Saturday, February 24, 2007

I really don't have anything to say right now.

The scary part is, I'm seeing how this could be a good thing already. I've gotten in trouble more times than I can remember because I've had too much to say, or because my larynx went into overdrive and started working independantly of my brain, resulting in much suffering on my part. In fact, the same can be said of a lot of people. How often do you find someone talking when you really don't need them to?

This seems ecspecially true now, where the information explosion means that everyone has the ability to uncover any hidden secrets or truths. Which means that the number of people desperately scryeing for their claim to fame is only going to rise. With a simple click of a handphone, an incriminating picture of a couple in school uniforms or even worse, a couple in army uniforms, could be posted on the internet for all to see. With everyone looking to get some dirt on anyone, or anything, they can find, it's no wonder that Singapore is becoming less and less of a democracy - If nothing else, the human desire for reputation, or "street cred" as I would call it while wearing a huge red jumper, baggy jeans and a beanie, means that people are going to have to be extremely tight assed about what they do, at least in the open, what with a significant number of Singaporeans being into S-M. A new age is upon us - One that suppresses through the excess of freedom.

Another disturbing part of the trend is that you're never going to know who took that picture, other than his or her screename/username/sign-in name/pseudonym/flashing neon sign outside a cheap hotel. This makes it almost impossible to get back at the predators who prowl around looking for dirt. Which only increases the incentive for people to do so, since they really have nothing to lose, seeing as how the phrase "I'll sue the pants off you!" is a lot less intimidating when you're trying to sue someone by the name of Ah_lIaNxxz82 or 1337w4rl0cke. This isn't to say that people actually go around with the sole objective of looking for people to embarass over the internet, but that whatever you do, chances are someone will see it, and if it's bad, you will get screwed.

From another view, it's a really clever strategy by the government(or possibly an accidental one.) By allowing information to be shared so freely, and capitalizing on the natural human instinct to undermine others as well as the typical need for a reputation, they've turned the citizens into their sentries.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

After the past few entries that didn't really explain much, I finally found one that captures the essence of National Service.

Hurrah to post 500!
Chocolate onions. Cucumber sauce. Garlic Pudding.

Some objects are just not meant to make acquaintance with each other. Parsley may be great for a minty smell and to add colouring to whatever iron-chef-caliber dish you may be cooking, and ice cream may be a cooling treat on hot days, but parsley ice cream just does not cut it.

Similarly, there are certain words in the English Language that, when put together, create a new dimension of self-contradiction, unraveling on its own plane of oxymoronity, because while they may be signposts of outstanding nobility, regal declarations of the power of man to be able to make even the most unlikely of combinations work, deep down inside most sane people have the presence of mind to realise that in real life, such concepts are about as viable as Big Bird being the lead of the next internationally acclaimed porn flick. We know it when we see it. Rich beggars, while they do exist, are technically not one of these terms. At the end of the day, all of us are beggars ; If there was no need for engineering one day, all the architects and engineers would be beggars. All the actors and artistes you see on TV are in fact beggars - Beggars for attention and record sales so that at the end of the day, they may receive a shiny new trophy with a mock gramaphone plastered onto it.

Middleastern peace. Spotless leopards. And, having come into a certain degree of mind-numbing clarity, Army intelligence. If it were up to me, the two years would be spent on more meaningful activities, say, running into a wall repeatedly. Somehow activities like "reveille", which I'm quite sure 80% of army officers don't know the meaning of when they say it, "breakfast". which really should be mandatory and "lights out" seem a lot more enjoyable when instead of a specific time next to it, says "any bloody time I want". If my driving license plate says "IHTSAF" it does not mean I heart SAF, it means that my feelings towards the army portend to another word with the letters "h" and "t" in it, with an "a" and an "e" sprinkled somewhere.

Yep, I don't think me and army are going to fit very well together. If you thoughy Britney Spears looked hideous after shaving her head, I'm sure you can imagine how I feel about the army right now.

Okay, that had no relevance whatsoever.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's been a really boring week at camp. But then again, from the looks of things everything is going to be boring. When the entire week consists of eat-sleep-shoot-clean (okay that sounded dirty) there really isn't much stimulation my brain can look forward to. Heck, I don't even know if my brain is capable of looking forward anymore. If my brain had eyes they'd be forcefully plucked from their sockets, thrown into a kerosene-piccolo and lit up unmercifully by the fires of hell in the hands of a very happy Saddam Hussein.

Thank goodness for the people around. Even if these are people I wouldn't hesitate to ignore in a crowded room, packing drops of water into a freezer creates ice cubes, not droplets of frozen ice. This isn't to say the people in my bunk, or my platoon are a bad bunch. It's a personal boon to break down the walls and know what people are like under the stereotype that involuntarily clings to them like barnacles onto rocks. Obviously, there are the token morons, but hey, when life gives you lemons, you paint faces on them, conduct your own puppet show and have a good laugh.

