When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, May 04, 2002

Bookout post:

Restored Post

Whenever people ask me how SMM is, I respond that it is good, relative to life elsewhere in the army, except for:

1) The no handphone rule
2) The bedbugs, mosquitoes and other monsters
3) The horrible food (the worst slop in the SAF probably goes to my camp)

and of course:

4) The weekly IVs

Well, it seems that we've finally tested the patience of our Company Senior Instructor for the last time / something bad, unrelated to us, happened to him that made him angry and crack.

Tuesday, we got hints of it. We had the usual talk about how the younger generation takes our security and prosperity for granted. Blah blah. Been there, done that.

On Friday, somebody lost his wallet, and still hadn't realised, after going through BMT at the very least, that in the SAF, if you lose something, you're never going to get it back. So he reported the loss, and on the pretext of searching for the wallet, the instructors turned our bunks upside down and took the opportunity to look for contraband (Mostly handphones, but a portable TV was found!). This served the dual purposes of deterring us from reporting lost items the next time, saving them loads of trouble, and getting people to do guard duties, saving them trouble choosing others, and satisfying their sadistic tendencies. Also, thanks to Mr Ass Man (as some of us call him), we did jumping jacks - 25 counts of 8, to weed out those who'd put their phones in their underwear. Of course, everyone had tucked them in tightly, so among the whole lot, only one Nokia battery fell out. And Mr Ass Man, ever considerate, gave us an lights off timing half an hour earlier - 10pm, for us to recover from our exertion. Nobody in my platoon got caught for contraband, though something much worse was discovered on someone (Hush!). Ahh, the kindness our instructor showed to us, giving us advance notice of the inspection by telling us they were checking for "bunk damages" (ahem). And Bruneians are very useful. They buy food back for you when they have a night off, you can hide in their bunk when you're pretend you're at Friday prayers but actually want to sleep and you can let them take care of your handphones! And in the end, the person probably didn't get his wallet back too. On a personal note, mine own personal communications device (just my luck. I bring it in on May Day and they check us. I'm jinxed!) was hidden in a place most ingenious. If I say so myself.

On Saturday, they went even crazier. They'd inspected the bunks in the morning, and some bunks' rubbish hadn't been brought down, and the bunks were generally not in standby condition. So they messed our bunks up themselves. My bunk was locked, so they vented their frustration by dumping a garbage bag full of garbage (and some mud, besides) at our door. On the pretext of that, and other miscellaneous things like people not coming back to endorse their MCs (those gotten over the weekend or during a night off) before going off for their sick rest (that policy is rather dumb, we all think), we had a mild torture session, many stand-by-beds, a bookout delayed till 2:10, a bookin brought up to 9pm (up from 10:30pm - in Units it's 11:59pm, and that means the time you enter the camp and not the time you report in a platoon in army T-shirt, shorts and shoes with a full waterbottle) and a withdrawal of our "privileges" - booking in/out is in Smart 4 from now on and we've no more nights off. They've probably lost their ISO certification by now! :) I wonder how many people are going to take an MC over this weekend.

And now, back to the roughly chronological narrative.

When I returned, there were the expected jibes about my hair. I got called "recruit". Bah. It's not that much shorter than Zhang's, and *he* doesn't get teased, though he does regret cutting his as short as it is too.

On Monday, I almost brought in my phone, but I backed out at the last minute. Other people bring theirs to Guard Duty and lectures, and I don't even bring mine in. Ahh, I think, if for nothing else, I'll bring mine in to spite the SAF.

The cookhouse likes to give fancy names to the food, probably to distract us from the bad taste. Seen on the menu before are dishes like: "Tasty Tientsin Cabbage" and "Imported Celery With Carrot". But pseudo-Western food takes the cake. On Friday we had "Chicken Chasseur" (Tomato sauce chicken), "Fish fillet ala Meuniere" (Lemon sauce deep fried fish) and "Vichy carrot" (Steamed carrots). This reminds me of the restaurant owner in Plaak who introduced one dish to us as "Tu2 Er3 Qi2 Bao1 Qing1 Cai4" (Turkey ? Green Vegetables). Anyhow, the receptivity ratings for April are out. There's been a total plunge of 6% across the 4 meals. Gasp. We've been speculating about the definition of receptivity recently, actually, and I think we have the answer - it measures the percentage of people who bother to collect their food (no matter how many throw all or most of it away later). So the rest hate the food so much that they go on a hunger strike, or refuse to collect the food, risking getting charged. The food's that bad! *Grin* On Monday the cookhouse boss had a bright idea, that of giving us peanut porridge for our night snack. Most people didn't take any, and when we went back to the bunk, I offered people a real nightsnack - the rest of my Carte d'Or Hazelnut Chocolate! And on Saturday, we got "Egg Mayonnaise" for breakfast. Not only was it hot, there was probably more butter than Mayo in the damn thing.

