One day late but it’s ok.
Why am I writing about this? Because I personally feel that things are getting easier in a lot of things. But it is ok. It is their luck.
Previously my NS was 2 and a half years. Now it is 2 years.
Previously it was 5.5 days work week. Meaning I would only book out from camp on Saturday afternoons and book in on the next day, Sunday evening. Now it is 5 days work week, book out on Friday evenings and book in on Sunday. Sometimes I see people book out on Friday afternoons. That is 2 nights of sleeping in your own bed compared to one. You have no idea how short our weekend was.
And what about Standard Obstacle Course (SOC)?
It is because of this SOC, I had to stay back in camp a number of times when all others get to go home.
Back then, it was a REQUIREMENT to pass SOC. In BMT, if you don’t pass SOC, you will redo your BMT all over again. Redo and redo until you pass your SOC. During the weekend, if you have yet to pass, you will stay back in camp to do remedial training or to do your SOC while your mates book out. If you still don’t pass, you will stay back again next weekend.
Same goes for SISPEC. You don’t pass, you stay back. Weekend after weekend.
When we got posted to our unit, same thing again. You don’t pass, you stay back.
Remember how short our weekends were? Imagine how much heart ache it was when you see your mates leaving camp and you had to stay back. Book out either Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings and booking in again on Sunday evenings.
So why was it so hard to pass?
Because not everyone is ready fit lah. Need to train until can pass. I honestly cannot remember the timing to pass. If I’m not wrong, it was 10minutes 30 seconds during BMT. 10 minutes 15 seconds during SISPEC. 9 minutes 45 seconds in Guards.
So as I struggled to clock 10min30s in BMT and finally passed, I had to train harder to bring it down to 10min 15s and then 9min 45s in Guards. You have no idea how many of my weekends were burnt because of this stupid SOC. I would really have to train hard and pass like just by 2 to 3 seconds.
Back then we had to run 700 metres
Clear these obstacles in order
Zig Zag bridge
Run 600 metres to finishing line
This is the old one : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYxKqiSePyM
(Somehow, the obstacles in the old Pasir Laba Camp was lower compared to other camps. So when I was in SISPEC, those who really cannot pass would have their last chance to pass at Pasir Laba because it was “easier”. That was the time I managed to pass.)
So difficult meh?
I remember my first few times trying out the SOC, I had problems with the zig-zag bridge and the jacob’s ladder. A lot of people have problems on it. I remember this clearly, my girlfriend talked to me, “why got problem?” I said, “it’s hard to balance, and quite scary if you happen to fall”
She continued, “just run up and just walk. What’s the worse thing if you fall? You will break or fracture your leg. It’s not like you would die. If you break your leg, you will be downgraded and you might just not have to go through all these again.”
So cool. I tried and I didn’t have any problems after that. I kinda hoped I would fall and downgrade but somehow it didn’t happen. I saw a number of people falling and downgraded though.
Yes it was difficult to me. To many others. I stayed back in camp with many. I saw people redoing their BMT and SISPEC because of it.
And then suddenly some 10 years ago……… they changed the SOC. There are more obstacles now. BUT…… you don’t have to run the 700 metres before and 600 metres after.
Best thing is….. you don’t have to pass it. You just need to ATTEMPT on doing it.
So we stayed back and burnt our weekends for what?
Next Week : Back to Wallaby
Categories : The Army Series
One reason why I decide to blog about my army days is because it reminds me of the things that I am blessed with. Every time I feel down, I think back about the army and it reminded me. No days can be worse than the army days. So if I can survive being in the army for 17 years, I can survive anything.
Today’s post is about food. Why am I reminded about food? Because I have been on a tight budget since covid hits. I thought that everything will be ok when it gets better but 2022 didn’t do any better with my finances. So I have been budgeting with my expenditure and one of those affected is food. I miss eating good healthy food. In Singapore, healthy foods are expensive. Halal foods are tasty but most of the time unhealthy. There really should be more halal foodstalls that sells those economy rice mix thing that I always see in Chinese stalls. But nope. None. The closest is the very expensive nasi padang which isnt actually nasi padang. And they’re always oily.
I looked back at the photos of army cookhouse food. Now at this age, how I didn’t count my blessings then. Oh how I would love to eat the cookhouse food everyday again. They are nutritious and healthy.
So here is a tribute to the army food.
Before I entered the army, I heard stories of how army foods were terrible and cooked by army cooks. But by the time I was enlisted, the system has changed.
13th June 2000, I stepped on the shores of Pulau Tekong. The cookhouse was run by the Singapore Food Industries if I remember correctly. Being a young person who was choosy about everything, of course it didn’t taste nice. But now looking back, I can eat those food everyday. You can google the photos. I don’t have any.
Breakfast. There was always 2 choices. Local or Western.
Local would be mi siam or mi rebus or mi soto or pau or glutinous rice or something.
Western would be bread or croissant or eggs with peanut butter and jam. So so blessed.
Drink would be a choice of coffee or tea or milo.
Lunch and dinner.
Always rice with fish and red meat (beef / mutton) and chicken and vegetables and soup and dessert (fruits or ice cream) and free flow of syrup drink.
Sometimes on random days, we might get chicken chop or horfun or something. Most of us look forward to western.
Damn, I’m hungry now writing all these.
Singapore Food Industries (SFI) wasn’t the only caterer. I’ve been to many camps and I saw some places engaged NTUC Foodfare and SATS.
It is really very good. Really. Much better than nasi padangs. Definitely healthier.
But not all were tasty of course. Actually they are all edible. Except one place.
I’ve been despatched to these camps.
Pulau Tekong BMTC
Pulau Tekong SISPEC
Pasir Laba Camp
Amoy Quee Camp
Jurong ITI Camp
Here’s my take. Pulau Tekong BMTC has (or maybe had) the best food. Clementi Camp was the worst. My 9 days ot Clementi Camp, I ate my own snacks and food brought in from out of camp. They were terrible.
Web logs of art activities on a regular basis (hope).