My desires are simple – silence, solitude and the absence of unnecessary disturbances. But because of man’s garrulous nature, these simple desires have become obsolete. I sit, uncomfortably, on a wooden bench amid the multiple futile attempts at hushing. Accompanied with the horrible combination of heat and humidity, and an innate homesickness, it is only natural to have the agitation bar rising by the minute. If only there is no backlash/repercussion, I would, gladly, join in this incessant cacophony and declare a sincere plea for silence before cursing away at everyone’s self-centeredness.
In this shed, one that describes every essence of military grandiose – a heightened green pavilion that housed rows of ants-infested wooden benches, supported by four partially rusted poles, an incandescent light bulb, which glows an eerie amber at night, and surrounded by the lush green forest. Time passes by at a tremendously glacial pace, and having the knowledge that there is close to an additional five hours before dismissal most certainly displeases me.
Of course, not everybody contributes to the intolerable dissonance. There are some who are deeply engrossed in the world of their own while reading their novels, as if embarking on their own personal adventures. There are also some who are dozing off and a minority building their own castles in the air. And then there’s me, attempting to be oblivious to the whole ruckus by writing.
Heat, annoyance and humidity are rudimentary blocks of a gradual rise in pressure. I would normally have enjoyed the strict regimentations and strenuous trainings because the fervour more often than not disperses any arbitrary trails of thoughts. Yet, today seem to speak a different side of the story.
Pressure comes in many forms and mine is a relentless throbbing of temples, rolling of eyes, and sheer discomfort.
And here comes the suggestion of finding peace. I knew fully well that finding the calm in this seemingly chaotic ambience is difficult and it took great resolve and will to hammer down that determination.
The problematic aspect of this luminous concept lies in the abrupt firing in the near distance. Zoning out the surrounding disturbances requires a little concentration and many a times I succeeded, but because of the deafening dismissal of ammunition by incompetent men, who failed to garner reassurance from the already exasperated superiors, in the near distance, any attempts to maintain and elevate my temporary semi-placid composure became futile.
I believe it is not presumptuous to unanimously state that the initial excitement in owning arms among the recruits to have ceased and further transformed to a potent burden. This change is synonymous with the action of firing it. It goes along the lines of:
Load! Ready! Fire! Clear!
Load! Ready! Fire! Clear!
IA, IA, IA!*
I am very much grateful for the presence of a mobile food van for it had inevitably provided myself with a temporary relief from all the exhaustion albeit selling junk snacks and soft drinks at an exorbitant price. Basically, if you are bored, you will be hungry, and you will pretty much eat anything regardless of if it’s expensive or not.
As much as I despise being situated here, I cannot entirely say that such an activity is without cause. For one, having entrusted by the nation with the responsibility to owning arms is a fulfilment, and then getting authorized to learn to kill is an even greater fulfilment. (No, I am not a sadist.) Such mutually reinforcing factors are why the glorious notion of protecting the nation (and ironically saving lives) in times of need has never been brought out more beautifully in the range fields.
Furthermore, I was reminded of the never-ending debate on the rights to owning of guns. Proponents who argued in favor of the debate often claim self-defense as one of the most important and rational reasons why owning guns is acceptable. And I think they are rightfully so, yet how many of them have remember that in doing so, they too put people at risks. Risks that can be obliterated if no one owned guns. The essence lies in that it is always the people behind the trigger who is dangerous, and that it is imperative to not only exercise caution but also a subconscious consideration of the environment.
I desire silence, solitude and the absence of unnecessary disturbances. Yet, they couldn’t be fully attained in the range ground, for that is a place where zealousy, fear, boredom and exhaustion manifest the greatest. A place where all Singaporean sons and some daughters are trained to fire, to protect and to kill.