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About Command February 28, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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I was reading Band of Brothers for what seems to be the gazillionth time when i asked myself a question i must’ve asked myself time and time again, especially whenever i fell into the shadows of doubt. But it’s something i never allowed myself too often, lest i fall apart in front of everyone. And the million-dollar question goes like this:

Am i fit for command? Am i fit to wear 2 bars upon my shoulders?

Previously, i based my idea of command upon my School of Arty instructors, namely a certain CPT James. His idea of gentle tutelage, but knowing when to be harsh and demanding. Although i don’t know if my fellow cadets were similarly (and sufficiently) impressed by him, i know i was. But maybe it was because he was well-read and intelligent that impressed me.

Upon commissioning and entering TA Battery, 24th Battalion Singapore Artillery, i tried to base my idea of command upon CPT Francis, who shall be referred to here as ex-boss. Here was someone who led by example and who reminded his junior officers that he did so almost on a daily basis. Every bit the garang soldier, i tried to keep up with him but failed. If he had one flaw, perhaps it was the way he obeyed orders to the word. I felt that while he gave us free reign, i always had the strange impression that ex-boss was quite inflexible on things (especially regarding leave and off.)

Perhaps it was the way he kept telling us to hang ourselves and his physically imposing build which led us to think thus. I, however, failed to live up to this manifestation of command. It was like myself being inflexible, but failing to live up to what i decreed. I admit that i’ve failed in leadership by example before. Another example is during outfields (but i’m not talking about conducting courses.) During BATTLEKING, the crazy weather, coupled with me being forced to be with the shelter, leading myself to be improperly attired, etc (something i wouldn’t have done as a cadet but as a cadet you have rules.) but for goodness’ sake i was taking cadets. Failure to lead by example on a grand scale. I guess that may be a reason why our best friend is so fucked-up. No idea.

NZ, however, was grand. Maybe it’s because i wasn’t going with trainees anymore, or maybe it’s because the weather was absolutely grand – it was a time when i was absolutely proud of my being an officer, because i was able to lead by example while having a good time. It was like a Golden Age in NZ, and i loved it. It was worth every minute there. Then we came back for FATEP, which was, IMHO, atrocious. I’ll admit that i slept very little, if at all throughout the course of the FATEP days, but i slept on the move and then i’d be sleeping while everyone else was deploying. Granted, i’m a controller and i’m not even supposed to help, but the least i could do as a battery officer was come down and take a look, yes? At some point of the deployment i’d awaken and step out to take a look, but that was about it. I guess sleeping at 4 a.m. whilst everyone else could grab some z’s in between is the difference, but still, could i have pressed on?

(it was fucking different in the BOC, however. The reason why we didn’t receive any comms after midnight or so was because everyone was fucking asleep. I wonder what right could they have gotten lemuel and eric to man the shelter throughout when they were all in la-la-land. And guess why i know? Because i was up and about while all of you were performing research in quantum physics.)

As such, my current ideal of a good military officer in 24 SA should be as such:

  1. Thinks in a commonsensical way (which is difficult for me when the maggots appear and eat up my grey matter)
  2. Swears by his non-commissioned officers (which melvyn and myself do a lot…they are the technical gods of operating the systems)
  3. Trains in a matter oriented to battle (possible? i don’t know. How many of us have actually seen war?)
  4. Is moderately competent with the technicalities of the equipment, and is able to apply theory in an educated way. (i learned in BATTLEKING and perfected it in NZ…moohahahahaha)
  5. To really give 2 fucks about his subordinates (i’d like to think i tried…but i’m not the one you should ask if it worked.)
  6. Who can do what he preaches (a reason why i kiwi my boots daily and fold my uniform properly…but then again i’ve failed elsewhere in this particular aspect)

So do i fit the bill? Do you fit the bill? boss is an example of a rather good officer…he fits a lot of the abovementioned criteria…he’s a lot more cooler than me, for one thing. And his paikia-ism surely befits that of a captain of the SAF. And it’s not just your ordinary street xiao hun hun…he’s like the dai kor type…hahaha…he has a way of making people look up to him. But i guess, to each his own. Everyone has their personal style of leadership. My stint in the Army has seen me quite paikia (but nowhere near boss) and yes i do have a confidence in my step which is misread sometimes to be arrogance and i don’t normally watch what i talk in camp but still. I’m far from perfect, i guess, and leadership is a skill which has to be nurtured. I don’t know when i’ll be thrust into the driver’s seat again, do i?

I think there are some people in the unit, however, whose names i shall not mention, that clearly do not fit the above-listed criteria. I’m sure we all know who they are.

