Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Excerpts from a Soldier's Diary I

As I was clearing my camp locker, I found a diary in my drawer in which we were required to write about our experiences during Basic Military Training (BMT). It would be a waste if I dispose the diary without saving the pages of reflections. So here are excerpts from the diary as there are certain details that I am not at ease to disclose.

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200109 (3 days to book out)

Today's training certainly proved how much I'm lacking in arm strength and stamina. I am increasingly worried that my physical inadequacy would result in me actually failing BMT.

The route march was interesting as we were able to see other parts of the island besides the usual training compound. Our captain's plans for us to do so certainly emphasise the point that to be good in anything, one has to know the subject inside out. This is perhaps what being a professional means.

The highlight of the day would be a lecture on core values by our captian in which he mentioned a compelling point that as soldiers, we do not hold a personal grudge against our enemies as the war is waged over a political reason. Therefore, we should always have a firm set of morals in dealing with our enemies.

Yet, this raises questions about the ethics of war and the government's role in it.

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210109 (2 Days to book out)

Today was one of the unique days in the army as our schedule is not packed back-to-back.

The area inspection conducted was certainly tiring as all of us were appalled at the degree of precision that we were made to arrange our things and standardise it to a microscopic degree. This is something I have yet to get used to.

Speaking of standardisation, I do undestand the need for it as it ensures a quick, organised and efficient army. However, I still believe that variety is the spice of life and that a controlled measure of individualism will make the army more vibrant and dynamic in that respect.

An army that is worth serving is one which achieves unity in diversity.

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220109 (1 Day More!)

Today we finally got to experience how it would feel like to shoot with a rifle. I'm absolutely intrigued by the sheer amount of mental control and concentration one must have in order to shoot well. Yet, one cannot help but wonder how is it possible to exhibit such control in the backdrop of a raging war?

Speaking of shooting, distant shots can often be heard due to the firing practice of the other companies. I often tried to put myself in a situation of war - the gragility, the fear that everytime a plane flies past, a bomb may land on us at anytime.

The precious commodity of life in conjunction to having experienced a sneak preview of a solider's life truly makes me consider whether the saying, 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori', is true.

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230109 (Book out day!)

There is a jovial atmosphere as everyone looks forward to their first book-out. The confinement weeks are definitely the longest weeks of our lives.

The obstacle course still worries me for I do lack in arm strength may result in me failing it. My poor fitness level is certainly a source of disappointment for me.

The topical discussion is slightly boring though it was useful in helping me understand the general direction that the SAF is taking in terms of its policies. I'm actually quite surprised at the drastic changes that the army is making in grooming the third generation. Such a shift definitely busts many myths about the army. What a welcoming change!

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