It's freaky. Yew Jin's heart is so close to his skin that, when he removes his shirt and looks straight ahead, you can see his heart beating.

When the Bruneians have a night off, they can come back at 2-3am. Gah.

I was marching by the training sheds on my way up from the most god-forsaken public phone in the camp on monday when I heard somebody playing the trumpet. Going up, I chatted a bit with the player. Turns out his bunk mates were complaining about his playing, so he moved to that relatively secluded spot.

On Tuesday, which was mega-lecture day (10 lectures in all!), Zhang and I were discussing computer games and it turns out we've played many of the same games. From the days of the computers with no hard disks and only 5.25 floppy drives, we've both played Alley Cat (well, who hasn't?), Way of the Bushido and Ninja. Pity he didn't have enough RAM for Darksun: Shattered Lands.

On Tuesday, one person liked shorts so much that he booked out in pants, then took them off to reveal the shorts once he was out of the gate.

Iskandar's modified dismissal cheer: Seek safe sex. Magic [Johnson]! [Cf original: Seek, save, serve. Medic!]

For a while, Folie was given to repeatedly singing, "You're wasting my time". Irritating. Lucky he's tired of it.

Guard duty on Wednesday was incredibly boring. And it was Labour Day too. Better than a weekend, though. Luckily, we'd all prepared ourselves suitably by starving our bodies of sleep the night before. I thought I'd clocked a respectable time by sleeping at 1:30am, but Guan Hong hit 2am and Yew Yew took the prize with a mind-shattering 4:00am. Again, I got the post of sentry. It's boring, but at least you don't have to walk. And I got a chair for 3 hours! The food was terrible - lunch was totally hot, and since the canteen wasn't open I couldn't satiate my hunger there. We had 2 sets of turnouts, the first consisiting of 4 turnouts and latter 3. And all this while, the fire picket people got to sleep, except for a brief spate of camp cleanup in the morning. Especially Steven, who was asleep almost all the time.

When you've nothing to do while on guard duty, you muse. So now I've recalled some stuff to add to my already overly long About Me page. While sitting at the guard post, I saw this guy across the road, riding on a motorised bicycle. You don't see many of those around: I can probably count the number I've seen on one hand, let alone the number of appendages on my body.

It seems Mr Kamal and Mr Lim are Combat Medics too. Ooo. They must be much better than inept me.

The HQ platoons have walkie talkies that look like handphones. I've no idea why.

On Thursday, the Medical Officer trainees came in, in the OCS Waiter attire, and they were issued with laptop bags. They looked rather odd marching in the white top and black pants, carrying their "laptops". And their drill wasn't very good either :) But their course is not as relaxed as some of us were led to believe - they've done some running, and we've seen them marching and running in long 4 with rifles high ported.

Hospitals all use the 20g needles (the one we've been using to practice IVs with), it's only the SAF which uses the 16g ones. Gah.

The Bruneian girls suggested giving me Entonox (pain relieving gas, 50% oxygen and 50% nitrous oxide) before IV to dull my pain. Heh.

I really suck at IV. I hate injections so much, yet I am so lousy at administering IVs. Of 4 attempts, I passed but 2, and the first 3 were on my dear buddy Guan Hong. And for the last, I had to jiggle in Joshua's flesh to find the vein. But I think I know why I'm so lousy - it's the anxiety factor, so if I calm down, I should be able to achieve a higher accuracy rate. I almost missed getting shot, but I was spotted in time. Wonder of wonders, I didn't even *cry* (a first!). There was just some leg movement and much heavy breathing. This amazing feat can be attributed to the very on-the-ball sergeant who was there all the time, employing the usual psyching tactics, like distracting me by talking to me, giving me a packet of Wide Open weave (WOW) to grasp in my left hand and trying to extract promises that I'd not make a sound or shed a tear. Of course, it didn't hurt that he took over from Kumar once the needle went in, so it was less painful. But for all his troubles, he still couldn't find my vein and had to withdraw without hitting blood. He's actually very nice, and he fights for welfare for us when he's around, but I still have a bad feeling about the combat phase.

