In my time serving the compulsory two years, I have been

  • awarded platoon best in BMT
  • dropped out of OCS to pursue a civilian posting while serving out my duty (see below for clarification)
  • posted to a stay-out signal battalion up north and
  • posted to an active signal battalion in the west of Singapore

So I can say I do know how it feels like to perform well in the SAF, but also how to protect yourself from life-long injury and the in worst case scenario – death. I have seen enough how different units carry out their punishments and procedures, and there is nothing to be afraid of as long as you are clear of the rules.

In light of a higher number of deaths, I just hope I can help more people stay alive and injury-free. The way the SAF conducts its investigations regarding such incidents is not transparent and therefore it is important to take a stance of self-preservation. My advice is meant to help you stay alive and injury-free.

Firstly, staying alive is more important than being an officer or sergeant. I have seen more friends get injured (torn meniscus, ligament, slipped discs etc) during training in OCS than in any other training institution. Obviously, vocations in places like SISPEC, commandos, guards and infantry would have similar levels of risk.

Is the slightly higher allowance worth it? Definitely not and hence my first advice.

Advice 1: Do not over-perform in BMT, just be normal.

Do you have asthma, damaged eardrums or generally just a low sense of self-confidence? Do not be garang and chiong. Because the first penguin into the ocean never survives.

For example, lung related illnesses (like bronchitis or asthma) have a recurrence rate during the use of smoke grenades.

If some activity makes you think twice about doing it, don’t do it. If anyone forces you to do it, ask them if they will take responsibility for your life if anything goes wrong.

Advice 2: All past illnesses are considered serious, do not overlook them. Report them and protect yourself from risky activities.

Heavy objects – unless your civilian profession is a weightlifter, do not act garang. Rather appear weak and protect your erector spinae and spine. That refers to your lower back region. Remember that muscles heal but structure does not. If you injure your spine, you are screwed for life.

DO NOT THINK that lifting heavy things will make you stronger. In the gym, we do it in a controlled environment with a sound training plan, good diet and proper rest. In the army, you do it with little sleep, carbs rich food with limited protein and under undue pressure.

WAIT FOR HELP to lift heavy stuff. It would include universal power supply(s), artillery shells and generally anything bulky and above 20kg.

Advice 3: Avoid heavy objects.

Superiors are just doing their job. On a daily basis, they encounter NSFs who are perfectly fine but would keng their way out of duty. You have to play the same game, but play it even better. Make sure to sound worse than you actually are. If you feel feverish, say you feel like fainting. Seriously. But remember to be consistent in your “act”, all the way till you reach your doorstep.

A lot of mistakes happen during military exercises or route marches, where your logical mind is put to a rest and you just try to push through. As an athlete, I know the importance of telling the conscious to shut it and push through the discomfort.

In the field, do this with extreme care, with the hot sun or cold rain, it is easy to fall sick or get heat stroke! During safety briefing, the safety officer would say safety first but the officer or sergeant would shout at you to push on during the exercise itself. Don’t be stupid lah, just act tired.

Advice 4: Superiors are not as scary as they appear. They are bounded by the same rules as you.

At this point, many readers would be sniggering and wondering if I am serious.

Yes, I am dead serious.

30 years from now when you are nursing a slipped L4 L5 disc or a torn knee ligament, the only person suffering is yourself. And your momentary contribution to some make-belief military exercise is all but forgotten in the annals of SAF history.

Worse, if you died, no AVIVA will be able to cover the pain felt by your family and friends.

The place to prove your strength and mental fortitude is not in the army because in the worst case scenario, you are only sent to a government hospital 1.5 hours after the incident. This is because of the needless process of an inexperienced medic trying to treat you, then sending you to a medical officer in the medical centre who tries again to revive you and finally sending you to a proper doctor where more often than not, that doctor has the thankless task of pronouncing you dead.

I have been through the process of going to medic to MO to government hospital before, yes it takes 1.5 hours at the least. Thankfully, it was for a much less serious incident. I got my MC though.

In the real world where you try to bust personal records, you get sent to a proper doctor in 30 minutes max. Get it? If you get seriously ill or injured in the army, you have little chance.

As I end this post, remember the quote by Charles Darwin,

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

I was not the best soldier in the army, but I did stay alive and injury free.

EDIT 1: I was away for the past 4 days for a mini getaway in HuangShan. Beautiful place. People with no command of language other than hurling vulgarities should go there to gain some good energy.

EDIT 2: Which brings me to the next point, I hate deleting comments, but those who resort to name-calling would be deleted.

EDIT 3: I understand there’s a note by Cpt Choy disparaging my use of “flawless logic”. Just remember he is a professional soldier and it is in his interest to make his organization look good. It is not my prerogative to do so. I am watching out for the reader’s best interests. He mentions about “making noise” on social media to make the nationalistic point of view stronger. Seriously? Anyway, to clear things up, in the event of war, I would fight alongside everyone else. I just wanted people to know not to push themselves beyond the point of extreme fatigue where death and injuries occur.

EDIT 4: I am really shocked at the amount of shares my humble little blogpost has. I did not expect so many views and it was meant for friends to learn from my experience.

Some clarifications. I had a choice midway through OCS to choose between working in a civilian posting as a project manager for the NDP website team or continue in OCS. The civilian posting would mean reporting in civilian clothes to an office in Tiong Bahru and working normal office hours. I chose my own path.

Secondly, the part about holding up your “act” till the doorstep is that if you look “well” while on the way back, you can potentially be charged for malingering even though you are still sick. So this is just helpful advice. There are plenty of evil superiors who will nitpick on every small detail to charge you for malingering. There are nice superiors for sure, but there are also evil ones.

Finally, I am not discouraging anyone from serving with honour and fighting for glory in the SAF, but do so with your eyes wide open. The organization only provides medical subsidy for your injury, that’s all. And that’s only if you can prove you sustained a life-long injury while in the course of duty.

My friend who got a hamstring tear in BMT and ord-ed more than 3 years ago still cannot get his specialist at a government hospital and the MO to agree on the condition. This is not a one-off incident and more common than you think. You can ask your friends who are in similar conditions.

For those who say deaths and injuries are part and parcel of soldiering and for the protection of the nation, would you say it straight in the face to the family of the dead person? You wouldn’t. You would say he was a good soldier blah blah blah. That means you are being a hypocrite. No one wants anyone to die or get seriously injured. Yet, you willingly push good men to the risk of injury.

I note there are many others who disagree with my point of view. But these same people agree with my point about medics’ incompetency. Therefore, how can I in good faith encourage my friends to train to full abandonment in service for the country and organization, knowing at the back of my head if they get seriously injured, they have a high chance of permanent disability or fatality?

The entire point of my article, was to prevent it.

  • Pingback: Staying Alive and Injury-Free While Serving The SAF – A Reponse « OMG It’s Kenneth Teng

  • Kang Abraham

    It’s because of weaklings like you that give the armed forces a bad name. This is such a degrading article to the men (and women) who put in their sweat, blood and tears to defend this nation. Man up, put on that uniform and do your best or just run away with your tail between your legs but don’t give this kind of slacking advice to the next generation. Please.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think my article tries to stop anyone who wants to put in sweat into protecting the country. The truth is, there are many dangerous activities that happen under the guise of training. Read proper books on what is considered good training. If your version of “man up” is to be exposed to unnecessary risk and injury, then I rather my offspring be safe. I rock climb and do weight lifting as recreational activities, but every time, I take calculated risks and am clear of the consequences. I don’t feel this degree of safety in the army at all.

      • 3SG(NS)

        Nothing wrong with this article when this mindset has been adopted by aplenty since ages ago.

        Not everyone sees a point in giving their all during NS and it is myopic and ridiculous to simply blame them than resolve the root cause – the Army. The image of the Army and how it operates.

        (This is nearly as stupid as charging the inadequately-trained medics and MOs involved in PTE Lee’s highly unfortunate case.)

        (I graduated from SCS and earned a fair share of awards there as well as in my unit, but looked after myself sufficiently as well.)

        • I Chao Keng

          Dude, why does everyone like to show off their awards and try to imply a higher authority? Getting awards in the army only shows that you know how to wayang. I was Coy Best, I know. (ironic but yea I’m putting myself down so implied higher authority only in supporting wayang ability)

          I am an unbashed Chao Keng Officer. But when I keng, I look out for who takes my slack. If it’s a 3SG I don’t like I’ll leave all the extra work to him. If we brother-brother I’ll slack less and treat him teh bing after that.

          Minus all the useless fluff from Abraham and the morally uptight CO about “blood and tears.. Man up.. etc”, army is about friendships.

          If I am a rock climber and a weightlifter and a respectable friend, how can I not help carry a heavier load when my weaker buddy obviously needs help? If my buddy was a self-preservationistic prick like J.Ko I’d probably let him get heat exhaustion and be evacuated. (then again he’d probably fall out before that)

          Guest, OCS is comparatively easier for someone capable of getting Platoon Best, has good physical fitness and also those who are able to articulate their thoughts well. ala J.Ko.

          3SG(NS), this article is wrong because it gives slackers a bad name by giving too many excuses. You are probably the type to have many excuses too. So go on with life with this mentality, get your awards with your wayang, and enjoy all the respect from fake people. Including me, on the surface. I’ll probably give you all my extra work after telling you a bit about how capable you are 🙂

      • Guest

        Don’t really think OCS is that simple.

  • Liew_jordan863

    jordan
    fk u abraham. its because of idiots like you that the SAF are chalking up more death rates every year. its stupid to put saf above your life. its not degrading to treasure your life so you should just shut up before someone stuffs his cock into your mouth because what you said is a whole lot of shit 🙂

  • Dhfhs

    https://www.facebook.com/ah.ham

    dude… it is people like u that give SAF a bad name… hiding behind an false internet identity does not means much in the current age

  • Alrightyyy

    I’m not one who usually comments on posts, but I’ll make an exception this time… and I have to say that this post really hits the nail on the head on some areas.

    It’s possible to do your best though, without exposing yourself to unnecessary risk. I wouldn’t ‘act’ / ‘keng’ for an MC or ‘status’, but safety should always be on the forefront of one’s mind.

    With most NSFs, there’s a large tendency to go either way – some will be totally ‘garang’ and push themselves too far beyond the limit, and others will ‘keng’ (and really, go quite overboard in doing so). There’s a happy medium, really. The best possible attitude is just to try one’s best while knowing that it’s not the end if you can’t do something or fail.

    P.S. I love that Darwinian quote, too.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly, don’t go all the way out to risk your life, but do enough to contribute to the forces.

  • Zercahrd

    it’s because of fuckers like you that genuine cases of danger are ignored. if everyone gave their best during training and no one tried to be funny, i see no reason for the doubt existing in today’s system. you can blame the system, but at it’s core are retards like you who spoil it for everyone else. if you feel no guilt, i feel sorry for your poor soul because i see those deaths as attributable to people like you. Darwin proposed the survival of the fittest, not survival of the weakest cheating assholes, so do yourself a favour and don’t abuse his good name.

