Friday, December 31, 2004
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Harry Connick Jr. - When My Heart Finds Christmas, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.You're meant to make resolutions on New Year's Eve for the new year. Last New Year's Eve, I made the resolution that I would not make any resolutions any more, at least, not in public. At the very least, though, I will make it a point not to forget Boxing Day, even if at the moment, I am feeling shitty about being an armchair aid-giver, and sitting here now still, doing what some may say is merely dissing local bigwigs for not doing enough. But as some say, at least they're doing something. ComfortDelgro, the transport giant, has very commendable employees and drivers who have donated $50,000 to the Red Cross fund, OCBC has 'raised $487,000'; Hong Leong Foundation has 'donated $200,000' and will direct all proceeds from their purchase of Russel Wong's exhibition's opening night to the Red Cross fund. And, 'for SembCorp Environmental Management, it had valuable contacts with those in the karang guni trade. And so it mobilised its network of karang gunis to go house to house in HDB estates to collect clothes for the survivors. Quek Keng Kwang, General Manager, SembVISY Recycling MRF, said, "Most of them willingly donate all the clothing which have been collected and this is their hard earned money everyday."' There are a lot of people and corporations who have helped, or tried to help, even if they've been a complete moron and donated a pair of high heel shoes (I read this somewhere but I can't find the link). But as I was telling LMD, who was so alarmed at the sudden and uncharacteristic 'righteous anger' on this blog that she thought someone with a conscience had hacked into my Blogger account, I am not about to pat these people on the back and say well-done, especially when they can do a whole lot more. What some of these giant local corporations (quasi-corporations included) are doing right now is akin to someone witnessing a person getting seriously hurt in a car accident and then merely leaving a packet of tissue paper for the victim. But New Year's Eve is New Year's Eve, and don't let anyone begrudge you for going out and having a good time. Life has to go on, even in a disaster zone. But whatever you do, don't forget Boxing Day 2004, raise awareness whenever you can. P.S. Sim Mong Hoo, not only are your products ugly, your people are still flogging your iPod killer, while the iPod's people have taken down the Christmas trimmings. (From atypical Singaporean)
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Over and above S$2 million: NTUC offers condolences
Some corporations, really big ones, like Pfizer, Amazon.com, Citigroup, Cisco Systems, Bristol-Myers Squibb, have rallied in response to the tsunami disaster by donating generously. Over here, our very own very big quasi-corporation, NTUC, 'expresses her deepest heartfelt condolences to the families of victims affected by last Sunday's tsunami that struck many parts of Asia, following the earthquake off the coast of Aceh, Sumatra. The Singapore Labour Foundation (SLF), on behalf of the labour movement, has made a S$20,000 donation to those affected in the region through the Red Cross. Additionally, 5,000 food relief packages worth S$50,000 and weighing some 1.5-million tonnes have been sent to Colombo, Sri Lanka by NTUC Fairprice, which is working with Mercy Relief to raise up to S$100,000 for tsunami victims. Staples will also be channelled to Aceh where the quake was hardest hit. On 1 Jan 2005, members of the public can also purchase Food Relief Packages at S$10 each from Fairprice supermarkets, which will then be sent to Aceh and other parts of India. Donation cans will also be placed at all Fairprice outlets from today'. As some Singaporeans are wont to say, very big corporations here must have very good reason for not being as generous as say, Abbott Laboratories. But you know what? Right now I just feel like telling some large local corporation they're a fcuking ntuc.
