“I am an Officer of the Singapore Armed Forces,
I dedicated my life to Singapore.”
Where we all wore our White White (admin attire)
Hey guys! I just want to start this post off by apologising for the gradual melancholy (if any) that’s going to flood this post. I really want to dedicate this post to my buddies and friends who have fought hard with me in these short stint in OCS. Going through exercises after exercises, outfields after outfields, and training after training – not to mention the frequent late book-outs, ugh. And oh, this is a re-post of the original one in my old blog.
“See you in joint term,” We sobbed as one of us said. “I don’t care if other people see us cry, I’m so going to miss all of you guys here.“
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Here’s a brief story of my origins before I got to meet those few bunch of monkeys:
As a newly enlisted Cadet of the 103/16 batch, I was enrolled into Echo Wing at first for my Common Leadership Module (CLM). “Echo Wing” is a Wing that you’d hardly call a ‘homely’ Wing. Sure, there were some nice instructors here and there (or maybe just the one that I got), but majority of the instructors here were like jailers – they’ll punish you, destroy you, break you down and leave you to stand on your own. Well thankfully, I got this Officer called Sean Lim, LTA Sean Lim. He wasn’t just a nice officer, he was charming and handsome. No kidding (I mean, it’s pretty apparent). He made it a point to slowly assimilate and integrate us into this new ‘culture’ of the OCS – unlike what the other officers believed in.
Then there was my Echo section mates. Pretty cool guys actually. Most of them are my age 20 (I was born on the year 96, because I took an extra year as I was from Sec 5 and the rest, well, they kind of retained somewhere along their years of education). We only spent 2 really short weeks in Echo, and yet I felt a kind of bond that was almost as strong as the ones I had in Basic Military Training (BMT) for 9 weeks. Impressive. We got split up into 3 other Wings after our CLM. The ‘luckiest’ of all, I’d say, is my buddy from CLM. He got into Air Wing as an NSF, which is quite remarkable and rare. Air Wing, which is supposedly the “slackest” and most “relaxed” wing in the Officer Cadet School (OCS), is an unspoken privilege that only those few could have ever received in their Army Days. The rest of us got split into Delta and Foxtrot respectively. We see each other occasionally at the cookhouse and all, and sometimes we’d all make it a point to strike a conversation, no matter how brief it was. But it gradually felt cold, expected. Although it was quite torturous, I enjoyed my time there back in Echo. Nah, hell no. I’m just kidding.
Alright, now let’s move on to the main bulk of my story.
Foxtrot Wing. The place I’ll always remember as my home in OCS. I was welcomed into Foxtrot on the last day of my 2 weeks in CLM, right before we had our “2-bar presentation”. To be completely blunt, I didn’t have a fond first-impression of this Wing at the start. Everything started out in a rush. From swearing in to turning out, everything was in a mess. But all that changed the moment I was given my section:
“Officer Cadet Lucas Teo Siang Yew,” the Officer-in-charge reads.
“Sir!” I shouted in reply.
“Platoon 1 Section 1.”
Hahaha. It’s funny because back in Echo, I belonged to the exact same section and platoon. Coincidence much? But you see, this is the other funny thing. One of my section mates from BMT, who also happen to be in OCS, is in this exact same section as me. Wow huh? His name is Mickey. Tay W Z actually. But the whole world (except the instructors) calls him Mickey. Long story to his name, but nevermind that. So Mickey and I, we ended up in the same section yet again. He’s a pretty cool guy. A great guy. Man of leadership and initiative, I’m really glad that I got to serve with him in this. I remembered his reaction when my name was read. He was in complete shock, one could almost say he was more surprised than me in this. Want to know another fun fact? Mickey, like me, lives in Woodlands. Bam! So through our 12 weeks in Foxtrot, we frequently booked in and out together, most of the time taking the cab back from SAFTI to Causeway Point and then have supper. All in all, I really adore his presence a lot. He’d sometimes ask a lot of questions and sometimes even challenge me in certain stuff – which keeps things interesting unlike the stale status quo. Wow I don’t know man, you’ve been one of the greatest thing that happened to me since my first day of OCS. Really appreciate your presence in my life bro. See you in FASS bro. Thanks for being a part of my life when I started out Army. Hope I’ve been a great friend to you as much as you’ve been mine. Though our time together in OCS was short, I’m glad it was long enough to have mattered.