Seeing the miracle of the soundless IV, my platoon mates commented that I "didn't scream". Well, if they thought my strangled cries of the previous weeks were screams, then they obviously had not heard me in my prime, like when:

- I had my BCG in Primary 6
- Jeremy whacked my festering BCG wound in Secondary 1 while Cheah Kum Lim was showing us around the RI Design Centre Art Gallery
- I was in the New Block in Sec 2 when Yong Chin stole my pencil case and ran off
- Wei Ling brought us to some installation dealing with lasers and Sanje pulled my hanky off my nose (Hey, I was weird even then, ok?)

Some of the Malays caught a giant spider and kept it for a while. It was as long as the distance between the tip of my middle finger and the area just past my wrist.

The smokers have started smoking in the bunk. And since my bed's near to the end where they smoke, I've to flee very often. The amount of smoking breaks they get seems more than adequate actually, but then I don't smoke, so.

Guan Hong likes my Marks And Spencer Honey Roast Ham flavour Crisps. Hehe.

Iskandar is also a fan of Sunny Bookshop. Mmm.

The canteen woman is very smart, she charges high prices for the items people want to eat. A hashbrown'll set you back $0.50, and a chicken wing $1!

Some of the female SAF uniformed staff come to camp in civilian clothes. Gah.

Chris' been proud of wearing 1 set of uniform per week, but the sergeant found out and he was told to change his set or sign one extra duty. Haha.

I kept wondering, on Friday, why I kept smelling Kumar and his indian smell. It turned out he'd been wearing the same set of uniform since Monday, through guard duty.

Something very disgusting happened on Friday. Fortunately, I did not witness it as I was slumbering, but from what I was told, Khairul, who always likes to parade naked in the bunk, went in front of Steven and started spanking his monkey. Steven proceeded to spray his anti-blister spray on Khairul's genitals and buttocks. Apparently they wanted to do it to me, but were sure that I'd cry and complain to the CO.

My food is always plundered by everyone else, because they're too lazy to bring in their own food. On Friday, I went to wash my ziploc back, and munificently let my bunk mates take some of my Ruffles, but when I returned, the packet had disappeared. Running outside, I was just in time to see the 6 Malays (the 8 in my bunk minus Iskandar and Raffie) finishing the chips, and I only got a few crumbs. And Saturday morning, I woke to Kumar apologising, giving me $5 and promising that they'd bring food in next week, as they had consumed my Wise Cottage Fries the night before. Because they had the decency to give me recompense, I'll not hoard my food. And this is all good stuff. As Chris remarked, the stuff I bring in can't be found in supermarkets. At least those that he goes to.

Apparently one of the instructors at SMM gained weight just to escape normal BMT. Hmm.

One thing I don't understand is why I always see RJ people around SMM. It's rather far to walk, and I'm not sure that they gain access to any new bus services.

Tim passed by my camp and he agrees it looks like a dump!


"[On my handphone] Just bring it in lah"

"Gabriel, I think you need to wear [a] bra already."

"[On my scribbling] Later [when you] ORD, you [can] go and write a comic. Confirmed funny one. (It'll definitely be funny)"

"Army, no need to be so garang one... I've learnt the art of slacking. See, now I also don't tie my boot lace already. (I don't, laces anymore)"

"[On my attempt at Mozart's Lacrymosa] Gabriel, you've such a sweet voice."

"[Khairuldin sings:] Tomorrow is my bookout day, loolah, loolah. Tomorrow is my bookout day, loolah loolah lay. [Someone else sings: No more Khairuldin!]"

"[On how to avoid getting my food stolen] All you need to do is bring a big bag of groceries and put pork in the centre."

"[On an instructor cursing] Use vulgar language. No more ISO already."

"[On a war] The regulars are behind. When all of you die, then we come out. (Only when, will)"

"[On a war] When the enemy invades, you're going to go, 'I'm [PES] C9, please do not shoot me."

"[On someone who was very bitter] I think he doesn't have a girlfriend. I think he can't get into the U, that's why he's so disappointed."

"[On 2 RJ girls we saw outside SMM] Judging by the tits, not more than 12 years old."

"[On starting IVs with a 20g needle] No, we just want you to get comfortable. [Trainee: Then next time start with 100 {gauge}]... Poke mosquito."

"[On the Medical Officer Conversion Course trainees] Bloody hell, they look like Waiters' Association like that. (the Waiters' Association)"

"[On our 10pm lights off timing] Primary school kids sleep later than us."

I've decided to remove "Slave" from my icq info to avoid being picked up by BDSM aficionados.

I wonder if they still have those gimmicky vending machines where you can "dial a drink" and which is an utter waste of money, both to install and to use, with no discernable benefits for either producer or consumer.
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The word of the day is: "bonistic"

I want to be the amygdala. Or the sylvan fissure. For you anatomy students, the amygdala may seem an obvious choice for me, but why the sylvan fissure? Perhaps this litle snippet will enlighten:

"It is well-known that electrical stimulation of the right temporal lobe (above the right ear and specifically in the sylvan fissure or laterus sulcus) produces visions of God, hearing beautiful music, seeing dead friends and relatives, even panoramic life reviews."

