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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The weakest link during ICT will propogate and be the cause of our downfall in battle

Note to my foreign 'fans': ICT is the acronym for In-Camp Training, which is the annual military stint that most Singaporean males go through after actively serving the military in their 'younger' years.

It's the end of 3 weeks worth of high key ICT. The large scale military exercise no doubt involved many reservists who come from all walks of life and all sorts of working backgrounds. From production workers to managers and directors of companies, the men donned their SAF uniforms and took on their respective roles and ranks to serve the country.

It was not uncommon to find officers who work as entry-level technicians, and ranked men who are supposedly corporate bigshots in their respective fields of work. Alas what they say in the army that it 'separates the Men from the Boys' is very true. Regardless of civilian background and salary scales, the moment we wear the camouflage fatigues, we are all Singapore Soldiers. 3 weeks will bring out the best (and worst) from all soldiers.

When it brings out the best, you wonder why they are not having leadership positions in the corporate world.

When the ugliest side of a 'soldier' is portrayed, everyone wonders why some hold such high jobs with high pays in the civilian world.

There are heroes. And there are also assholes.

We're all in it for the security of our country. You say 'bah humbug?' Yes, there will be the naysayer amongst us, but come on; I beseech you, almost remind you, that we're already adults. No one is shouting at us anymore in the army. Gone were the days when the drill sergeant yelled down the thin fabrics of your fatigues. Discipline, decisiveness, responsibility, vigilence, honor and glory. These are the very attributes and more that should be in-built in every one of us reservists by now - simply because we've gone through regimental training, and we're adults. We think and act better, and therefore we should think and act like adults. Adult soldiers.

And this is the very issue why I cannot fathom how certain people can function as a higher-upper in civil society, yet behave like scum upon donning the No. 4 uniform.

For those of you who know who I'm referring to, good. If not, I'll just refer this scumbag as PC (not to be mistaken for Platoon Commander, please).

PC is the epitome of the 'chow-keng' soldier. In English, it refers him as the ultimate skiver. In military terms, he's the worst enemy within.

PC claims he shouldn't be recalled for ICT since he's of a certain medical PES status. But hey, he had 6 months to act on his 'deferment' and/or his medical issues. Alright, so we give him the benefit of doubt. Sure.

PC goes on to remind us that he's 'only suitable for peacetime operations and sedentary work'. Okayyyyy.....

PC complains that he can't even step into the store, because it'll be deemed 'operational'. I start to wonder if he's allergic to weapons and signal equipment.

Then everyone had to get up at 4am to prepare for mission. Okay, let's all get ready. Nooooo... but Mister PC insists he's only recallable for 8am to 5pm reservist. Perhaps he's afraid of the dark. Poor boy.

I finally found a very valid reason why almost every Singapore soldier has brilliant knowledge of a multitude of vulgarities in all known local languages and dialects: to use it on sabo kings like PC.

He goes on to boast about his corporate status, his age, and the fact that this'll be his final ICT (which doesn't mean anything especially when he deferred so many before). But the Men of all ranks have eyes, and they have ears. Best of all, they are all thinking Adults.

PC skives. PC makes excuses. PC doesn't want to do this. PC doesn't want to do that. PC complains the whole day. PC pretends. PC is just an embarrasement to his civilian appointment. That's all I can say.

He may have had a negative experience during his active days (eh... in Commandant's office? I doubt he 'suffered'). I shall reiterate that we are already adults. We are all in ICT together and so we take the time to get to know each other better and catch up on past year happenings. We learn new stuff and discover new things because we all come from different backgrounds. It's a chance for everyone to network. Newer (younger) soldiers pass on new knowledge to us, while we pass on the experience to them. The army unit has to work like clockwork for rapid deployment and action, and everyone's maturity is paramount to the success of the mission. Ultimately, our attitudes determine our survival.

And that is why some skivers are our weakest link, our worst enemy within.

As a commander, I am prepared to sacrifice one such 'enemy' for the sake of my entire troop morale and functionality.

PC: You cannot really blame the 'system' for certain faults. It was within your control, just like it was also within your control how you wanted your ICT to be. It seemed to me you didn't enjoy the stint. Was it too boring for you - because it was 'operational'? Could you have at least lifted a feeble finger of yours to help in certain 'non-operational' ways? Could you have - out of initiative - perhaps helped your fellow comrades to install the comms sets? After all, many of us saw you handling a weapon (must have been your first time touching a SAR). You left a sour taste in many of your brothers. You think they would be there for you when disaster strikes? You think - by your example - we all respect you for who you are in the corporate world?

Sorry PC. You're still a small boy. Enuff said.

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