Thursday, 27 July 2006

The Off/2SG Riposte

Sorta gave myself an off day today. Am I entitled to this? I'd like to think so. Still, it mildly pains and irritates me no end when people see me without my arms and rounds and start saying, "wah Jose, no need to do duty ah... So welfare," or like, "eh why you no need to do duty, slacker." If I could explain to you the entire culmination of events to the point of giving myself an off-from-duty over everyone else in my team today it'd take a few updates' worth of storytelling to do.

To begin with, for the men, Platoon Sergeants aren't meant to mount duty as the men are. That mentality is still etched deep in the recesses of everybody's minds then, and that should change.

How then do you appease a Guard Comd who's playfully accusing you of skiving?

Handling a team is no mean feat. Maybe being a Guard Commander's a much more challenging task but I believe I'm up to it anytime, if that was the route I was meant to take. But no, I'm a seaside PS, and that's that. And believe it or not, this has its valid difficulties and challenges because our unit is a very dynamic one, with daily jobs ranging from dealing with people to dealing with problems and situations. And trust me, dealing with seaside has its fair share of issues.

In the light of recent events we've had emergency meetings to highlight urgent matters regarding things that aren't going smoothly, but at each hearing I cannot find something they can fault my seaside team with, and that in itself is a huge form of pride I can take in. And it isn't easy having to keep watching over everything consistently because routine erodes the senses, but I am confident enough to say that I'm managing that aspect of things well. That's why maybe it seems like I'm not doing much because there aren't problems to solve, but note this: every problem that may potentially arise can be prevented with good planning and maintenance and that's what's been going on for my team. This constant watch and all the background work (which really encompasses a lot of things) that goes into ensuring that we cannot be faulted for anything by anybody requires keen observation, anticipation and effort.

And if I really wanted to skive duty with that off today, I wouldn't have even come to camp would I? Instead, I stayed overtime til 6pm and ran around the entire seaside ops stations to try and clear up whatever lurks beneath the exterior that could surface any moment and get the whole truckload of us into trouble again (in fact I'd even like to put it that I took the opportunity to be off duty to do those things). Nobody really does these things without them being told to and when they finally do, they make a whole shitload of noise to ensure that they'd be recognised for their work. I'm different I guess then, because when responsibility calls to me I'll make sure I do it, because I hate disappointing people. And sometimes when the PSes fuck up because of some retard, I still feel bad about it even if it's nothing to do with my team, because we as PSes have failed.

Sometimes I don't know why I even try so hard because when you come to think about it, nobody owes you any favour in your 2 years of service here. The most I can get out of it is knowing that I've tried my best to give those under me the best NSF experience they can have in such a simplistic job scope, and contributing my best within my means and principles to the unit as a whole.

I took the off-from-duty (I'm not even calling it an off here already) primarily so that I could do that bit of clearing up for the seaside stations' issues, but I guess now I'd like it to be known that I am entitling myself to this, and I wouldn't do something like this (telling people that yes, I think I deserve an off) if not for everybody thinking I'm trying to give myself a good deal here. It's just childish and retarded.

Our time is coming to a close for my batch of specs. Good luck to the new ones taking over, because present times are turbulent and it seems like making a mistake means instant death, because we (my batch of proud, esteemed 2SGs) have used all our chances up for the silliest of reasons.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't so angsty, especially when it comes to updating this online journal of mine.

The other day I saw an ad for this private degree in hospitality from EASB university, and it showed a rather happy-looking person saying, "I am prepared for the real world, are you?" I had to stifle a sad laugh because it's just really ironic. The condensed epiphany of the experience that was BSC tells me that anybody who's prepared for the real world wouldn't be grinning like an idiot.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Platoon Sergeant

Being an unofficial platoon sergeant of a team in a new unit really has its ups and downs. But I'm just glad for the lessons because they've taught me invaluable things. I guess at least I'm not going into the real society as a naive retard.