Yesterday, at work, the assistant manager launched into a three minute imploration during morning briefing. He waved his hands in the air and made his oratory in striding, mellifluous cadences. He concluded with: "... and as bankers and as human beings, PLEASE STOP TAKING THE PENS OFF MY DESK!"

I've lost a bit of weight, which sounds surprising, given that my physical regimen, rather sedentary to start with, has deteriorated further. I only go swimming about once a week these days, if at all lucky. However, the loss of weight may be attributed to stress, lighter meals(too fatigued to binge), and having to run back and forth from my desk to the photocopying machine. Not that my physique has(or ever will, methinks) shows any sign of Greek-godhood. Not even Greek-satyr or Greek-philosopher(some of whom had pretty good bods, if those statues at old Hellenic digs are accurate:) bod, damn it.

Most of the time, I actually have heavy breakfasts and dinners, and light lunches so that I don't get sleepy in the day. In addition, i don't have a fixed lunch time, and one in a while, NO lunch time, so generally it's better to get used to keeping things light.

During a bout of acutely neurotic introspection, I realise that I - invariably - eat either one of three things:

a) The exact same yong tau foo combination at the exact same stall in the hawker center. i eat this about 75% of the time.
(For those who really really *really* want to know - it's two fishballs, two fu pei(the fried crispy doufu skin thing), one liang dou fu,
three tau fu pok, and two fish-cakes, in curry soup.)

b) two chappatis and a garlic naan, at another stall in the hawker center. i eat this about 20% of the time

c) once in a rare while, i'll walk to another cornershop instead and have a chao kuay teow. 5% of the time

And for some reason, when I try to make myself eat something different, I can't bring myself to spend the mental energy needed to conceive of an alternative, make a decision, and actually carry it out. A sign of my increasing degeneration.

Lots of chio chicks at my bank this week, for some reason. Am mildly gratified at being able to ask them questions like, "How much do you want to withdraw?"
or(for some foreigners) "Is this a multiple-entry visa?", or, in the case of joint accounts, "Your husband can place a deposit with you."

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Yaaaaaaay!!! My mum's here! My mum and my friends went out to shanghai dumpling kitchen for delicious variety of dumplings and noodles. Then went shopping at bridge road, mum bought a nice polyester waterproof jacket for A$70 for me.

(during lunch)
Albert: Did you know, there's a special knot they use when sewing cadavers?
Andrew (deadpans): I thought they just used a dead knot.
Albert: No, i don't think so... (attempts to describe how to tie the knot)
Andrew: Oh-uh-ohhh-oooh bad pun baaaaaaad pun......

Gabriel's gonna have a fit when he sees my obi-wan "you are xxx" quiz... =p

(Anonymous: The girls in SMU all dress up like they're going clubbing one!!)

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

*Wheeeee* I've always wanted to be Ewan McGregor as Obi-wan Kenobi. Isn't he soooo cooool!!!

Okay, so I tweaked 1 question after i got anakin skywalker the brat. So. Don't u dare say i'm a loser ... even if i am!! Hahahahahahahhaa

Which Star Wars character are you?
Welcome dom! Honoured by your participation.

My mum just came .... so glad! But she's sick. But we're going out with my bunch for lunch tomorrow! I'm very excited! And using so many exclamation marks doesn't bug me at all now!!!

Who wants to be temporal lobe?

I think the 4-lettered S word qualifies as vulgarity. I have enough of a dilemma just using "crap" (wince).

(wince wince wince) trying to feel better ... strangely sports helps (= . I feel like such an unfit blob, just running a couple of rounds after touch rugby and my calves started to cramp up.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Quizzes / Guard Duty

Ahhhhhhhhh! It's the invasion of the "you are xxx" quizzes. Evil! Evil!

I've guard duty tomorrow. Joy. My aim is to sleep a maximum of 4 hours tonight.

Monday, April 29, 2002

This is me! Yay oh yay!

which children's storybook character are you?

this quiz was made by colleen

The word of the day is: "hamartia"

The schizophrenia deepens. Hello Dominic.

Gabriel and I had an argument the other day about whether "shit" was an expletive or not. Gabriel maintains that it isn't, and hence his justified use of it does not render his moral stance against vulgarity null and void. Personally, I feel "shit" would pass the reasonable test as a form of low-grade vulgarity, and hence his self-righteous aversion to profanity is undermined. Gabriel said that he uses it in a literal sense of the word(ie. as a colloquialism for feces), to which I countered that other synonyms exist such as doodoo, turd, mist, poop, duenge, kuso, guano, or caca which no one would consider vulgar.