    • Jeremy

      To be clear, Darwin proposed survival of the most adaptable. Even if you are the fittest during a famine, you would die first as your muscles consume more calories than a fat dude with 200% body fat as he has energy stores. In case of the famine, he wins, not you.

  • Anonymous

    I was referred here from the Facebook article “In Polite and Vehement Objection to ‘Singaporeans Too Weak? LOL’ – For all our NSFs/NSmen past, present, future.”

    Quoting the article “But let me ask you, when the first shot is fired, who do you want on the frontline? Our Jeremy, who I suspect, in his flawless logic, will save his own skin first, ‘staying alive and injury-free’, or my dear G, who I suspect, with bullets lodged in his thigh, shoulder and a sharpnel to his neck, will continue to fight on. Who do you want defending your country?”

    Indeed, I felt pride and emotions swell up within me as the topic starter wrote about how G recited the officer’s creed while in the safety rover to the MO, all the while body convulsing, speech slurring. What a great boy, I told myself. What a beautiful story. But then, I took a step away from these emotions, and asked myself, to what end has this 18 years old boy’s sacrifice been worth it?

    Through history, what are wars but just territorial/ideological conflicts filled with political agendas?
    There are those who would offers stirring rhetorics and anecdotes to stir the nationalistic fervor, to make people believe that they are “fighting for a cause”, “defending the nation”, “sacrificing themselves for the greater good”. In other words, to convert them into zealots. Why are they doing this? 2 simple reasons.

    1. The people who persuade others are the zealots themselves.
    2. They have political agendas.

    In light of this, I applaud your spirit of self-preservation, and your willingness to share practical ways for NSFs to do so. In this age of the “yes-man”, (or in the rhetorics of our Army, people who will, without question, man up and defend the sovereignty of our nations once the button is pressed) it is refreshing to see someone who understands the necessities to question and if needed, circumvent to protect himself.

    To all those who want to flame me, think about it. When the young man sustain a permanent injury in NS, what will the army give him? Some compensation, healthcare, and if he is lucky, a medal and a promotion perhaps (if it is serious enough). Look no further to cases of war veterans in the US to realize the futility of wars to the common people. But, who does it hurt the most? The injured guy? No, his family. Who are the selfish one then? Those with enough sense to practice self-preservation? Or those who put themselves in unnecessarily amount of risk without sparing a thought for the people closest to him?

    What the author is advocating is a sense of self-preservation, to push oneself to serve the nation in the best way he can while mediating that risk with the responsibility to himself and his family. So please stop manipulating this article to further your own agenda. (Mr Choy, if you see this, I am referring to you)

    And to those who flame people for hiding behind false internet identities, it is the anonymity of the Internet that allows for frank discussions free from the real-world judgement from a society too intolerant of differing views. I just want to writer to know that he is not alone in his views. I am thankful for and unashamed of my anonymity.

    -WKW

  • ruiwen

    dear jeremy,

    i respect the fact that there are people out there who do not believe that National Service is a suitable way to spend two years of their lives. we singaporean males all have to go through it, and all of us undergo different experiences, and cope with it in different ways. some choose to be ‘garang’, and do the best that they can to be in the best units, holding the best positions. others choose alternative routes- drivers, mechanics, administrative clerks etc. however, the bottom line is that we all contribute however we can.

    i find it deplorable, however, that you malign the good name of most of our servicemen who put their best foot forward, and do the best that they can during their 2 years in service. my clerk in Coy HQ down-pesed due to an injury sustained during training. however, he continued to put his best foot forward, and was amazing in contributing to the organization of my company. i’m not saying that one should go above and beyond the call of duty and hide an injury, and i’m not saying that you should not take care of your own well-being. what i am saying is- do the best that you can, within your means, in whatever role is assigned to you.

    that is perhaps the basic principle that the SAF has strove to impart to all its servicemen when they come in. there are numerous safety procedures and planning that go into each and every mission. you might not be aware of it, but it is there.

    the demise of Pte Dominique Sarron is indeed regrettable, and there will be a witch hunt. people will be held accountable, and procedures will be fixed. however, your post soils his memory and the efforts of generations before, who have put their best foot forward to serve our country, and if not that, to at the very least, help and assist the people around you who are serving with you.

    i do hope that you took this into consideration during your insightful tutorial on how to avoid getting injured.

    ruiwen.

    • ruiwenohruiwen

      dear ruiwen,

      “i find it deplorable, however, that you malign the good name of most of our servicemen who put their best foot forward, and do the best that they can during their 2 years in service. my clerk in Coy HQ down-pesed due to an injury sustained during training. however, he continued to put his best foot forward, and was amazing in contributing to the organization of my company. i’m not saying that one should go above and beyond the call of duty and hide an injury, and i’m not saying that you should not take care of your own well-being. what i am saying is- do the best that you can, within your means, in whatever role is assigned to you.” — how did the writer malign the good name of most of our servicemen again? Are your skills of comprehension so low such that you didn’t realise what you are saying echoes what he is saying?

      “i respect the fact that there are people out there who do not believe that National Service is a suitable way to spend two years of their lives.” — if you respect this fact, then respect the views of this author offering this piece of advice catering to this particular group who do not believe that NS is a suitable/appropriate/safe way to spend two years plus of their lives. Respect most importantly your parents who worry at night, even as they might not speak out directly, about your safety in the forces as you strive for the best in your service. Your bravery and medals alongside your officers’ condolences will mean nothing to them when they either meet you in hospital (or the morgue if unlucky) because of a training accident. Just because you came out unscathed does not mean everyone will be safe. I’m sure you know of more than one injured soldier.

  • comrade

    Jeremy, let me first begin by qualifying that you are definitely entitled to your own opinions and I respect them, and here’s what I have to say:

    Do not claim to offer “advice” when your personal experiences do not represent the totality of what OUR NS is about. Not only are you creating a false impression (and providing mis-guided advice) for the next generation of NS-boys, you are also demeaning the work of many generations that have served before us!

    You may have ‘escaped’ and stayed alive injury-free after the two years living on your little mantra (which in Army-speak is what I call ‘chao-keng’), but that does not make you qualified to claim, “I can say I do know how it feels”.

    Simply put, you have never been on the other side so you can’t say for sure that the opposite of your ‘advice’ equates to a lower possibility of ‘staying alive and injury free’.

    I, like you, left BMT as the Platoon Best and went to OCS. I got commissioned. I served in a respectable unit, had a fulfilling two years and left the Army in 2008. Injury-free and alive.

    The difference between the two of us:

    1. The Experience.

    I do not wish to sound boastful, but all I can say is that my training in OCS was not even half as tough as what I went through in my unit. If you think seeing your “friends getting injured during training in OCS” means a lot, shouldn’t I be seeing worse?

    Yet, most of my peers like me, left the Army pretty much injury-free and alive. Was it worth the higher allowance? Hell-ya! In fact, allowance aside, the experience already more than speaks for itself. Were we physically tougher than our peers in other units? I don’t think so. We simply looked out for each other.

    2. Mental Toughness.

    I am a climber myself, but I ashamed to be labelled as one (like you) after your blog post. As a sportsman, you should know very well that mental resilience is a very big part of what sets us apart from those who don’t do sports at all.

    I shudder to think what Singapore would be like, if every male went through NS with your advice “if you have to think twice, don’t do it”.

    3. Sincerity

    I entered NS with one very simple mindset, we all have to serve our two years, your experience is what you make out of it, so why not make the best of it?

    ‘Acting’ and ‘keng-ing’, in my opinion only makes your life more miserable. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, you are constantly questioning yourself and thinking of ways to avoid doing work. Did I ever skive during my two years? Of course! Everyone needs a break at some point, but don’t get by every day ‘acting’ and ‘keng-ing’.

    If you sincerely want to make the best of your two years, growing as an individual, do your best and you will enjoy the process.

    During my two years, I have had people close to me collapse, evacuated and even pass away during trainings. Does that mean I should always be living with that fear of one day maybe collapsing and leaving my family weeping with only the Aviva insurance payouts? No.

    One just needs to know his/her limits and always look out for each other, the tell-tale signs will always be there. Every activity has its inherent risks. Even when you do rock-climbing or train with your kettle-bell. Is the SAF perfect? No. As an organization it still has lots to improve on.

    I get that you are trying to highlight the importance of looking out for oneself, but do try to be more objective with your ‘advice’. Your post, in my opinion, does more harm than good.

    • kindustin

      Some individuals, are motivated to pay the price, to train for their country. Some, place their lives, their family, their health with prior importance.
      Some, like you, enter NS “making the best out of it”. To you, it may be rational to do so; to him, it is plain foolish to struggle and risk one’s personal health and existing health conditions under a system with failing checks and balances. He gave examples on why the checks and balances failed to work and I fail to see why he is not being “objective with his advice'”.

      You did not show why HIS opinion lacked objectivity, you simply asserted based on YOUR personal anecdotes why his post did more harm than good. HE centered his post around general arguments before bringing in some examples (some personal, some not). YOURS was entirely centered on YOUR experience, YOUR perspective, YOUR value judgements on his content and just because you say: “you are definitely entitled to your own opinions and I respect them”, it does not give you the right to simply dismiss his ‘advice’ as ill-advice, by IMMEDIATELY STATING:”Do not claim to offer “advice” when your personal experiences do not represent the totality of what OUR NS is about”.

      If there is anyone here who lacked objectivity, it is you. Who gave you the right to decide what “OUR NS” is about? Who gave you the superiority of mind to decide that his arguments are not reflective of NSmen’s experiences and opinions?

      You gave yourself that ‘Moral Authority’ to condemn others, similar to how Christians give themselves the moral authorities to condemn gays, muslims, Jews of past and whatnot. Like all self-righteous men, you deemed your own path to be superior to his “keng-ness”, despite him stating all the rational grounds for choosing his own path. I despise you, although I do not necessarily agree with him. IT IS MEN LIKE YOU, that ignore the cries of THEM, and eventually proceed with that pluralistic ignorance about the huge flaws within your own system.

      DID YOU ONCE, attempt to address his central reasons for why people should avoid striving so hard? NO! You dismissed his actions as ‘keng-ing’, as shameful, and get away commenting: “I shudder to think”. Blinded by your own efforts in OCS and superiority, you have failed to notice and address, like most officers do, the fundamental reasons (STATED BY OUR DEAR OP) why your system drives SO MANY SUBORDINATES, sergeants, men & even fellow officers alike, to KENG. This is where I mention that personally, I have not been a Keng-er, i suffered fractures, recovered and still serving as a combatant, but sometimes I wonder if it is worth it for my family. Many REGULARS & OFFICERS (maybe sort of like you, I wouldn’t know), having been so jaded in their GARANGNESS, oppress THEM and fail to address it.

