Archive for the 'Army' Category

No more blood

I have ended my employment with the laboratory I was working with. Looks like my plan didn’t work out. As expected, I flunked Calculus and Statistics. Paying to retake these two modules burnt a hole in my wallet.

I am a biologist! Why do I have to study Math! This frustrates me. Imagine not being able to finish this degree because of two Year 1 Math modules. No, I have to do something about this. Practise more. Find a tutor. Pray more novenas.

I finished General and Applied Microbiology. Piece of cake. I hope I can get a distinction for this one. I am currently taking Molecular Biology. I need to start studying for this one, especially the practicals.

Well, no more blood and formaldehyde for now. Overall the experience has been quite interesting. My only regret is not mastering the more important and profitable skills. In the meantime I will go back to my part time jobs. No more blood taking though. I think I will stay away from Healthcare for a while.

The year is ending rather quickly. In the past few months I have completed 1x NS Refresher training, 1X Low Key ICT, 1X Technical Mobilization. I hope that they do not call us up in December. And I still have to find some way to pass my IPPT. This is not good. What else can I do, but work at it, and suck on it?

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. But God helps those who help themselves.

Operationally Ready

I burned several days of off and leave clearing the backlog for one of my understudies, because he and the other fellow were deployed for Army Open House 2009. But I am thankful because I did not need to attend this time wasting event!

Even on the last day, I was still asked to clear more backlog and I could not refuse because it would not be courteous to refuse a free lunch treat from my superior. But I am thankful because I do not need to handle stores anymore even when I come back for ICT.

Never mind that I only asked for chicken porridge because I had a bad stomach, at least I had free lunch. Never mind that I was wasting my time at Amy Logistics Base, at least can look at pretty girls. Never mind that I couldn’t return my camp pass on time, precluding me from collecting my pink IC on Friday when the rest of my cohort had.

I came back on Tuesday to collect my pink IC, transcript and testimonial. And although I was one of the last to collect my pink IC, I was the first to collect my transcript and testimonial in its entirety. With ‘outstanding’ performance and conduct of course. I am, a good soldier.

Now I can gloriously say,

‘ORD LOH!’

Last Sixty Three Days of NSF Life

I am entering the last sixty three days of my fulltime National Service. One journey ends and another will begin soon. I need to settle the remaining matters at work as soon as possible, or else I will not be able to leave in peace.

Yet obstacles continue to rise before my face. When one job is finished, another one pops up. Work never ends. I try to organize and plan my work by breaking them up into small bits but they seem to be ever increasing;  any form of time tabling and scheduling seems hopeless. Time is running out.

I’m beginning to think that I cannot settle everything nicely in time for my replacements. I work overtime; I forgo my nights’ out; I even delay my own book out timing, but nothing seems to be working. Maybe it is time to be the bad guy, and do what my predecessors called ‘Throwing The Shit’.

But isn’t that just taking the easy way out? I’ll just be like a thousand other NSFs who did the same thing, thus adding to our inglorious reputation for being lazy. (Shut up, I will not sign on as a regular soldier.)

Maybe I am not working efficiently enough. In this age it is often said that we should work smart, not work hard. An easy thing to say, but hard to do. For someone who is used to putting in 100% effort and yet dismayed with unfruitful results, maybe I’m too behind the times.

A friend once told me, ‘You want to do the right thing but you complain so much.’ She is right. I must finish this race well. By the grace of God, I must.

May the Lord grant us quiet night and perfect END! Amen!

Creative Despair

The ATEC wasn’t as bad as I thought. In fact, it was less tiring than the one I went for last year. Nonetheless, the conditions were far from ideal. Plenty of screw-ups before, during and after the exercise. One idiotic one was forgetting to bring the picnic lantern. How can anyone forget to bring the picnic lantern and set up BCS at night!? The weather on the first day was incredibly hot as well. We were so tired after setting up that we were all lying inside tent groaning and lamenting the heat. It was so bad that the Senior Medic and Signaller elected for a bag of Ringer’s Solution infused into them.There were some pretty comical scenes as well.

There was one time when me, two of the medics and the signaller went to dig the latrines. It was damn hot. So were taking turns with the ET stick and blade to dig two holes, when our signaller decided to take over. He was hacking away at the soil and began to to become frustrated because the rifle kept slipping down while worn in backsling. That annoys the hell out of everyone.

Signaller: Ok screw this, I don’t care if I get extras, I’m taking everything off. (Proceeds to take off helmet, webbing and weapon)

He continues hacking away for a couple more times when suddenly he faints and slams into the ground. We could hear the ‘Piak!’ sound generated by his body contacting the ground.

I looked at the other two medics and mumbled, ‘This is not good’. So the three of us starting shaking him and trying to wake him up. After thirty seconds he suddenly opens his eyes and swears loudly. Hahaha, it was really funny.