We continue to exchange arguments of like mettle inside the one brain. Fellow lobes, join in the fight!

Today my senior took sick leave, and my relief officer was on study leave(for some banking certification). As a result, I had to wade through hordes of customers for 7 non-stop hours of hard-core banking. The marauding armies surged at me, threatening to overwhelm my meager defenses. It was us, the few, the proud, the non-malingering(1/3rd of our staff was out on leave of one kind of another, leaving us desperately short-handed). Us against the damn public!(Almost like being in government) Finally, I stood triumphant over a pile of steaming specimen cards and account passbooks! Ah, the sweet pyrrhic taste of victory, dampened only by having to lick and seal 150 letters to customers informing them about the massive savings to be made through our mortgage refinancing packages.
(I hope the glue on those envelopes isn't toxic)

My subscription to the Economist finally came through! Woohoo! I can now have something to read at lunch!(on the days I actually *have* lunch)

Profound insights elude me, so pretension is all I have in place of a life.

*slaps face, in the timed, futile hope that the nerves transmit the pain signals to other parts of our shared brain*

Gabriel, you shouldn't be too hard on those lobes of ours who decide to do things elsewhere. The collective approach to blogging has its drawbacks, and some people like to actually have *lives*(whatever those are). Either that, or maybe the medication's working on them better than it is for us.

To quote from my (real) diary: "I've given my life to a set of obsessions I'm no longer sure are noble; I might be willing to trade in my patented eccentricities for a normal life if there was anything about a normal life I could stand. I live an existence with no resources, allies, or goals, only an acute sense of everything wrong with the world."

If one of our personalities commits suicide, does it bring down the others with him? interesting moral dilemma. That would be one way to prove the matter one way or the other. Shotgun is handy, it leans temptingly at my desk. Albeit heavy, and difficult to cock. Mitiated only by the terrible embarrassment suicide is these days.

Guy Pearce: "How can I heal if I can't feel time?"

But then again, Doris Day: "If life gives you lemons, grab a tequila and make margaritas."

THOUGHTS CAN POP INTO YOUR HEAD INVOLUNTARILY. Like the occasional warped impulse to tear a baby's limb off. Or the sudden desire to do the Macarena *and* the funky monkey at the same time. (it's possible, although it's a reflection of poor planning)

Today, the phone at my desk kept playing the tune from Bridge over the River Kwai. I don't know why. It wouldn't stop. And other people could hear it, so I'm not entirely crazy.I hit every button on it, but it kept playing the tune. For 3 hours. Another officer suggested using a hammer. In the end, I ripped the phone from the line and threw it into the dustbin in a fit of rage, only to have my assistant manager berate me for poor anger control(seriously). I had to fish it out and plug it back in. Thankfully, mercifully, it remained silent. I almost believe in miracles now.

I'm male. Sort of. And army talk doesn't do anything for uniting me, other than my needing to learn it to communicate with some of you warheads.

Schumacher won the Spanish Grand Prix! (erm, was anyone expecting anyone else?)
Updated my homepage with newly scanned pix: http://www.geocities.com/marshmall0w/
The obstinate 3rd person Andrew just had to put this in after taking the quiz, it's so cuuuuute!

which children's storybook character are you?
this quiz was made by colleen

Sunday, April 28, 2002

in a fit of typical feminine peevishness, i'm going to whine about how i'm being termed "a load of inactives". i'm working on the celery stick diet, ok?
don't think you should worry too much about it, gabby. mannerisms reflect one's current environment, i expect you'll slough the uncouth/ill-mannered alter-ego once you leave ns. consider: how often does one get the chance to spout such digit-curling, stomach-roiling expletives with such wild abandon, anyway? ;)
Would point out that thoughts can't pop into yr head involuntarily, but i'm in no mood to be The Associate -ed.

And Andrew finds pple with pretentious notions highly irritating. He is offended by people who assume too much.
*Points out that one inactive has her own blog, and a couple of others are in NS and don't spend as much time as u do online*

WooO! It's like having a new housemate!! *Bakes muffins and distributes them all round*

And u should know my stance on vulgarities. And no it isn't "use the phrase `rabbit killer` as little as possible".
I just went for a haircut and the idiot cut my hair almost as short as the Tekong barber would.

