Army

Now begins long rant.

Now begins long rant.

Now begins long rant.

In the Beginning
I enlisted on 9 April, 2007. It has been about a year and a half, and I still think BMT is the better part of NS. When I first got into army, I really hated it. All the regimental stuff. All the rigid marching and standing in weird poses. They felt unnatural. They did not belong to nature. At that time, I was influenced by books that encouraged people to be closer to their nature side. The blog design, "back to basics", was under that influence. Everything about the army was so artificial. Timekeeping too. Coincidentally, my buddy and his twin brother (Daryl and Daniel) slept in the same bunk as me. I also made many other friends, and met many old ones. That is it, the best part of army, the camaraderie and shared memories. I made an important decision then, which I was to regret later. The decision to not go to command school. Now, my rationale then was: either get into Officer School, or be the lowest lifeform. Don't get stuck in the middle. Now, I have no experience being a officer or a specialist (and it is highly unlikely that I would get it in the future), but as of now, 25th Aug 2008, having been through 1 year and a half of torture, I can say that my decision was wrong.

Pre-Apocalypse
Before I got into the hell that is my current department in my current camp. I was to become a regimental policeman (RP), that is a camp security-guard-with-a-different-name. Ok, cool, whatever. Surprise, surprise, when I got to Mowbray Camp (in CCK) for my course, I got into a sub-section (wow army sure got lot of sub sub sub sections) called RP/Dog Handler. Wow, interesting. I must say that, this was the best time in my current army life. If my whole army life could be like that, it would have been pleasant indeed and my hate for the army would not have manifested so easily. First part of the course was stay out, which I did not care much for as CCK is quite far away from home, then second part was stay in. Training was not that tough and I had a good three meals a day. We did not have to think much, we just did our own stuff.

Posting Out
Soon, I was to be posted out. To hell. We were supposed to be posted to places near our homes, and either Seletar or Paya Lebar would have been good for me. Instead, I was asked if I wanted to go to Changi. NO, more like I was forced to volunteer. Now, it is one thing to tell me if I would like to volunteer but give me no choice; and another to tell me I have no choice. One is hypocritical, while the other is, more man. They put me in the room with two other guys, one from Woodlands and one from Yishun. An idiot guy in civillian clothes(will not be named) keep on insisting that I could take this bus 25 to Bedok and change blah blah blah. Somehow, I was also not utterly repelled at the idea, because a new bus had come out which brought me near to my camp area. Actually, Yishun was probably nearer to the camp, my house was deep in the heartlands. In fact! The Yishun guy changed his mind later and wanted to go Changi to join his friend there. But some idiot guy in civillian clothes interfered. As usual, I was a victim of stupidity. At that time, the person in charge kept on saying, thanks for volunteering, I will never forget you etc etc. Well in my head I was thinking, maam you are treating me like a child, telling me all these is adding insult to injury. Enough of hypocritical nonsense. At that time, I was like, ok I go there so I go there, I did not think it sad, I did not think it mad. It was okay to travel far to camp. Now, if some ultimate being gave me a choice to do everything again, or if I was to travel back in time, I would not go Changi no matter how many times you kill me. I would give anything not. to. be. there.

Being a Man
I simply cannot believe I have been in hell for a year already! I am surprised by my tenacity. I am still alive. Now, life always has its ups and downs and surprisingly, hell has it ups too! When I first came to this innocuous unit, I was quite alright with it. It is one of the least regimental camps (but also one of the most active), with everyday nights out, no need to march, not much physical training except runs. Ok. This is the unit that made me hate running, but that's another topic for another time ok?

Handling 30+ dogs was quite cool, for a while. It would be cool forever if not for the fact that 1. You have to clear their shit everyday, usually a couple of times, both the kennels and the exercising grounds. 2. Your superiors treat you like dogs. 3. I repeat, Your superiors treat you like dogs. Everyday there makes me feel more like a dog. I almost feel like I can bark soon. When people hear that I am in the army handling dogs, they are in awe, "got this kind of thing one ar! good life ar!", I want to slap them, but I stay my hand because I understand why they say what they say.

