awkward, especially when most of them were very arrogant and condescending. One day, we were definitely going to burst. I know my unit. We were stubborn and fierce soldiers. I just knew one day we were going to burst out at these trainers. But it was the first ICT so, we gave chance. Heh.
The 5 days felt very long. I just wanted to get it over and done with fast. I didn’t enjoy the rude treatment by the trainers and definitely the morning reveille.
Friday finally came and we said our goodbyes. Everyone was happy. I kept hearing this, “See you next year!”. I still couldn’t accept the fact that NS wasn’t over yet but ok lah, at least 1 reservist down and 9 to go.
Next Week : ICT 2 and 3
Categories : The Army Series
Web logs of art activities on a regular basis (hope).