In retrospect, however, maybe officership wasn’t exactly the best thing (except the pay, of course.) I guess no matter where you go, you give up a little part of yourself, and you give up more as your position rises. As an officer, people just go yes sir, will do sir, three bags full, sir, and it gets done. Some of my closer friends have said that i have become an opinionated fucker and all and…i guess they’re right? I’m so used to taking the bull by its horns and saying what i want and what i think that it’s now just…me.

‘It happens. Just move on.’

It’s not as simple as that.

Specs/Men of TA, anything to say? Now that it’s all over, you can flame me without any extras (unless you threaten me…yes, threatening an officer is a chargeable offence.) HAHAHA.


Wir sind krank, ein Arzt ist aber nicht zu finden February 28, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

I’ve been reading the newspapers lately and i’ve come to the conclusion.

The system has made us ill, and there’s no doctor/cure for it.

I’m becoming more and more disgusted, especially when reading the forum. It’s a place where people, your ordinary man-in-the-street/bus/MRT/kopitiam/etc come to air their views. And from some of the letters, their ignorance becomes painfully obvious. And i mean painfully. It’s like i feel sorry for them because they know so little, and yet they want to flaunt their ignorance in public.

There was this mother who just annulled the [unspoken] doctor-patient confidentiality agreement in announcing in the Forum her daughter’s condition, just to find out why she was charged 80 quid. I mean, all’s fine and well with that, but if you really wanted to know, you could just ask at the counter, you know. Why? Is it too paiseh to do so? Or did you feel that by airing your grieviances on the Forum you’d get everyone in the medical service to reduce their charges? And all you did was to fall flat on your face, IMHO.

There are also people who write in to talk about going-ons around my block, my son’s school, etc etc; people writing in to complain about their sons having to wake up at 0600 every morning even though he goes to sleep at 2030 the night before. It’s bordering on absurdity. I mean, sure, you’re concerned and all, but didn’t you wake up at 0600 to go to school before? Aren’t all your son’s friends doing pretty much the same thing? Then why aren’t they complaining? There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting up early in the morning to go to school/work…and yes, looking tired at 6 in the morning is normal too. Don’t believe me? Go and ask all the schoolboys/girls waiting at the bus-stops at 0615 every morning if they’re tired.

And the trivial nature of things which appear in the Forum! They’re…amusing, to say the least because i read them and guffaw at how some people think. It’s difficult for Singapore to become a truly integrated society if there are people who are products of the elite school education, and people who write in to the newspapers about trivialities all day, like ‘so-and-so is leaking in my block, faulty sub-titling ruined a movie for poor old me, yadda, yadda.’

And the best part?

To substantiate their arguments, many include rhetoric, perhaps in an attempt to make them sound more educated. Sometimes it works; but sometimes it shows how shallow their understanding of the topic really is. It shows sometimes that they have failed to take into consideration the actual situation, only seeing things from their man-off-the-street viewpoint.

Let’s take, for example, the latest exchange regarding the turning away of patients just when any clinic is about to close. Of course, the doctor-on-duty has the right to turn away anyone who comes like, 5 minutes before the place closes, but it is up to his/her discretion if he wants to see any emergency cases. Don’t use the rhetoric that a doctor’s duty is to save lives – it is, of course, true, but you have to take into account the circumstances. When faced with one Herzinfarkt patient v.s. 10 patients down with the flu, who would he/she save first?

And it’s also very possible that 9 out of these 10 flu patients suddenly decided that ‘i want to go on medical leave tomorrow.’ There are symptoms, my darlings, and if you procrastinated in coming to the doctor, perhaps you never should have in the first place. Lastly, they, too are human.

This little shenanigan shows the average stuff which you see in the Forum every day. It’s a reflection of a society which has been so over-protected and well taken care of that every little thing is an issue worthy of bringing up to the Forum. We’re becoming machines who zero in on the slightest error and then who hold it up proudly in the air like a flag, shouting ‘HEY! I found this.’ The Forum has become a place to defame people, it seems. People who write in tend to sound as if they’re currently suffering from either verbal haemorrhoids or are currently having a fit of rage. And that they’re just writing about little everyday things really show how picky we’ve become. We should become a society which can accept more things as they are, instead of relying on the universal complaint to get things done (which normally doesn’t work anyway.)

Of course, there are other articles worth reading: concern over medicines which are available over-the counter, West v.s. East, things like that are still worth reading. It’s always good to gain someone else’s viewpoint. And although i don’t like to sound oh-so-high-and-mighty, it’s also good to get some laughs from some other articles. I also recommend reading Insight. There’s a forum made up of many articles from the global press detailing, discussing and analysing what’s happening around the World. Yes, Singaporeans, there is a world out there too, you know.

