come some up a music...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I Wish I Could have Known You Better

It has been a long time since I entered any entry.

Finally having some time after submitting the FYP report and before the final exams to hopefully pen down some entries that I have wanted to since this period of absence.

My FYP partner has been match-making/introducing girls to me since the start of this semester. Hopefully to broaden my social circle of female friends at the final stage of the university life. So far it has been like 3 girls in 3 months.

This 3rd girl was someone which I had a little crush on during year 2 and my FYP partner, together with another female friend took the opportunity to “match-make” us at an engineering exhibition on campus today since our project booths were kinda close to each other. This was an exhibition of our projects in conjunction with the NTU open house for the potential freshmen in attempt to bring out the interest of engineering in these people.

I was rather surprised after I got to know that she still had an impression of me in archery since a year ago from one of the archery introduction courses conducted by us for SRC. I guess I have to thank my female friend too for saying good things about me, least that is what she insisted she did and not “3-8” on topics in relations to both my partner and I.

Besides being “free” spokespersons for the university and having sore feet from standing close to 8 hours, it was a great day to meet up with many friends, even old friends from my first 3-months JC doing part-time for some event for the open house. One perk being in final year is that, somehow or rather, you kinda know all the fellow undergraduates after 4 years in campus. No matter from which engineering school, we have like made so many friends and it was like a big family at the exhibition hall, going around sharing our fruitful projects at the end of 4 years. Looking at the projects from my friends, it felt good being able to understand each other’s projects with our 4 years of engineering knowledge and also be awed by their engineering projects. It was like the first time that I could apply my engineering knowledge and converse on the different aspects of their projects in order to understand more. And that felt great!

At the end of the final stage, I guess the best thing to say to someone from the graduating class would be,

“I wish I could have known you better!”

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

So the hottest Question I was asked today was…

*drum roll*

are you still shooting archery?

That was hottest question I was being asked today.

Nope, it wasn’t any question asking if I was attached yet (leave that question to the uncles and aunties on CNY) but this particular question which friends I bumped into today all asked, surprisingly.

You are my archery icon mah!”, LZ (another friend who asked me the same question) commented after I wondered aloud to him that there were just too many people asking me the same question surprising in one day.

I am still shooting, but only leisurely. I still love archery.

But I guess it hard to shoot competitive again. At least for now.

Especially with the condition of the Final Year Project (FYP), with datelines crashing into the picture in an instance.

And the “timely” bad showers over NTU whenever I string up my bow and pick up my shooting gears.

“Are you shooting for IVP (Inter-varsity Polytechnic)? 19 March, NUS…”, came the popping window of MSN after I came back from my night jogging session this very night.

IVP at NUS, the venue where triumph calls and images of victories will always be remembered.

I guess that will not be my “ORD” shoot for my final year.

Sometimes I wonder if I will continue to shoot after I graduate. The idea of the lack of archery companions upon graduation started to dawn on me recently. Even though archery is a very individual sport, it is not possible to shoot with other companions to progress and enjoy the sport together. I guess that is how all the previous batches of seniors felt after they graduated from the team. None of them are shooting already. The only 2 seniors still shooting are in the national team with jobs that have relaxed work schedule. Just by looking at the strength of my batch of final year archers, I already feel kinda “qeng sim”.

The kind of team spirit and companionship that I experienced from shooting with the NTU team can never be found outside with other clubs. Especially, with the numerous “crossed-fires” we had with other clubs on the competition field.

Our shooting companions are our school mates, our hostel mates, our neighbours, our toilet mates, our room mates. I guess these kind of unique relationships can never be found with the archers in other clubs. Not only in archery, but in many areas of life as well.

Maybe that is why NTU Archery is still one of the best team around.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

the Condition of my FYP

Bug in a Sink

I'm feeling like a bug in the sink for my Final Year Project...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rain Rain

It has been raining non-stop for the past 5 to 6 days already.

If by singing the “Rain Rain Go Away” nursery song was of any use to rid the rain and bring out the sun so that little children can go out to play, everyone would be singing it non-stop and the FM radios would be playing it endless by now..

When I was still “little children”, I like to the sing the “Rain Rain Come Again” song whenever it seem like it is going to rain. It is actually the same as the original nursery song just that I changed the lyrics of the song to those that ask the rain to come and that little children hate going out to play instead. I seriously cannot remember the motive of singing that song. Maybe if it is raining, I can skip school, stay at home watch TV or play “mah sah”, or maybe the cold weather just makes me feel happy.

Sometimes kids do have their funny way of thinking.

I when grew up, the rain did come and come and somehow or rather “little children” did manage to “play” in the rain still, no matter how my version of the song went. Somehow the rain had the ability to make experiences richer and leave long lasting impressions.

I remembered the funny incident during a night hike as a scout during secondary one where the patrols started off from Sarimbun Scout Camp and got caught in the rain not long after we got lost. It was at the final checkpoint where we crowded round a silly hand-dryer machine in the boys toilet at Kranji Dam, pulling the edges of our wet t-shirts in attempt to dry them with the hot air after been drenched in the heavy downpour. The silly hand-dryer that could be rotated to different directions soon malfunctioned after our repeated usage, even the one in the girls toilet.

