Spread the Love – March 2017

I got a dinner date with Guoxin and appreciated that he was one of my old good friends who would contact me to meet up once in a while. He also showed excess concern about my progress in photography.

I forgot to book a timeslot for my haircut and my hairdresser kindly slotted me in. Although it was just for a one-day reservist that nobody would bother about my hair, I still wanted to maintain a good image.

During the one-day reservist, Terry gave me a lift from Yishun MRT to Chongpang camp and then to Punggol MRT after that. He had finally bought his car since talking about it during the first time we had reservist together

Spread the Love – August 2016

My mum noticed that I had many photography equipment lying around and she packed some space at the shelf previously used to put Luckie’s stuff for me to store things.

Gilbert had a free movie ticket as one of his colleagues fell sick and could not go. He even picked me up to go over to Lido together. I stopped him from sending me home after that and I actually made it home earlier than him. It would take him double the time if he were to give me a lift home.

During the re-shoot with Angie at her place, she cooked dinner for both her new social media manager, Mary, and me. It was great to be given a treat by someone of a high status who had cooked personally for us. In fact, Angie had arranged the shoot such that I would gain more exposure for Mary would be capturing the behind-the-scene photographs – if Mary were to use them on her publication.

Weitat arranged around three sessions of volleyball games at Yusof Ishak Secondary School and sent me home twice. During the last session, we had dinner at Clementi and I was able to go home by myself since the coffee shop was quite near to the train station. Alas, he was very concerned if I could catch the last train and I felt very touched. Alas, I could finally feel less guilty by not troubling him. After one of the games, our favourite auntie footed the bill for our supper at a coffee shop in Bukit Gombak, which made me feel very bad since there were quite a number of us. Jingjie bought many bottles of greentea for one of the sessions and shared with us generously.

As I was asking my elder brother about using HDMI cable to replace VGA cable for my computer, he told me he had a spare one. When he came back to my house, he actually remembered bringing it along.

My hairdresser endured another last-minute booking from me as I was about to go for reservist. As usual, she was not pissed off. Anyway, she charged me the same price since twenty years ago and she actually needed not take my business.

During reservist, the drivers Fabian, Melvin and Kenneth gave us free rides that had reduced the amount of time and energy used in travelling. I made a new friend, Teck Hui, a social worker, who gave me a treat on the second day.

Spread the Love – September 2015

Almost every September was my busiest month of the year due to reservist. I had to wake up before the sun came up and waste my entire day in the camp, only to be able to rush my work at night. This time round, I had two reservist – one low and one high key.

I was fortunate to have a few good reservist-mates. The most important man was Fabian, the driver; without him, travelling inside the camp was a pain in the ass. Sometimes, he also dropped us at the MRT station. I was glad that the regulars were being very kind to us as well.

Spread the Love – June 2013

Thanks to Ahpa Saeyeoh for introducing me to her friends Dickson and William. Dickson has studied Chinese medication for more than three years while William is currently understudying him. Both of them have improved on my back’s condition.

My back problem had lasted for nearly 15 years. It was worsened during my NS days due to the excessive loads I had to carry regularly. I had gone for X-ray and MRI screening but the results were not as “bad” as what doctors expected for me to downgrade permanently. Despite getting temporary “excuse heavy load” medical certificate from the medical officers (MOs), I had to continue to carry heavy stuffs. Well, I was simply unlucky because I had a bastard superior called Captain James during that time who would threaten (indirectly) all the injured co-slaves to work. His moonlighting business – some aquarium shops – should be failed by now after being cursed by so many nice people.

I was in fact one of the fittest guys in my camp other than having the injuries, which nobody could see nor understand. I had to go for regular physiotherapy sessions and campmates would jokily call me “chao geng”, thinking it was just an excuse to skip “work”. Friends who know me well should know that I was a very determined and responsible person who would do everything well and not push work around. An example would be during the BMT’s SIT test, I actually fireman-carried a platoon-mate much bigger size than me over a distance all by myself. Therefore, during my NS days, I was being hurt both physically and mentally.

Anyway, the aching on my back was more terrible than anyone could imagine. For a few times, there were sharp pains when I was jogging – obviously the spine was connected to lower body. The aching happened very often that I had lie down every now and then. More than half of my days, the pains accompanied me faithfully. I simply had to sit down for five minutes without my back supported to trigger the aching for years.

