>> Sunday, June 13, 2010

Guess what??? The Army also got home work one. Had to write an essay about my defining moment. So here is the essay as a little preview of me dishing about armylife in the near future. Enjoy.

My defining moment.

People always say that National Service is like a rite of passage for all the boys in Singapore. With all the tough times the army put you through, it is not easy to stay the same way as you were before serving your NS. People changes over time and it is just the beginning for me. I have only served my NS for 16 weeks but changes in me can be seen already by myself and others. I have become more fit physically and also mentally. All of this changes did not just come in one moment, it is the over the span of time I have been here but there was one moment that had me cherish it the most.

It was during field camp. It was after so much digging of my shell-scrape and it was still a long way from being done. My platoon was called to gather in front of our commanders. As we gathered, I could see the letters in my Platoon Commander's hands. Knowing that they were for us as my bunk mates had previously said we would receive letters from our loved ones during field camp. Once the strength was accounted for, my sergeant started giving his speech that touched all of the recruits' hearts. Some tears started to snake down some of their faces. The worn out camouflage we had on our faces were slowly washed away drip by drip. The speech made me remembered one thing I do not like about myself. I am always reluctant to spend time with my parents.

My father is above 60 and still likes to walk all over Singapore. He loves to go to those places that reminded him of his childhood here before moving to Brunei. It is always me who had to follow him through his search for nostalgia in places I would never had gone otherwise. All of my brothers were just all too busy and just put him in my hands. It is not that I do not love my father, but having to follow him everyday was just too much. The trips with him were quite interesting to a certain level but I was only a simple-minded teenager but now I see my family's history in all those trips and also the history of my country.

My PC suddenly interrupted us, saying that he got letters from our loved ones and started burning them while asking us were we good enough sons to read these letters. I could see faces in shock. Some were still crying from the speech. Some were just plain smiling. My PC then took out the real letters and started to give them out one by one. At this moment I realised that my buddy,Haris was not around. I asked around and finally spotted him under a tree. He had fell out due to body cramp. My name was called out , along with Haris' so I stood up, wiping the tears off my face along with it the camouflage in a single stroke and ran up the my PC. I took my letter and asked for Haris' as well. I took the letter to him and sat beside him. Seeing him sitting there, paralyzed just made me felt helpless.

All I could do to help was just accompanying him. I placed the letter in his hands, trying really hard to hold on to it. Once all the letters had been given out our PC asked us to open and read them. I told him that we would open the letters together as I already knew I was not going to receive a letter from my parents. We sat there under the tree, waiting and listening to our other platoon mates pouring out all their hearts and thoughts. Me and Haris shared some jokes here and there while encouraging him to try to move his hands. I could see some frustration in him so I tried to keep things as lighthearted as possible. After a few more recruits went up and speak, he tried to open his letter again. We opened them together bit by bit. I was hoping he would get a letter from his loved ones but when both of us took out the letters, they were the same. It was the standard letter from all the commanders of Bronco Company. It would have been nice to have received a handwritten one like the others but knowing that my parents are both in Brunei, the letter from the commanders were enough.

After all those who had spoken finished, we were given a chance to write a letter back. I took this chance to write a letter to my parents about how I felt in the past when I had to go out with them. I am not sure if I ended the letter on a good note or a bad one but hopefully they will see what I was trying to say. Once done writing all the letters were consolidated and passed to our commanders. Then back to digging our shell scrape with a new found motivation and hope for what is to come in the future. With all the emotions happening around me, it is not easy for me to put everything down on paper. The level of connection I felt with my buddy at that moment was more than what I have had with even the closest of all my close friends. I would not say that this moment is defining but it is one that I will cherish the most.



F5A of CHMS'07


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