"female cadets are very.. unfeminine." - Yong Chin :)

Tze Li on my unhappiness about the taint of unclean thoughts:

"well i pride myself on not using vulgarities but that doesn't mean vulgarities hasn't popped up in my mind before. we can't really control our thoughts to perfection.

yea thoughts often just pop into our heads involuntarily. the best we can do to stay on the moral side of the line is not to act by those thoughts or speak them out. as long as we shove them away and not use them to hurt others, i guess it's good enough."

Words of wisdom :) And Engineer thinks they're okay if you don't vocalise them. Though Yaoi Girl points out that it's the intent behind the words, rather than the words themself. But then I never curse while having an image of flaming meteors raining into the person while his legs are be... Nevermind :)

They're getting more and more annoying and frequent, but I think I'll cope... Fuzzirat says it happens to him too, but it's getting better in his new camp. The SAF is evil, corrupting us so! Oddly enough, Charmian claims that guys become gentlemen once they come out of the army.

If all goes well, by the end of the day we'll have one more guest star on this blog! *Prods the load of inactives*
I wonder what my juniors have been doing:

"yes. i think your batch is the last civilised one. everyone else i've met from ri is a frothing caveman."
Bookout post:

Restored Post

The creepy crawlies are very irritating. We have bees flying around the ceiling lights in the morning. Grr.

Even after I'd handed over the post of Platoon I/C, I still had to do some of the work of the post. This week's i/c didn't know the Medic's Pledge, so I had to lead the company *again* on monday. Luckily it was raining on Friday morning, so I didn't have to strain my voice again. But apparently I was visibly joyful at not being the i/c anymore - people kept saying I looked very happy because of the load lifted off my shoulders.

This week's platoon i/c caused me a lot of trouble last week, making plenty of snide remarks from within the file and generally being a noisy nuisance. As a platoon mate puts it, "he either f***s you from the front of f***s you from the file". Being the i/c this week, he was a bit subdued but his glorious character still shone through. Next week he'll be back to normal and since we're all familiar with each other by now, he'll be busily making the i/c's life difficult again. Anyhow he wasn't that great as an i/c - for one, he dismissed us ('keluar baris') when we were lined in 3 long columns, as opposed to 3 long rows as it should be. But despite that and several other foul ups, few complained, at last not in front of him, probably due to the fact that the biggest complainers normally are him and his friend (who happens to have a shortened version of his name).

Because of my neglecting to secure a copy of my Hep B documentation, I had to go to Maju Camp for Hep B screening :( On monday, we all loaded up a tonner, and sat comfortably (there were only 12 or 13 people to the tonner, as opposed to the usual 20-30) for the ride to Maju. And when we arrived we were told, "Don't ask why, we're going back". Well done, efficient and well-run SAF.

During last Friday's guard duty, the rest of the company had a talk by the Course Commander. Apparently he told them that the Commanding Officer would be signing an indemnity form "in a few days", then we would all be able to bring mobile phones in. However, since the SAF has a warped sense of time (my ~$200 credit for buying SAF goods still hasn't arrived), and is ever efficient and well-run, we still haven't been given the green light (so they can stop hiding their phones in their dirty clothes and underwear) and might not till the end of the course!

Even after my 20kg net weight loss since enslavement, my veins are still invisible. Makes for jolly blood drawing sessions and IV practices. Well anyhow it's not due to fat, at least not solely or mainly - my sister has beautiful veins, according to a nurse who poked her before.

The drinks vendor at the canteen earns so much that he has a car. Gah.

I brought in my leopard Beanie Baby, "Sneaky" at the start of week 2. When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I found that some guy with nothing better to do had mummified him with Wide Open Weave (WOW) and Transpore Tape. So I had to use my Paramedic Scissors to cut him loose. (...) I've since brought Sneaky back, but I hope nothing happens to the polar bear which I brought in Wednesday.

It's alleged I have a silly smile, like Teo Shiyi. Ahh!

Another advantage of sleeping on the floor - no bedbugs! Yes, I've experienced what, hitherto, was reserved for cautionary tales during Health Education lessons (or was it History lessons on our suffering forefathers?). Horrible. I've never seen them, but the bump is very big, and it itches horribly. Must be the foam mattresses we are given. So I'm marginally safer in this respect. But then, as someone pointed out, on the floor you've every other thing except bedbugs... Hope my polar bear doesn't get infected with any insects.

Someone who is a contract slave says that the food is about the same standard as when the SAF had NSmen cooks. So we're not that much removed from that generation's culinary sufferings.

On Tuesday, we waited again for our transport to Maju to be poked. While waiting, I bought a drink from the vending machine, and when I was done, I followed the instructions given on this sign:

"Go Green!

