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Valar Qringaomis

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Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Went to Great World City to get a new watch.

Categories of irritatingness of piped Christmas Carols (in order of most to least irritating):

Synthesized music, jazz style
Synthesized music
Modern interpretations, very funky
Atrocious choirs
Modern interpretations
Bad choirs
Children's choirs
Bing Cosby

One shop was playing a spoof of a Christmas song. Hurrah.

The Palm IIIc, the one I saw at Best Denki, is now $339 - $200 cheaper than when I bought it in January.
Mr Brown also commented on the Chief Justice's remarks:

"That a couple who abused their maid were scolded by the Chief Justice for being uncivilised and cruel.

'People don't use the cane now, except for cows and horses,' said Chief Justice Yong Pung How when he
dismissed their appeals.

That's right, we do not use the cane now, except for the deserving cows and horses sitting in our prisons."

Monday, December 24, 2001

I went to see Lord of the Rings today, and not a single handphone or pager sounded! I think this hasn't happenned for a loooong time. And there was quite a bit of consternation when the movie ended - I think they didn't know it was a trilogy.


Restored Post

More thoughts after a week:

There seems to be a quota of 1 malay and 1 indian per section.

My teacher-advisor for the Innovation Programme in Secondary 2, Ng Boon Kiat, advised me not to break a leg or arm to get downgraded as it would cause me problems later in life. It's not really worth it, but I understand how and why people would want to injure themselves. Though even in PES E you have to learn to use a rifle (and presumably all the drills).

Red Jacket was apparently weird in Maris Stella too. He wrote a book during English lessons, but never let anyone read it and got angry when people tried to snatch the manuscript.

Theory: Everybody brings a mobile phone because they think the public phones will be busy, so they are actually relatively free (borne out quite well).

Why does everyone use vulgarities? To relieve stress? To impress the severity of offences on recruits? Because everyone else does? So far, I've counted only 2-3 instructors who don't use them. And why does everything have to be shouted? It spoils the voice. Maybe prior shouting by recruits has blunted the hearing of instructors.

I think jerking your head for the "pandan ke-hadapan, pandan" (phonetics corrected by Fuzzirat) command spoils the neck.

Almost all the army songs are too low for me. Correction, all of them are too low for me. What oh what shall I do? Sing in falsetto? I don't think so. Maybe I'll be like some of the tone deaf people and just shout the songs (not those who sing out of tune). If you think about the words, you find some of them are actually used as tools of indoctrination - and it works. Some people sing, whistle or hum the songs when they're bored or free, probably because they tend to stick in your head like irritating advertising jingles. Many of the others are about sex, or have parts relating to sex, showing how desperate army boys are. Some are actually quite melancholy, and dare I say, sensitive. I wouldn't have expected it from army boys. There's one song with a stanza about the shiokness of canteen breaks, but we won't sing it because it's not applicable :)

I miss everyone.

I wonder how Slavery will change me. Will I become more rude and vulgar? Lose my inimitable sense of humour? Some parts are okay, even mildly enjoyable, but I resent being controlled and enslaved, and I want my life back. Now I see why so many people take PSC scholarships because they get to defer. The next 15 weeks are meant to transform me into a soldier. A killing machine? I can't really see myself as one. Hell, I wouldn't trust myself with a rifle.

The level of conformity required is disgusting. For example, when the bucket is placed on the left of the shioe cabinet, the bucket handle must face the bed.

My handkerchiefs smell of ammonia. I think this is because of the mixture of tears and sweat, but I'm not sure about the chemical reaction. The smell can't be washed out. I think I need a washing machine. But my brother in law says he had this problem too, and washing in a washing machine didn't wash the smell out.

More people who I've seen: Somchaya, Mark Yong, Zhongyong (I think).

The logic for punishing a platoon or section because of one person's transgressions is faulty or absent, kind of like in Ancient China when they killed off the transgressor's entire extended clan for certain offences.

A lot of the PTP people look very lanky and spindly.

For some reason, Jiaxiang my dear Company mate has changed to a set of nerdy glasses.

Day and night, we see planes flying off from Changi Airport. A little depressing, seeing people flying away while we're stuck in the Island of Doom :)

Why are all the commands in Malay? When I watched the Hongkong handover, it was gratifying because I could *understand* what the British Guard of Honour was being commanded to do. English should replace Malay as the language used for giving commands. Actually, it's used in some instances (like "Firers, strip rifle") already for some inexplicable reason. What happened to the conformity that the Army desires? Weird.

There are many punishments for doing things wrong, some of which involve being sent to the detention barracks. So they force us to serve, and then punish us when we do things wrong in the process of doing our service. Ah well.

The night snack is a waste of time. We are not hungry, we'd rather use the time to do personal things, and half the time we don't get the food component.

To convince us to buy insurance, this insurance guy told us about accidents in the army. Stuff that's not reported by the newspapers because they don't want parents to know how dangerous it actually is. Well anyway, statistically buying insurance results in an expected loss - it's because people tend to overestimate the likelihood of risk or accident and are risk averse, which is why they buy insurance.

There's one female company - Raven. If they're so eager to serve, they should exchange places with males who are very unwilling to serve. I'm sure they'll find that there's a willing market for exchanging indenture. On their run, they were accompanied from a LOT of sergeants, probably to protect them from all the desperate NS boys. It's quite unfair, they don't need to shave their heads. Or even cut their hair short - many of them had hair long enough to be tied up!

BMT food is much better than the rubbish they gave us at OBS. And you get a sweetened drink every meal too. (See? More good stuff about the army!)

The unidentified particles I see floating around in the water in my mess mug during water parades is unnerving, and I have no way of removing them.

The buildings are only 2 years old, yet there are cracks, the roof is leaking, toilets and washing machines don't work etc. Maybe they got cheated.

I don't need to shave. Aha. More time to sleep or slack.

The vice-president of the SAJC Student's Council is in my section.

A flat footed guy in my platoon got downgraded to PES C. But he still has to stay in camp until he is posted - quite dumb, really. I don't suppose semi-flat footed people like myself get anything.

I was classified as a non-swimmer at first, but I passed the retest, risking 40 pushups for failing. What I didn't know was that even passing carried a penalty of 20. After swimming categorisation, someone stole my shoes because I didn't mark mine, and my efforts to make them identifiable by tying the shoelaces together failed as the person presumably just took the shoes. So I got someone else's pair, and they had to be broken in (the support for my non-existent arch had to be flattened). The poor guy with my old pair of shoes will now run around for the rest of BMT (at least) without any support for his arches.

One person was very disgusting - after aqua jogging, he changed out of his trunks in the seating area of the stadium, exposing his private parts for all the world to see.

I am told that my English is very ang moh. My buddy keeps trying to do an American impression on me, with "yo yo" and all that rubbish. I told him if he wanted to do an impression, he'd better get it right :) My section mates speculate my vocabulary will deprove and my English degenerate in the next 15 weeks. What a worrying thought.

I met my old friend from Mr Seow, Xavier the SJI boy, on the bus from the ferry terminal. He's in Platoon 4, 2 flights above me. Aww.
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