After some examination, Dickson told me I had slipped disc, which was not easily to be detected by both X-ray and MRI. He used a big stick with around five or six split ends to whack my back hard for probably longer than 20 minutes that my face turned red. He was experienced enough to tell that the pain was bearable compared to the 15 years of my torment. However, my back was numbed from the whacking that I was unable to tell him the exact condition so that he could do more.

The sore on my back improved immediately, which stunned me totally. All these years, I always thought the western doctors were right that I could only train my muscle hard to support the injured spine. Most of the time, I thought my back muscle was injured as well. If only I had more faith that my back problem could be cured or improved, so that I could seek better Chinese physician for help earlier, my life would be so much better. The pain had slowed me down badly in my work.

VIP to the Max – Very Inconsiderate People

Everyone needs freedom, but freedom does not come easy when we have to consider for others. Each time, we should put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

What is so difficult about following a big group of friends to different stations when the initiate plan is to go and leave together? There is no rule to stay closely together, but at least, simply within the same location. What is so difficult about doing it? Why do people have to go opposite directions to disrupt the plan?

Can the entire group split into smaller groups to scatter around the big site? How bad would communication be when there are thousands of people walking around at the foreign place? What is the use of the tour guide then?

Are you proud to be the odd ones out? Are you trying to attract attention by such unique yet irritating manner? Oh yes, it is definitely easier to outshine by doing irritating things than to do things that benefit others.

If you were to lead a company of soldiers, they would perish due to your attitude and immature decisions. If you were just a normal soldier, you would cause the entire company to perish as well, because you simply do not follow instructions.

The funniest thing is to behave the opposite from disciplined soldiers inside an army camp. What a shame.

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SAF Medical Review at Payar Lebar Airbase

I started Monday with low morale with the invasion of the rain. It was an unforeseen situation that I did not put into consideration while planning for the afternoon’s medical review at Payar Lebar Airbase; I was too concentrated on planning how to get there on time.

Due to the rain, I did not go home. I started walking toward Clementi MRT station at 1230h after lunch and it was tiring to stand throughout the journey till Eunos MRT station. Bus 94 arrived just in time and soon, after nodding on the bus, I arrived at the main gate.

I exchanged my identification card at the guard house and surrendered my K800i and thumbdrive. As I asked the guard for the direction to the medical centre, he was quite shocked and he surprised me even more when he told me it was more than three bus-stops away. I was glad that I did not go home first since it would further drain off my time.

I passed by the Air Force Museum and Air Force School before reaching a carpark. After making a wrong detour, I finally found the little gate and reached the medical centre. I was actually fifteen minutes earlier. The NSF who served me was Pang and he was friendly.

After waiting for more than half an hour upon the scheduled time, I finally met the MO who was quite a friendly guy as well. The only test he did on me was to ask me to bend forward to touch my toes and the rest were questioning. Like usually, I missed some important points like the effect of walking could even pose minor strain on my lower back. He decided to file my case to the medical board and I was actually not very confident of winning the case. Anyway, if the medical board were to upgrade me to PES B and that if anything were to happen to me during my reservist days, I would definitely spread the fame of SAF.

The journey back to Eunos MRT was much longer somehow for the bus seemed to make a longer trip before the interchange and the traffic was slower.

Aunt’s First Warding at the Hospital

Most people were rushing to finish marking their papers and words were exchanged; somehow the spirit was good. On the other side, it seemed to be a quieter day for Weitat and me in the absence of Jingkun.

We went to Clementi’s bookshop to search for Weitat’s book cover while I started drooling over the programming books on the shelves. However, before I could find any PHP book, Weitat was done. We went to the bookshop above the fast food restaurants where Mingfa came over to meet us. The board games and stationeries, including bags sparked my excitement.

Next, we proceeded to send Mingfa to CMPB for his stubbornness to book IPPT test before proceeding to Bukit Merah to buy some finger food. Mingfa called us soon and informed us that he had remembered the wrong date. It got complicated when Jingkun was supposed to meet us for lunch but the sudden change of time might pose problems and Mingen had called Mingfa suddenly and wanted to join us. Alas, timing was good enough that we managed to meet up at the ABC market without much delay. Mingfa, Weitat and I were too lazy to choose what to eat and thus we got ourselves the chicken rice again.