A monthly ‘Cadet Cohesion’ sort of thing where we had ice-cream. Hans had his crutches already so..
Next up, let’s talk about this amazing guy. Big and burly, strong and steadfast, and fierce and decisive. This man is none other than my buddy in Foxtrot, Kenneth Chua B C. I really admire this man. Not only did he fill my water bottle for me during the first few days that we’ve been together, he would wake me up to make sure that I’ll be able to meet the timings for first parade. My first impression of him was that he was a pretty fierce, a man with no chill. Turns out, he’s the complete opposite of that! He’s the kind of cool guy that will disturb you with insults and make fun of you with mutually funny jokes. I remember we used to shout “Then!” all day long, everywhere we go. Not only was he the kind of chill guy I didn’t expect, he was an exceptionally supportive guy too! I remember there was once I bought a little dustbin to put in the bunk because there was none, he offered to pay me half of the cost since we’re buddies. We would also buy lots of snacks and share them together. When I finished my share of the snacks, he would offer me some like a elder brother would. Slowly as time goes by, I can safely say he got to know my personality and quirks more. He stopped waking me up early up until 5 minutes after reveille because he knew I only needed that little time to prepare and go down for First Parade. Thanks for appreciating the burden little guy that I’ve been for the past 12 weeks, incessantly ‘borrowing’ ziplock bags from you, using some of your shampoo, getting a pair of white socks from you, and surely many more which I cannot recall off-hand now. It has been a great joy serving with you in this. It’s such a pity that we’ll be going on our different paths after this. But surely, we’ll meet for Joint-term in about 5 months from now. Till then my buddy! And since this a re-post, happy ORD nigger! Glad you’re having fun in NTU man (: THEN!
From the left, Rachel, myself, Kenneth (my buddy) and his date
Now, I just wanna talk about this awesome buddy pair in my section. Always so loving towards each other, always have that impeccable bond with each other that makes others jealous. It is none other than Benedict and Kevin. For them, it’s always about each other – not in a selfish way though, more like.. ‘Banana in Pyjamas’ kind of thing. Our peers will go like, “Hey Ben, have you seen Kevin?” Or “Eh, Kevin, where’s Ben man?”
But as much as they are inseparable in their buddy friendship, I’m going to do the impossible (I’m just going to talk about them in a separate light, to showcase their talents on their respective weighing scales). First off, we have Benedict Tjoeng. I vividly remember my first day in Foxtrot. Ben came up to me with open arms (not literally though) and warmly introduced himself to me. What came next was quite a shocker for me. “Your Smart 4 is quite f***ed up bro.” Coming from someone I had just met like 2 minutes ago, I was a little offended. But sure enough, he offered his help to assist me in folding the Smart 4 ‘properly’ by showing me how to. And that’s impressive because rarely would anyone go the extra mile to help someone else, moreover someone you have just met. That, I believe, was the day I knew I could depend on this guy in my section. A fun fact about Ben is that, he’s got this odd bald spot right behind his head, near the top of his neck. It’s interesting because he said that there’s wasn’t anything there (note the irony) until after he shaved in BMT. And since this is a re-post, congrats bro! Finally repaired that bald spot of yours (: *There’s more down below.
