Overtime Thoughts

Let the cold wind blow. So goes the lyrics of a song we used to sang in the army. Yes, there was actually cold wind in Singapore. I don't mean cool, I mean chilly. The sort that cuts through fabric, skin and flesh all the way to your bones.

All Singaporean sons should remember that feeling standing in the company square in their PT kits during réveillé, downing 1 litre of cool tap water before the start of the day. With the unmistakable smell of grass, morning dew and fresh oxygen in the air, we marched and sang any fucking songs we wanted before SAF bowed down to AWARE bitches. I reported for over time to the cool Autumn morning breeze at 0500 hrs greeted me the same way this morning when I drew the shuttles of the warehouse. Autumn was still making a late transition from Summer. So, the morning temperature still felt like the Singapore dawn, albeit a few degrees Celsius lower.

Let the cold wind blow,
Let the cold wind blow,
Let the cold wind blow,
Let the cold wind blow.

There were things to reminisce about, even at the most humiliating moments of one's life. I missed my platoon and the sick jokes they would muster to counter the agony of conscription. At least the laughter were real, out of the wayang we had to put on every single day. I never made it a secret how I didn't enjoy National Service. No. That was a wrong way to put it. I would enjoy 2 years of NS if I was asked to repair the broken windows or roof tiles of old folks homes or orphanages for 2.5 years on a monthly allowance of $300. Well no, we had to take up guns because of honour & glory or once armor, always armor, because community service is not siong enough to be considered National Service and served no purpose when the enemies are at the gate. Fair enough.

One of the things we got away with us after we left the force was that life was about the "mind over the body." In the army, that was a mantra to encourage soldiers to overcome their mental barriers and push their physical limits to higher heights. Commanders would often tell us how this mentality would take us far in life after we "served and fucked off." Obviously, I wasn't one of those who lived up to that mantra that well but I wasn't one among the worst either. Just average, like usual. There were some though, who prided themselves for doing extremely well in the army. Naturally, they enjoyed the whole NS process and talked about their heroics even through their later life endlessly. I would assume this group of people being brilliant in conquering their bodies with their minds. Yet I hear endlessly of grown Singaporean men, authentically endorsed by the SAF, afraid of leaving their shores because they do not have a friend there.

They do talk a lot about Taipans, Red-Back Spiders, Sharks and how every damn thing can and will kill you in Australia. But trust me brothers, that isn't worse than a field camp in Mandai for 4 consecutive rainy nights, making friends with Cicadas in a Bruneian forest or walking endlessly on Taiwanese hills. Nothing daunted us back then, yet the prospect of moving to a new place without a job shrinks our balls. There must be something wrong somewhere. What happened to the "mind over body?"


  1. "Nothing daunted us back then, yet the prospect of moving to a new place without a job shrinks our balls."

    Na, it makes my cock stand.

  2. In your spare time read this book: Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. True story.
    Very much about the "Mind over Body" mantra - makes what we went through seem like chicken feed.