Another cool part is that I get to take my dogs outside, to places that people normally can't get into. Any more may be a breach of security, so I will not say more.

the lowest lifeform
That's right, being a "man" is being the lowest lifeform. Now, being a lowest lifeform is not that bad.. but being a lowest lifeform and doing more work than you're supposed to do, now that's called slavery. No, it's even worse than slavery. Everyday, we have to wake up before the sun rises and sweep up our areas, just because we are men. Yeah. Others get their seven/eight hours of sleep, regulars even more. It is hard to sleep early in my camp because some people sleep at absurd times. Don't pardon me if I'm prejudiced, but only stupid people sleep at absurd times. And some of that some make stupid noises. Ok, that's not really a problem.

The main problem is........ the company. I am going to be elitist here, because I believe men are not equal. The problem with being a man, is that most of the "men", are people from less educated backgrounds. Some are just plain useless shitz who slack so much and get the same pay. It is just unfair. I will not say some, because it is really only two in my department. To me, I am open to those from other backgrounds, but I just hate it when they like to generalise people. They are the ones who have problems with us, I do not have problems with them. So I generally get along well with them. My biggest problem ever, is the smokers. Smokers should die before they are born.(BTW, when one doesn't smoke, he is not a smoker. When he smokes then he is considered a smoker for the time being). Smokers, are the most inconsiderate people on Earth. Why does lung cancer not kill them now? Instead of creeping on them, kill them now! I really, really, hate smokers. I do not know if they do it unknowingly and knowingly, but I will never forgive them for smoking in front of us. Some especially love to do it in my face. AND THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Like cockroaches. Even in the toliet. I can't even shit in peace. I cannot even sleep without smoking some smoke unwillingly sometimes. Come on man. I don't know if they know it or not, but their smoke is worst than rubbish smell (okay that is hard to say), to us. They do not know it, because they have already damaged themselves and they want to spread the plague to others.

The worst is still, my superiors smoke. And you know what it means. It means they are more likely to condone their Earth killing activities. nevermind that we are taught in "dog course" never to smoke near dogs. They smoke everywhere! God damn cockroaches. If only there was a pesticide for these cockroaches.

I was even asked to buy cigarettes. The audacity of asking me, a non-smoker! I will never buy cigarettes. Maybe if you threaten my life or something..

Ok, that was the first part. Smokers. Now in my current army life I only have two really irritating things. The second is being a slave and a dog at the same time. I, have the unfortunate fortune of being the "personal assistant" of our boss, and that bascially means being the PA of everybody! Being a PA is one thing, but when people think lightly of what you do, that's another thing. I do various admin stuff, mostly using the comp, things that my superiors are supposed to do! Well leaders delegate their stuff to people, but I do not consider them as leaders. They are just working for money. Worst of all they think themselves as leaders. As such, I do not think they deserve me to do extra work for them. But, I have no choice. We are the lowest lifeforms. It is one thing being a PA, but I have to be a PA and do things that others do! That means I do extra stuff. But others don't see it that way. Because they will never know. How it feels to be called here and there like a dog. They can say what they want if I do it of my own accord.. but... I am forced to do so. Forced to be a dog! For now, I will just do what I'm forced to do and then leave hell.

Phew. Sometimes I wonder how it would be like if I was an officer or a specialist. It makes me wanna cry sometimes. But I can console myself by saying, "I have served, therefore I lead!"

5 months more to leave hell.

simple living part 2

Cars

I dislike cars, but I still use them. In my earlier post, I said that people blindly follow the standards, which is wrong. It's more like they are forced to do so. At least, I am forced to use cars. If I don't, I might just be punished. Here's why: in my army unit, there's such a thing as "return to unit in 1 hour". From my place (Serangoon North) to Changi, it is hard to cycle there in 1 hour. So, I have to use a car. If the fastest transport was the bicycle, the time limit would probably be increased. Because the car exists, my freedom is inhibited. I cannot use the bicycle, even though I want to. I don't want to use the car at all.

Now, it is hard to imagine how life will be like without the car, and it is impossible to go back to the past. So the car is here to stay, at least until some newer technology takes over it. Since we cannot get rid of the car, what can we do?

1. Get a efficient car. Not some gas-guzzling SUV crap. Get some hybrid. Learn how to use the car efficiently, such as reducing speed on highways, use the brake as little as possible, etc etc.

2. Use public transport. Sure, they use gas too, but at a lesser cost per person.

3. Use the bicycle, most efficient form of transport. Even more efficient than walking. A note to those who think that long distance cycling is impossible: you don't have to cycle continuously, you don't have to cycle fast. Ever heard of travelling across countries with a bicycle? It's possible, and it's fun! Cost is much lower, because a. you can hoard homes in friendly strangers, b. get free food from friendly strangers, etc. Sure you can do that with a vehicle, but... to me I wouldn't give freebies to strangers who drive some car to my home. Well if you're rich you don't care about freebies.. But I ask you this: WHAT'S THE ESSENCE OF TRAVELLING?! To immerse yourself in the country's culture. And what's better than talking and living with the people? Ok I'm digressing... Get back to point.... ....