Does hope inspire you to carry on fighting, or does the fighting bring out hope? Obviously you can't do one without the other. People who fight without hope eventually wither into the background with no definition of their existence, and people who hope without fighting remain stationary. I believe the term for such people are wishful thinkers.

To put it into perspective, the answer to the question "how much are you paid?" is going to be "not enough". People work in order to earn money, and the lack of money causes them to work. Is it really the money? Or is it the desire to feel like they're earning? Or the satisfaction they get for the fruits of their labour? Or the hope for a raise or a promotion? In the end, it's some sort of expectation that keeps people ambling down the corridor of life, and also expectation that make them trip and fall when they realise that they're not going to score a date with their ideals anytime soon. It's like going on a date being promised Jessica Alba and ending up with Fiona Xie. The ideal solution would just be earning enough to just get by and sticking with that, but it's been proven that humans are rather slimy creature.

It's official, the army has captured my mind.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Army is stupid.

Allow me to rephrase that.

Army is fucking stupid.

As stupid as it is, however, it hasn't been all bad ; The bunk mates are pretty fine, the pushups have yet to snowball, I've yet to "drop the soap" and the sergeants have yet to transorm into huge, tentacled monsters normally saved for japanese porn. I will, however, say that everything I do now is going to be meaningless when I sit in front of a computer screen some nine weeks from now, keying in documents that will almost certainly never be read, or sit in a dusty storeroom all day, choking on dust and counting the hairs on my belly area and multiplying them with the number of mosquito bites on my left leg with an abacus.

In some ways, this is like VS all over again, just with a higher level of discipline, but not enough to contain the stupidity from the lowest levels all the way to the upper echelons where old men sit down, cross their legs and scream and random people.

Other points about the army :

1) To get promoted to a higher rank, your command of the English Language must fall. You must not be able to pronounce words more than three syllables or ten letters long, i.e characteristics as characterics, speak with a short tongue in broken English and have a vocabulary list that fits onto a square of toilet paper.

2) The older you are in the army, the more you like to hear your own voice. You keep hundreds of people waiting just so you can think of something to say which probably has already been said before, and they probably don't understand you anymore because of point #1. When someone makes you echo his commands ten times just so he can hear his words amplified, you know he likes his voice. Which leads me to....

3) The army is a place where the ugly side of the male ego is manifested. Insecure old men who are otherwise failures in life torture young souls in an attempt to mitigate their inner inability. Entire companies are made to wait just so one pompous oaf can come late and deliver a stale speech. People have to ask for permission to even carry on with punishments. No wonder they conduct training away from civilisation.

4) Rifle training is pretty dumb when we don't have to do it anytime in the future. Rifle training is dumber when all the rifles are outdated and rusty, and attempts to clean it are futile because people are apparently taught to locate dirt in an obscure corner of a rifle just so they can find fault in the people below them, related somewhat to point #3. Don't even get me started on grenade throwing.

5) Someone really needs to try his luck and declare a phobia or an allergy to vulgarities and get downgraded to PES F. There just isn't any running away from those things.

6) Autopiloting isn't as easy as I taught it would be. We have to be able to sense tantrums, remember to do a million different things in a minute, and in some cases, brush the dust away from the long-unused gaydar and put it on code red.

7) Going outfield is bloody troublesome. And Salabin is a good name wasted on a jungle.

8) Tekong food is damn boring.

9)One of the first things I did when I got back was to listen to music. Somehow, music sounds better when songs don't fucking echo back at you. Anyone who tries to sing Purple light or that crappy "training to be soldiers" "song" where every verse ends in a "YA!" outside of camp is not going to book in on Sunday due to sudden and provoked castration.

Other than that, however, it hasn't been as tough as I thought it would be, but incredibly boring more than anything else. Kind of like a holiday camp without the holiday.


My Army diary

Day 1 : Today I am shipped off to Pulau Tekong, a desolate land for desolate people. My head is going to be shaved in an attempt to strip me of all individuality. Whoever said communism was no longer alive knows nothing about the army. Everything is standardized, from the hard, rusty-springed bed to the dull grey lockers and the duller grey shirts on our backs. The grey is symbolic of the moral implications of a militant lifestyle. Someone has to be sacrificed unvolutarily, and the Istana has spoken.

Day 4 : Not much has been happening. They tell me to do stuff, I do stuff. I figure that if I keep quiet and keep my thoughts to myself I should be able to come out unscathed. Now all I need to do is shut my mouth. Which I don't have a good record of.

Day 6 : Fuck Cheebye officers make us wake up at midnight to check one missing bastard

Day 11 : Why was I writing in this again? My notebook should not be having any thoughts of my own, if this is found I will be



Oh, and Babel is bloody boring. Or maybe it's just really subtle and poignant and symbolic, and the army just hasn't put me into a position to be even remotely intelligent.