Closure

It’s the time of the year where most of us take a look back at the yer that is about to end. Here people may get sentimental and all.

This year has been one of ups and downs, which is of no surprise. Bad luck in China, application for medicine and being posted to this unit has contributed much anxiety,heartache and melancholy. I find my rejection from the noble profession ironically amusing: at least I do not have to waste my cells mugging like mad for a few years at least. It has allowed me to see whether this career is really for me. Though, I still feel my future lies somehow over there. Was my years of preparation laid to waste during the interview? All I know is that I couldn’t impress well enough.

This somewhat prolonged my stay in the unit, which I’m still trying to find my way around. I have seen others struggling to keep their heads up in the battalion and I think of myself as being halfway there. The early days were a ‘baptism of fire’ as I was exposed to people that I was sheltered rfom in my social circle. It wasn’t easy trying to see beyond their undesirable habits and character. Being rejected from medicine prevented me from leaving as early as July. Training was tough with a lot of walking and shit done. Things were made more frustrating due to the way the battalion and coy did things. Back then I read horror stories of Brunei. Now I had experienced it and I had survived. There is still less than a year to go before the 3 words are said– it’s better to look forward to it but I don’t hate the army as much as some of my peers do. I find it impressive how civilians can be converted to fighting forces so quickly, despite it being against our wills. Whether we will stand up to defend when real shit happens is another topic for another day.

2014 was a good year for the traveller in me. Having visited hometowns in China, entered Malaysia for the first time in my life and seeing Brunei with its idyllic lifestyle were all fruitful expeditions. Though I entered Msia for a bilateral exercise in Pahang of all places, I shed the ignominy of not crossing the Causeway for 18 years.

Here I find a need to reflect on my spiritual life– I would describe it as a bowl of slightly hot water being left to cool. I can’t seem to find a fire to keep it burning. There are so many instances where I’m just too tired & lazy to even talk to Him daily. A growing sense of apathy took root as He became an emergency button for pressing. Much as I hated myself for behaving like that, I was the seed on shallow soil. It is, I should say, proper to restart this flagging relationship but laziness takes flight.

Although things may not seem to go my way, I believe He has the best in mind for me. Can I face the new year with its tribulations, depressing news along with its joys?

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Virgin trip to Malaysia

I feel that my first trip across the Causeway was a unique one as I followed my coy for a bilateral exercise, rather than on a leisure trip. Who goes to Pahang to fight in the first place?

We left camp and crossed into Malaysia in the morning.

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My first impression was a shitload of oil palm trees..

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We turned towards Ulu Tiram to the camp belonging to 1 RRD.

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We were welcomed warmly and were given a guard of honour. The food by Desatera was okay but still better than Foodfare. Most of the first 3 days were spent on lectures about the armour, engineers and whatnot which we did not understand. There was also an opening parade where 3 Div (?!) commander came down. By some coincidence the SM was 1 Gds 10th mono RSM. The Malaysians have a different way of saying drills without regulation pauses as we know it.

For outfield, we had a parade along with Muslim prayers blessing the exercise. We set off in a large convoy of some 30 vehicles, led by police cars and scrambler bikes. They forced traffic to a stop, giving us ease of access through traffic junctions. If you didn’t know, Msian tonners drive way faster than that in SG of around 80km/h, but we still took 5 hours. From camp, we hit the legendary North-South highway, exited at Yong Peng, sped through Segamat and went on the Lebuhraya Segamat-Kuantan/Tun Razak, turned left on Highway 11 and reached Ladang Umac plantation. Along the way, a convoy of SG Ferraris overtook us, including an old unknown model. It was impressive to say the least.

The Msians do outfield different from us– fresh rations and a proper toilet with water for washing hands?! Their field discipline is different as well.

For the next 4 days, we emerged from the plantation and walked along a road running beside Bera Selatan 5 run by FGV Berhad. It was during this time that I realised we were in Pahang Darul Makmur proper. Overall we walked some 25km. The final objective was cleared surprisingly quickly.

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There was too much shadow puppetry flying around that it became irksome. Furthermore, we were contacted once while the rest had it 8 times. Is this for them to show that they are gilat? I don’t know, but it felt like we weren’t taken seriously.

The last night was social night where it was performances, along with some rice wine, BBQ and even shisha. Most danced to a particular song.

Overall it was an eye-opener, especially when it was our immediate neighbour.