4. Any suitable idea

5. Any combinations of the above. For example, bicycle+public transport, bicycle+car, car+public transport (especially for places like Orchard. park elsewhere and go Orchard man.)

I won't drive a car yet, until is it really, really, really necessary (for example I stay in Changi and my work place is in Choa Chu Kang.. but even then I might not use a car) Because cars are expensive! Hidden costs, petrol costs, COE cost, car cost.. maintenance cost.. etc. I would rather use the money for good FOOD. (glutton =p) My goal is to be as friendly to the environment whenever I feel like it, even though it doesn't really affect me (at least not in my lifetime?).

Work and Productivity

Not everyone wants to be too productive. Ask the monks! Ok, that is too extreme an example. But to me, less is always more. Until the less interferes with my basic needs. Too much productivity ruins. It depends on what is important to you. What's most important to me is my health and happiness. If I earn more and I do not become happier, what's the point? There is a certain limit to which wealth can raise our happiness level. When we have too much money, more money will not make us happier. Unless you are a money lover.. then I don't know what to say. But I think, normal people love people and themselves more than money.

Now, if I love my work, I will be motivated. I won't probably care about the money that much, and to hell with productivity. People cannot work continuously, and I think it is more efficient to take breaks in between. See the long working hours? How many people actually do work during the artificially imposed crap? They probably do real work less than half the time.

No matter how much we work, we must always find time to connect to other people, and most importantly, ourselves.

Why should we produce so much for others? Especially those who do not deserve it? Those looters? The most important thing, after all, is ourselves. If we can't take care of ourselves, who are we to take care of others? Selfishness is a human trait. It is what enables us to survive. We help others, because we benefit from it. Generosity happens, because we do not lose much from helping others.

Dear jade, what do you mean by "I thought you liked Atlas Shrugged?". Please explain further. I don't see any relation between liking Atlas Shrugged and my previous post. In any case, liking doesn't mean agreeing. But I do agree with some of the book's ideas.

Simple Living

Technological advances make our lives complicated.

Travelling

Cars and planes make the world smaller. Wow! We can reach places far away easily. So? Why do we need to go to far away places? If there were no such transports, there won't be a "need" for them. Their existence creates a void to be filled. If we have such fast transport, why don't we use them? Then everybody uses them and it becomes the standard by which people blindly follow.

Do we need to travel? Why do we need to travel? Is travelling slowly a waste of time?

When we travel slowly, we are able to appreciate our travel more. The travelling becomes part of the experience. Instead of sleeping on a plane, we get to feel the surroundings. We become part of the moment. We do not need to "wait" to get to another place.

I hate the word "vacation". People often use it as a subsitute to holiday. It implies that you have to vacate the place you are currently in, for a fun holiday in another. Actually, what we need is a break from stress (e.g. from work). We need the time to connect with our loved ones and most importantly, ourselves. There is no need to go to other countries. Save some money, do some good!

Clutter

My parents love to keep old stuff. They have those storage boxes lying around, those big plastic boxes that are common in shops. During CNY spring cleaning, their solution to junk is to buy more boxes to keep them in. I ask, why not remove the source of the problem. Don't contain the problem. There are many, many things that are unnecessary to keep. Tina said, "The less we have, the more attention we can give to things that truly matter." Throw all those junk away! Junk: "Things we do not need. Things we think give us emotional support." When throwing junk away, we feel pangs of attachment and regret. Use those feelings as a reminder not to buy unnecessary things! Things we need are found in nature: air, water, food. Buying stuff creates a feedback effect. We buy stuff and feel good about it. Then it subsides. So we keep buying stuff to feel good. Stop! What we need is already in us. Don't be deluded!

(Btw, read Tina's blog at http://thinksimplenow.com/clarity/the-simple-life/ . I got inspiration from there)

Efficiency

Things like machines make our work more efficient. And what do we do with the "extra time"? We use them to do more work! But we are not designed for so much work! Go slow.. Don't hurry. Break the habit of needing to be as fast as possible. Join the Slow Movement.

http://www.slowmovement.com/

[To be continued(?) when I come back from camp..]