October 2020

I'm officially one month into my National Service journey! So far, I've been in Basic Military Training, learning soldiering fundamentals and improving my physical fitness. It's nine weeks long, so I'm left with around five weeks to go.

Thinking back to my enlistment day already makes me feel nostalgic. Taking my first ferry ride to Pulau Tekong (an island training camp), striding into the camp in my civilian attire, having a disappointing first lunch and dinner, first time booking out... so many events that I'm sure I'll look back upon fondly in the future.

I made many wrong predictions about what I would and wouldn't enjoy about military life. I had anticipated much more boredom during camp and difficulties adjusting to living outside of home, but those became non-issues within the first few days. I quickly learnt how to hand-wash my own laundry, and I was never really bored as my bunk mates are all extremely funny people who always have something to talk and joke about.

Unfortunately for me, I was right about some things. I had predicted that the single most important ability one would need to have in the military would be the ability to Asian squat, and I wasn't wrong. To take a dump outfield, one would have to squat. To fire in a crouched position, the most comfortable position is the squat (with the alternative being kneeling). To rest without getting one's butt wet, squatting would be the best position to rest in.

On the other hand, there were some things that I simply couldn't have predicted would be such big issues for me. The first issue would be that crossing my legs makes them go numb pretty quickly. We will be spending long periods of time sitting down and waiting around while outfield, and I would have to constantly adjust my legs in order to stop them from falling asleep. If I accidentally fell asleep while sitting down... well I'd have to hope we won't be expected to run immediately after standing up.

We'll be having our field camp next week, the most gruelling of all activities during my Basic Military Training. I hope that I'll come out unscathed both physically and mentally, and stronger than before.