      I implore you, to be objective with your own advice. I love to see Patriotism, but words like yours and many below, are blind faith and pure discrimination. I stand against you, because you are representative of an oppressive force. Do not take this personally, for HIS is neither my personal stand. But the very fact is, people like you trigger people like me, to stand up to them, and tell them to shut their trap.

      Just… No.

      • MC

        i agree with some aspects of your response and where you’re coming from, but i thought using religion as an analogy was unnecessary and not entirely correct as well. interesting counterpoint nonetheless.

        • kindustin

          Thanks MC, see above.

      • comrade

        Kindustin, I have no intentions of sparking a debate, and that still remains. But do let me offer you my perspective on certain issues that you’ve brought up.

        My point regarding his lack of objectivity stems from the fact that he has not been on the “other side”, so he can’t claim to have seen it all. By stating “I just hope I can help more people stay alive and injury-free”, and not acknowledging the presence of a counter-argument, gives an ill-informed reader the false impression that his ‘advice’ is representative of what our NS is about.

        When I offered my perspective and my experiences, I was simply trying to present my case about how the opposite might not be false. The readers, I trust, will be able to make their own judgment.

        I do not think I possess any moral high ground in my personal views against his opinions. In fact, if there was anything that my two years in NS taught me, it is that we all serve the Army for a common purpose. Just because I am an officer does not make me any more superior that my specialists and fighters. We simply have our own responsibilities and we do our best to make everything work.

        I came from a mono-intake. I literally rose through the ranks to become an officer; first as a trooper, then a specialist (earning my stripes) before becoming an officer. Does that make my experience more superior than others? Nope. I have encountered tons of specialists and fighters who are more qualified that I am, they respect me for my position as an officer, and we learn from each other.

        *My little advice at this point, do not draw the lines and assume that officers are more superior beings. The other readers who are officers should note this as well. We exists because of the specialists and fighters that serve WITH us.*

        I acknowledged that there are flaws in the current system, and the SAF as an organization has lots to improve on. First and foremost, understanding the general sentiments on the ground. I have friends who went through their two years being told to ‘pluck grass from the parade square’, and they hated their NS experience. Some might have entered all ‘garang’ and raring to go, some might have entered with the mindset of Jeremy’s.

        But as the organization strives to improve (trust me they are trying), the mentality that Jeremy suggested definitely does not help in making things better. You and I, we all have our part to play. Like it or not, we still have many more years to serve, and the moment we all lose faith in the system, NS will become a liability rather than an asset to the nation.

        If I have in any way presented my arguments in a manner that sounds oppressive and discriminatory, that was not my intention, and I apologize for that. You, likewise, should acknowledge that by the train of your arguments, presenting a religious analogy is similarly discriminatory and unnecessary as well. We are all entitled to our opinions, and let’s respect each other for that.

      • Webster

        Blinded by your rage and ignorance, you have misused the word “pluralistic”.

        • kindustin

          Read on and be more informed about ‘pluralistic ignorance’, and perhaps think a little about its specific context that I mentioned it in. What was the nuance that I was trying to make?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluralistic_ignorance

          Also, if the religion thing was seen as discriminatory it was unfortunate; I merely intended it to be one of the many examples of the self-righteous bashing of others. Just happened, that what is most salient today, is gay bashing, prominently by the Bible Belt no doubt. The disproportionate hate against it is sickening, as opposed to their relatively muted hatred for sexual philandering of their own kind.

          And Webster, if I am ignorant, please do educate me. My post may have been emotional, but it sure wasn’t ignorant or blinded. If you have something to say, say it and prove it. Sweeping statements like yours are little different from name-calling.

          Comrade, thanks for the acknowledgement. Appreciate it.

    • comradeftw

      2 words, keyboard warrior. perhaps you don’t realise that everyone is different. oh yeah, the difference between you and the blog owner, apparently army didn’t rot his intelligence away, while your already rotten intelligence simply got worse. alive and injury free, great, but apparently your brain has some injuries that has been there since you were born 🙁

    • tommmm

      Hey occifer!

      That’s what my co told us before atec 2 in wallaby. Stay alive!
      Redcon 2a is no easy feat. Do the minimum and stay alive that’s the spirit.

      So stfu. So what if you’re occifer. If you can’t protect your men, I’m sure that during a war. They will lodge a bullet in your head before taking your pistol meant for shooting deserters!

      Anothersingaporeanson

  • Asd

    Referred here as well from the Facebook article “In Polite and Vehement Objection to ‘Singaporeans Too Weak? LOL’ – For all our NSFs/NSmen past, present, future.”

    I’m a scout commander and I carry up to, if not, more than 30kg when going on mission. And not once did I keng, and not once did I fall out, and not once did I step into MO. And I’m injury free, and I’m 1 more month to ORD.

    So are the rest of my 13 scout commanders. All injury free.

    So, **** your article.

    -DTJK

    • Guest

      Dear Commander,

      I believe that this should not be the behavior and language of a respectable commander. As much as your personal experience is convincing that it is not always in the case that one may get injured by doing their best in training and I believe, is in good intentions of motivating others to do so as well, the language and manner chosen to bring forward this message may have strongly went against your best intentions.

      For your considerations.

      Thank you.

      • Guest

        I know that he is not one. I am replying to some of the “commanders” posting here. I believe that as commanders, we are not supposed to speak like that. Show some leadership and manners, not anger or bluntness.

    • Go-sign-on

      Gz, damn good and damn garang.
      I think you should sign on, Singapore needs people like you. Maybe with a regular army, she can finally dispense with indiscriminate conscription.

  • Guest

    What is the point of saying that we love our country and boost about how much we do for our country when we are spitting venom at our fellow country men instead of guiding them along? When we say we love our country, do we mean that we only love the good part and not the bad part, bearing in mind that these misguided people are part of our nation? Are we looking upon these people as our young brothers and sisters, who are mistaken in their beliefs and be ready to educate, mentor and guide them or are we all load up and ready to gun down these people whenever they made a mistake or have a different ideology, even when they have apologist for their mistakes? Instead of displaying anger, why not display some leadership and influence these people? Should we then be angry at our own inability to change them? The purpose of National Service is to preserve the sovereignty of our country, to protect our land from any potential aggression. But let us be reminded that if we are divided among ourselves, it will not need any other external party to break us.

    (I got out of bed, turned on my computer just to write this, after reading loads of very angry comments on the recent NS incident, and also on the other one by J.Ko about preserving one’s own skin when serving NS, where people are cursing each other because of a difference in ideology. Think about it. Is this the way to behave when we pledged to be one united people?)

  • Gerald

    For all the people who call Jeremy a weakling, you guys are the fucking idiots. It’s people like you that keep NSF the mindset that if they don’t force themselves to push through, they’ll be label as a weakling or chao keng. To the point that even continue to push on even though they’re feeling unwell.

    Common scenario. NSF wakes up in the morning really feeling unwell, reports sick, other NSF in his platoon talk behind his back, calling him chao keng.

    Yes you can say that your platoon has gone through training injury free. That’s just for the present moment. Wait another 2,5 or 10 and I guarantee some of them would regret pushing themselves so hard during their NSF days. Some people give their all during these two years, only to end up with life long injuries and medical bills.

    All I’m saying is that not everyone is made the same. Some people are born to be more athletic while some are born with a weaker body. We aren’t robots who were created exactly the same and able to handle everything in the same manner. So you guys have no right to insult Jeremy when he is just giving his own personal advise to help person protect themselves better. If you’re fit and driven then by all means ignore his post and persevere during your training. For those who know that your health isn’t at it’s best, don’t try to force yourself just because you’re worried about what your platoon mates think of you. At the end of these two years, there won’t be any 11B to cover all your medical bills anymore so you have to take responsibilities for whatever injuries you sustained through trying to please other people.

  • Dr. P

    I, too, read and was touched by Choy’s well-written article, but the backlash on J.Ko’s article is somewhat unwarranted and misguided. To draw compensation and personal motivations into the discussion, however, not only undermines J.Ko’s sensibility but also the services of many NS men.

    J.Ko comes across as an intelligent young man with opinions. What could be better emphasized is his message for young soldiers to be aware of their physical limits. After all, a healthy soldier is better than an injured one.

  • Yanming

    Hi Jeremy,

    I just wanted to say thank you for your article. And thank you for having the courage to stand out and say what every responsible commander in the SAF should tell the men under them – that your first responsibility is to stay alive and injury free. This should be made compulsory reading for any pre-enlistee.

    To the numerous people flaming him for this article : just because you managed to survive 2 years without any injury doesn’t mean everyone is as lucky. The things stated in the text are mostly common sense- don’t push on if you think you might have an injury, don’t lift heavy objects without help because your back may get injured. An injured soldier is of no use to the SAF; the SAF already has a wealth of soldiers pretending to be injured. Better to train safe and stay healthy and combat fit.

    -yanming

  • Ss

    today, we shed some tears for the life lost. tomorrow, we forget and move on with the ones who lived.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=749317806 Tel Shuk

    Hey guys, take a step back, have a breather and read this article again.

    If you haven’t noticed, this sounds like a typical safety briefing given by the Safety Officer as in accordance to the Training Safety Regulations for every training exercise/mission.

    Whilst it’s most encouraged to have a tough realistic practice, we must realise that it is just a training. We must ensure that every practice is safe and proper for the servicemen, so they are still alive and fit for the next one.

    I implore all readers to recognise that this article and that by Choy YC are of different perspectives and aren’t conflicting, as claimed by the latter.

    Good luck.

  • itiswhatitis

    Great post. Don’t let the blind and ignorant ‘noble’ morons get you down. Oh, you idiots wished NS was as idealistic as you claim it to be.

  • alph

    Great read, great logic. Way to go, this article should be in every NSF’s guide to survival.

  • Irritatedlol-edlol-ed

    Hi Irritatedlol-ed!! My idol!! Brilliant sense of sarcasm you have here!! Perfect use of punctuation! Not to mention capitalizing the first word of every sentence as well! Your English is so fluent! You are such a useful person I bet someday you’ll move on from posting acerbic comments on anonymous forums to writing coherent paragraphs! Everyone can tell that you are so incredibly witty!
    Marvelous!!
    Anything else to say?
    Best wishes to anyone who marries you : )

  • CeC

    I think there is nothing wrong with making sure you keep yourself alive, even if it means not giving your 100% during NS.

    Are you giving 100% at work, at home and with your friends? If the answer is yes, by all means give your 100% for NS, but pray you don’t get injured which impedes you from giving that 100% in other aspects of your life.

  • H.