Neu um 14 Uhr: Bei dem rs2-Mann-Frau-Duell haben die Männer wieder verloren. Schade! Ist aber kein Wunder, denn all die schwere Fragen wurden an ihnen gestellt! Was heisst ‘blanchieren’? Wie könnte man sich die Bedeutung dieses Verbes sofort denn ausdenken?!

The Cult of ORD February 26, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

The Cult

and so prayed the worshippers for a better era to dawn upon them. Or for their pink I/C to rise again.

Charlize Theron, November and Emo Trips February 26, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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I was watching Sweet November just now on Channel 5 when some things struck me, namely,

  1. Charlize Theron is a goddess.
  2. I am prone to emo attacks.
  3. I could be a hopeless romantic too.

Well, number 1 is already a fairly well-known fact…so let’s move on to 2 and 3!

Sigh. I don’t know if it’s just my lonely self pining for companionship. How pathetic it sounds, but this movie just left me open to an emo attack at the ending, when she says that November is over…oh my goodness i just thought if i were fucking Keanu Reeves (har, har) i would’ve just keeled over and like died. It’s like…if there was a self-help guru like that, i’d like sign up immediately man…but if it was all about falling madly in love with her only to discover that she was dying…*sigh* yes, life isn’t perfect. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

She counts her life from month to month because helping people is all that keeps her together…never could she bear to see someone suffer because of her. But i guess it’s just her way of dealing with what’s eating her. If only there were that many people in the world. I think that if i get cancer, i’ll probably become totally resigned to my fate. and not like think about how i make the most of whatever i probably have left. It’s a refreshing way of thinking though – cancers have gone into remission because of a lifestyle/attitude change (though i wouldn’t bet good money on it to work alone) and imagine the people alle Couleur (Ed: from all walks of life) you actually get to meet and improve!

I still can’t fathom the reason why i became so emo about the whole movie. It’s funny and intelligent, not your average chic flick, and maybe it’s because she must’ve worked a minor miracle or something to change him so. The magic is that you can actually see the changes happening, but it’s so subtle that you have to actually review the movie after you’ve seen it. Although the rich fuckers probably will have nothing to do with such a so-called ‘rest cure’ it’s a refreshing break of a movie.

Maybe it’s because at the ending, she begged him to let her go, even though they both loved each other so, and much as he hated it, he did. What a good man. Sigh. I wish i could be someone like that…knowing when to let go and when not to. It’s a skill which is getting lesser and lesser practice with each passing day. Exempli gratia, who would let a girl like Charlize Theron go?! But think. Would you let your loved one(s) go if he/she begged you to do so? Even if you both love each other oh so deeply? Sigh…

I’m just too complicated for my own good.

time to make a stand February 25, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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No more lollygagging. I do think it’s time to make a stand about my future. I’m not going to worry anymore about having a job, usw.

Because if i keep thinking, nothing gets done. It’s time to settle down and think. Hard. For once and for all. About what i want to be, and where my interests lie. I did an online survey bei Allianz about my prospectives and they say i should be a journalist or someone working in the media. Is it because of how i tend to blog so voluminously?

Either way. It is bloody time to make a stand. Being wishy-washy won’t achieve anything at all.

Spoilt for Choice February 23, 2006

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Would life be simpler without choices? Being spoilt for choice is really something you don’t want to be caught in the middle of, especially when you’re making big choices in your life, for example…

1. Getting married (certainly you don’t want to have to choose between like…4 women at the altar – unless they’re quadruplets)
2. Declaring your loyalty to any particular side (like when choosing a scholarship, for example. Or any side in a 3-sided war when you’re undecided about who to support.)
3. Deciding on your course of study at a university (it’s awfully simple in Singapore though, the way the unis decide for you and not you deciding for yourself…)
4. How about your first car? (Manual or automatic, a speedster or a family car, yadda yadda…)

And no, although it may sound good to be qualified to fulfil every criteria because you’re then able to have a broader spectrum of options open to you, sometimes it really is more of a bane than a boon. Yes, it’s been proven that when faced with a multitude of options, people come under stress. That’s why yours truly has finally begun to write my apologetic soppy letters of rejection to the scholarship boards.