S$2 million and more coming
There were odd bits of humanitarian activity here amidst the end of year shopping madness. A couple of friends have been online urging people to drop off donations at collection centres around Singapore. The government has sent a DART team, two Chinooks, with several Super Pumas on standby for Thailand and Indonesia, and has said that this is 'over and above the $2 million assistance the government had announced to help affected countries'. It's OK guys, no need to do PR damage control, just send help. And the search for a platoon mate, who my reservist platoon thought had gone to Phuket for Christmas, ended with a phone call with him saying 'wrong person lah. I never go Phuket, but I remember you and me talking to someone one night in the jungle, very dark, so cannot remember who it was. But he say he was going to Phuket with his wife'. We're still trying to figure out who it is. Meantime, here's a list (gleaned off BBC) of NGOs on the ground at the disaster sites: Cafod Care International International Red Cross Medecins Sans Frontieres Oxfam Save The Children Unicef UN World Food Programme World Vision Christian Aid Islamic Relief Click on to find out more about what they're doing, and how they're trying to get aid to the sites. I've also heard that some of the stuff Singaporeans have been donating, like old clothes, blankets and towels, are not quite that high on the priority list, and that these items are: 1. Tents 2. Food (Pre-cooked or ready-to-eat meal packs) 3. Water Purification Tablets 4. Wheat Flour, rice, other staples 5. Drugs: Paracetamol, anti-biotics, wound dressing, suture material, disposable syringes, vitamins, and vaccinations for diarrhea, cholera and malaria. 6. Intravenous infusion (saline and dextrose) 7. Portable generators So, don't be in a hurry to dig out your old clothes from your cupboard yet.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Not good enough
As I write, the toll has climbed to over 50,000. Cheh Zhai Meen says if you have DBS internet banking, you can make your contributions payable to RED CROSS TIDAL WAVES ASIA. Thanks for leaving that comment. While it doesn't seem appropriate to apportion blame in an event such as this, I'm of similar sentiment as Mr Brown when it comes to Singaporeans and their actions (if any) in attempting to ameliorate the suffering. Why so slow? Can't we fly our vaunted medical team there first, then help evaluate what needs to be done? Surely there'll be things to do as soon as you hit the ground, no? Maid agencies here can send sacked domestic helpers back to Indonesia faster than you can blink an eye, man! Not good enough, dudes! (Update: RSAF C-130 with supplies despatched to Medan) Also, you know when the people in Colorado discovered the massive earthquake, and measured it as a very big one under the sea off Indonesia, how come it didn't occur to their expert brains that tsunamis would more likely than not, ensue? And if it did occur to them, it would've occurred to them that it would have ensued on such a devastating scale that would have prompted them to take ALL POSSIBLE MEANS to contact AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE in the region affected. What do you mean by NO WARNING SYSTEM? Use your blain! Call the State Department, call consulates, you have internet? Google! Wah lao! You can put decimal places on the Richter scale and you cannot make a few simple phone calls?! It's not as if it hasn't happened before! Not bloody good enough, dudes! (Update: From NYT (login required): ...The Pacific center, operated by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, faced two problems in recognizing what was occurring in the Indian Ocean and alerting potential victims. There is no direct connection between an earthquake magnitude and a resulting tsunami. Not all quakes under the ocean lift the ocean floor to displace the water needed to create a tsunami.... ...Dr. McCreery, the Honolulu center's director, said the initial estimate of the earthquake's magnitude, 8.0, would have been likely to generate a local tsunami....) My World Bank friend, who's back in Washington tells me news coverage in the US of the disaster is appalling. It seems this is just some earthquake and big waves somewhere in Asia, and the only thing worth reporting is how many Americans have been victims of the disaster. Probably because holidaymakers in the region are predominantly European and not American, says my World Bank friend, who called me earlier very upset that her favourite beach in the world, Raily, is no more, and she doesn't know what's become of her friends who live there.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Monday, December 27, 2004
Humanitarian Assistance To The Victims of the Bay of Bengal Earthquake and Tidal Waves
If you want to help, here's one of the ways you can. (And from Myrick, some more ways you might be able to help, at the Acorn). Singapore Red Cross Press Release:
Humanitarian Assistance To The Victims of the Bay of Bengal Earthquake and Tidal Waves The Singapore Red Cross Society in response to the call for international assistance by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is launching a public appeal to help the victims of the Bay of Bengal earthquake and tidal waves. As an immediate response to the disaster, the Singapore Red Cross will be sending a sum of Singapore dollars, One hundred and fifty thousand (S$150,000) to Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India (through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). The Singapore Red Cross is also in touch with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the national societies of all affected countries to determine what assistance is required to assist the victims. The Singapore Red Cross hopes to raise Singapore dollars, One Million (S$1,000,000) for this appeal. The Singapore Red Cross calls on Singaporeans and other like-minded organisations to come forward to contribute to this appeal and help the victims affected by the earthquake and tidal waves that swept across the India Ocean and affected Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives, India and Sri Lanka. The Singapore Red Cross requests donation for the affected countries. The money donated to this emergency appeal will be used to fund purchases and direct delivery of emergency items like medicine and first aid, food parcels and other relief supplies for the displaced and homeless victims. The public can send their donations: 1) By cheque to the "Singapore Red Cross Society" Please indicate behind the cheque "Tidal Waves Asia". Include name, address and telephone number at the back of the cheque as a receipt will be sent to you. Post the Cheque to: Singapore Red Cross, Red Cross House, 15 Penang Lane, Singapore 238486 2) Donors may wish to come personally to make a donation at the Red Cross House, 15 Penang Lane between 9.00am to 5.30pm on weekdays and from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. For more information, please contact the following: 1. Mr Lim Theam Poh Manager, International Services Division Singapore Red Cross Tel: 6 336-0269 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2. Ms Carol Teo Manager, Corporate Services Division Singapore Red Cross Tel: 6 336 0269 / Mobile: 9847 2024 Email: email@example.com
Sunday, December 26, 2004
What's a Yule?