    I think it’s a good thing to be patriotic and give it all your best to serve your nation. However, the current system we have is flawed tremendously and Jeremy is simply offering advice on overcoming these flaws in hope of self-preservation. I would think once all these flaws are overcomed (or minmized to a great extent), there will be lesser people who malingers like Jeremy.

  • Katy

    I have never been through NS but I have seen many NSF and NS Regulars in my line of work. I believe it’s personal perspective and goals in life that pushes people to achieve what they want in every situation.

    In sport, we have the ones who pushes on and become champions, we also have the ones who give up and eventually find something else they maybe have a stronger interest in, or something that simply gives them an easier time. I would liken NS to a team sport. If you can’t support your teammates, you have no value as a team member. Maybe for a climber, think about your belayer?

    If NS is one of the biggest thing in a Singaporean guy’s life, then NS will be one major learning experience. In my opinion (as a female), I have friends, both males and females, who really matured and grow throughout NS. They are the ones whom I respect and have conversations regarding deeper issues with. I also have friends who are just like you, Jeremy. They are still my friends, I joke with them, hang out with them, but I also know they are not dependable. If you ask me which kind of friends will I choose to keep or even prefer as a boyfriend, it will definitely not be the latter. Most girls will want a boyfriend who has the courage and intelligence to deal with what life throws in his way, unless they are looking for fun and not commitment of course.

    It may not be wrong to think about self-preservation. Think about the pain your loved ones have to go through, your unfulfilled dreams, or even the burden on your carers should anything happen to you. Then, think about all the other truly injured NSF who have been discredited because of people who think like you or follow advices from someone like you. Think about the pain and anguish their loved ones will feel, their own unfulfilled dreams, should something happen to them. Obviously, their real injuries are not as important as your exaggerated ones.

    We have been taught to give every injured patient the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because the ones who are faking it have no care for those who are not. They are so “consistent in their act, all the way till they reach their doorstep” that sometimes, we just can’t differentiate. They discuss in camps the way to present themselves, the signs and symptoms they need to state, sometimes even the way they injured themselves can be fabricated all to convince us that they are truly injured. Sometimes, they exaggerate so much so that it makes the account of a truly injured guy sound minor. Don’t forget healthcare professionals are humans too. We get jaded and disheartened just like everyone else.

    I’m not saying you can’t have your own views. You can. To have been through NS, you are likely in your mid-20s, well-written piece – probably rather educated as well. You should have your own opinions already. It’s better that you voice it out than be a hypocrite. But I’m asking you to consider the people around you when you choose a particular course of action. To think about the influence you are providing to a younger generation who have not been through something you have. To think of those with a level of maturity suitable for your age and intelligence.

    • Guest

      “In sport, we have the ones who pushes on and become champions,
      we also have the ones who give up and eventually find something else”
      — We can’t do this in NS. We are assigned a role which we may not like or we may not be suitable for it.

      —In NS, we do not get good diet and proper rest sometimes.

      Just like in a corporate world – the ones in the bottom slog hard but the top gets most of the credit. Similar situation is happening in some org in the army.

      Think about those who fought with courage in world war 2. Not all those who were courageous followed the right leaders. In the army, you cannot choose the leader you admire/trustworhty.

    • Abcd

      Dear Katy,

      I quote your statement “I also have friends who are just like you, Jeremy. They are still my friends, I joke with them, hang out with them, but I also know they are not dependable. If you ask me which kind of friends will I choose to keep or even prefer as a boyfriend, it will definitely not be the latter. Most girls will want a boyfriend who has the courage and intelligence to deal with what life throws in his way, unless they are looking for fun and not commitment of course. ”

      1. I believe Jeremy has shown the courage and intelligence to stay injury free so that he doesn’t become a burden to his family, wife, fiance or girlfriend.

      2. If your own boyfriend didn’t take precautions to stay injury free and instead , I suspect you won’t be having such view that he “isn’t dependable” because he has dealt “with life throws in his way”. Just imagine the anguish you would face if he came home to you, injured and suffering with a possible permanent injury.

      3. Imagine yourself in your 40s and 50s and if you face the above situation as mentioned in 2.

      What you’re missing is Jeremy’s whole point on staying safe and injury free. While I don’t agree with his point on “chao keng”, I haven’t missed his entire point on taking calculated risks.

      He has also mentioned in his comments below that you should give your best but within your limits.

      Perhaps, you’d like to reconsider your above comment that he “isn’t dependable”.

      Summing up what I had just said:
      I know he is in intelligent person who takes calculated risks so that he can live another day and not suffer unnecessarily under incompetent superiors and he can go home to the warm embrace of his family, wife, fiance or girlfriend.

      He may have used an unnecessary example of “chao keng”, but that shouldn’t negate his bottom line – to stay safe and injury free. In fact, he has just proved his point to be dependable. If I were his girlfriend, I would be extremely comforted knowing that he as my boyfriend, knows how to give his best within safe boundaries.

      As a girl, if he were unattached, I would choose him to be my boyfriend. Jeremy, you have one female supporter here.

  • Hogan

    You are lucky you got a stay out battalion and doing signaller stuff. But what about those stay in infantry? If they chao keng, all their superiors and fellow army mates will aim the chao keng person and arrow even more sai kang for him. Not only that, if he stay in, he can prepare to get outcasted, blanket party and many worst things that will worsen his life in NS. So what’s the point?

  • Abc

    Words of wisdom but all for the wrong reason. Its your believe though.. “Shrugs”

    • MrBenCai

      it could not be for the wrong reason for it has sparked so much thoughts and debate. =)

  • Another Singaporean

    For someone who was once platoon best… congrats, you have seen the light. LoL

  • Lch_titan87

    This could be a potential article for the safety briefing to any new soldier. However, Jeremy..I believe you forgot to include one of the saf seven core values which you used to recite during the water parade of your bmt. Did you forget everything about the fighting spirit that every soldier should possess?

  • Question

    This is an interesting blog and comments. As a lady, it is interesting and amazing to see men argue with each other senselessly (and some without respect). I would like to wait 10 years to see what this J.KO author turns out to be. Some mediocre office guy loser who does his job the same way he did his NS or someone successful, regretting this post. J. Ko, if you had a son, will you teach him this? Maybe the answer is yes and what happens if he carries out this mantra of yours to every aspect of his life? God bless your child.

    • Guest

      I wonder if you have a son next time, what will you advise him as a mother before his enlistment? My mum’s advice was just serve, becareful and dont act tough and hao lian.

    • Anon

      So… are you saying that you won’t ask your child to stay away from risks?

      • Jeremy

        Risks in real life as an entrepreneur makes sense if the risk is calculated. But if you take risks in the army, there is no tangible rewards but only injuries and pain. So yes – that is what I would advice. I am a risk taker in normal life, but I only take calculated risks.

    • Abcd

      He has shown the courage to speak what is on the minds of others and self preservation is important so that you live another day to fight the real battle. 留得青山在,不怕没柴烧。
      If you were a mother who had a son who suffered injuries during NS, the burden is upon you to take care of your son forever. I am not so sure if you will like that.

      Also, it’s not your concern how he brings up his future child. Care about yours first.

    • Jeremy

      Can’t you see? It is advice in the SAF. Does not apply to every day life.

    • germinc

      I too would like to know how I turn out eventually. I will teach him to not be over garang in the army. But I will teach him the benefits of risk taking in controlled environments.

  • Practicality& Realisticity

    Dear all,

    After having a good read at these comments, it allows me to easily categorize these people into 2 very general groups, namely, combatants and non-combatants.

    Seriously, I see no reason in debating this issue as it is as subjective as art. In the eye of combatants, they feel that giving their best for their country is the fundamental of all duties while on the contrary, non-combatants think it isn’t worth it to put ones’ life at stake.

    As the saying goes: “Survival of the fittest”.

    What do you understand from this saying? Well, it simply says survival of the fittest refers to the phenomenon that only the most capable and excellent ones, be it in academic, sports or politics, are able to succeed where it requires high-efficiency and proficiency. This is true of life or in army because the leadership positions only belong to those who have the most capabilities and intelligence in the certain field.

    In conclusion, I would say that everyone has their own field of expertise. So, combatants your may be inclined to sports and are physically fit, but do not force what you think you’d do into others who does not share the same calibre. And to non-combatants, you can try to compete for experience as it’s probably once in a life time but pushing beyond what is your limit and having unrelenting high expectation is mere folly. Go be your scientist/violinist/programmer or whatever you’re best at and contribute in those areas.

    On a personal note, I’d like to add that these combatants who commented may be a little too myopic with their logic and this statement goes the same to the only female who commented. Take a step back and be a little more practical and realistic. Saving country vs Activities of Daily Living.

    Who suffers if you die? If worse still, you survived and wheelchair bounded, would that piece of medal hanging by your neck help you take a shower? Bring you to the toilet and clean your shit? That person who will be deprived of personal time due to worries of you being unable to care for yourself? And that person, most likely would only be your MOM who has groomed you to the age of 20. And before she could rest, BOOM! congratulations, you unfilial child. To the only female, would you marry this guy cos he is so courageous and at the same time ease his mom’s some misery? Comment if you can truly be this noble.

    Sure you see many Facebook photos and touching stories of handicap/disfigured US soldiers from war. Yeah, they fight real war and I would gladly clean their shit everyday for their contributions. But if someone who hasn’t even enter war and doesn’t know how to practice safety first, it is again an act of folly.

    And to those officers with blind faith who keep saying to push on are just waiting for the real thing to happen and regret later. Then what, say sorry to the family if the soldier dies? Tell the family that his son was a brave soldier? C’mon it’s not even war, do you think his weeping mom would care more than his son being dead/handicapped for life? Would officers then be salve for that soldier his whole life? No.

    In this topics, there are numerous debatable considerations but all in all, I personally would say, do not implicate your own problems to others else’s life especially your mom.

    Everyone has to understand that Singapore by law is mandatory for males from all walks of life to enter the army and the very fact is that not everyone is a fighter by birth even if you are a guy.

    –From a medic who seen death–

    • I Chao Keng

      “I see no reason in debating this issue as it is as subjective as art…” Then goes on to argue out his point. chue kong lam pa song.

      You’re a shithead oversimplifying things into combatants vs non-combatants. Who gives you the highground to declare others myopic when you are just a medic? No offense to medics, but even officers don’t comment on things they don’t know about, like what goes on in your medical centre. Katy at least acknowledged her limited knowledge and gave a personal opinion. There are flaws in her argument but I won’t kp.

      Here’s a big revelation for you: There are non-combatants who want to chiong and combatants who want to keng. There are combatants who are Science Majors and non-combatants who are athletes. WOW SIA LA.

      You are just like J.Ko, finding excuses for your weaknesses and glorifying what limited achievement you are capable of. Your conclusion is whack. I respect people who dare to come out of their comfort zone, and if not, at least have the balls to say they humji or lazy.

