Ended one week of In Camp Training (ICT). Reservist is what most people called it. Every year, we part time soldiers would be called back to camp to serve our 10 year-cycle. This is the 3rd in camp that I have attended, that means 7 more to go.
I still remember my Officer in Command (OC) said during our very first in camp: “We are now Part-time Soldiers, not the 2 and a half year Full-time National Service (NS) Men anymore. If you think that certain stuff is too dangerous to do, don’t do it! All of us have families and girlfriends to go back to.” Even the Commanding Officer (CO) mentioned in this in camp that he is willing to compromise on standard of training than to compromise on our safety, partly due to the live combat shoot we had to undertake this 3rd in camp.
It’s the 3rd in camp, and I could proudly say we were already kinda “lao jiao” (old bird = veterans) to the reservist system. Guys from my company during my active days were still together and things could be better, funnier and friendlier. In camp to me is like a holiday chalet where we could all get together after ORDing for so long to catch up on each others lives over games of “大老二”, Bridge in our bunks or during more relaxed times while having training.
Besides the usual stuff, there is always something new to share and learn from each in camp training:1. New Balding Prevention Tips/Cure
And so each in camp, the guys would go around looking at each other hairline and comment on the severeness of hair loss or balding. Each in camp, one guy will suddenly become the new guru in balding and recommend all sorts of shampoos and treatments to ward off this unsightly and inevitable symptoms that man will get upon reaching middle age, ie when they reach the Uncle status. The new guru is most likely to have suffered some worrying hair loss experience either due to stress from work or other unexplainable events during this one year duration between subsequent in camp trainings.
2. Working Life
So at the 3rd in camp, the “Air Level” (a common term for JC guys with GCE 'A' level Certs) guys, who are most likely at their final year of studies or have just graduated for a year, would have experiences and recommendations from their other comrades who are already working. Initial response from our working comrades would be, “Wow so fast hor, already final year liaoz, so long ago we ORD, now you 大学生 gonna go out and earn big money liaoz”3. Woman
Besides recommending tips to us 大学生, the guys were also interested in the 大学生 Girls as well. Every year the same questions will be asked. “Stay Hostel soong boh? Guy, girls stay together izzit? We want to hear those interesting One Hundred and One大学生 Hostel Stories”. Jokes aside, sharing relationship stories with platoon mates whom you slept together in the same bunk, in the same outfield, in the rain, almost every night during our active NS days could not be that bad sometimes.4. Revision on HK101
The revision on module Hokkien 101 was definitely a must.5. 1 x shocking news only after our 3rd ICT
driver is actually 500 degrees short sighted. And all along for these years we thought he had perfect eyesight as he drove without spectacles all the time. If it was not for his ICT’s combat shoot, we would not have known he was actually 500 degrees short sighted.
If you are 500 degrees short sighted and without spectacles, that means you are totally blind. How in the hell had he driven us over treacherous terrain, over dusty terrain in Australia Wallaby Exercise, day and night for close to 2 years? Seriously, I wondered how he had maneuvered our vehicle at night with the impossibly-to-see night vision device/goggles while convoying in Wallaby while we were soundly asleep in the crew compartment of the M113. We could have easily died in our sleep then. Maybe my driver is actually Matt Murdock aka the Dare Devil
from Marvel Comics.
From the struggles for passing IPPT
, the fitness level of NSmen is clearly much worse than the active NSFs. With bulging fat bellies and geeky grins donning camouflaged helmets, uniforms, standard webbing, and holding a SAR 21, I wondered if we are the people who are going to win the war and to protect the country. I guess what it takes is the beyond the physical but the psychological aspect of 保卫国家, protecting those that you love and those things that are worth fighting for that makes each and everyone have the power and ability to face up to the threats. I guess when we have these thoughts in our mind, these training that we have during our active or our reservist years would not seem useless or a waste of time, no matter how bad or silly it may seem sometimes.
I seriously hope no war will come to us.