Monday, July 05, 2004

Book In Blues

All the years of being an NS girlfriend never quite prepared me for being an NS wife. Sent Dan to camp this morning. We left about the same time we would if we had to go to school, which means on my holiday, I didn't get to sleep in.

Anyway, there's something very sad about watching grown men queue up obediently, under the orders on a youngling to give their document papers to some guy sitting under a green tent. It's not as strange when these guys are 18 year old boys who look scared shitless and need some hoo-ah kicked into them by those slightly older but empowered as the Men in Green with bars on their shoulders or thingys on the arms. But grown men, who may be professionals in their own field, kow-towing to the same young uns?

But be it 18 or 30, they all wear the same look. The look of that becries "damn it, I don't want to be here and I can't believe I have to do this". They all wear it, in varying intensities. Of course the wet behind the ears NS boys would look like they are about to drop everything and run weepingly toward the car driving off and the reserve units look like they want to punch the lights out of someone for making them pull out their dusty-haven't been worn for ages- fatigues and disinfect their mud laden-sweat sodden-another world growing in there- helmet.

Oh well.

Such is the life of a true Singapore man.

On the way to the camp, we were discussing the merits of being an officer. Dan could find none, I could find about 5, all linked to the cosmetic coolness of being an officer that he scoffed at. Cool uniform, sword, a double bar on the shoulders, having gone through OCS (Nothing makes a man like OCS does...haha..) and well, cool uniform. He listed laughed at by underlings and yelled at by superior officers, tough training at OCS and 10 more years of serving reservist as key reasons that it was a vocation to be avoided. Oh well. Little does he understand the attraction of a man in a dress uniform.

Off now to Starbucks to complete more marking. There has been drilling everyday since we've been back from Vancouver on the ground floor of the opposite block and it drives me insane, so off to quieter pastures.



Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:29

2 thoughts...

2 thoughts...

At 2:37 pm Blogger J. said...

ahhh. no man understands the appeal of a man in dress uniform. which is probably a good thing; otherwise they would all be insufferable.

poor dan. we must get together when he is sprung from his military cage, ok? soon. :)

 
At 12:48 pm Blogger wahj said...

Let me add to Dan's list of reasons why it's not so cool to be an officer, especially in reservists:

Being held responsible for the actions of (a) silly and irresponsible 19 year olds in full time NS and (b) unmotivated reservists afterwards. Example for full time NS: Blackout in camp. 19 year old NSFs go "whoopee". Runs around in the dark. In carpark. Into a clothesline that some other 19 year old boy has intelligently strung up between 2 lampposts. Nearly breaks neck. It's your fault. Example for reservists: Being asked to account for why your company has the lowest IPPT pass rate. When you see your men once a year. And have no authority, business, or indeed time to be nagging them to exercise every week. Especially when they're struggling to keep their jobs in an economic crisis/managing family problems/just plain lazy.

Other reasons why it's not so hot to be an officer in reservists: realising that every time you go back for incamp training, your men have a better time than you, because they completely lose all initiative and abdicate all responsbility (because the responsbility and blame will always fall on you) and just have to deal with the sweaty physical stuff, while you still have to do all the physical stuff they do (at least in the infantry, and at least in the field: you do get breaks while in camp, that's true) while still thinking and mothering 103 people who mostly act like children when you're there. The icing on the cake: once they step out the gate, some of these people make more money than you, hold higher positions, are more advanced in their careers. Some guys act their age during reservists, but a surprising number don't, and you have to motivate them to get the job done somehow.

As opposed to that: Number of times I have worn my dress uniform = 3. With sword = 1.

= )

One thing I will agree on: the most important thing you take out of OCS is not the uniform, sword, or bars. It's what's inside you. Even then, serving in a combat unit gave me more of that than OCS ever did.

 

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