1) Please crush your cans and dispose them here

2) Do your bit to save Earth

3) Thanks for the good deed"

For my trouble, I was scolded by a corporal, who asked if I wanted him to pick the can up for me.

On reaching Maju camp, I was shocked to see the TSS (Temporary Support Staff) "YX Lau" (Jason Lau) and "G Yong" (Yong Gen) grinning at me, and saying "we'll be poking you [all] later". Though they weren't too thrilled at the prospect of having to hold me down while they worked. They and their lot gathered around me, but couldn't find any veins (as is usual), so luckily they let the real medic draw my blood. The rest of them were unfortunate, however, and most were poked at least twice, as the inept TSS "topo-ed" a lot. Steven, with very prominent veins, came out with 3 plasters, and we all chuckled.

There was a weighing scale at Maju Medical Centre, so I took the opportunity to weigh myself. 91.8kg with Boots, wallet and No 4. Not bad. And apparently my peripheral equipment weighs just under 2kg.

A thought that struck me on the way back from Maju: If a Malay or Indian illegitimate child is born, and they don't know the father's name, what do they call him/her?

After we came back from Maju, we had IV. Yeh, so I was poked twice in one day. Steven poked me in the left wrist. The left wrist, dammit, with little flesh to reduce the pain. It still hurts a little as I am typing this. But I feel quite bad myself because I failed 2 IVs on 2 people, the first through no fault of my own - no backflow came out even with the instructor's ministrations, and the second because I dislodged the catheter by pulling the needle out instead of pushing the catheter in. Now I'll do 2 next week. Oh well.

Tan Yew Yew's guide to picking oranges: Choose those with a big "navel" and preferably, the growth from the navel must extend outside it.

On Tuesday, our night off was burned when this guy from Time Magazine came down to try to sell us Time Magazine, at $0.90 off the subscription price. He offered us a choice of gifts. One was a Pooh Bear in fatigues (Eee!!!). Another was an overstock of a Life book - "Our Call to Arms", on Pearl Harbor. And the last was leftover phonecards from Time's 75th Anniversary (3 years haven't been enough to get rid of them apparently).

The Bruneians came back from one (of the millions) night off, and they had prata for the malays! Gah.

I've found a third person in my platoon who doesn't shave. Yeh!

After a canteen break, I was hiding behind the training shed and singing latin songs. Apparently I freaked some of the people out, as they thought that there was a little girl singing.

Every time we have a canteen break, I see the Malays eating Nasi Lemak. It seems they don't get tired of it, even after 3 weeks. I wonder if they'll still be eating it after another 8 weeks.

[Some of] The Malays also like to walk around naked in the bunk. It's really disgusting, the nonchalent way they do it - they've no sense of shame. And it led to someone making fun of their "peanuts" (ahem).

The food at SMM really "cannot make it", which is why you often see permstaff buying food back from outside (like Burger King). When it comes to survey time, some people put 2 chips in the "poor" slot. I think the workers have given up on us - one of them told the other, "bu4 yao4 kan4 le4. Ta1 men2 suo1 bu4 hao3 jiu4 shi4 bu4 hao3" - "Don't look [at what slot they're putting the chips into], if they think we're bad, we're bad". So we know why we've so many cats over there. Also, the vegetables at the cookhouse are perenially undercooked. Perhaps this is to make up for the overcooked vegetables at Tekong. At least we've had one good meal so far - Nasi Lemak on Tuesday night, with a chicken wing with pineapple and raisins (wah), and large onion omelette. We can't count on good food, though and so I brought in copious quantities of food in. I suspect one of my giant Carte d'Or Hazelnut bars got stolen, though. I'll have to lock everything in the cupboard next time!

The people who pop up. Arvindren OOCed from OCS and popped up in SMM as a TSS. He's to join the July course as a combat medic. Yeh.

I feel really silly. I'm the only idiot who didn't bring in a handphone, and no one's been caught yet (and indeed, may ever be).

It's quite sad, people were holding forth a discourse in the bunk on the breasts of the girls in FHM. Oh well.

I think slavery lowers our standard for jokes - even really crappy and lousy jokes elicit at least a chuckle from the lot of us.

They squeeze so much into us in just 5-6 weeks. Someone claims that we're actually doing a compressed 8 month course, but even if that isn't true, it is a great deal to study and absorb in such a short time. And we've a casualty aid test on monday, which may cause me to necessitate burning a weekend for a retest.

A female Bruneian cut the canteen queue and wasn't forcibly ejected. Gah. The Bruneians all have 5 digit army serial numbers, like slaves, and apaprently they all own cars.