Now, for Kevin. I got to know Kevin back in BMT in Hawk Coy. I knew him as someone who was quite a show-off – a ‘wayang f***’ as some would call it. But as time progressed, I got to know him a bit better and I believed to have seen the more genuine side of him. We then moved on to OCS in Echo together and ended up in the same platoon. It was a little tough at first because Kevin still had that ‘sickening-feel’ attached to him (I’m sorry bro, it’s my blog and my feelings). It was only after we shifted to Foxtrot after our CLM that things became better, slightly. We became section mates in Foxtrot, so it was kind of mandatory on my own part to watch out for him (or him for all of us). For Kevin, he’s good on his own. And that’s the thing. Kevin is independently sufficient. I remember he was the Platoon Commander (PC) for Exercise Scorpion King. To be able to command, control and communicate while being so mentally and physically drained, was not an easy feat. He did his best and I for one was super impressed at it. It scraped away any negative comments about him and created a whole new slate of impression of Kevin. Congratulations on receiving the SOM (Sword-of-Merit, given to the top 10% of every Commissioning batch as a recognition of their efforts), from the bottom of my heart.
It’s a great pity to not be able to continue serving together and work towards our common goal of Commissioning on the 17 December 2016. I mean, it’s not that we’re not going to commission together, but it’s just that we’re probably not going to do every single exercise available for us the 5 months before our D-day. (This is because we’re going to be in different vocations, doing our own specialised exercises.) It was an enjoyable ride for me with regards to the two of them. Love it.
The only photo that we took post-Ex Scorpion King at the Kranji War Memorial
Moving on of course, there’s Jia Hao and his amazing Soyjoy bars. I remember during our first few outfields together as a Wing, this guy – Jia Hao – would bring his soyjoy bars for outfields. What the hell, right? Hahaha. It’s funny because I learnt – through the hard way, of course – that you can never, ever bring anything else especially ‘contraband’ food to outfield as it really defeats the purpose of training. And yet, he always has it with him. At least twice! God! But hey, more than soyjoy bars and stuff, he’s a great guy. Dependable and reliable most of the time, Xie Jia Hao is one person that the section can really depend on in times of need. Of course, there are some instances, too many to be exact, that people don’t really see his potential in leading and guiding people. While I do stand alongside them sometimes, especially when the counting of our human strength is concerned, Jia Hao can be quite the muddle-head, miscalculating the men he’s leading and stuff. Accounting for strength is one of the most important things in the SAF. And failure to account for it could mean that we could, as commanders, fail to oversee the safety of our men, allowing opportunity for mishaps, like safety accidents, to happen. Otherwise, Jia Hao can be quite funny at times, though not very often. I believe that we will all remember Jia Hao for decorating his notice board with pictures from his motherland, Harbin. From picturesque mountainous views of the land, to other pictures of his childhood days, his notice board was flooding by all his photos, without an inch of space to grasp even for air. I’m not exaggerating! His notice board is! Jia Hao, you may not remember this, but I will remember it as long as I can. You gave me your instant noodles when you didn’t needed them. Sure, some might say you gave it away because you didn’t want them for now. But to me, a hungry and rather desperate man, a cup of instant noodles was a morale booster, especially since I had RT the next day. Thank you so much. Please don’t hunt me down for your noodles! Haha.
Right now it’s time for TJ (Goh Teck Jin) and Hans Lim to steal the show. These 2 people have been one of the more special ones – I would say. Maybe it’s because we ‘harbour’ right opposite of each other. Or maybe we really just cliqued (if you don’t feel that way, then alright, no biggie!). I find this bond between me, Kenneth (my buddy) and the two of them rather unusual – that is, in a good way, of course. Only because they speak in Mandarin very occasionally. And it’s only this small group of them (other than Mickey and Jia Hao) that converses (frequently) in Mandarin in our section. And also, I don’t really speak that much of Chinese because I’m usually quite bad at it. But these people, they’re worth the lot to open up my mouth for the Chinese words to spill (let me make it clear that it’s not that I don’t like to, or I hate my origins, it’s just very out of my comfort zone to do it). But I digress. Let me continue.
