Metamorphosis: an army insight

For Dinesh, Jed, Weijie, James Feng, Gerald and the few who have yet enlisted

Gone are the days where I led a carefree civilian life; gone are the days when decisions can be dwelled on and pondered upon; gone are the days when time was never considered a scarcity. One month into the military, embracing the life of a soldier, and a process of metamorphosis has already began as I consistently accumulate sediments of conditioning, both mentally and physically, and experience. No one has control over the transformation, and for better or for worst, I do not know. American poet, Ezra Pound, once said, “There is no reason why the same man should like the same book at eighteen and forty-eight”; how certain are we then to consider ourselves the same being as the one who had first inhabit our own bodies many years ago?

And I find it ironical that as I talk about experiences and vehemently gathering them, I have come to a realisation that I am nothing. I have no reliable skills. So what if I was from the Debates Society? I’ve yet consider myself a fully pledged debater, one who can outwit and outsmart the other party with his wealth of knowledge. So what if I’ve hosted multiple events? I’ve yet really done anything to pursue this passion of mine. So what if I was from NCC(Land) and was a 2nd SGT? I’ve never really put my soul into doing a good job then. I have been sheltered, very sheltered. It is painfully embarrassing to admit so. I believed I have mentioned this in one of my previous posts, that there are many men who are wiser and more independent. These are the men who are virtuosos in their own particular field. These are the men who society wants. These are the men I admire. Hence, I find it amusing to identify the paradox: Knowing that I know nothing.

At this point, I see a need to clarify myself that I am not ranting, because this is but a declaration of my revelation, which serves to hopefully provide an iota of clarity to those who are like me, blinded, sheltered and pampered. That said, for those who think themselves as competent individuals with unique skills and capabilities of their own, good for you but remember to remain humble.

There are many people that I encounter, in the army. Some pleasantly humorous and affable, others can be an arse to deal with. And for the sake of maintaining a compassionate and neutral front, I shall not reveal those undeserving individuals. They say by going through hardships together, only will our camaraderie be founded, developed and deepened. While I concur with the aforementioned statement, I also believe that punitive measures ought to be distributed out fairly, especially to selfish people, many whom lack the intiatives, such that they feel a sense of remorse. Nonetheless, it is imperative to bear in mind that the very act of demonstrating hostility, be it non-verbally or verbally, can be seen as a burden to you yourself. For in the military, the ethos of cooperation and teamwork holds great importance; neglecting it serves to be detrimental to the welfare of the company.

The military provides loads of experiences and exposures. Earlier on, I had the opportunity to go on a 24 hours guard duty on a Sunday (which means reporting in early on a Saturday evening, and also means a great amount of time sacrificed), and I was appointed as a sentry personnel. The day began fine: 2 hours shift, 4 hours break. But then, it began to go downhill as dusk approaches. Because firstly, being situated at a seemingly isolated location on an already empty island at night freaks me out. A lot. I am not entirely alone though, I had insects and some cats as company. Nonetheless, the timid and superstitious me still cannot bear being isolated in the dark. Second, I worry, not being able to sustain the following day because I am one who requires a lot of rest. Third, I have had a lot of thoughts going on in my head, and it seems contradictory that with the given abundance of time, I still cannot seem to let it all out. And it is at this point that as I am writing this piece, I wonder what my family would have been doing? What my brothers might have been doing? What would I have done if I am not to serve the nation. However troubling and minuscule all these questions were, I’m glad to have the liberty to have them surfaced.

There was another time, where I was sick in camp, and it pains more than anything else to see the disgruntled look on the faces of my comrades, who may be assuming a notion of potent slackery. I know I should not have felt something like this if I am not guilty but all I have to say is that I was paranoid, and such thinking was inevitable as a result.

The army still continues to enrich my life. And I wonder what the future holds for me, as I continue to transform. All I can say now is that I wish those who have yet enter, the very best in the army and be glad you are not in Taurus COY.

PS: My sincere gratitude to Amadeus for helping me type out a big chunk of this piece while I was in camp.

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