Archive for March, 2008

Easter Triduum 2008

Happy Easter boys and girls!

This year I missed Holy Thursday, as a result of guard duty. I booked out in the morning on Friday.

I went to my parish in the afternoon for the Stations of the Cross and the Good Friday service. I was there with Joshua, and we had only standing space. The choir was excellent. Hymns were quite orthodox. They sang Venantius Fortunatus’ Pange Lingua in English and another Latin hymn which I can’t figure. I have an axe to grind about the veneration of the cross. They did not let us kiss the cross, instead settling for a bow.

In the evening I attended the Tenebrae service at St Patrick’s School chapel. It was organized by the Schola. It was from seven thirty to ten pm. Very long indeed. I was getting quite fidgety halfway through, and was looking forward to the end. When the end arrived I was thoroughly jolted by the Strepitus(noise). Basically, the congregation will smash their missals against the pews to make loud noises. The symbolism behind all this is the earthquake which occurred after Christ died, and when the dead starting walking the earth. Yea, it really had its effect.

Tree, which solely wast found worthy
the world’s Victim to sustain.
harbor from the raging tempest!
ark, that saved the world again!
Tree, with sacred blood anointed
of the Lamb for sinners slain.

On Holy Saturday I attended the Mandarin Easter Vigil at Nativity. They had three readings instead of seven. I don’t know; it seems like I am losing my appetite for long liturgies.
We had Legion meeting after that. At nine thirty pm.

O vere beata nox, in qua terrenis caelestia, humanis divina iunguntur!

Medics all are we…

The 46th Basic Section Leader Course ended on 4th March 2007. We marched 28km through the night from Kranji War Memorial to Kranji Dam, then through Lim Chu Kang, then back to SISPEC. It was very tiring. There were a lot of people falling out from my company. I struggled to keep up the pace. After resting for a few minutes, we marched onto the parade square for the Passing Out Parade. We would remain there for another thirty minutes with full battle order. Most of us were cursing when the reviewing officer took his time to give his very ‘short’ speech. Putting everything down after the parade was a great relief for the shoulders of all.

And on the arms, new chevrons. Now we were all corporals, destined for more advanced training elsewhere. My buddy Yi Qing got sent to the Air Force as a Weapons Operator. I was sent to SAF Medical Training Institute (SMTI) at Nee Soon Camp as a Combat Medic Specialist. Deo Gratias! The vocation I wanted exactly.

The course is not easy; there are so many things to study. I have enough textbooks to fill my field pack! The practical aspect is also challenging. On my first IV practical, I attempted 4 IVs before succeeding. Last week I improved by 1. I hope I can reduce that and succeed in one try.

Things are quite different from SISPEC. There isn’t any 5BX. It’s so slack, that many of us have elected to do our own training at night. Nee Soon camp has many slopes to run up. We do have this weird ‘Total Body Workout’ on Monday, and Wednesdays I think. It’s like Boxercise. It looks very lame.

The bunks are quite cramped compared to SISPEC. The first week we were on the sixth floor. Elevator usage was forbidden. In the second week we were moved to the third floor. On Thursday we were moved to the ninth floor, in order to make way for an new intake of two hundred combat medics. Fortunately, they allow us to use the lifts now. And, we get to use two-man bunks meant for Medical Officer Cadets. Somehow, I think I’m going to feel claustrophobic. I will let you know over the week.

As SISPEC graduates they expect a lot from us. Initiative and Discipline; the usual suspects. Regimentation is quite mad in here. They don’t allow sleeping during breaks. They don’t even allow smoking during the day. Why, the smokers in SISPEC were puffing away like no one’s business.

Duties are aplenty. I have done two guard duties already this week. There is also the Barrack Orderly where you are supposed to sleep in the Orderly room on the ground floor, and serve as firefighters. Pray that you won’t get fire drill. There is a dearth of drink machines in Nee Soon camp. The other day my prowling buddy and I were trying to find a drink machine during prowling. Argh, almost as difficult as locating the checkpoint itself.

The good thing about this place is that bookout is on Friday. I sure could use those extra hours to recover from the monotony of the work week. Nevertheless I’m enjoying this place so far!

SAF Medical Corps Song

Medics all are we, the medics of the field.
We help the wounded and the sick, the brave who will not yield.
Our hearts we give, our skills we share.
With valour, pride and will!
No matter when, we’re battle ready,
the medics of the field!

SISPEC Week 10

Deo Gratias! I managed to pass my IPPT at last. OC Sir personally supervised my test. Ok, there was some pressure in there, but it worked well. My Platoon Commander was also very encouraging.

It was a slack week, with nights out every night. I even had the time to go to Adoration on Monday night with some Catholics in my platoon. I tried to finish the remnant of my camp program. I still have a lot to do at this point of time, but I think I’ll manage.

We were allowed to bookout on Thursday night, and Off in Lieu on Friday. We had the Company Happy Hour at Golden Village VivoCity. The feature movie was ‘Jumper’. Great action, but the morality of the characters is questionable. How can one teleport around and rob banks? What a great misuse of gifts.

The weekend as usual, was spent at Legion meetings. I went to Maris Stella on Saturday morning and Nativity in the night. I have no idea how to run a parish praesidium. I don’t know any of those parishioners. What have I got myself into? The priest there is very ambitious, coming up with all sorts of programs, and trying to rope us all in.

I think that’s one reason why nobody volunteers in church anymore. You volunteer to do one thing and then you are expected to go all the way. Indeed, why stop halfway? But not all are willing to give up all their time. It’s not easy you know? Very tiring. I’m still thinking if I’m willing to do so. Well, I will see how it goes.

I have no idea where I’ll be heading to after BSLC. I hope they will send me to somewhere slack. Hoping and praying.


Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us