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I hate cyclists

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Sunday, January 27, 2002

This fortnight's bookout post:

[NB: Because I am bored, I will listen to "The Messiah" while I pen this post]

Restored Post

Grr. The four and a half days of shit became almost twelve thanks to the wonders of a Confinement Week. For the previous week, to bookout, we needed to fulfill 2 of 3 criteria - lose 1 kg a week since enlistment, do a chinup or run the 2.4km run in less than 15:30. So much for our main purpose in coming to BMT being losing weight - we still won't be able to bookout. To make matters worse, the criteria for the next confinement week has gone up to 2 chinups and less than 15:15 for the run. Maybe that's why I see chocolate wrappers in the dustbin - people giving up hope? 1 down, 3 to go. Ironically, I didn't lose any weight from just before the confinement weekend to the day before booking out.

On booking in, the sergeant inspecting my fieldpack saw "The Economist" and proceeded to quiz me on the Law of Demand. And he cautioned that we must use "Quantity Demanded" and not "Demand" when stating the law. Mmm.

At the start of my most recent 2 week imprisonment, Geraldine said that the "pre-NS Gabriel is hiding". Such is the insidious hold that it has over people, so I've been fighting it. My section mate tells me that I've been lightening up these few weeks, and I know that I've been depressed less, so I think it's working. They may enslave my body, but they shall not have dominion over my mind, they shall not control me intellectually (ergo, the blog and the Economist [as opposed to FHM]), emotionally and mentally. Though it shall be hard in a place where you can get pumped for smiling (Yes, it's happened to me). Nevertheless, I shall fight the oppressive atmosphere. A platoon mate of mine, Khairuldin, told me to smile more, and threatened to force me to smile if I didn't :)

Presumably, the reason why people kept telling me I'd die in NS is my usual argumentative and contrary nature. To date, I've been quite successful in turning it off, though.

We were shaved again, so we're back to what we looked like after Enlistment. Ironically, many of the people shaving us have long hair, probably to mock us.

We've started on our regime of route marches. On the first one, the 3km one, I got blisters on both feet. Ouch. A more liberal sprinkling of powder and the wearing of an extra pair of socks has prevented more from coming, but I think my toes are now getting injured, as their state after today's 4km march shows. Due to the heavy weight of the fully-packed fieldpack, the webbing and the rifle, some of the veins on my foot popped out but they have now gone down. I hope they don't stay popped out permanently, as I do not wish to be physically deformed by my indenture. Being branded with 2 BCG scars is bad enough.

Apparently many people lose their faith while they are indentured. I don't intend to let that happen. In fact, so far it has become somewhat stronger. And I attended my first Bible Study session (though it was interrupted by our little activity at the cookhouse - more on that later).

We're given the Straits Times to read, but whether we have the time or not is another matter. At least it's useful for cleaning purposes. In one of the infrequent times I glanced at Life!, I saw that Cats was closing. Pity, the longest running musical closing. At least I saw it in March 2000 in London (with my 20 pound front-most row seat, gotten by flashing the International Student Card identifying me as Seah Shuri Gabriel).

I think I've said this before, but the different sergeants' standards for Stand By Bed is terribly infuriating, because we will have to rearrange our things after one inspection for the other sergeant's benefit. Stand By Bed should be scrapped - as long as the things are laid out neatly, it should be allowed.

One day, people in my section were very bored and started poking and wrestling with each other. I was trying to sleep with my head on the table, so I was largely left alone, except for one time when Ken tried to irritate me, whereupon I whacked him and promptly went back to sleep [or attempted sleep, anyway]. Royston is very susceptible to poking, and shrieks loudly and maniacally when people approach him menacingly or when he is poked. I suggested that he wear body armour, and I happenned to remember my own experiences with "armour", during the Nanyang days, when people liked to poke me.

The people leading the pre-exercise warmups are always very cunning - when it comes to the number of requisite jumping jacks, he will almost always start with a number lower than his target, and no matter how loud the recruits shout, he will raise the number.

Now I have seen 2 cats, one a kitten. But there are still many more dogs.

The dearth, nay, absence of shower curtains has interesting consequences. Some of my section mates say that I have a small butt, or rather that I like thin there.

