Funny In Rank

80′ and you’re a lieutenant colonel
83′ and he’s a captain

Should I congratulate you
Or console him?

He’s got a Mercs
You’ve got a Kia

Karma or Carma?

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We Run

We run, and we run. We run all the way across the parade square, to the spot where our younger selves used to sit. 

I’m in brown again, no longer the military green that I was clad in a moment ago. I feel like I’m in all white back in my junior college again, a proud young man ready to take on the world at breakneck speed. 

I look around, and I notice this isn’t the elevated parade square of my recent two soaring years. This is the parade square of my childhood years, an old but happy place of endless running and jumping. A place where I felt (and still feel) truly free.

We reach our spot, and we giggle like we used to all those years ago. Silly we seem, but happy we are. 

“Here?” I ask with a smile spread across my face.

“Yeah, here” you reply with a sincere laughter.

 I never felt free like this in a long time.

The next thing I knew, 8:40am. Blue stained sheets, old yellow blanket. I groaned, as all sense of happiness and freedom vanished into thin air in an instant. 

Soon

(Here’s a midweek post in the midst of SAF Day, a half day off for all country-loving and proud soldiers. Hope all military personnel in Singapore get a good rest, and congratulations to all those who received a promotion today.)

I watched as the two walked away:
Their silhouettes disappearing in the sunset,
Their laughter trailing off in the distance,
Their military combat days over in the twilight;

Off they go to academic training once more,
Away from the fields and mud they walk on,
To stethoscopes and mannequins they embark,
Leaving behind a parade square of men in the dark;

I feel the urge to go but I know I need fear not,
For my bags too are packed and ready to move on,
Not sure where to or what to they shall head towards,
But for certainty the dirt and the dust is what they shall pass;

I’ll be right there with you soon.

Sharper

(Here’s another post on the dramatisation and romanticisation of military life: this time it is about a young lieutenant and a private. Nothing too romantic, perhaps just a little underlying tension here and there. Hope you will enjoy it, it took all of three minutes haha.)

A young lieutenant shakes his head and says “no” with an explanation –
Not knowing that his adolescence within the military stands him in poor ground
Up against a young(er) private who stands firm on his feet with a thinking mind and
A wit sharper than any sword of honour the infantry army could provide;

You cannot blame the young lieutenant (to be honest):
He does not know what he is up against and he is definitely clueless
About the arsenal of ideas and words that are floating about behind enemy lines
Ready to be thrown to the frontline to take down any and all possible defences;

There was no fight nor open fire:
The private conceded the battle at the clash

But walked away knowing he had won the war.

All Those Years Ago

(I’m back with the romanticization of military life, and here is a tale of two sergeants. I added a little twist to the story just for the thrill of it and I think the form of this one gives it both a soothing yet incomplete edge, which is a bonus feature to reflect the ironic nature of the tale itself. It is short and abrupt, which creates a stinging impression. Hope you enjoy it, and I shall be back for more exciting tales soon!)

He asked if you’ve loved someone deep to the depth of the ocean before,
You said yes you have and that you’ve never loved anyone more;

You said to him that you are looking at him now and you smile carelessly,
He leaned in and gave you a kiss on the cheek and fell asleep with a warmth in his heart;

What he knew not was:

You saw but a pale reflection in him of his best friend,
The one true love of your life which was the only love which you lost

All those years ago.

“As If It Were Your First…”

Now that my BMT stint on the perpetually sunny island of Tekong is over, I finally have time to read through my Diary of Tekong Happenings and look back at all the things which made up the good, the bad, and the ugly. Slight lamentations started this military journey on Pulau Tekong, but smiles and heartfelt joy were the parting shots to this little adventure with Scorpion company (yes, it is the company with girls if that is what you are wondering haha).

Many laughable and memorable moments occurred over nine weeks on the island and it would probably take as many weeks if I were to go through them all with you today, and thus I have decided to zoom in on one worthy quote which I think can be applied to life in many different scenarios and circumstances. It was a line thrown at us by our Company Sergeant Major (CSM) – Master Sergeant (MSG) Denash, an Indian gentleman with the true grit of a soldier and the gentle heart of a guiding figure.

It was the day of our first Live Firing session with our rifles, a maiden experience at the Pulau Tekong 100m Live Firing Range where the rifles we mess around with on a daily basis were transformed into the lethal weapons designed to inflict maximum damage and casualty for the purposes of war. We were about to fire live rounds, and with it certainly carried a distinct element of danger and tension. To put it simply, you definitely would not want to accidentally shoot yourself in the foot or fire at your buddy next to you.

When we arrived at the live range, MSG Denash said this:

“I want you to treat every range as if it were your first.

It certainly sounded like a simple safety command which an experienced sergeant would attempt to warn us to abide by but more than that, this line can be transformed into something useful for all of us to use in our daily lives. You see, if we modify the line to allow “range” to be substitutable with any other experience or activity, it would open up a mindset where we face everything we take up with enthusiasm, passion and seriousness.

For example, if we swap “range” with “tennis match”, it woud be “to treat every tennis match as if it were your first”; if you follow my tread of thought, it would mean that you play every tennis match with the same joy, enthusiasm, seriousness and passion which you had for your first ever game of tennis! Just imagine how wonderful things would be and how great the results could be if we had such a mindset where we wake up each day with the same gratitude, curiosity, innocence and joy which we had when we first came into this world. It definitely would make us happier and more driven individuals, and the list of benefits continue.

There definitely were moments far more significant and quotes far more useful to military life which occurred over the course of nine weeks, but for now I think the quote above would be the one I will share today. I think it is important that we treat every day as a new day and every experience as a new experience so that we do not lose our positive energies to the mundanity of repetition and routine. It is not wrong to say that every experience is what we make of it, and the best should be made of every experience by treating it as if it were the first.