      • RavinderSingh

        Does a commissioned officer of the Singapore Armed Forces speak like this?

        • I Chao Keng

          Irritated, dude they were referring to me not J.Ko.

          Cc and Ravinder, I feel for your ignorance in respecting fluff and good grammar while dismissing the colloquial Singaporean Language as something questionable and worrisome. Hence, I feel compelled to write in your language to get this point across sufficiently.

          To me, the way that I had typed is a Singaporean culture worth preservation. When others converse with me in that manner, I can be certain that there is no double-meaning or hidden daggers. Everything is out in the open. If you feel uncomfortable conversing in Singlish then I really worry for my country. I’d hate to see the day when the whole of Singapore speaks impeccable Queen’s English. So fuck you. knnbccb.

      • Cc

        If every SAF occifer speaks and talks like you, I really worry for my country.

        • Abcd

          Not knowing the real reason behind Jeremy’s choice to drop out of OCS and simply saying he couldn’t make it because he is incompetent is too sweeping and doesn’t make you a very persuasive commenter. Things don’t always seem the way they are.

          You are missing his whole point here, which is to stay alive and injury free.

          By the way, good English is important for your own career prospects. Nobody wants to hire someone who keeps peppering his comments with “knnbccb” and “fuck”.

          • I Chao Keng

            If you don’t understand or appreciate the word “colloquial” then GTFO. I’d hire employees with good English, but connect with them in Singlish. knnbccb and fuck are vulgarities that should not surface during office hours. This is not the office.

        • Guest

          Cc is not talking about J ko la..

      • Practicality& Realisticity

        You’ve misunderstood even from the very beginning. I said that I see no point in debating on this issue regarding NS is to geng or chiong. And ultimately, my point in my comment(not argument) is to beseech people to think twice before acting so as not to impose unnecessary burden and responsibilities onto people who loves and care for you (e.g Your Family).

        I’ve looked into the eyes of the officers when the NSF lies there motionless without a pulse. I’ve seen the eyes of injured servicemen who reluctantly signed the down pes forms. Tell me about it. All I’m asking is to urge each individual to exercise safety first.

        Your revelation has nothing to be WOW-ed about. I did not rule out the fact that such people exist. On this Earth, there are all kind of people and yet you choose to pick the minority to state as your analogy. If it were as simple as you think, words such as “typical” and “stereotyping” wouldn’t have existed so prominently. That is where I think my general statement makes more sense than yours.

        Ultimately, I encourage people to try and not give up but knows your limit. Don’t get me wrong.

        “Self sufficiency is a good thing but it’s not the only thing, asking for help when you needed doesn’t make you weak” – John Carter

        The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. ~Hans Hofmann

        • I Chao Keng

          How does this line, “its allows me to easily categorize these people into 2 very general groups, namely, combatants and non-combatants” BECOME “You’ve misunderstood … this issue regarding NS is to geng or chiong”. You are just reiterating that non-combatants want keng and combatants want chiong or vice versa.

          Your second paragraph is indirectly implying that your wealth of experiences does indeed grant you the moral highground to judge others as myopic.

          Your third paragraph shows your inability to understand sarcasm. Also, it reaffirms your stand that you know better than everyone else, by declaring on your own who belongs to the majority, and who belongs to the minority. Even SAF Psychologists would not know that for sure.

          Anyway you sound so nice and unassuming here that I feel almost bad that I called you a shithead. not. What each individual wants to do with their life is their prerogative. I just care to protect my own notion of practicality and realism.

          To round things off I shall leave you with a quote as well:
          “Borrowing others’ words to lend weight to your own is having no confidence in yourself” ~Me.

          • Practicality& Realisticity

            I definitely agree with you that what each individual wants to do with their life is their prerogative. So why the hell are you imposing your notion of practicality and realism on J.Ko’s way of life?

            And if that self-centered notion of practicality and realism is all you care about, why not do everyone a favor and shut up.

          • I Chao Keng

            Have you no come back to any of the other points that I mentioned other than the obvious bait that I threw out? Oh weren’t you so nice in your second reply when you were so confident of your rebuttal. Such a shame it took only 2 comments from me to make you lose your cool Mr-high-and-mighty-seen-it -all.

            “And if that self-centered notion of practicality and realism is all you care about..” YES. I believe I have a right to care about it since you chose it as your name. Jeez if I call myself a saint I should at least sound like one.

            “Ultimately, I encourage people to try and not give up but knows your limit. Don’t get me wrong.” If your comment did indeed sound like that I’d really have nothing to critique, because that is a logical statement. But really this “self-preservationistic” statement is similar to being self-centered. So aren’t you self-centered too?

  • JS

    Simply put, notwithstanding political agenda, government foreign policies or aggressive countries, the threat is real and the risk is real.

    Anything can happen and we must be able to step up for it. I’m not saying we all line up at the front lines now right as human shields, sticking our necks out and dying in vain.

    The point I am putting across is it is crucial to train hard, train realistically and train safe, knowing at the back of your head, that you must be mentally prepared to give up your life defending this country.

    Many may cringe at this thought, or maybe take the first flight out when war / threats of aggression break out. But for someone like me who served 2 years as a Combat Naval Diver, training hard, training realistically and training safe was something we strive for.

    Like what my instructor used to say, don’t be so silly and get injured for something so trivial. Live to fight another day. Be safe so that you can fight the real battle, should it happen someday.

    Ultimately, it boils down to commitment and dedication. Is this country worth your sacrifices?

    Or would you be better off packing up and leave, telling yourself that it is not worth a single dime to stay back and fight, not to mention lay down your lives?

    Its a choice that is open for all of us. It is also hard to say which choice is better off. But one thing is for sure. I won’t feel safe having Jeremy at the front lines with me.

    • Guest

      Hooyah! And that is the reason why you are a diver.

  • Andrewlavablock

    I was a born in the USA, PR, Sergeant/Section Commander.
    I was given the option to become a lifeguard in Tekong (damn nice, easy post) but I chose to stick it the whole way in SISPEC and ended up in a tough infantry unit..

    How does it make you feel that foreigners are giving their blood and sweat while citizens like you pussy out and do menial tasks?

    On a long enough timeline everyone’s life expectancy drops to zero; what you do in between is what defines you. And you sir, are a pussy.

    I hated all the chao-keng bastards in the army and I hope you become our meatshields in the event of war; I would gladly fight in the same line as my Singaporean brothers, and I would die for my section and for my men .

    At the same moment, I imagine that sheep with similar mindsets as yourself are found cowering in the bunker, shitting yourselves.

    • Jeremy

      If war comes, I will do my part to serve the country, whether is it being a meatshield, rifleman or signaller. Just that I don’t see the point doing so during training (again, train hard enough, but not too hard) till the point of death or injury. I hope you understand this. If anything, I can be contactable on Facebook. Cheers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liewchester Chester Liew

    Hi, I cannot condone what you wrote. Honestly, I didn’t finish reading your entire article. Jus the first few paragraphs irks me so badly that I have to leave this comment to you.

    Yes, we are all different. People judge. Myself as a Platoon Commander, I cannot force my men to go outfield with me. I cannot drill them a mindset that promotes soldiering and constantly remind them why they are doing what they are doing. I can only remind them.

    Not all are the same. There are serviceman that are genuine in their training. Even if they do not believe in the training objectives set, along the way, the process they went through will definitely make them a better person.

    Think about it, the entire platoon doing things of high training intensity, enduring it together as one. Then, you decide to keng cos you felt that this will potentially make you lose your life. Your PC made your sweep the floor while watching them train. How will you feel? Proud? or embarrassed. For me, the latter.

    You might think it’s dumb. But, in everything we do, the process matters more than the result. I never doubted my men when it comes to reporting sick. Honestly, I cannot stop them. I’m not a doctor and I don’t like to label people.

    Perhaps, this is the reason for the high report sick rate I have. But, this in turn show something else. It showed me their personality. their character.

    We are all males of the Republic of Singapore. We need to serve and after 2 years of National Service work. At the end of 2 years, you look at yourself. What did you actually achieved?

    I am in no position to teach you what is right and what is wrong. I’m only sharing my 2 cents thoughts. If it did impacts, it’s a bonus.

  • A NS man

    I reached my ORD early last year, and while I never really bought into the whole idea of serving NS for my nation, I daresay that in my 22 months of service, I did contribute a whole lot to my unit, and by extension, my country. Funny how that works out. Contrary to popular belief, NS is not all bad or a total waste of time. While the benefits of serving as an NSF have been constantly brought up over and over (and over) again, they do have a streak of truth running through them. I believe I speak for most NSFs and NS men when I say that NS does make you a better person. I’ve become more organised, more confident, more decisive, more vocal, better at handling group dynamics. And fortunately for me, I came out without a scratch. Good for me. How did I (and so many others) do it? Not by holding back and hoping to live to fight another day. To encourage such a philosophy as Jeremy preaching is to at best, undermine the efforts of every other NSF who goes through the same things but puts in his all.

    To be fair, Jeremy does exhibit sound logic in dispensing his advice. After all, if I want to make sure I don’t suffer a lifelong injury, I obviously wouldn’t put myself in harm’s way. It’s a simple weighing of cause and effect. But there is one flaw in this logic. It is all about “I”. “Myself”. “Me”.

    I and many others have experienced fatigue during training. But for me, it was always more about the guy next to me. If there was something to be done, (be it training exercises, logistics, or simply area cleaning) and a team effort was required, what motivated me was the thought of helping my fellow soldiers. If someone else was depending on my effort, I made sure I did my part. Did I have my weak moments when I slacked off? Yes. But so does everyone. Almost nothing in the Army is an individual effort, and conversely, almost everything is a group effort, and the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The important lesson here is that army taught me to care about the soldier next to me. In society, I applied that lesson to care about others.

    I’ve witnessed my share of injuries and suffered a few myself (due to accidents, not stubbornly pushing on). The nature of my vocation made it such that carrying heavy loads in excess of 80kgs between two or more people was more or less the norm. Obviously, even though there were certain Standard Operating Procedures to follow in our daily work, shit happens. I’ve seen sprained joints, bruised feet, pulled muscles. All of these could have been avoidable. However, I’ve also seen even more potential accidents and injuries prevented because of other soldiers who managed to help one another. Would these potential injuries have been prevented if everyone adopted Jeremy’s philosophy to lookout for themselves only? Probably not.

    I disagree with Jeremy’s point of view not so much because I feel it discounts the efforts of NSFs and NS men who actually put some effort into serving their NS, but mostly because to encourage self-centeredness in this common phase that every Singaporean male has to go through, no matter how well-intentioned, is to rob those who have yet to serve of a chance to improve themselves.

  • Adrian Lee

    I complain a lot throughout my national service. But I know deep down that it is my responsibility to work hard, to push on, and to fight for what belongs to me, to us.