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: I Go To Extremes - Billy Joel - Greatest Hits Vol. III, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.So I spent Christmas Eve at home with the family. Then I went out. Lat and his Lot (not their real names) had decided on a fun boys' night out at Thumper at Goodwood Park Hotel. So I invited myself along. It's always fun being out with Lat and his Lot. You're almost guaranteed to drink a lot, and you get to have strength in numbers when ogling at women, and if you're adequately inebriated, you get to have strength in numbers when trying to chat up the women you've ogled at. To generate some pre-going out hype, I told Lat and his Lot a story I heard a couple of days ago about something that happened at Thumper. In the car park at Goodwood Park Hotel, to be precise. The car park behind the hotel is quite brightly lit these days, and it was to my friend's (who told me the story) shock that she saw a parked Porsche* carrying a man in the driver's seat carrying a woman riding astride him moving up and down and down and up. All while people were making their way to their cars after a party at Thumper last Saturday. The friend who told me the story was just as shocked when I told her if I had a Porsche, I'd want to be the man in the driver's seat with a woman riding astride me, and that I'd even roll down the window and stick my face out just so people making their way to their cars would know it's me. Neither me nor Lat or any of his Lot own a Porsche or anything that comes close, so our chances of pulling that trick weren't very high. Still, we had our fun drinking enough to want to chat up some women, asking them if they'd ride astride any one of us if any one of us owned a Porsche that was parked outside. Unfortunately, the music playing was a bit loud, so the women couldn't hear us very well. So full of Christmas spirit he's about to throw up. Christmas Day Lunch, Hu Cui Shanghai Restaurant, Ngee Ann City. *Any Porsche but the Cayenne. With the Cayenne, all you'll get is Christopher Lee riding astride you asking if he can turn on the Fann.
Friday, December 24, 2004
So this is Christmas and what have you done?
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Harry Connick Jr. - When My Heart Finds Christmas, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.A quick click on my archives, and I find that there's not much difference from last Christmas. Only this year, reservist is before Christmas, and my friend Ryan's got a girlfriend now and he's gone on leave so he won't call me to tell me what a miserable Christmas he's having because the girl he likes doesn't like him back that way. I might have a guest over for Christmas Eve dinner with my family, depending on whether she's patched up with her boyfriend or not. They always fight during this time of year. Then there are several Christmas and Boxing Day dinners to attend, and I might attend, depending on the make-up of the guests invited. By that I mean the number of married or attached guests. The coupled. At these dinners, you often witness the coupled being totally self-absorbed because it is after all the season that engenders such things, or you witness a big intra-couple blue brewing, and you just know that when they get home, they're gonna be at each other's throats because it is after all the season that engenders such things. Then there is the danger of witnessing the non-coupled or recently uncoupled developing an imminent coupling. You know the sort. They go around the host's house looking for the mistletoe, thinking no-one knows they're doing that. (But Mr Miyagi, he see everything). I shudder at the thought that one day I might be one of the sort. Not much middle ground there, and often too intense for my liking. I just like to eat the turkey stuffing with some cranberry sauce, can liao, and I can eat a whole can of that stuff. And I am thankful there will be food on my plate no matter what. Merry Christmas everyone. Here's to the underrated comfort of having more of the same stuff every year. Christmas 2002. The tree's been shifted to the right of the picture this year.