After getting back to work, I tried to concentrate but it was not long before my mum made a call to me. At such an odd hour – three PM – she asked if I might be happened to knock off from work already. Then she told me that my aunt was at the hospital. She further scared me that the doctor had claimed that there seemed to be some stones inside my aunt’s stomach and her life might be in danger. She told me that she was going to my aunt’s home to take care of my sick uncle and my brother was waiting at the A&E.

I did not know how serious the situation was but it would not look nice if I were to leave work early when Jingkun was already not around, and the few slackers who were deemed as part of our gang might not be around as well. My determination to finish off my last set of torment held me back. Soon, I started to realise struggling on was a complete waste of time and could even cause errors in my lack of concentration. Finally, I could not hold it anymore and went to inform my boss that I had to leave immediately. He did not question me and instantly gave a hand signal to acknowledge.

On the way, cold sweat started dripping off my tensed body, as my worries started sweeping my brain all over. I began to worry about the medical bill but was pleased that I had not registered for university yet. The lack of visit to my aunt was somehow prickling me.

I took the wrong path even though SGH was supposed to be my dominance for the frequent visit. After seeing my aunt who was already at the observation ward, I got to slowly piece up the story.

She started vomiting on Sunday night and visited the polyclinic on the next day. The doctors advised her to visit the hospital because they could find some lumps on her stomach. My mum’s assume-we-know-everything storytelling had posed so much fear in my mind for the past hour; I could have clarified with my elder brother earlier given the experience of communicating with my mum.

I stayed inside the ward to keep my aunt accompanied. She questioned me about going to university and apologised for not able to offer any financial help to me – she could hardly even fare for herself given no child at the age of sixty over, being jobless, and that my uncle was too great a burden to her. My younger brother arrived some time later. My aunt’s blood test results were out after five PM and everything was fine and the doctor said it could be just some gastric problems that caused her to vomit.

At the payment counter, my aunt insisted to foot her bill but my brother and I lied that they could only accept NETS payment. Then, we told her it was nineteen dollars instead of ninety dollars but the bloody brainless cashier acted like a moron and tried to correct us to make it so obvious that we were lying even though my aunt was not English educated.

My elder brother and his girlfriend made their way to Chinatown while my younger brother and I took my aunt home by cab. From SGH, it actually cost us more than seven dollars just to reach Kim Tian Road and I confirmed that cab companies were daylight robbers.

We left my aunt and uncle soon and made our way to Chinatown together with my mum. We bought some stuffs at the CK departmental store before going for dinner. The sting ray stall was closed for the day and we struggled some time before decided to eat chicken rice – my second time for the day.

Before we could finish enjoying our meal, a weird auntie approached us to buy tissue papers. It was not the usual case of such irritating acts in hawker centres and this time the seller seemed to be an insane case. She was not limping or blind, and none of her body seemed to be pitiful, but she behaved so creepy that most of the diners were staring at her wherever she went.

My mum took out tissue papers just before she came over. She simply put her tissue papers on the table and reached out her hands for money. She refused to leave and suddenly she kneeled down while she seemed to be packing her big bag. We refused to buy her threat and after a minute or so, she got up and decided to give up after some time. Wherever she went to, the people seemed to be so disgusted and even foreigners turned her away. Another disgusting act of her was when she started plucking her nose.

Government should do something to stop selling of tissue papers in food centres to stop the irritation; but however, if necessary, licenses should be given to the disabled.

51 to 05, Do You Still Want Your Ferrari?

For the past few days, it was not even half as relaxing as what I had expected. The mental stress was a torment. I was one of the most “unluckiest” ones because most of them basically did not need to do anything.

I slept at almost any time of the day but not for longer than a few minutes. It was a tough job manning the radio. Given time to rest properly, though at uncomfortable position, my insomnia played with me and the mosquitoes tried to molest me. I was so unprepared because I was told that I would probably be in the air conditioner room.

Anyway, it was a good experience. Though I was not briefed of what I was doing and practically I still could not figure out the entire exercise, it was interesting at times. The jokes in the seriousness filled the boringness at times.

Again, what I had benefited most was to be able to make more new friends – Hin Fatt, Adrian and Benjamin.

Reservist

The treatment for reservist and national service personnel differ too much.

Life was not that bad after all. A pity for it was not a weekday and I could not get to see other officers.

I did not expect to have to stay in but the fact is that there is outfield the next week. After all, it should not be very bad since I’m given a day off.

The most troubling thing is what to bring to entertain myself throughout the four-days exercise which is supposed to very slack I hope.