    If everyone heeds your advise and performs as you said, imagine the consequences. To me, I’ll cannot and dare not imagine.

    • Yz

      It’ll be the tragedy of the commons, except we might realize that grass grows back on the plains.

  • Darren

    This is a really interesting article, given that I know who you are in real life, if I am correct. We used to serve in the same unit for a year, I guess.

    I agree with you to a certain extent. Yes, it’s true that the SAF’s procedure of dealing with medical emergencies is really bad but I think that they can get the casualty to the government hospital in half an hour just like the public ambulances do. It’s also true that there are countless cases of NSMen and NSFs who sustain injuries they would bear throughout their lives or face health problems because of what they’ve been through during NS. There are plenty of living examples. I’m sure everybody knows at least 1 such case.

    No matter how meaningless and redundant NS may seem to us when we are doing it, it’s a chance for us to build mental resilience and physical fortitude. Yes, the way we are put through this in this ordeal we all face, is certainly undesirable but you have to admit that it does bear fruit. There are risks involved, undoubtedly but if one knows his limits, they shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

    I’m not discounting the fact one might get injured while performing his military obligations. I just feel that one at the end of the day, has to perform to his best ability within his means. I agree that it’s no point giving in to threats and pushing oneself until one collapses or one’s mind snaps but one shouldn’t use the fear of getting injured or fear of losing one’s mind as a reason to shirk his duties.

    Yes, I know I’m in no position to say this, given that I’ve been through an easier stint during my NS, but since the army has made me a stronger person, I feel obliged to stand up for it and give a fair statement.

    If anybody wishes to question the writer of the article, the writer was NOT a chao geng soldier, not during the time I knew him. He wasn’t over-the-top but he did do what he was supposed to do and did it well. If he has come to this conclusion after reflecting on his time in NS, I think he is in a perfect position to do so.

    Darren

  • Kelvin

    I briefly read the comments and find myself asking will Singapore make it if there’s war? Lol So much arguing within us (some even senseless n no respect). I guess being noisy will really prevail in the Internet world. Singapore might just lose even before the war started. The army bring boys from different character different living environment to train together, there is bound to have different mindset in all of us. I thought this article was wrong, but Chao Keng might have different defination in very individual. To me this article talk more on being injury free, my version of Chao Keng is those who rather stay in bunk and not help when neeeded. Buay tahan this kind of ppl, that don’t offer to help at all. 0. Lol after all we are all Singaporeans. When the time comes we will fight together. I doubt it will. Unless n korea

  • Pingback: a debate. « kowlife.

  • Weijie

    First off, I would like to say I have no problem with your views. Like many of the people who’ve iterated before me, I agree that you are entitled to your views and the right to air your perspectives. At some level, I can even say that I do agree with you in certain aspects, such as how past injuries and current injuries can become serious very quickly and I would share my own experience in transition from a combatant to non-combatant but I fear that it is not relevant.

    What I have a problem with, is how this article can be highly misleading.

    In the first few paragraphs, you attempt to qualify yourself by listing your history in NS, and claim to, I quote: “know how it feels like to perform well in the SAF, but also how to protect yourself from life-long injury and the in worst case scenario – death.” To the less discerning reader, this may be misinterpreted as you professing to be some kind of expert in surviving NS. Whether that be your intention or not, is irrelevant. Nevertheless, as such, you’ve probably set the reader up to believe that your advice is logical, practical, and most of all – right. I think we can all agree at this point that that is debatable, judging by all the responses below.

    Moving on, you continue your article by offering advice and providing reasons and anecdotes on how these advices are relevant. Beyond the apparent subjectivity on how true your advice is, I urge you to consider the impact of your words on current, and would be soldiers (NSFs or not). Katy (in the first comment) pointed out the pitfalls of malingering (which you advocate, unless I’ve misinterpreted something) on others. I hope that you agree that, given that your views are posted on a public sphere, your article is likely to influence many people. Whether your advice is right or wrong, it is likely to change attitudes, values, and ideas whatsoever. My point here, is that you need to be aware of what you’re telling people because you’re likely to be changing something, whether it is lowering the amount of injuries out in NS or increasing the workload of MOs all around the island. When the time comes and, gods forbid, your views does negatively impact the situation, can you be responsible for it?

    Even if you would, it is in all likelihood that you cannot.

    What I am advocating here, is social responsibility, not just for you, but the increasing amount of bloggers out there. Blogging shares many similarities with journalism and I am sure as a communications student, you probably understand how words can easily be manipulated, and can as well influence and manipulate others.

    I do hope you do re-read your article again and consider the effects of this article.

    – Weijie

    • MrBenCai

      I like the way that you are not judging the article but leaving the writer to think about the way that he write and the impact that is created. It is much more impactful than some of the comments which are full of vulgarities.

  • Injured Bear

    Hi Jeremy, I think your article is most insightful. If I had read it before I was enlisted I would have rubbished your article and even spat on it. Why? Cos I was an idealistic Singaporean, looking forward to enlisting, giving my all to serve my country, protecting my family and friends blah blah blah.
    When I was in BMT I was what you would call “siao on”. Doing more than was required, volunteering for extra duty, “sai kang”, guard duty, all in the belief to do my very best for my nation. In fact, I probably did more than what my body could take, cos not long after I got posted to my unit (30 SCE; combat engineers) I realized I really screwed my body up. I had a busted knee (like arthritis, sharp knives in my knees), collapsed arch (which makes even getting out of bed a super painful and major hassle, feels like opening a new wound with knives in the morning) , sprained wrist (I could still do pull ups but not push ups, couldn’t bend my wrist without a sharp pain), and stress fractures on both my ankles. Yup I was totally screwed. And like you said, I couldn’t get the MO to look into my problems. Flesh injuries don’t turn up on xrays and that is what Saf has only in the medical centre.

    Being in a new unit, the specs looked at me with doubtful and spiteful eyes, refusing to believe I was injured, passed sarcastic remarks. But still I stood my ground for what I believed in. I tried to do the routine pull ups (and gotten hell for what they see as malingering cos I cannot do push ups, I even had problems getting up there cos my legs were so injured). Within two weeks or so, their patience ran out, but my injuries were not healed. I was basically Screwed. The chain of command offered no respite as well. I had 3 psychotic section commanders, a PS who was only interested in “fairness” for his platoon and getting the job done. 2PCs who was just there to pass time(1 was gonna ORD, the other was trying to get posted out) , 1 really crazy CSM who made life hell for the company and treated the men like toys and experiments on the pretext of keeping us alive in a real war. He even tried to bake people in the sun on the pretext that he was slow (thus had to play dead cos killed by shrapnel), made a trainee dig 4-5 shell scrapes and a fox hole single handedly with an ET blade(he was so scared he didn’t dare ask for a changkul), and even punched a trainee in the stomach (his parents came into camp that very night), he’d gotten multiple complains for his ill treatment, but I guess the SAF system protected him and ensured he was taken to task only internally. Must’ve been so cos he was promoted rather quickly for his qualification (primary school education).

    So i was in hell. Nobody could help me, I was tekan to do ridiculous things and punishments, psychologically and mentally I was breaking down and there was nobody to turn to as I didn’t want to worry my parents. I always tell them I’m having a good time in camp. after about 1.5 months, I figured I needed real professional help externally. The medical help in camp was useless. Just walking to JMC (jurong medical centre) was a torture to my collapsed arch ( I only knew the names of all my problems after seeing a specialist at TTSH). I finally had a letter and MC explaining my problems, but still I had more crap to take. By then I have had enough. I was sick of being labelled a chao Keng, sick of their spiteful and degrading stares and hurtful remarks. The MO only endorsed and gave me 1-2 weeks of excuse RMJ instead of the 4-6 months recommended by the specialist. I called the specialist and he gave the MO hell via CMO. how do I know? Cos suddenly my company was very concerned about my well being(for that day only though).
    Then I realized there was a higher power they had to answer too. Too much of shouting and hell from the specs does lower ones perception of real authority. I thought the specs and CSM were the limit. fantastic. I had just found out they don’t dare to physically abuse me as an external qualified person, my TTSH specialist is now involved. after that, much less shouting, but I still had those chao Keng stares and snide remarks. No problem, I jus smiled at them, looking at them with the look of “what more can you do to me other than barking madly”. Really drove them mad. And that made my life more bearable. After months of crap, finally I had some respite.

    Till now, more than 10yrs later. I still have to live with some of the injuries. My knee is still busted, ankles ache easily when I walk too much, and occasionally I still have to stretch my arch alittle before putting my foot on the ground. was it worth putting extra effort? Definitely not. The pain and suffering in camp are yours exclusively to enjoy. But the after effects (of the injuries) are yours to share with your loved ones later in life. I realized I shouldve listened to my mum not to be so garang and siao on. Or I could’ve read your article earlier.

    • Darren

      Dear Injured Bear,

      I totally understand what you mean by flesh wounds not turning up on the x-ray and having to carry the stigma of being chao keng. I injured my back during BMT and while I constantly tried to tell my commanders and MO that something was wrong, they usually brushed it off as a common back strain and gave me an Attend B status for a day or two at most, which didn’t help anything. One MO even “advised” me that if I came back again, he would OOC me and I had to repeat my BMT all over. Subsequently, I went for an MRI and turns out I have a minor slipped disc. Despite the fact that the army paid for all my physio sessions and specialist sessions to aid my condition, the damage has already been done. The pain is something I would carry with me my whole life. Luckily for me though, my unit was more humane than yours. My commanders knew me personally and knew I was not a chao keng; that I would participate in training and exercises within my limits so I did not get tekan-ed or anything. Claiming the compensation is so tedious that I gave up. During interviews, they constantly questioned whether I could have gotten my injury somewhere else and while there is a possibility that I could, the route marches and all in army definitely aggravated it. The amount of red tape one has to go through to claim for any injury is simply not worth the effort.

      I am encouraging people to chao keng or whatever, but what I am saying is that while there are the bulk of you who are born physically fit and can go through the 2 years giving it your best without getting injured, there are also those who will be injured while giving their best and it really is not worth it. If I had brushed off my own back pains like my commanders and MO did, I might have suffered a full blown slipped disc according to my specialist.

      I get that some of you feels that Jeremy is endorsing malingering. He is not, he is merely advising preservation. He is not encouraging blatant chao keng-ness but rather discouraging blind garang-ness.

    • MrBenCai

      Hi,

      I believe that more has to be done in educating commanders and the people below, what commanders can do or cannot do. SAF is a very big organisation. Sometimes, you need to shout to get heard because there are so many voices shouting for help, some real, some fake. It is not easy to distinguish between the real ones and the fake ones.

      We do not live in a perfect world, likewise, the SAF is not a perfect organisation. And while we are free to choose the environment that we want to work in, most of the time, in real life, in Singapore, we are not allowed to do so in SAF. There are many things that we cannot change in this world. To ensure that we are able to survive, we change ourselves. What is it that you think you can do to change, so as to make a better experience for yourself in the future should you encounter something like that again? I think that is the key question.