First of, let me talk about this TJ guy. TJ’s a pretty interesting guy. He’s vegetarian. That’s interesting cos’ you don’t meet much ‘veggies’ out there. Next, he’s a 4-pointer. To get a GPA of 4 – in my opinion – requires a certain level of intellect, interest, commitment and self-discipline. Sure, there are a few of these ‘high-flyers’ out there. But this guy’s my friend! We fought through our trainings in the jungles of Tekong and Lor Asrama! Surely his 4-point GPA should mean something? Nah, not really. Anyways, Teck Jin’s a pretty great guy. At first, I really didn’t see much of him – in all honesty. But as time goes by, and of course, his tenure as a CPC (Cadet Platoon Commander), showed certain level of resolve as a leader that TJ possesses. Not a lot of people have got the self-discipline to be forbearing in times of mad-rush. TJ single-handedly managed most of the administrative work in my platoon, doing all the ‘shit work’ in the platoon, and also the Wing. He was also very dependable as a buddy – to the extent for which he took an extra on a weekend for my buddy. Where else can you find someone who would ‘tank’ your extras for you? Great guy. I’ll always remember your tomato fries and how you sleepwalk/sleeptalk. Not really a nice thing to remember someone for though.. But at least you’ll be remembered for something which I think is substantial enough! Just kidding! Whatever your quirks are, whatever your dietary habits are, you’ll always be the TJ whom I fought alongside in OCS Foxtrot (: Cheers.
Wanna make a guess which idiot is TJ? No prizes for the right guess.
Moving on to Hans Lim. Hans is a great guy. Though I must say, you have this certain attitude when doing things and leading the group. This, ‘bitchy’ attitude which seems a little spoilt and hooligan-like. (Really no offence man!) You’re still a great guy nonetheless and you’ll be remembered as such – always in my heart as per everyone else. I’ll never – ever in my entire life – forget the day which you (and everyone else) thought you ‘sprained your ankle’. Yeah. It’s not a sprain huh? Exercise Centipede. The 9-day long field camp in Tekong, the field camp of mosquitoes and heat rash. And sadly, the field camp which caused you to OOC (Out of Course, a status given to suggest that a certain cadet has been deemed as unfit for training whether due to injury or bad performance). Of course, my time with you was definitely the shortest. But despite that, I feel very much closer to you than at least half the section. Maybe it’s because of the fact that I like talking to you, or maybe we just had a mutual thing going on – who knows right? I’m still glad that you’ve been a part of my life, especially through OCS. Though only for a brief period, I’m glad we’re friends. Will be looking forward to seeing you serve in your new capacity, and will be praying for your ligament (he torn his ligament instead of a minor sprain). See you at the end of 2 years LTA Hans Lim! Congrats on your Commissioning with 105/16 brother!
Let’s see, who’s left? Oh, right. How could I forget Chester and Joel!
So I want to just talk about Chester first. Chester Tan. Hmm. Never had any friend called Chester before so it’s kind of a first for me. But anyway, I never really liked Chester at first. In fact, I could say that the section has my exact same sentiments. Before Chester became the kind of person that I eventually enjoyed his presence, he was pretty much selfish – to the very point where our section’s sufferings seemed oblivious to him. I could recall an incident during one of our exercises called “Centipede,” where Chester was in charge of accounting for some of our stores – more specifically, the “Iron Pickets.” Honestly, that was one of the worse days of this exercise. With our hectic training schedule, running up and down the knoll, not to mention that it was coupled with the blazing Sun-fire of Tekong. Yes, we were at Tekong for training. Anyway, for the Iron Pickets, Chester claimed to have put it in one of our bags, seeing as we didn’t have one of our assault pack with us. (We left them back at the shed because we didn’t see the need to move off with extra load.) So, after we’re done with our mission, we went back (without Chester because he was deployed as the enemy) to search for the iron pickets. Sure enough, we knew the pickets weren’t there, somehow we just knew. Long story short, we had an all-out talk with Chester – the section on one side, and Chester on the other. Sure, it seems like everyone is pit against him, but it was for his own good. After this whole “Iron Pickets” episode, Chester changed – he changed from being a selfish prick to one who consciously reminds himself to put himself out to help others. That’s why other than my buddy and Mickey, Chester is one I’ll miss a lot more than the rest, hand to heart. And yes! It’s true! Every single time I get to see Chester, I’m way more happy that I think I should. It’s funny how things become, but I hope I’ve been a good friend to you as well. Finish up your last Starlight and ORD bro!