Upon returning to unit, I was kept busy with duties, preparation for brigade exercise and the usual torrent of paperwork. At least I managed to take some time off to do some of my personal tasks. The time off balanced out the looming datelines, irritating phone calls and obstinate arrows homing onto me. I managed to catch Detroit Metal City. I managed to apply for school as well. There’s a chance I might be going overseas for further education, but nothing is set in stone yet.

From 13th to 15th of March, I was running a camp for the new appointment holders in Legion. Their response was really promising. Some of them have really great potential. Yet it remains as potential because their time to lead has not arrived. Who will take charge of these little ones? My cohort will all be moving on to the next phase in their life, yet I seem to be stuck here.

I am terrified at the prospect of taking over as junior curia president. The curia president MUST be a member of an senior praesidium. I am not, therefore I will be forced to join an senior praesidium. I will be honest: their meetings bore me to death! I cannot believe that I must sit through week after week of such meetings. Let’s not get started on the way these people do things.

Perhaps I am biased. Perhaps I am not giving others a chance. But there is something I’m sure of, that is, I’m not really sure where all this is heading and what it is supposed to mean for me.Yet ten years in the junior curia must culminate in this moment of truth.

Oh, it was only yesterday that I was the idealistic sec one boy who joined for the wrong reasons but grew to love this. Seniors came and went. Friends came and went. Yet I am still here. All this is definitely part of God’s plan. It feels like I am inching towards the edge of the cliff, and being commanded to jump off. Alone.

When will I rediscover the joy of being in the Legion? At present it seems like a burden.

Despair

絶望した! I have to go fight another ATEC this week! I hope it turns out okay. I can’t remember any of my BCS stuff.

On the bright side, my understudy unexpectedly arrived last Thursday. I didn’t have much time to interact with him due to all the covers taking place. I hope he can get through this week. It will be the first of many.

To Taiwan and Back: Part 3

Finally, we arrived at our long awaited destination. Taipei.

We were put up at various hotels. I was placed in a different hotel than from my unit guys. How disconcerting. The only people in my hotel are the medics, drivers and cooks. There were two of my clerks there too, and I shared a room with Jing Wei, one of the signallers from 41 SAR who incidentally followed our BCS team for ATEC.

On the first night, I did not venture far from the hotel, merely walking and exploring the neighbourhood. I was also trying to get some decent maps to navigate around with. The trip was quite long as well, and I was quite tired. I just bought some beef noodles from a shop around the corner and ate in my hotel room. On hindsight, I should have went out to see the nightlife. This was the only regret of my trip. Okay, enough lamenting.

The next day we got up pretty early and had breakfast at some restaurant. Most of the catered meals were at some local restaurants serving rice and various dishes such as vegetables and meat. Not very fantastic, but considering that everything is paid by for the army we cannot be choosy.

After breakfast we headed towards Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園). Basically there is nothing there but mountains and more mountains.

From right to left: Me, Jing Wei the signaller, Gan Kai Xian the ops clerk, Wee Liang the ops clerk, and two guys from SMI.

Road that leads deeper into the mountains.

Visitors’ Centre

Hands off the exhibits!

Flower Gardens

Some local Scouts having a day out

This so-called garden is actually quite big. It is a reputed hotspot for hiking and long walks. This road goes down..

and down..

and down all the way! So much so that we decided not to follow that path because was really steep and too far.

We headed back to the city for lunch, and had free and easy time for the rest of the day after 1 pm.

Okay, Yangmingshan bores me. Next stop, Ximenting!

To Taiwan and Back: Part 2

The best part of any overseas training is the R&R. We had our R&R in Taipei. On the last Friday we had reveille at 4 am. The buses left Hengchun camp at 4 am. It would be a long trip towards Taipei. There were numerous rest stops in between where we could purchase food. I bought some preserved quail eggs or iron/metal eggs (鐵蛋).I tried them before, so I was keen on purchasing a few packets home.

It was really a long ride. We entertained ourselves with the on-board movies. They screened Cape No. 7 (海角七號), which is supposed to be a best seller at the Taiwanese cinemas.

We stopped at LeoFu Village (六福村)which is supposed to be a Taiwanese Disneyland of some sorts. I had little interest in rides, and went off to the zoo to see the animals instead.

Leos of LeoFu

This is claimed to be the only white tiger in the whole of Taiwan. I wonder if it has mauled anyone yet. Ours has already beat this one!

Pink Flamingoes

Oh my God! Hippos! What could be better than hippos? Hippos are the best!

Rhinos at Rest

In the central area of LeoFu Village. Notice the marble hippos in the water.

We left LeoFu Village at 4 pm. We would only reach the hotel in Taipei at 7 pm.

Akan Datang: Part 3


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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