I still feel like I've been promoted to a 2SG for nothing. Am I supposed to feel happier? More obliged to be a fucker? Others who have been officially promoted to a 2SG rank to be a platoon sergeant have dug trenches and shite to get there. This is a local promotion for the remaining 4 months of my time that I don't need. And what pains me in an ass-kinda way is how other fellow promoted 2SGs are reacting to it. Stuff that I'd rather not mention. As I used to tell myself, and I still do, don't rock the boat Jose. Don't do it. It's just another 4 months anyway.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Band Of Brothers

What has happened to my BSC?

It seems like since that last fateful weekend, CDS has slipped into some kind of dark age, shrouded by gloom and doom. I've always liked CDS for its heroic, outlawed ways. We were the military organisation that's always at the frontline 24/7, and yet you could say we were the most unregimental soldiers ever. We had our own way of running things, resulting in a very different working and booking out system that no other unit has. We were once classified as RPs, but when people asked us if we were like RPs we'd say "no", and add that it'd be a really long story if we were to say why even though it seemed like we were doing the same kinda things.

In fact we were different. Which infantry soldiers wear commercial lifevests, bicycle helmets, safety boots and drive RHIBs? Which infantry unit never made it a requirement to reveille, fall in for last parades and have standby areas? Which infantry unit has soldiers outside consistently on weekdays? We were the resident base fuckers, doing what was necessary and to the objective (which meant minusing whatever we could and cutting corners) and then calling it a day, job well done and secured. Yet we never had bookout hours long enough to stop us from complaining that we aren't a welfared lot. We were in this mysteriously cheeky little unit. That was just the squadron I saw myself in and loved myself to be a part of.

But after what our dear CO has done, all sense of humour about everything's gone. It's sad and, I'll bet to the laojiaos, it's almost taboo. A balance has just been rocked, and we aren't who we are anymore. Our unit identity and personality is in shambles, and a new system is taking over. I'm leaving soon, and that's just about the best consolation about the whole situation that I can think of. It's sad.

I've never liked the idea of people, especially fellow people of similar age, drawing lines with one another. That's why I've always believed that we should see beyond authority and keep a certain sense of NSF integrity. Look, if you're so garang, then just fuckin' sign on man. If you do just that, I'll give it to you and not blame you for being such a system whore coz that's just about your job to be a slave to the system. But if you're a fellow NSF just like me, and just like the fuckin' whole lot of most of us that form the basis of this little defence squadron that we call our own, then I think that it's only right that you preserve a certain sense of code of conduct that all NSFs should rightly follow. It's not just about how good a soldier you'll be during your service term, but much more than that beyond your years after you ORD. If you start being a prick and screw everyone for the small things they shouldn't do as soldiers but could possibly do coz we're just biding our time as best as we can during our NSF years, then you're just not really being a fellow human that much anymore, and I believe all respect for you would go right down the drain.

That's why I don't believe in authority, which leads to my refusal to give in to regimentation and upholding of the law here. That's why sometimes I don't think I deserve a 2SG rank. To me, everybody around me of my age is a fellow man who is a son, a good buddy, a brother and a boyfriend. Mess him up and you're potentially messing about with anybody else he means the world to. Everybody has a sense of pride and self respect and it's just fucked up if you think that you can take that from him and believe that he'll really behave and even think like a man just because that's what he is in the pecking order of the army. It's just sad that some people still assume we can treat people this way as if they were from a 19th century army force. Maybe it's good to let some people who just don't get it know that most of the guys here are only being as obedient to authority around here as they're willing to play your games and act the part. Push that limit and everything will crumble.

I've always believed that with a sense of pride and faith in the people around you, you can get them to perform miracles beyond their calls of duty. Let's face it, more than half the people around here chose to be men anyway, so they probably chose not to take the responsibility and to just slowly while their way away while waiting for their turn to ORD and head on to more important things in life to them. Stop fucking them, stop messing around with their personal prides and dignities as fellow men, and you'll see how much more willing they are to do their job for you.

I'm only relieved that in a very few months time, my time here will be over and I can stop pretending that I believe in enforcing the system here as a sergeant. Truth is I don't, and it's tiring. Maybe I'm lucky in fact not be an officer so that I'm not biased to be a sucker for the system, so that I can revert from spec to man and man to spec anytime. Stop the power plays, and cut the crap about all these superiority complexes. It's lame and childish to say the least.