      I am not doubting your experience. It could be that everything that you have experience in SAF is bad. But it could also be that your perspective in seeing things have caused a vicious cycle. I do not know, and I am simply suggesting. Only you will know and I leave it to you.

      best wishes,
      MrBenCai

  • Evil_win

    Hi jeremy, I think your article is pathetic. because of people like you, we are labelled as weaklings. Yes, if you are sick, or injured in a genuine case, fine. You can serve NS on the support side. I wonder how are u going to survive in the society. Or are u still hiding under ur mother’s skirt? or father’s pants? Your thoughts are simply pathetic…

  • Raj

    Hi, i was brought to your blog through the facebook post by the Bravo OC. I respect that everyone has their own views, but i strongly feel that by getting more people or new enlistees to behave like you, it really defeats the purpose of having the SAF as a strong deterrence force.

    You mentioned that you would fight alongside everyone else in an event of war. Lets put it this way, the only thing standing between the enemy, and your loved ones is you. Do you really believe that you would be able to protect them, as compared to a committed soldier who excelled in training? Furthermore, would your “brothers” around you be willing to count on you when the first bullet is fired upon them?

    National service is meant to be tough, for the simple reason which is to train us for the unknown. Injuries are bound to occur, but i must say that even when i was in OCS, most of the injuries were caused mainly by negligence. Why do i say that? People who do not know their limits push themselves too hard and overdo things, that is negligence. People whom do not tie their shoes tightly and go for a trail run would definitely invite ankle sprains too, once again that is negligence. Safe training is also about knowing ones limits and training to push that limit in a controlled environment, making you stronger and it also encompasses knowing and using your equipments rightly. I strongly feel that the SAF has a very structured and well updated safety system which can be trusted upon. It is just up to you to either use it to train hard and recover properly, or abuse it by malingering every other day.

    • MrBenCai

      Hi Raj,

      I think you brought up a very interesting point in whether your brothers will be willing to stand beside you when the first bullet is fired.

      Also, I find this interesting as well “Do you really believe that you would be able to protect them, as compared to a committed soldier who excelled in training? ”

      I do agree that we should not encourage such behavior.

      I think the key issue here is that people think that what they are doing is sufficient to keep them safe when war comes. But the question is how much is too much and how little is too little? How can we know what the SAF is asking us to do is too much or too little?

      What do you think?

      • Rajwind3r

        Well as extreme as it may sound, i feel that the best way to prepare ourselves is simply to train for the worst. In that sense, even if war turns up short of our expectations, we would stand a better chance, and lesser singaporean sons would have to suffer. Admittedly, training may be tough, but tough training is really the only way to have an efficient army. But tough training doesn’t necessarily compromise safety. Safety is indeed the crux of every other argument regarding NS, and i feel that it is the responsibility of not only the commanders, but a soldier’s peers as well. There is no such thing as a flawless safety system, but we can definitely plug the loopholes by working together. In that way, we can intensify training, without risking the lives of our countrymen.

        • MrBenCai

          Yes, I do agree with you. What you have said is sound. But where do we draw the line?

  • http://www.facebook.com/one.long Chee Yi Long

    Hi,
    I do understand where you are coming from. I was once an army clerk during my national service before i fought to up-pes to combat and got platoon runner-up during my BMT.
    I have seen people getting injured,posted to admin and loathed army during my clerk days but i have also witness unbreakable friendship forged during vigorous trainings in combat side.
    In-short, i do agree that its not worth it to get yourself injured in army but you will be wasting 2 years of your time being look down by your peers and miss out on all the valuable friendship if you choose to “keng” through your 2 years of national service.
    My advice is do your best,know your limits and be safe.You will find yourself missing those days you “suffered” with your buddies and laughing at all the mistake you have made with them.

  • IhateNS

    Dear all,

    I dont see the reason why there are people is attacking the author when he is just offering his views on limiting injuries during National Service. What you fucking morons need to do is to get this into your thick skull, that NOT EVERY MAN IS CUT OUT FOR THE MILITARY.
    1)Seriously, getting your recruit to recite the Officer’s Creed while he is in a life-or-death situation and convulsing? You know what you are doing? You may create a leader, a leader that is blind to the physical limits of his men!
    2) “Giving the SAF a bad name”?! I assume that the “bad name” would be that SAF is full of people who, in Army speak, chao keng. Ludicrous. SAF has many institutions and vocations like OCS, administrative clerk and so on. I believe that if you are enthusiastic and passionate enough to qualify for Officer Cadet School or SISPEC, you wouldnt chao keng. So your accusation is void.

    Everyone has different physical thresholds. Yours truly has been failing NAPFA since Primary 3 because i feel giddy and nauseous whenever I over-exert myself. So am I at fault whenever I decide not to do activities that are too physical tedious? Why cant you guys respect that? Just because you get the maximum score for IPPT doesnt mean that you are entitled to think that everyone is not performing up to the mark and thus, is trying to chao keng.

    Remember, national service is not only about the military. Theres economic, social, psychological defence as well. So in the event that you decide to give the best foot forward and in the process, you injure or even worse, die, Singapore would have lost a skilled personnel who may contribute in the long term when he joins the working world. It is a pity when soldiers die … in peacetime!

    Having to delay your dreams for 2 years, having to dumb yourself down to do mundane and robotic tasks, having to endure endless yellings and pushups, having to trade in your civilian comfort for the harshness of the military and having no tangible benefits after slogging 2 years over those who dont serve is already considered a worthy sacrifice.

    I have friends who enlisted in Jan/Feb and I was so worried for them. My heart would flutter whenever i hear someone die while undergoing training, and pray that it isnt someone I know. How about their immediate family members? Have you people spared a thought for them while encouraging them to “put the best foot forward”? NEgligence, you say. “It happens”, you say. But the fact that these deaths and injuries were preventable already speaks for itself.

    I understand that its a dilemma. You would have a lousy and insignificant defence force if you dont have mandatory conscription. So, just do whatever you are told to do (bearing in mind your LIMITS) and get off . SAF – Serve ANd Fuck off. Dont be blindly garang

    Jeremy, great post. Respect. But you might wanna privatise it.

    Coming from a person who is going to enlist in 2 weeks

    • Raj

      Hi i think you are mistaken about what the comments are trying to say with regards to the above article, we are just, like the author himself, giving our honest opinions. No one is asking you to go to OCS, or SCS. But like you said, the 2 years are being taken away from you without choice. Instead of trying your best to not do your best, any normal person would want to make the best of his time. Everyone was in the position once, during enlistment; knowing that you HAVE to enlist and the only choice you really have is to decide how you want to spend your time there. Unless you can tell me that you can learn valuable life lessons and soft skills but doing the bare minimum, then go ahead.

      The key idea, that i feel everyone is trying to send here is to do your best, but to know your limits. And you(ihateNS) will grow to learn that when the time comes. Since you have not enlisted, i think you should have an open mind when it comes to your enlistment day, who knows? you might enjoy yourself.

    • MrBenCai

      Please do not enlist with a negative mindset. A positive mindset will bring you further in life, SAF or not. You have not experienced the army. Most people you have met says that it is bad does not mean that it is. Bear that in mind. Go in with a positive attitude. There are many, most, in fact, ORD with a great memory. Lastly, try to post less aggressively in the future, it is better for you as a person, and this advice is coming with good intentions, despite that you may not asked for it.

      regards,
      MrBenCai

    • ordedpersonnel.

      Theres a difference btw malingering and staying injury free. in your own words, ‘NOT EVERY MAN IS CUT OUT FOR THE MILITARY. ‘ but the military is not all about your so called endless push ups and make believe training excercises. there are other departments in the military which are not so much on the physical side.

      Like what mrbencai said, the key is to enter army with a positive mindset an try your best to achieve what you can within the two years. most importantly to keep in mind, the achievement is not measured by your rank at the end of your service or the amount of badges you have on your uniform.

      it is what you set out to achieve.

      yes you will not have a clue about now. neither did i when i first stepped into the army. but its the two years of your life you can choose to waste achieving nothing and treat it as a dread or try your best to enjoy your time. who is to say an OCT that went out of course during ocs is a failure or has wasted his time? he did not. and who is to say a deskbound clerk, a storeman, or a medic(combat or not) has wasted their time? i have personally seen clerks who when finished their 2 years step out of their camp relunctantly and some even extend their service before university. all of them did not think that they have wasted their time.

      my point is, nobody sets out what is success in NS. its to each of its own. if you end up being a clerk, no body is going to say your a failure. because the truth is the army needs clerks.

      the key is to try your best. dont malinger. if you try your best and you cant, no one is going to fault you. but it is because of people who malinger that has caused commanders to have no choice to to force their man to push them to their limits in an unpleasant way. i am not embarrassed to say that my company once had more than 50% of men who are on status during their first week of posting in after bmt. trust me, it is kinda obvious who is malingering and who is not. and when you dont malinger and you did do your best, i will be the first to pull you out of training. believe or not, officers are trained with the belief to sacrifice for their men, and not to curse and swear at them and push them blindly.

      lastly, to ihatens, your so called dreams that you have to put on hold for two years are made possible by NS. im not trying to be all patriotic and noble here. because its the same for every country. people have been taking the peace for granted.

      i dont not think its wrong to serve and fuck off. but the two years can be a difference to your life positively if you allow it to be, may it be as an gung-ho soldier in the field, or as a clerk.

      • NationalSlavery

        When I Ord 6 years ago, I did indeed felt that I didnt waste my time inside until I went into my university and saw tonnes of PRCs without any basic command of English getting free education as well as living allowance from our Singapore government. How I wish that MOE would give me the same benefits they give to those foreign students, but instead I am stricken by a 24k study loan upon graduation.

        It takes experience to see the truth behind conscription. It takes experience to know something is wrong in this country when the government spends more money each year on a dog-calling-scholar than a NS serving Singaporean.

  • Guest

    I think it is a rather a big contrast between someone who is a Platoon Best and someone who chose not to be an Officer. I am assuming that he chose by the benefit of the doubt. Think about it, something must have caused that change. What could it be?

    • MrBenCai

      Please kindly reply sensibly. I am looking for enlightment, not vulgarities.

      Anyway, the above is posted by me. I am looking for answers because it is key to the questions of “How can we motivate men who are of such physical and mental caliber to contribute more to the Nation?” It is obvious that the above mentioned person is of some standards considering that he got selected. The key problem lies not in the ability but of other things (assuming that he OOC due to a choice that he made).

      regards,
      MrBenCai

      • Jeremy

        Hi Ben, by virtue of you commenting so frequently on this single post. I will give you a quick reply. Imagine if you were in my shoes and in the midst of OCS. You have a choice presented to you at the point in time, 1. serve out the remaining term as a civilian working in a civilian company completely away from the military and handling commercial jobs which would be beneficial for your future career or 2. continue in OCS and see where you are posted eventually. Of course, considerations about the length of reservist is also a factor. The freedom to control my own time and training while giving tuition outside makes a lot more sense as an individual. Yes, people will say I am selfish, but many of my platoon mates in OCS envied my options at that point in time.