Surf stop: Gulaman Life
Thursday, December 23, 2004
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: Starman - David Bowie - Best of David Bowie: 1969-1974, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.I have one of those annoying eyelid twitching thing going on. It means someone's thinking of you, I'm told. What the heow? If you're thinking of me, call me, email me, send me a card. Don't make my eyelid twitch like that! Fucking irritating! I'm also told if you get a coughing or sneezing fit, someone's thinking of you too. Thinking bad thoughts or good thoughts is another thing though, I'm told. But if you cough and cough, sneeze and sneeze, then fall down and break your neck, someone is in love with you, or something. Meanwhile, my nephew's Christmas wishlist is almost as expensive as mine. He wants the whole Thomas & Friends train and track layout collection: Salty & Ocean Cars Three Pack I haven't spoken to Bad Luck Steve yet, and I don't know if he's back from Thailand or not. Wonder what he wants for Christmas. Definitely not a phone, I'm sure. Speaking of phones, I received one of those late night phone calls last night. Y'know, from female friend in distress type of call? She wanted a place to crash, and asked if she could come over. I said sure. She said, so sorry to trouble you, I'll call before coming over. I waited till 4am, and she never did turn up, and I only have this to say to her: If you're reading this and it's you that's thinking of me and making my eyelid twitch like that, STOP RIGHT NOW. IT'S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE! Getting into the Christmas spirit, this cat was found stuffing himself into a box at River Valley.
Surf stop: Girl In Bionic Suit
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Three shopping days and a partridge in a pear tree
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: Zat You Santa Claus ? - Louis Armstrong - The Very Best Of Christmas Favourites, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.I don't ask for much. A bunch of colourful socks can liao: But if any of you are feeling slightly more generous, this is not bad: Or maybe this: I've been good this year, I have. 1 x Greeting, Christmas, Merry, With Mark, Exclamation, SSN0001000230321
Surf Stop: Renaissance Girl
Monday, December 20, 2004
Individual Body Maintenance (IBM)
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: Poor Man's Two Step - John Delafose & the Eunice Playboys - Original Soundtrack - Passion Fish, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.I would've been well rested during ICT what with all the afternoon (and some morning) naps, but the last two days of training put paid to that. So, this weekend, I went to the dentist and got the barnacles scraped off my pearly not-so-whites, got a G.I. George haircut, contemplated a facial and toyed with the idea of going for a foot-massage/pedicure before deciding to wash my car (myself). I now have short hair, white teeth and a shiny black car. This weekend also, my platoon mates Dilbert shopped 'with the missus', David (not his real name) probably spent a lot of time at work and then with his girlfriend, while I am afraid to know if Sgt Foreskin is still contemplating a circumcision. Work beckons like a stampede in the morning, and I wish I could say I was looking forward to it. But before then, a little more frivolity (via Indian Stallion via Mr Brown): Mr Miyagi's iTunes Party Shuffle's 1st ten songs are: 1. A Never Ending Story - Sandy Lam 2. Lost in the Snow - Russell Watson 3. Poor Man's Two Step - John Delafose & the Eunice Playboys 4. Tears of Rage - Bob Dylan 5. The Seductress - Wynton Marsalis 6. Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix 7. Jealous Guy - Bryan Ferry 8. Emotional Love - John Mellencamp 9. Little Red Rooster - Rolling Stones 10. Don't Stop - Jolin Tsai I swear I dunno how the last song got into my computer. Virus! With spare masking and insulation tape, the enterprising men of Bravo Combat Team Platoon 7 began offering services not normally considered part of regimental tradition.
