Basic Military Training Camp. Having taken the first stride into military life, i would say that it isn't all that bad. Yes, it take a little getting used to, especially in the first week when you are virtually cut off from the outside world, save for the newspapers and my handphone. That kind of feeling isn't good, i can tell you that. Limited freedom and personal time is another issue, and it is something which i have yet to get in tune with, even after so long. There is this feeling of longing for a civilian lifestyle which i have been forced to abandon in exchange for this regimentation.
I have been lucky enough to land in one of the nicer companies in BMTC School 4. As compared to 5th Coy, 7th Coy is much nicer and reasonable. And out of the other platoons in 7th Coy, Platoon 1, in my opinion, is the best. Although we train harder than the rest, waking up earlier and sleeping later, the rewards that we reap is proportionately more. True to the saying of "Sweat more in training, bleed less in war", the fitness level of Platoon 1 is the highest.
Over the past 2 months, i have gotten used to being surrounded by guys, gotten used to being roughed up, gotten used to being dirty. NS basically took me out of my comfort zone and placed me far from its centre. Now, i would say that rolling in mud and not bathing for several days is not much of a big deal, though i would preferably not do it if i had a choice.
NS is fun in the sense that you could do anything you want. You could run around grabbing people's butts, you could bury things that you don't want people to find into the jungle, and you could even challenge your PC to an arm wrestling match which when lost, you have to do naked jumping jacks. In the end, its all about strengthening camaraderie and the bond that is between you and your buddies.
The end of high key events is where the fun really starts. The mood becomes more relaxed and tekan sessions are noticeably lesser. Things start to get friendlier between commanders and recruits and lapses in discipline would sometimes go 'unnoticed'. The best example is when Platoon 1 decided to give Sgt Eugene and PC a good hosing down followed by a powder bath and a little camo decoration. That night was simply legendary.. It was so legendary that i took the trouble to join in the fun even after i've showered and ended up having to shower again..
In the end, POP was the thing everyone was looking forward to. To be honest, i think i will miss tekong. That's like the closest camp there is to Tampines. No matter where i get posted to, it will definitely be further away, meaning more travel to and fro, equating to more time burnt. The parade itself took several rehearsals before getting it to a satisfactory level. But absolutely none of the rehearsals can be compared to the actual thing. The feeling of standing on the floating platform, singing the national anthem and saying the SAF pledge really gives the feeling of belonging. The 24km route march the night before may be tiring, but in the end, it was all worth it. It is true when i say that everyone is just going through the motions, waiting only for the moment when the emcee says "Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud the present to you from BMTC, the trainnned soldiers!". At that very last syllable, there will be 4000 over jockey caps rising into the air. Some land in Singapore River to be washed away by the tide, most will find their way back to their owners. But nobody really cares, since it is the process of throwing that really matters, that which signifies the end of BMT, and the start of a new training phase, be it in command school or a unit.
After everything, people go their separate ways, but nobody will really forget BMT. It has often been said that BMT will be the slackest period of an NSF's service period, perhaps that is why the bonds made here are so strong. Hopefully, no matter where i get posted to, i'll be able to find the platoon 1 spirit around.