So here it is. I am almost at the end of the road.
For those of you who have been reading my army series post, I thank you. I started blogging the army series back in 2020. The early days of covid and circuit breaker when I was pretty much jobless as a non-essential artist. It was a very difficult period of time. The blog was meant to be consistent. Like maybe one post a week. But low traffic, low readership added to the downward spiral of motivation especially with the bloody covid making life difficult. I still posted whenever I had the slight motivation to. Most of it was because I want to document these experiences before my memory fails and also hoping that it can be a source of reference with the ever changing army system and lifestyle. Honestly I still think that it just keeps getting easier over the years. If you don’t think so, then it’s your point of view. I have mine, you have yours. We don’t share the same bunk.
So it has been more than 3 years of this series. You have read. The first post on enlistment and now the post on ORD. 3 years is actually longer than NS itself which was 2 and half years then. Not like 2 years now.
So here we are. The road to ORD. Back to civilisation. Back to being a civilian. Back to life.
I think I have mentioned somewhere before that people usually clear their leave before they ORD. Not including weekends, clearing leave can actually stretch to about 2 months. But I am still very salty about this. My unit didn’t give us much opportunities to clear leave. On the day I ORD, I still had like around 14 days of leave and 10 days off, thereabouts, uncleared. Burnt. It’s not fair. I hate it. That’s one of the sucky thing about my NS life that I will never forget.
If you see the last post where we were in Australia, there is a time stamp at the photo that showed the date. 21st of November 2002 was the date we left Australia and was heading back to Singapore. My ORD date is 12th December 2002. That is less than a month away. 24 days of leave not including Sundays means that I could clear my leave starting the 12th of November. But no. I was still in Australia.
And then we reached home. And guess what? We had to take turns to clear or leave. At least 2 sergeants per platoon have to be in camp while the others clear their leave. Not to mention we still had to do Company duties and Guard duties. I managed to clear some days off and leave and yet I still had 14 days leave and 10 days off. Can you imagine how much time we spent for the army during that 2.5 years depriving us from our entitled leaves and off. I’m sure it won’t be the case now. I’m sure nowadays people will be kicking up a fuss. I really wish I could. But it’s all in the past now.
And then, guess what again…. We had an ORD parade! Wow, so fun. So good to be recognised. So good to be properly sent off. But but but….. a parade means, you have to go through rehearsals. Days and days of ORD parade rehearsals meaning even more days where we couldn’t clear our leave. I am sighing as I typed this. It was really a test of patience.
And guess what again and again? Because some of us were required to stay in camp while others took leave, some were tasked to do duties as mentioned above, some others actually have nothing to do. We just slacked in the bunk. Yes. In camp but nothing to do. So, we were attached to some places just so we will not slack. I remember I was attached to NCC camp at Amoy Quee for a few days just because I didn’t have anything to do. It was me and someone else. I thought it was Nurizam. But when he visited me at home when I was sick, he said it wasn’t him. So obviously I cannot remember much about the attachment. Most probably I was pissed off that I couldn’t clear my leave and went on auto pilot mode throughout that period.
Anyway, the ORD parade happened. I cannot remember when but it was a few days before the actual ORD date. The parade was in the evening and at the end of the parade, we left the bunk and camp for good. From that day, everyone could leave the camp and clear whatever leave there was left. No one was needed to come back to camp. No more duties. I remember I left happily. Finally leaving everything behind. I am back home.
13th June 2000. I enlisted. Pulau Tekong.
12th December 2002. Exactly 2.5 years. I walked back alone to Bedok Camp. It was in the afternoon. Maybe about 2pm. I head to HQ company. Looked for the staff in charge. Looked for my name in the list. Found my name, struck it off the list, and he handed me my pink IC. A simple card that I haven’t seen for 2 and a half years.
Placed my card in my wallet, walked out of Bedok camp in the afternoon east coast heat.
ORD oh!! No more NS! Thank you everyone for reading this series from the beginning. From the post on enlistment, to the post where I ORD. It has been a long 3 years. Just like how it was a long 2.5 years in NS. I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed reminiscing and documenting. Look through the table of contents to read them again or to check out posts that you might have missed.
One more time….. ORD OH!!!! No more NS!! Goodbye Cruel World!!!
Eh wait. What does ORD mean? It means, Operationally Ready Date. Meaning, before this date, we are technically still in training. Meaning, from this date onwards, we would be ready for any given operation in real life situations. Meaning…. we are still in the army? Of course! For 10 more cycles!! End of full time National Service, yes! But not the end of army life! Alamak! You mean there’s more????
Next Week : Post NS and Mobilisation
Categories : The Army Series
Web logs of art activities on a regular basis (hope).