Surf stop: ShenzhenRen
Sunday, December 19, 2004
What we do in the bush
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: Living a Little, Laughing a Little - John Hiatt & Elvis Costello - Living a Little, Laughing a Little (1974 - 1985), of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.And because I'm still suffering from reservist hangover (past three mornings spent agonizing over what to wear and what to eat for breakfast), this is one more army entry. "It's all about the gear", Dilbert Chua says as I pack my things on Sunday night for outfield training. He's sniggering at the number of things I've packed for just two days' field training. I've got fingerless gloves, a 3-litre camelbak, scarf, bungee cords, a field pack with selected stuff from one army-issue 24hr combat rations pack (mutton curry pasta, red bean dessert, two types of Kong Guan biscuits, peach iced tea powder, ovaltine candy, instant coffee powder, instant crysanthemum tea powder and two types of cereal bars), a mess tin set, motorbike helmet, combat helmet, floppy hat, skeletal battle order webbing, marker pens, notebook, black insulation tape, prickly heat powder, insect repellant, toothbrush, toothpaste and facial cleansing foam. Oh, and mobile phone in ziploc. And this is before we collect our weapons, ammunition and radio communications devices. The field training itself was rather nondescript. The usual four missions, three day and one night, with the usual snafus because we only do this once a year, so mistakes are to be expected. The only noteworthy aspect of field training is the fact that we have to spend the night out in the bush. No lights allowed, very dark, and possibly very dangerous because hey, we're civilians and usually when it gets dark, we turn the lights on. These days my job's pretty nondescript too. I ride around on a motorcycle, usually behind all the armoured fighting vehicles and battle tanks of the company, wait for orders to either look for a lost tank or to guide the replenishment truck to the company's location. The job used to be more exciting, and I used to be asked to ride deep into 'enemy' territory, set up an observation post and report enemy movement. And because we're not at war, it's all pretty safe except for the odd chance I might get run over by one of the tanks, especially at night, and especially if I fall off the bike. So, anyway, it's all about the gear, and when it came time to take a short sleep break in the bush, one of the boys said he had a damn good kang tow for insect repellant. He'd just gone to Club Med a few weeks earlier and snaffled a bunch of citronella wipes. The nabehcheebye mosquito won't bite if you wipe this on yourself, he said. And don't throw away the wipe, tie it to something on you. So I tied the wipe on my floppy hat, earning sniggers from the boys who said, wah lan eh, tie ribbin ah? The wipe worked a treat. No mozzies as I tried my best to sleep. It's amazing how quickly you sleep when you're tired, despite the obvious discomfort of sleeping on the ground. Most of us started snoring as soon as we hit the deck, with the exception of Sgt Foreskin, who was still telling all who would listen about his lack of a love life. Then my hat fell off while I slept, and I woke up with my face numb. I thought at first it was because of the morning chill (it does get quite cold). Then I tried to drink from my water bottle and dribbled all over myself. I put my fingers to my face and felt a knobbly collection of welts, including two on my lips that were so big my mouth couldn't close properly. The other boys then woke up, saw me and my knobbly face and laughed, saying I looked like a cross between Chow Yun-Fatt and Angelina Jolie. Undeterred by his date leaving as soon as she saw his 'special romantic place', David continued to make breakfast for two.
Surf stop: The Taipei Kid
Friday, December 17, 2004
Rules of engagement and other things reservists have to worry about
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: Guilty - Jimmy Barnes - Flesh and Wood, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.My Army unit is on Mobilisation Manning this week, right after 17 days of in-camp training! If they mobilise us this Saturday just to practice, we will be very, very upset. Watch your tv screens for the flashing green man with our codewords: Flying Oyster Omelette, Soiled Sanitary Pad & Deep Fried Tofu. If they mobilise us because some Al-Qaeda affiliate tries to bash through the impenetrable barriers at Holland Village, we will still be very, very upset. Woe betide the Al-Qaeda affiliate. You joined the wrong club. Me and me mates wiw kew you dead, because we haven't had the chance to watch a midnight movie in a while. Speaking of angry reservists, so, no one wet their beds last, last Sunday night, and the IPPT was conducted on Monday morning without incident. Later on, we went for our theory lessons in Laws of Armed Conflict and Rules of Engagement. At the lecture, they showed us slides with some basic pointers on International Humanitarian Law accompanied by some gruesome