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brunei takes the ball

now, no one in his right frame of mind would volunteer himself as an instructor for socjot, which would actually entail him having to climb up and down mount biang one more time in that treacherous and unforgiving green foliage, rationing precious amounts of water and surviving on inedible combat rations. yet, i did the opposite and now that i'm back after 10 days out at the far ends of the world, i can safely say that i have no regrets in doing so. as painful as it was, having had to endure the toughest terrain and harshest weather conditions, and of course human folly when it came to navigating that caused us to lose precious time, socjot wasn't all that bad.

i left singapore on a sunday night an inexperienced young second lieutenant with pretty much no experience as an instructor. i left not knowing what to do or expect, all save for the words that kept repeating itself in my mind, and that was to teach my cadets all that i knew, and to prepare them for life in eti, and more importantly, life as an officer upon commissioning. the role as an instructor intrigued me as i've never properly assumed the role of one, and now, being offered a chance to do so, i jumped at it with absolute relish.

i knew i would take on the role as the strict disciplinarian, which was pretty evident within the first day we arrived in brunei and we (the instructors) were quick to don on the various suits and roles required. i of course, was the nasty devil. it didn't take long before the cadets got adjusted to our different roles and saw me as the irritating and fierce bugger who kept shouting at them and pushing them and knocking them down.

yes, i was firece and unrelentless at times, yet i believe that the cadets learnt from it. their life in brunei was no where compared to what they were gonna be facing in eti and as instructors, we took it upon ourselves to ensure that they be mentally prepared for what was to come.

so i was placed in charge of team 14, and this group of cadets taught me so much more about myself than i ever expected to as an instructor. we explored the jungles of brunei together, slept under the stars together at the base of biang, raced to the end point to cross the river just in time as the last group of the day. they were motivated by so many things - no camou should they reach the intermediate point on day 1, an iced lychee/longan/rambutan and prata treat from me at the end of the exercise. haha. i, on the other hand, was motivated by them. simple as that. the material versus the intangible. i kept myself going knowing that these people saw me as an example and a leader. they pushed me to be the best that i could be, and in return, i shared with them my thoughts, my views and my outlook on life as an officer. it was a working partnership, rather than that of an instructor-trainee.

trust and friendship was built and the the team dynamics were superb and irrepressible. they made the whole experience worth it, and it was them that made me realise what kinda instructor i was, and what areas i should work on. they made me see that being an officer isn't always about being part of the unit as a platoon commander, or a 2ic in my case, and that there was a wider field in the army to explore. you require a separate set of skills as an instructor that cannot be taught through life in the unit, but instead, use experience from unit life as a basis for your method of instruction.

now that socjot's over, one small chapter of my life has concluded, but it merely marked the start of a very long journey for the cadets, a 6 months ride fraught with countless mind boggling and trying situations. all of them will step into eti today and their minds are in a frenzy. i've walked their path and now it's their turn. i see my shadow in so many of them and i can empathise with how they feel. the trepidation that mounts as the hour closes in to the time they have to book in. the excitement as they await the arrival of the much feared oc, and also finding out who makes the cut for cbrd, eod and bridging. haha.

i told team 14 on the last night, that i wanted all of them to commission and when i'm back for my vacation attachment next year in july, we'll be of the same rank and they can finally call me by name. these cadets moved me with what they did on the last day in brunei. i haven't felt so appreciated in such a long while. what they did proved that what i've done and how i've conducted myself in brunei was the right thing, and that volunteering for socjot was one of the bestest decisions i've made in my life. i guess that's what every instructor wants to see from his own trainees, that they grow up and learn as much from them. i want them to get in the right frame of mind and like i said to them, the most important thing is that they become good officers upon commissioning. nothing else matters from now till december, except doing their best in eti and commissioning as an officer of the saf.

so to team 14: edison, jerome, zi kai, edwin, you jun, kao jun, kannan, aubrey, sheng long and ryan, thank you guys so much for opening my eyes to a world that i've not seen before, for allowing me to explore another dimension of officership that until last week, was unchartered territory. you guys have moved my life in so many ways that can never be understood until you guys are in my position. thank you.

and of course my fellow instructors: zi yang, eugene ma, heng, kai jie, zhuo song and kevin, thank you guys for making me the bad guy. haha. and for putting up with my crazy ideas like the 7 minutes turn out at 4.45 in the morning. and who can forget our many instructors dinner at the canteen, and kevin's endless phone sex and cyber sex. haha. there's still the upcoming harry potter movie and crabs date.

tango one four

unbelievably touched.

the cadets have more photos and i'll upload them once they book out and send me the photos. haha.

once again, thank you for the experience.

“brunei takes the ball”

  1. Blogger Cassandra Ng Says:

    "I'M A VIRGIN"? haha. u sure they bought u the right shirt? HAHAHA =))

    dude. i can't believe i'm soo bored i ended up tagging ur photos on facebook. only did one though. AHHAAHAHAH. your birthday one. LOL. you can don't approve it if u wanna do it by yourself. LOL.

    missy you a lot alot.

    your lesbian lover =))

  2. Blogger ranon Says:

    haha. there was a fine print. it read "this is a very old shirt". haha

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