The company rest room, at least ours, is very much for show. Firstly, we need to ask for permission to use it, even after the Last Parade. Secondly, we just have no time to avail ourselves of its, erm, facilities. Which brings me to the possible most important point - it's not very well furnished. The television has a blurry picture and is fixed at Channel 5. There are 2 (?) carrom boards (not that I play the game, but I'll just note it here) and 2-3 board games. And one sofa seat is spoilt (as I discovered when I plonked my butt there, only to fall into the hollow where the seat was supposed to be). A pool table is supposed to be on its way, but it's been on its way for about 9 months already, so.

Leaky buckets are evil. Many of us have leaky buckets. Or cracked ones.

Apparently, venereal, umm, secretions were found in another platoon's stoilet.

I tested the reception, on the Island of Doom, for the only 2 radio stations I might want to listen to - 88.9 and 92.4. Both were bad. Ah well.

We watched Monsters Inc during confinement Sunday. Nice show.

Activites expand to fill the available time, so I postulate. One day, we were drafted to rearrange the tables and chairs in the cookhouse. Then, it was "samura", and we had to rearrange them to the original order. Thus was an hour an a half wasted.

Even at this age, people are still childish. Now, I'm no paragon of maturity myself, but I have my limits. Many people still like to play the "touch someone and pretend it wasn't you" game, which is immensely annoying.

Vaguely related sentences strung into a paragraph:
Some people were given ice cream by the cookhouse staff on wednesday. We're all sick of Cream of Mushroom soup - we've had it at all our [pseudo-]western meals since we enlisted but one (when it was a welcome Cream of Asparagus). I think we're also sick of variations on chicken - the one time we had Fish and Chips, it was a most joyous occasion. The fries we had the past 2 times were not soggy - someone probably complained.

The SAF's ridiculous standard for situps caused my count to drop from a hearty 34 (or so) last year to a miserable 17. For the 2.4km run, I almost died but I got my fastest ever timing - 18:06, my first sub-20 timing.

The mosquitos on the Island are evil. They swarm around you and their poison is very strong.

We were walking in a line past a sergeant, and so many people greeted him that he said, "Don't greet".

People like to read FHM and Maxim, but I don't really see why they are so interesting. I flipped through an issue of the former - the jokes were lame and the bikini clad girls failed to interest me.

We got another bout of rainy weather. Our clothes couldn't dry, and even those that dried somewhat stank because of the lack of sun. Perhaps worse, the weather meant that we got really dirty when we went outfield. Going outfield sucks. It's muddy and dirty and slimy.

I tried to sit cross-legged on the chair. Many girls like to do it but I don't think I've ever seen a guy do it successfully. Our legs are probably too big.

Apparently someone (not me, I reiterate) complained to one of our sergeants that he used too many vulgarities. Thus he made a bet of sorts with us - if we move in the file, we do 20 pushups. If he uses vulgarities, he does 20. So far, he's winning.

For their sadistic enjoyment, the instructors like to make us practice the grenade drill. One came to our bunk to toss in the grenade, so since we would die anyway, I went to hide behind my cupboard door.

For the second or third time, my dear buddy Royston woke me up in the middle of the night to accompany him to the toilet. Gah.

Apparently there is a "Pegasus" company. I'm rather surprised that they chose that for a company name, seeing as they are concerned with masculinity and such.

I think that, by now, my olfactory glands have been largely desensitised to the smell of the camp, though the odour of unwashed bodies still perturbs me.

People have complained about my weird, even scary laugh. One of my platoon mates laughs even "worse" than I - he alternated between a hyena laugh and a monkey laugh.

People like to say that the best time of army life is BMT. So far, it's been the worst time of my life. I shudder to think of what lies ahead.


Quotes:

"Seah Shu... Seah Shuqi Gabriel, 109. I like your name."

"[Recruits while marching: Good Morning Sergeant] Hi."

"No questions? I have a question - who took my pen?... Since I was posted here all my pens have been stolen, that's why I carry this bag with me [hoists slingbag], so I can slot it in (them)"

"[On my forehead scar] Too many girls kiss him there"

"[On someone with measles] Don't share his razor blade, his vibrator"

"[On hand grenade throwing] If you have sweaty palms, you still throw. But no instructor will be in there with you. (will still)"

"[Heavily abridged] If you run out of rounds, will you go and do bayonet fighting? If you run out of rounds, what will you do? [Recruits: Run] You throw the rifle at the enemy, then you run... Don't say I say one ah"

"If I see you sleeping while you are standing, ah, then you can sleep"

"[On me holding my towel above my breast] Why you hold your towel so high ah? Like zha bor"

"[On "you can do anything you want, just don't get caught"] Don't you know that's the 8th Core Value?"
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