pictures. Then they showed us clips from Platoon ("My Lai" village scene), and Rules of Engagement. Coincidentally, my platoon mate Dilbert Chua lent me a book called "Tell Me No Lies", which has a chapter on My Lai. So, in between naps, I read the chapter and wondered if Tuesday's practical portion of the LOAC and ROE (the SAF, they lurve them acronyms) could be effectively taught at the FIBUA (Fighting In Built Up Area) "village" near the ATC (Armour Training Centre). The lesson module was such that we were not told what exactly to expect, and how exactly to react, and we were to see if our military objectives could be effectively met while observing LOAC and ROE. So, we were shot at by 'civilian simulators' from the second floors (thank goodness only second floor. No lift leh!) of the HDB blocks, shot at from an ambulance, shot at from outside a checkpoint, grenaded by a 'simulated pregnant woman', delayed by a 'simulated hostage taker' taking 'simulated hostages', delayed by a 'simulated civilian asking for food and water and getting in the line of fire' etc, etc. It all went according to the trainers' expectations. We didn't know how to react. And because this was just a simulation, and not somewhere in Fallujah, the funniest scenario was when one section from my tactical team stormed a building only to find that two civilians had been taken hostage, and so we couldn't lob grenades into all three rooms of the three room flat from which we were fired upon. Tired and frustrated from climbing the stairs, and perhaps also from having problems at home, the 'hostage negotiations' were opened by a member of the section and it went something like this: What the fuck you want, ninabehcheebye motherfucker? I want an airline ticket! Airline ticket?? Cheebye! Simi airline?! Emirates! Cheebye! Emirates?! Ki tolo?! (go where?) Anywhere! Fuck you! Kaninabuchowcheebyemotherfucker! Limpehshootjitliaphorliseeeee! And then there was a burst of automatic gunfire. After which, the slack-jawed trainer declared the simulated hostages and their simulated captor dead. Then we broke for lunch, the troopers and simulated civilians and terrorists, though we could've eaten earlier if we had just lobbed grenades into the flat and saved some time. Some of us spoke up and said they were glad we weren't in a real war zone, because we might end up doing the same things the Americans are doing in Iraq, or the Israelis in the occupied territories. But would we, me and me mates, be as indiscriminately murderous if say, an Al-Qaeda affiliate tried to bash through the barriers at Holland Village? I'd say no. Because earlier, my section came under simulated sniper fire from a simulated two-room flat, and my section commander led us upstairs to the door of the flat, knocked on the door and said, "Open up, I count to three, you better open up, or else... or else.... we come in! ONE, TWO, THREE! Open lah, cheebye!" At our debrief, we were asked what else we could have done to meet our objective (which was to secure the junction downstairs). We could have lobbed two simulated M203 grenades into the windows where the sniper fire was coming from, and we'd be happy as larry, junction secured. But we didn't. So all youse civilians, ang mohs and chow-keng-never-do-reservist-because-downgradeds, if an Al-Qaeda affiliate tries to bash through the barriers at Holland Village, and me and me mates are mobilised, you can still sip your Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf lattes while we think twice before fragging the whole place. And you have our Army and their LOAC/ROE lesson package to thank. We also learned that Singapore is not a signatory to the 1st (Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts) and 2nd (Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts) additional protocols of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Anyone know why? Mr Tan's neighbourhood residents' committee tended to go over the top when dealing with complaints of noisy neighbours
Surf stop: dsng.net: the daryl sng blog
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Asia Blog Awards 2004
Just got out of reservist training (finally! 17 days a bit too long leh!) Updates on SAF's new hi-tech helicopter simulator and the life and times of Sergeant Foreskin soon. So much to write, dunno where to start, dunno whether I'm allowed to write in detail about training. See how. Meantime, thank you Mr Brown and others for nominating this blog in the Best Singapore Blog category of Simon World's Asia Blog Awards 2004. Voting is free. No SMS or 1900 charges. "This is a budget airline! The only nuts you'll get are the ones between your legs!", said the chief steward
Surf stop: Simon World
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Loy Krathong (water parade)