        At the same time, I had a bad experience with my Sect Comd, who was a 2LT. Shortly after entering OCS, my grandpa died on CNY eve. I called in and asked for compassionate leave. Technically, everyone is entitled to 3 days, no questions asked. But he said that since my grandpa will be cremated on CNY Day 2, I can still book in on time. My parents were peeved so I asked my APC again who gave me an extra day off. When I booked back in, hell was unleashed on my platoon because I “jumped chain of command”. What kind of hell? You can imagine yourself. From then on, I did not have any good impression of officers and their like. I was also prevented from lodging a complaint by my PC and Wing Comd.

        I do have my own logical conjectures of why Singapore would never be attacked and if we do, it would be due to the folly of our leaders but that in itself is another long post. In short, Singapore has nothing special to offer an aggressor. US picks wars in resource rich countries, any aggressor does that. Singapore has no tangible resources. Ergo, our aggressors will come at us not for resources but because of injured pride.

  • MrBenCai

    Anyway, just to share my view. Doubt that many will read because of the flooding of comments here. But just in case.

    I quote:” Because the first penguin into the ocean never survives.”

    The first may not survive, but what it did, was necessary for the survival of the rest. No one can discover new land if he/she does not dare to leave the shore.

    I do agree on the part that you have to protect yourself. But likewise, it is not good to stay too conservative. It is about balance. Leadership is knowing when to come up for air, not too soon, not too late.

    Quote:”Rather appear weak and protect your erector spinae and spine.”

    Likewise, if you can, do it. If cannot, ask for help. I am sure that there are many who will help you if you have prove yourself to be someone worthy of it. And I also noticed that you have mentioned to wait for help later in the article. But my point is regarding “acting weak”.

    Quote:” On a daily basis, they encounter NSFs who are perfectly fine but would keng their way out of duty. You have to play the same game, but play it even better. Make sure to sound worse than you actually are. If you feel feverish, say you feel like fainting. Seriously. But remember to be consistent in your “act”, all the way till you reach your doorstep.”

    You have to understand that we have a very flexible system here. The more people we have who are trying to fake injuries, the stricter the system will be. Do not start the chain effect. You are making the whole SAF very doubtful and this will reduce the resource on genuine cases. Imagine that one day you are really injured and you need help but the MO chose not believe you? Yes, you can try to pursue charges later, but what is the point when the permanent damage is done on you already? Lose lose situation. Do not lie when talking to the MO. Trust that he will do the best for your case that is necessary. If not, talk to someone of a higher rank. There are plenty of good people in the SAF who are willing to help a genuine case.

    Of course, you will be investigated for malingering if there are due cause to be so. For example: You reported sick for leg pain and is seen playing basketball happily with a friend.

    There is no need to act weak all the way until you reach home. No one is going to spy on you if you are not someone who ALWAYS report sick for minor issues. Who says that you cannot smile when you are not well? Any charges pressed against you that is deemed unfair can be seek for redress. In the past, we heard a lot of horror stories about NS, that many unfair things have happened. But let’s put it this way, if you are intelligent enough to read this post, you should be to know how to get help and to judge if you have been treated unfairly. There is a military court for a purpose. If you are lying, you are. But if you are not, then there are ways to prove that you are not.

    I do not disagree with this post in general, but neither do I think that more advices like this should be posted.

    And I do not think that there is any reason for anyone to be angry with this post. You cannot simply expect everyone to contribute the same amount of effort for the country, considering that the country do not do the same for everyone likewise (ideally, this is the intention, but in reality, it is not achievable).

    This is like a debate on how many locks we want to put on a SHARED door. This door, is secured by everyone of us. If you chose to put a big one, good for you. If you can convince others to put a big one like you, even better. But there is no reason why you should expect the person beside you to put the same lock as you. He/she may have lesser things in the room, thus decide not to. Or he/she may be selfish and wants to free ride (and it is up to the nation to decide as a whole to discourage free riders) Or instead of putting a lock, he/she decides to contribute in another way, say, to generate revenue for people to buy locks.

    My point being: Let people decide for themselves how many locks they want on this shared door. To do that, you have to first let them understand that this door that they are protecting belongs to them. There is no other doors like our own. Convince them, not force them. You cannot force people to do their best by cursing and swearing at them. You are only create a bigger divide between you and the person. Leadership is the ability to lead others to achieve objectives willing. The keyword here is willingly. Think about the net effect of the things that you are doing.

    Last but not least, please correct me if I am wrong in anything that I have said here. I am more than willing to be enlightened, but kindly do so in a mature manner.

    regards,
    MrBenCai

  • Guest

    remember that you are a part of society.

  • Guest

    i dont think that is the point isn’t it?

  • Guest

    and u got what u asked for.

  • Guest

    so did u keng and got platoon best? please reply okay?

    • Jeremy

      Ok. No, I was actually very enthusiastic during BMT but what I experienced negatively in OCS under my Sect Comd (2LT) and my PC (Cpt) changed my perspectives.

  • Fuckyou

    Jeremy Koward

  • anonymous

    thank you. I was a medic in the SAF. I admit we had our limitations – but we weren’t all incompetent. The problem boils down to selection of the medics. Most of them didn’t ask for it – they had it shoved down their throats. And learning anatomy and physiology without even a poly diploma? Really?

  • Pingback: Homepage

  • Asdfg

    @MrBenCai

    I’d very like much to disagree with your opinion on the part regarding the chain effect of ‘faking illness’. I myself had previously been warded into an ICU with the problem that the medical team, back at where i served could not find any problems with my heart and chest pains and was about to be charged with malingering. (after all the silly ECG tests and what-nots being conducted upon me)

    Even up till today i’m having chest/heart pains from time to time; and the reason? It’s just that i was overworked. Simple as that. I admit when i enlisted i had this mentality of serving my country to it’s very best and beyond my limit but since the incident i’ve completely changed my mentality towards NS especially on their medical team part. It’s as though everyone just wants to ‘chao keng’ when the doctor sees to your problems and treats you as one unless it’s REALLY obvious to the extent for example a fever (which can be detected), arms/legs torn off, dislocated joints and so-forth.

    Now i’m suffering from time to time elbow pains at night or the weather turns cold and i’m unable to life heavy weights on my affected arm. I’d ask myself from time to time was it worth it to suffer like this for just 2 years for a system that treats genuine cases like mine but can’t even be detected by G.P(s) after having numerous X-rays done. So am i to say i’m ‘chao keng(ing)’ even after i ord? Having spent hundreds and still couldn’t find anything wrong with my arm even suffering from taking numerous pills that could harm my liver?

    End point is everyone is/are treated with the same mentality that they’re ‘chao keng’ by the M.O unless there is evidence and proof of you being unwell and upon the discretion of the M.O. How much experience the M.O has in the field of practice also plays an important part. What we have in the medical centers in SAF (i wouldn’t say ALL cause i’ve been to MMI before and the old M.O was VERY experienced and immediately noticed that my knees are tilted upon viewing my X-Rays thus i wasn’t able to run, march or jump without experiencing pains in my knees). When i sought out my own camp M.O(s); they couldn’t find anything wrong with me; thus the just kept issuing me with the same medication and ointment without solving the root of the problem. During our time if you were given a medical excuse eg. excuse RMJ the CSM would ask you to squat cause the excuse didn’t state that you couldn’t squat and other awkward or unreasonable punishments.

    • MrBenCai

      Dear Asdfg:

      Thank you for sharing your experience. From what you have said, I do not think any part of it consist of “chao kenging”. You have a problem and you did what you can to solve the issue, so I do not see why you classify yourself as “chao kenging”.

      The chain effect that I am talking about is valid. Perhaps the reason why you encounter so much doubts when you raised your issues is precisely because there has been too many cases where people are trying to escape from duty and thus putting extra load on the rest who are willing to bear their share. It is not fair to them and as such, the whole system is affected.

      Last but not least, I myself have been doubted before when I raised certain issues. Despite that the trust given may not be immediate, I believe that if someone have an issue, it will be addressed sooner or later, although you may argue that it may be too late then, but then again, we have to consider about medical limitations as well. Not every medical symptom is obvious and we should give the same allowance we give to privates doctors to the ones we give to SAF MOs.

      Hope you are fine now.

      regards,
      MrBenCai

  • Abc

    Tell it to one who was buried alive and fell asleep in the trenches where machineries were used to fill the trenches only son..another who is close to ROD i 2months with a live ammo & his OC struggling and was shot dead with his body removed before CID was called in… What miltary courts.. all the big BS…cover ups there are just too many stories to tell…

  • Frankie Tan

    I can really relate to the part of of slipped disc, now in my late 40s I am paying the price for it. I remembered very well how i got it. We were tasked to lift up a very heavy portable genset and the minute when i tried to lift it up i felt something pulled in my back. I couldn’t even sit down without feeling the pain shooting down my legs and could not even bend over to pick up anything. The MO only gave me attend B and basically that was no good to me as I was still deployed to field work less the menial task. Now the disc has degenerate and I am paying the price for it.

  • Frankie Tan

    Well for all the new peng kia, remember this

    WE THE UNFORTUNATE
    LED BY THE UNQUALIFIED
    TO DO THE UNNECESSARY
    FOR THE UNGRATEFULS

    And your officer will tell you this

    YOURS IS NOT TO QUESTION WHY
    BUT TO DO AND DIE!!

  • no_one_wins

    Been there done that.
    Was a regular soldier and willing to work my ass off for SAF. Took Best PT.
    Till some skinny ass CMI captain made me lose respect for all things Army.
    Keng till C9 for 1 year, posted to a stay out, lobo, no 3. office environment.
    Lost a small piece of meniscus in the process.

    I really liked the army, but i think it would have been better for my psychological well being if i could have stayed in BMTC all the way.

    NEVER argue your case with the MO. It doesn’t work.
    Go and RSO private specialist outside if you have a genuine problem.
    Pay the cash, get a referral letter. MOs are untrained docs, just there for show.
    Specialists are pro docs, they can’t disagree with their opinion.
    Make sure the letter states exactly what pes you are to be downgraded to.
    There is a list of downgradable symptoms. You’re gonna have to work to find that list.

  • Old Geng King

    Just do the 2 years and get lost. Nobody will care for you if you are Hero or Not. In the working world even if you office or other rank doesn’t matter I work in Admin in my service and during my reservist years I have seen PTE and LCP earning 3 to 4 times the officer salary.