Then there was another time while having NS training in Australia, where my entire company got caught in an “Outback Rain” during an exercise in the night. I forgot the number of hours we lay prone in the pouring night rain until we got the call to cut the exercise. Our cold bodies were greeted with boiling hot tea made by our every own “Encik” or Company Sergeant Major (CSM) whom we kinda hated due to his fierce and harsh behaviours with us for almost a year. It was the first time where Encik boiled tea and even cooked magi mee for us. Somehow the hot tea and instant mee made by Encik tasted like heaven while we shivered under the shelter of our armoured vehicles. It was also the first time where we saw the “soft side” of our fierce Encik. Somehow from that night onwards and during that training in Australia we got closer to him. After that incident and even up until today, my platoon mates would always get together and wonder if Encik had added extra ingredients into the stuff he made for us that night, as sometimes we felt had used the weather and the food to buy over (收买) our hearts so as to work hard for him and to obey his commands. Hmmmm, not that we had the ability to not do so… Haha

Somehow the rain has been raining too long already. This time the “little children” really want to go out to play.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

One Cold Night

Not sure if I’m gonna miss this…

my late night run around the campus of NTU.

I guess this is something only hostelites have the privilege of doing late in the night. No one has the ability to hinder you from putting on that running shoe and going up that uphill run.

The only thing that can stop you is you yourself.

My favorite route around campus...

Route 8 from this URL i found.

Start: Hall 6.

Up Canteen 2 to Canteen A.

Down to the back of NIE, along 199 route.

NIE Hockey field to Hall 11, 12, 14, 15.

Up Hall 11 to Graduate Halls.

Down Nanyang Meadows (Nice name.. hah) and back.

I especially like the stretch along the back of NIE down from Canteen A.

Gentle down slope.

Silent at night.

My panting, my running pace, my perspirations against the cold sweet and silent night.

Me, only me.

And of course, sounds of crickets if you listen.

Usually the “hot” time for running is after 10 or 1030 pm. Where many hostelites can be seen running, in twos, in groups or just alone around campus.

I like running alone.

Setting my own pace, letting thought come and go, all the self talk while just running.

Sometimes out running in the cold night round campus, you would check out on the “late night runners” running on the opposite side of the road running towards you. Then sometimes they would also check back on you. This “checking out” is like giving each other the silent encouragement to push on the run, to endure, you are almost there kinda feeling. Which is great.

I always have this impression of running along Tekong Highway in BMTC while running along Halls 11 to 15. Maybe it’s the orangey lights from the lamp post under the cold night, the smell and sight of the jungle of the live firing area along the long stretch of road. And not forgetting that these newer halls give impressions of the BMTC bunks. These definitely bring back the images of the road behind my company line in Tekong.

I guess the feeling of running around campus at night can never be the same outside.

In campus, there is much less traffic, or even zero traffic on the road. The black tar road is like totally yours. Without the traffic, the night is so silent and sweet. You are always safe running alone late in the night, cos you are running along the halls where hostelistes dwell. There are always hostelites around when you need one.

Many more nights to go!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

保卫国家 2

Since the previous post was on 保卫国家...

During my last 6 months of my active NS days. Together with some of my unit mates, we were posted to the ATEC Aggressor Company where we took up the roles of enemies or aggressors for the SAF for evaluations and exercise purposes. We spend a cumulated 1 month in Taiwan to battle one infantry and one commando battalions on separate evaluations. This was an encounter my jeep driver experienced during his orientation drive around Hengchun village where our camp was located and where the evaluations took place.

In Taiwan, one regulation that we had was to don the Taiwanese soldiers’ uniform instead of our SAF uniform which made us look like the local soldiers. On the orientation drive, my jeep driver came upon a bridge which was owned by one of the villagers and was stopped by this little girl who was there to collect fees for any passage of vehicles across this bridge. When this little girl saw the army jeeps, she quickly asked her mom, "妈妈,军人要过桥,要不要收钱?" The girl’s mom upon seeing my jeep driver and other drivers on orientation promptly replied, "军人保卫国家,不用收钱" Instantly, the army jeeps were allowed to pass through the bridge.

On other occasions, during our exercise, whenever our jeeps drove past the kinder-garden in the village, all the kids would excitedly rush up to the fences and cheerfully shout " 阿兵哥! 阿兵哥!" , waving their hands in the air toward us. In Singapore, these scenes where kids cheer at the sight of soldiers are only seen on the National Day Show Parade, only on Aug 9, one day niah, or on some National Education (NE) Show on TV, on show, show show only, make people happy niah.

Could SAF soldiers get the same respect as we saw in Taiwan? Let's not forget Taiwanese soldiers are conscripts as well. At least some of the gestures may make soldiers feel proud at things that they are doing? Maybe?

In Singapore, when an army guy in camouflage uniform walks into the MRT carriage, everyone will try to shun him. Give him the “Eeee so smelly look”. Would anyone give up seat from these 阿兵哥, with the heavy full packs, duffel bags (opps… duffel bags are not issued anymore and now replaced by those wheeled luggage bags. Some what like air stewards, stewardess?) and the distinctive crew cuts? I guess not.

How about, “Hey, 阿兵哥, 你保家卫国, 你辛苦了, you deserve this seat!”


I guess the only true good impressions of 阿兵哥 were left gazillion years ago in our 好公民textbooks during our primary school days.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


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

My M113 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.