We only have 2 compulsory water parades a day - before 5BX and during the last parade, and sometimes these are "drink beyond your point of thirst" affairs. Less water torture!

It was quite disgusting - 4 people were seated on a bed, gathered around this guy who was playing Muzak ringtones on his Samsung polyphonic ringtone phone, and some of them were shaking their heads with the music.

Our course is certified by the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Paramedic Academy. Unfortunately, the certificates have expired. Aww.

The sergeant who projects his "garang" aspirations on us (not fulfilling them himself, whether due to physical inability or something else) has given us bad feelings and deep fears about the combat phase and our future unit life. Ugh.

My bunk, bunk 1, is transformed into a gym at night! Dave puts on his black gloves and becomes a personal trainer, training people with pushups and dips. Ah, but that's not it. He brought in dumbbells and barbells. Woo.

Zhang and I were discussing the insidious effect that the army environment has, and we concur that: everytime something bad happens, the vulgarities spring unbidden to mind.


"[During Stand By Bed] This glove. For what? Sell chicken rice?"

"Why [did] you sign on? [Commando: I love my country.] You love the pay, don't bullshit."

"[Trainee while marching: Good afternoon Sir] Good afternoon, carry on, enjoy yourselves."

"[On me] Do all RJ people give that stupid smile?... Because both you and Teo Shiyi give that stupid smile."

"[To someone] Fuck you, don't talk to me about SISPEC. I hate that place."

"Everyday, the breakfast lunch and dinner here, cannot make it."

"Is it really that nice to smoke? Why does everyone like to smoke?"

"[On me copying the sign urging us to recycle our cans] What are you copying?... Eh, don't be stupid eh. Copy my boot size also!... 'Today, I followed instructions on the board. Then I kenna fucked. The guy asked me, the can, waiting for him to throw?' (was I waiting for him to throw the can away)"

"[To Steve] Everyday, see you, never bathe... Jee bye, come back bunk, put some powder then sleep. You think field camp ah? (I never see you bathing, you come back to the, and then, this is field)"

"Hope that you have Hep B. Serious. Then you're excused IV, that means you can poke your buddy, [but] your buddy cannot poke you... Get AIDS. You cannot poke your buddy, your buddy cannot poke you."

"[On Hep B screening by TSS] That's the guy. It's this guy, fucking hell. That's the fucker who missed my vein."

"[On Hep B screening by TSS] They poke, draw blood. Three quarters full. Then, no blood... 'Sorry ah, sorry ah.' Then the other guy, 'Don't worry, it's not our blood.' (poked and drew, Till it was three, there was no more blood, guy said)"

"[On Hep B screening by TSS] We should bring [our] MOP here and shoot IOV here. Shoot on them. (MOPs)"

"[To me during Hep B screening] Fuck, how [do] you take IV? Next time [during] IV lessons [they] must tie you to a stretcher."

"[On not minding IVing someone, but not liking being IVed himself] It's like when you rape someone, you feel shiok, but when you kenna raped, you don't feel shiok."

"But Gabriel, seriously, I've never seen you with a hard on... It makes you wonder. [Goes on to make some comment about when I had wet underwear on and he couldn't see any outline]"

"[On specifics in bandaging of wounds] In your course, you must know this. In real life, I tell you, nobody cares."

"Next is the clavicle. You know where's the clavicle? It's this bone here. All the girls have this, very sexy."

"[Handphone rings] Na beh, all these girls. [Trainees protest] It's a guy lah, 'Desmond'."

"[On people in Units] They bastard you, they see the catheter, they scared already. You just whack one time... sadistic ah. (If they treat you badly, once)"

"Don't go and take the rectal thermometer and put it in the mouth."

"[On my polar bear] Gabriel, you gay ah?"

"I didn't know Nanyang Girls' School looks so nice, sia... Look at the clock. [Me: You're referring to the building right.] The building, not the girls - forget it."

"[On his drawing of a heart] Testicle, what? Take out yours and put it up here."

"[On dinner] Stayout personnel, if you all are not eating, make a motion of going down and coming back up."

"[On a blood donation drive] I donate sperm."

"Last batch, we had no female trainees, but the Miss CMC. Wah."

"In Singapore, you know why? All these people, they study too much already. You punish them too much, they write letter to minister to complain, then you're in trouble. (study, If you, they will, letters to the)"

"Why do you think the girls join army? [They're] Hopeless, can't find jobs outside."

Barry has just told me what the other letters of SISPEC stand for! So far I've only heard it referred to as "Suffer In Silence" but now I know it stands for "Suffer in Silence Plus Extra Confinement". Ahh. Yeah I'm slow.
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