Aged 18 again...

It is that time of the year again when I need to return to the army to serve my mandatory duties. For the past decade, it has been the same routine.

Dig out the ancient military artefacts in my home, give it a wash, pack it in my black civilian pack which I liken to the C130 Hercules aircraft. It is old, cavernous and effective. Perform bag drag no.1.  Haul the C130 and the army field pack into the small boot of my Nissan March, and get dressed in green fatigues and my combat boots

Drive to the infantry camp, pick out the most convenient parking lot (judging from the popularity of the carpark, if nobody parks there, then you better not.), park the car and perform bag drag no.2 to the processing station.

Bag drag no.2 will usually be the toughest as it will involved the hauling of the C130 and the rest of the equipment up to a barrack that is usually multiple storeys high, lifts are mostly non-existent.

Settle in, unpack and try to get used to the rudimentary bedding and toilet facilities. Then the army meals beckons. The food is alright, but after a few more meals, everything will start to taste the same.

The training details, I am not at liberty to disclose. But lectures and field trainings will dominate the schedule. You will meet the same faces that you have saw since you were 18. Now the 18 year olds are middle aged men with wives and kids. But nevertheless, after a while, you will feel like it is back to your teenage years. You will do the same activities that you did when you were 18, hauling the same gear, sitting in the same vehicles. The equipment may have changed over time but the act of soldiering stays the same. The same nonsensical jokes and banter will continue on where you left off at aged 18. 

Men do not aged, they just turn bald. How apt.

From the start of this service duty, my C130 will perform its thankless tasks of hauling my filthy laundry between home and camp. It will go out of camp bulging with filthy laundry typical of an infantryman. It will return to camp with freshly pressed uniforms and clean T shirts. Once again the flags of green uniforms will be flying on the laundry lines of my home.

A very distinct Singaporean trademark.


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