Now, let’s talk about Joel. Joel is a very interesting guy. Someone whom I’d never ever meet if I hadn’t taken the path I’d chosen – to go to JC. What makes him interesting is that he goes on adventures. Those that involves the ocean and the mountains. Yes. That kind of adventure. He’s climbed the mountain of Sri Lanka, surfed on the ocean of Bali and whatnot. I’ve never met a guy like him. But of course i know that there are many of these people out there, it’s just that he’s the first – Joel’s the first of his kind that I’ve met. I don’t know what’s there to talk about. His awesomeness is beyond words – and I’m not even kidding. He’s the kind of person that I’d wanna be. He’s living the young and free life. Joel also likes to fool around. I recall a time, few times actually, in which he jokingly grabs a RAI and tries to stuff it into your pocket. An RAI is like a used ammunition. The SAF collects these RAI back after anything exercises which involves the use of ammunitions. Anyone who doesn’t surrender these RAIs during our routine ‘everything-out‘ check will get charged. It’s no laughing matter. Yeah.. Joel likes to make jokes like these. The thing is, when he tries to put the RAI into your pocket, he doesn’t really put it in, it’s just the motion of sorts that just ticks you into thinking that he’s really putting it inside your pocket. Hahahaha will definitely miss this one! Bruh, hope you’re enjoying Uni-life yeah! Looking buff and ripped. See you soon mate (:
Yep, that’s Joel with the Singaporean actress, Kimberly Chia on our plane to Brunei
Moving on, TEETO! Titus Tan. From the first day I’ve met you, I knew you were from a special breed, a cut above the rest. Something about seems off, as if you were different from us all – and you were indeed remarkably different. I thought you were like the rest of us – JC-bred, soft, mushy and pretty much “high-on-your-own-horses” kind of guy. But that scar on your face tells me otherwise. From where I had my education prior to JC, that scar meant that you were a fighter, a troublemaker, or even a gang member. These 3 categories of people might seem like the same group of guys to others who are oblivious to their existence. But Titus, he’s a nice guy. Furthermore, he’s a very committed person as well. Not because he studied really hard to get into NUS Medicine, and be a Doctor in the making, but because he had the drive, the fervour to do well in every aspect that he could. Let me expound on the few that he’s really driven about. One of the many aspects is running the 2.4km. He’s fast. 10 minutes or so (and this is probably an understatement). But I think there was this instance where he lost to a guy from my section by 2 seconds, and he got so mad. Another example would be how he was “Wing Best” (Best Cadet in the Wing) for Service Term. I visually saw him mug for the stuff that we did in OCS, wherever there was things that needed to be mugged. Pathological, some like myself would say, but it gets the job done. It’ll do him well for Medicine as well. I miss you a lot man. No homo or anything, but I feel like I see you lesser than the rest of the section 😦 How dare you leave us for the wild life in NUS! Just kidding, I’ll see you in 2018 with Mickey and Benedict altogether 🙂 Of everyone, you were my favourite, most-respected individual who has a mental resilience of a god-damned Golem. Nothing could stop you from doing what you got to do! Study hard in Med-school man, it’s tough, tiring and mentally draining. I’m glad the few of us still got to hang out even in the midst of your studies and our National Service. JIAYOU
Titus on the right and his buddy, Matthew