Why? Because i’m tired of being under stress, of my questioning nosey relatives who take me on The Guilt Express time and time again with the standard ‘you-should-make-your-parents-proud’ mantra. I’m not going to get a scholarship so i can garner face for my bloodline. That’s about the worst thing you should do, doing things just to garner face for yourself, or even worse, for someone else. Where’s the meaning in all that?! After all, i figure no scholarships will give me an entirely different experience. I’m not going to be someone who’s living a sheltered, all-expenses-paid life. I want to be someone who’s been there and done that.

So, i am, very simply, reducing my choices. I don’t expect anyone to understand.

And i’m not going to tarry in Singapore if there’re no opportunities. I can’t help it if my home is geographically small and because Big Brother takes care of everyone who’s a scholar (and because the competition here is often non-existent) can i? Let’s see. Arbeite ich als Journalist/Kolumnist, darf ich nur bei SPH arbeiten, weil es hier keine andere Pressewesen doch gibt. Es ist nicht einfach, sich dazu zu entschliessen, die Heimat zu verlassen.

Do i sound like i’m contradicting myself because i’m complaining of too many choices, and then here i am now sounding like i don’t have a choice? Es ist alles eine Frage der Zeit. One faces different problems at different times. In 5 years time i’ll be bitching about how there’re no career opportunities, happily forgetting that i turned down 3 of them.

Yes, that’s human nature for you.

The Final Dusk Und so fing die Götterdämmerung an.

Protected: translated. for those who matter. February 23, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Above Top Secret.
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Und alles bricht (wieder) zusammen. February 22, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Ich habe geglaubt, dass ich mit der Arbeit mich von meinen Gedanken und Unsicherheiten ein bisschen ablenken könnte. Und ich hab’s fast geschafft, dieses Unsinn kurzfristig zu vergessen, und was nun? Meine Tante hat angerufen und versuchte, mich zu überzeugen, dass ich mich geirrt habe, indem ich einen Stipendium ablehne. Ich selbst fühlte weder schuldig noch dumm, noch habe ich meine Situation anders verstanden. Stattdessen wurde ich wütend, aber was kann man ansonsten tun, ausser weiter zuzuhören? Abzulegen geht hier leider nicht, und laut zu fluchen klappt hier auch nicht.

Infolge solchen Gesprächen aber kommt immer das Gefühl, als ob ich mich ehrlich geirrt hätte. Das ist normaleweise gefolgt von einer Welle der Unsicherheit und Angst. Ich wollte den Journalismus doch probieren, aber jetzt bin ich nicht mehr so sicher. Ich weiss gar nichts mehr. Und was noch schlimmer ist, ist die Tatsache, dass solche Situation sich immer wieder wiederholen, bis ich vielleicht verrückt werde.

Alles, was ich aus den Trümmern so ganz sorgsam wiederaufgebaut habe, wird immer wieder zerstört. Und danach muss ich wieder aufstehen und vom vorne wieder anfangen, alles wiederaufzubauen. Und glaub mir, wenn ich euch erzähle, dass es mehr Leute gibt, die deine Träumen aus Versehen zerbrechen lassen. Man ist ganz, ganz schnell davon schon satt und danach wird es unerträglich.

Ich wundere mich manchmal, warum sich meine Freunden keine Angst machen. Manche studieren die Medizin oder Jura; sie wissen schon, was sie werden wollen. Aber die überwiegende Mehrheit wissen noch keinen Bescheid darüber, wie ihre Zukunft aussieht. Doch machen sie sich keine Angst und wissen, dass alles schliesslich klappen werden. Und woher wissen sie das?

Meine Mutter überlässt manchmal alles den Schicksal; was passieren wird, wird passieren. Vielleicht soll ich auch so denken, denn ich schon längst nicht mehr an dem Schicksal glaube. Um alles wird gekämpft und jeder musst seinen eigenen Weg gehen. Wo ich auf einmal vielleicht geträumt hatte, flimmern meine Augen nicht mehr. Mit 20 Jahren muss ich immer wieder die harte Realität ins Gesicht anstarren und jeden Tag wieder erkennen, dass Träumen nur Träumen sind, und dass sie auch so bleiben sollen.

Und weswegen? Wegen der Tatsache, dass ich mit meinem Ablehnen des Stipendiums auch eine feste Arbeitsplatz ablehne? Wegen der Tatsache, dass ich fast alles werden kann, und eines daraus auszuwählen fast unmöglich ist? Mein Wünsche nach einer Antwort, Wünsche danach, dass ich nicht mehr fürchten muss, bleiben alle unerhört.

Plötzlich will ich auf einem Dach stehen und die Welt anschreien. Ach, wenn sie doch verstünden, dass alles war ich tue niemals umsonst ist. Nichts ist vergebens. Man braucht nur, an sich zu glauben…aber reicht das eigentlich? Bin ich töricht, so zu glauben?

