I grew up in an environment of subtle rigidity, a typical Asian upbringing where the ethos of “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is uphold by most. I cannot count the number of times I have had myself hit and whack because of my failure to comply to certain rules and regulations that supposedly justify my moral upbringing. I have had been chastised by my parents for not scoring full for a “simple” spelling or dictation test during primary school. Of course, it may seem that I lead a rather bitter life when I was younger, but I am not. And the thing is, I actually embrace this sort of Asian upbringing because I know the people who raised me love and care for me. Just like how Blogger Cindy once said, “Chinese families know how to love fiercely. They do it through immense generosity, unwavering loyalty, and a lot of food. We love differently, not better, not worse, but definitely different.” It is at this point where I think I should confess about an oath that I made to myself, one that I believe is not uncommon. Simply put, I do not wish to disappoint them.
My guardian who looked after me for 16 years while my parents were busy working.
And yes, as much as I want to avoid committing anything that contradicts or endangers the aforementioned statement, it is unfortunate to say that reality, being harsh in nature, has slapped me on the face yet again. This irks me because I despise disclosing my problems to people, because the mere act of disclosure dictates an actual problem or a potent burden which needs to be addressed asap.
Somewhere in the midweek, I received the news that I might have been given an “Out of Training” from the Military because I took too many medical leaves, also known as “Status”. And if that is the case, which I fervently pray that it would not be so, I will have to leave my company, whom I have spent close to two gruelling but marvellous months together with, and then recourse the whole thing again. The thing with Status is that the qualified medical personnel (Military Doctors) will engage in a quick check-up followed by a swift diagnosis, which includes the number of days the patient is excused from training. Furthermore, after the excuse period ends, the patient will be given an additional number of days off to ensure a full recovery while at the same time assist him to catch up with the training. A fever can easily lead to 3-5 days of status leave, and for those who sustain leg, back or any form of physical injuries, the status leave might last as long as 2 weeks.
To be precise, I went to the Medical Centre thrice. The first was when I was four days into the camp, when I had a high fever and flu probably due to adjustment issues. The second was right after the Christmas Break, when I had a sore throat that is so severe that I lost my voice. The third was on the last week of January, when I had a minor left knee strain, which resulted from an unfortunate incapability on my part to manage the weight of load from the previous route march. The total number of status dates I received was 15 (the last being a 5-days long).
I ask myself countless times whether if I have been slacking, or deluded, or living in denial. Each time my answer differs. My inability to settle on a final answer worries me because I am diving into a pool of paranoia – Are my fellow comrades doubting my credibility? Have I underestimated my physical fitness or my body’s defensive mechanism? Are my parents going to worry, or freak out, or feel disappointed? Will I be booted out?
There is without a doubt that a whole barrage of emotions is going on within me right now. They are relentless. I am furious at my dearth of personal responsibility to take care of myself as well as the lack of competency that I have showed thus far. I am guilty for taking status, and also guilty at the mere fact that I am blaming myself for doing something that is right. I recall a sentence that blogger Sarah said, “Guilt and anger are a potent enough cocktail, but when you mix in grief and regret it’s enough to knock you sideways.” I’m pretty sure that if I were to be booted out, the remaining two emotions that results from a severe reluctance to leave as well as a reflection of what has happened will break me down. I cannot fathom how my family will react to this and I still have trouble trying to break the news. What a great big disappointment. What a dismal future.
When asked whether by the higher ups as to whether I want to leave, my reply was swift and curt. A clear “No!” I have forged bonds with my fellow comrades, who like me are determine to pass-out together at the floating platform coming April. I have seen my comrades break down and have consoled them, reassuring them that we can go through this together, and I foresee more of such to come. I have touched on my innate kindness – a supposedly extinct trait – and assisted the injured and care for the weak. I have yet and hopefully never will commit any offenses that may entitle me a confinement over the weekend. I have learnt loads and am still learning from my comrades of various race, age and religion. I want to walk through the end of the tunnel with them together, I want to march onto the platform with them together, I want to not get boot out.
I know I am not alone because there are others who are like me, facing the similar risk. To me, this reminds me of the Hunger Games, go figure. As of now, I am dubious as to whether I can make the cut or not. I wish I can, but I have no authority. Nonetheless, I will continue aiding my fellow brothers with all my power and if the worst is to come, all hell will break lose.