Drum roll for the next candidate, our Wing Commander, Matthew Wong! Matthew has been a great buddy to me since halfway of Service Term. I remember we bonded through having many similarities such as not having a placing in University, no one to bring for Social Night, plays League of Legends (omg he’s a freaking Diamond-class player), and even MapleStory (he’s a level 200 Dual Blader). I guess that’s how we bonded? Hahaha! I remember how you were quite a dick to Phyllis in Social Night and asked her to take her own food HAHAHA. But between you and I, she is quite cute actually 😉 Still wondering why we didn’t sit together for Social Night lol. Anyway, somehow or rather, fate brought us together again in SOCC, Signal Officers Cadet Course. Being in a different platoon from each other in SOCC really made our friendship drift a little, but I’m glad we could play League together and you helping me climb the ladders or Silver and Bronze 😛 Matthew, you’ve really been a really fun and loving guy in my life, especially in the time back in Service Term. Though we only got closer nearing the end of Service Term, it was all that was needed. Going through similar struggles and obstacles in our lives, I think I could safely say that we’ve grown to love one another in our painstaking journey towards this Officership that we’ve fought so very hard for the past 9 months for. Oh! I remember our dreaded SOCJOT experience man. Thank God we were in the same packet for flight and stuff because I couldn’t bear to sit next to a stranger that I’ve barely met HAHA. I really wish you all the best in 17C4I and pray that you’ll continue to do your best and give your all despite the community being as toxic as you described it to be. I truly appreciate the call you gave me the other day and rant / shared your life to me and how you couldn’t make it for the Section meetup. I just want to let you know that you’ve been the best buddy (not the actual buddy-system buddy, but more of a brother kind of buddy) for me in Service Term and in Signals. I’ve always looked up to you for your running stamina and speed and how little effort you need to put to actually just run fast. Furthermore, your League skills are especially impressive and I really applaud you for your dedication to it 🙂 all the best bud for your Uni and your unit, and I hope see you soon! Above all else, hang in there, you’re almost done with the shit life of DyS4 in 17 bro.
Matthew and I at our SOCC Commissioning Ball
Last but not least, BEN TJOENG. Omg I once called him Benjamin so casually and he was like:
“What did you call me?”
“Err.. Ben.. Benjamin?”
“F*** you man!”
Hahaha but jokes aside, Ben’s a great guy. In fact, he’s one of the guys that I feel closer to in the section, aside from Kenneth, Matt and Mickey. I really enjoy talking to this dude, constantly having fun while he mocks me for being too quiet, and for being retarded. There’s one instance in which I was rather retarded. First is that I broke my chair in my bunk, lost my key and shaved my sideburns away (it looked horrible and I wanted to kill myself). The messed up part is that it all happened in a week. Anyway, we have a lot of similarities as well. We both love Literature for its beauty, we both have experienced shin splints and understand the tormentous pain it gives us, and many more. Benedict is rather emotional and soft on the inside, despite him showing forms of anger and outrage on the outside very often.
I remember him quarrelling with Hans with some issue during on of our exercises and we were all punished by Hendricks because of that. Lol. That was funny. I had to freaking carry the SAW above my head because of them, Jesus. But come to think of it, there wouldn’t be much of a memory or event to talk about if everything went smooth and alright, would it? Hahaha! I really love this guy man. Thank God he’s going to FASS. And thank God I got in to FASS. Hope to see you soon man! I’ll just let you know that you’re one of the few in our section that I miss the most 😉 no homo *Edit: Okay apparently SOMEONE corrected me and said it wasn’t you and Hans.
The first dude in the picture is actually Ben, woohoo
All in all, leaving Foxtrot was undoubtedly sad. Even today, Foxtrot serves as a poignant reminder of how my life moved on beyond the comforts of my buddies and ventured into a vocation in which I do not have a choice to make. Nonetheless, it was a great time training and playing with you guys and I’ve learnt some lessons from you guys and I hope to have shared some of mine to you guys as well.
Commission loh! Hans, you were still a Cadet there, sadly.
Our meetup at Holland V