You can try translating it. Good luck. And for those who do understand, it’s for you. Just needed somewhere to express all my feelings.

A Disturbing Lack of Diplomacy February 21, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

I think a lack of diplomacy runs in my family.

So there i was, happily coming home with the day’s wages after a day’s work when reuben called. This maggot dude actually went to Alliance Française to register for French at A1 (which means beginner) level. I’m at Goethe with C2 (das bedeutet doch was, oder? Ein Quereinstieg in der Oberstufe, ohne eine Eignungsprüfung zu schreiben!) okay i shall stop blowing my trumpet. Anyhow, coming back to the story, i was to meet him for dinner.

So i got home and ran into my parents. I thought i’d have a short but feel-good talk with them ’bout my day and all. But when i told my folks that i couldn’t find a slot to drive this week they were like going all bonkers and shit. You know, like OMGyoucan’tfindadrivingslotsoyou’regonnadieeeeee and all that. And i was saying like how i wanted to take an off day so i could go back to NJ in the morning and drive in the afternoon and all when they reminded me very promptly that driving should be my top priority, not my part-time job, not visiting my teacher, etc.

As if i didn’t know that. Just because i’m not going for daily practices (which is, IMHO not very worth it) doesn’t mean i’m fuck caring it. Jeez.

And then when i tried to explain, my poppa comes in and says ‘at the rate you’re going, i don’t think you’re going to make it!’


If you want to curse me, fine. If it’s because i drive like shit on automatic transmission cars, that’s fine too. But if you’re gonna say this just caz i was trying to explain something nicely, BALLS TO YOU. I held back just because you’re my father. Goodness.

But i must admit that i drive like shit. That’s exactly why i’m looking for bookings anyway. It’s just that YOU DON’T SEE IT. You just assume i’m going crazy earning my money and all. What do you want me to be?! Staying at home boring myself out of my wits and just going for one hundred minutes of driving every day?!

I’m not going to waste such money and time. I’m bored enough as it is already. Once a week this week is fine. D’oh. And you didn’t have to be so nice and be brutally blunt to me, you know. I’m not like a fucking wastrel who’s spending your driving funds on fags and whores. Luckily i was going out for dinner already. Goodness. If i stayed home my house could’ve become a pile of rubble. Yeah, yeah. The Great Family War I.

And this disturbing lack of diplomacy. It runs in the family. I can shoot off my mouth at any time. I can offend people. It doesn’t mean that i can’t talk well, i can be smooth if i want to, just that i’m normally not. I’ve always wondered where it originated, but i never considered it important. I guess i have some kind of idea now.

And for reuben: good luck with A1. And repeat this mantra: i hate grammar! And for all you ex-LEPers, wir hassen Grammatik!

I just got hired! February 20, 2006

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Yes, you got that right, ihr alle da draussen.

I (yes, I with a capital letter,) have a job now! HAHAHA! Admittedly, it’s only menial work, and yes, we do get paid from day to day, but still. it.is.a.fucking.job. And i’m pretty happy to bring back 50 quid a day, knowing that i sweated (yes literally sweated) for it.

What’s my job entail? I’m helping eng chok to move, package, and basically prepare chemicals in a warehouse. It’s not exactly back-breaking work, but anyone who thinks we’re slacking should get a boot jammed up his ass. Oh, and if any of you fellow comrades are reading this, yes, the Deep Heat cure works. I recommend the Mentholatum brand. Hahaha…

I’m having fun, and it’s not at all as monotonous as sven described it, because i’ve got a great group of people to work with, namely eng chok, yang wee and wai chong. Well, at least they’re all Channel 8 people so it’s quite fun to use Mandarin and destroy each other. Maybe it’ll be more fun with some ang mor pai people around, so we can test their English (just like how forest and yours truly tested melvyn, who failed with flying colours. HAHAHA) Aye. I mean, this is way better than the Army, i suppose. I can’t stomach the idea much of twanging in the office now…even though like everyone expects us to try and find a comfy relaxing job somewhere. And yes, i don’t even feel like wanting to fag so much. And that’s awesome.

I can’t stand it, however, when people ask me, not if i ‘m looking for another job, but if this job is actually befitting my calibre. Let me teach all of you a lesson, children…

THERE IS NO FUCKING JOB UNBEFITTING ANYONE. You can be under-qualified for a job, but you can never be over-qualified. I’m doing it and i’m happy! That’s what’s important, not ensuring that you’ve got some face left behind or not. Bah. Maggots, all!