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: A Day in the Life - The Beatles - 1967-1970 Disc 1, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.Tonight I have to book back in to camp early because we're having a water parade. We're having a water parade because they are conducting the physical proficiency test (IPPT) in the morning, and they don't want any of us to die of thirst. So tonight, they'll make us drink two bottles of water (2l) and hope we don't wet our beds. I was looking forward to passing the IPPT and getting $400, but they tell me I can't do the IPPT because I haven't gone for my Fit For Infantry (FFI) medical inspection, which is compulsory for all soldiers aged 35 and above. I tell them they didn't tell me to go for FFI, and they tell me they were supposed to write me a letter telling me to go to them for an FFI. They, are the all-knowing, all-powerful them. Source of all information, true and false. Last year, they said Stefanie Sun was gonna come to camp and sing for us. Last year, they also said we'd only have one ICT this year. This year, they tell us we're going to Australia for training next year. Every day in camp, they say there might be night off at night. Every week, they say we might go home on Friday night. Every once in a while, someone says it's been heard that they say National Service might be scrapped. Apart from the water parade and some Army evaluation (ATEC) of our battalion, we're not sure what else we'll be doing this week, and we're looking forward to them leaking bits of information and rumour. Last we heard was that they were making us do heliborne training as well as boat coastal hook assault. Quite busy, if it's all true. I've stocked up on my instant 3 in 1 milk tea and biscuits already, as well as a stack of women's magazines for the rest of the boys. (Cleo and Her World are very popular in my platoon). Who will keep us safe? (Live firing exercise dry run, Singapore 1990).
Surf stop: twenty-five seconds of silence
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Brand of Bothers
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: Oh, what a beautiful mornin' - 1998 London Cast Recording - Oklahoma!, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music."Eh, so, Diana Ser's boobs really quite big, ah?" And another thread of conversation in the bunk commences. In-Camp training (ICT) gives us licence to become lewd, loud blockheads. It's one of the symptoms of what my platoon mate and journalist, Corporal Dilbert Chua (not his real name, obviously), calls the 'Green Disease', where the moment you put on that No.4 uniform, you leave your civilian sensibilities and common sense at home. And you feel sleepy every single minute of the day. At 9.30am on the first day, we have our first canteen break, where we spend half an hour or so catching up on each other's lives over a cup of coffee and some oily canteen food. The ones in front of the queue buy the coffee, and tell their friends to go chope a seat. This is where we forget, no matter how many times we've been to ICT, that we're not used to being in uniform, or seeing our friends in uniform. Reservist No.1 buys and carries a tray of coffees, turns around to look for his friends, and suddenly realises that everyone is wearing the same thing, and so can't find his friends. Ditto Reservist No.2 after getting his and his friends' drinks. It takes about two days before we get used to this, and look out for our friends' faces instead of what they're wearing. Later on in the day, we complete our drawing of stores and equipment, and there is some free time, which is spent lounging on our beds, chatting. Our newly appointed Company Sergeant Major, a school teacher by civilian profession, comes into the bunkroom and joins in the conversation. This in-camp's conversation thread reflects the boys' ages, and most of them are turning 28. Thoughts turn to marriage, career, new cars and babies. Dilbert says he wishes we'd still talk about loose women, tight girlfriends and good blowjobs. So, our Company Sergeant Major, 2nd Sergeant Clive Lim (not his real name also) laments that he too, isn't married, and doesn't know when he'll ever get a girlfriend. He looks at the tattoo on my arm and asks if he too, should get a tattoo so that he can get the girls. Dilbert tells him dismissively, "You getting a tattoo is like a man with no hair trying to have a ponytail". Undeterred, 2nd Sergeant Clive carries on soliciting advice. His questions begin to reveal too much information: "Eh, I ask your advice ah, should I have a circumcision? I think my foreskin is too long". And because we have nothing better to do, we ask him if this is giving him problems. He says not really. We tell him then don't cut. He then tells us that once, he walked into a table and injured his penis, but that it wasn't serious, because the foreskin protected him. We tell him, see? Good what! Cut for what? Then he tells us that he gets aroused too easily, and that maybe, being circumcised might help. Thankfully, the conversation is broken by several phones going off and some of us having to answer our phones and talking to our loved ones. (Dilbert and myself excuse ourselves and go make phone calls to our loved ones.) Some things don't change. Catching forty one winks. Kanchanaburi, Thailand, October 1989.
Surf stop: Dan Washburn's Shanghai Diaries