I went back to camp yesterday after one full year of having ORDed from there last year, for my men’s ORD parade. I also collected the ORD pack (costs $25) which includes my platoon’s Polo Tee Shirt, a velcroed logo, an ORD “magazine”. The photo CD would be given later.
Going there made me wonder. Why am I back? To be honest, the actual reason why I went back wasn’t for the men. I was there with the men for one whole year, from when they entered BMT till I orded and I guess not everyone truly understands me as their commander. Looking back, I remember the time when I told them they made me feel lousy as a specialist. Somehow, I remember certain bad memories.
I went back mainly for the year 1 commanders, who been through everything with me, from ASLC to GCC and then into our respective companies, as well as some regular commanders who also went through thick and thin with me. I also went back for a selective few men who still bothered to call and talk to me, and even MSN me from time to time.
Back in the camp my PS told me that I would be posted to 704 GDS alongside with the men and I will be their reservist PS. A fellow friend who served as Assistant PS in Platoon 2 (Platoon 1 for me), would become my CSM, for he went through the CSM course. When I received more news that other commanders would be in the same reservist battalion as me, I was overjoyed.I think I felt overjoyed because I would be with the commanders. The happiness in my heart wasn’t because I was going to be with my men, or that I was selected to take over as PS.
As I went home and flipped through the ORD magazine and testimonials, I just felt sad. I was only with the men for so little events. They seemed to been through more with the 2nd year commanders.
How many of them actually felt happy that I was going to be their PS? How many are still talking behind my back, reminiscing the times I lost my temper, of which they felt was unjustified and I, justified? How many times have I felt an utter lack of morale because of them, whom I tried my best to care for as a commander, but yet my efforts were mainly unappreciated? No matter how many testimonials were written that expressed happiness of having me as a commander, I just felt an empty void. The both times I went back as a civilian net the same results. I only managed to speak to a few people. The rest couldn’t be bothered.
So how is my result sheet for National Service? Have I done well? I guess not. Seeing the happy faces other men have with their previous commanders, I guess I feel a tinge of jealousy. A sour bitter feeling of being totally unappreciated by most of the men.
I read the whole of the ORD magazine, word by word. I knew how many times my name was ever written in it. I guess I can count with one hand, or rather, half of a hand. The PS whom I have disagreed with for many policies for a large duration of my stint as his section commander and APS, actually wrote about me in his “closing address” and wrote that I was the only commander I ever chosen and he was happy and he has never regretted chosing me. I was touched when he told me he chose me over the 2nd year APS to take over him because I felt appreciated. Oh the irony that it came from someone I disagreed with and nearly hated. As compared to the men whom I’m tried to take care and help them, I guess ultimately, my PS is still the nicest.
I’m really happy that I still have a few men who talked to me and gave me the sense of satisfaction and appreciation. I’m glad that I have LCP Royston in my section whom I can talk anything with. He is actually older than me, but I was his commander. He is the only one who took the initiative to msn me from time to time when he knows that I am online, and is one of the first few to warmly receive me in camp. LCP Jeremy, whom I have pushed and scolded him more than half of the guys in the section, actually became my pride and joy at the end of my 1 year stint. He too, came and took photos with me. That someone actually wanted to take photos with me for memories, I am truly happy. CPL Jun Hao, whom I truly wanted for my section but he was chosen to be PC’s runner, was the first to come to talk to me and even confided in me certain events that happened. I am really touched and glad that I could still be a confidant for someone and that he still appreciates me as a listening year. CFC Si Wei, my own section 2IC, is my biggest regret. Its not that he was poor in performance – rather, he is the best in performance, thus I chose him for my 2IC, but that I felt that I could have done more to bond with him. He is, after all, my own 2IC. He is my pride and joy too, even though he did not get the best soldier in the company. There are times I wished I was the one who gave him his first LCP rank, whom my PS presented to him. There are much more I could have done, but I didn’t. However I am happy that he came to shook hands with me and even took photos with me. I guess, going back wasn’t so bad after all. I have 4 truly nice men whom I guess would truly understand the pain I had of being a commander in between the men and the officers.
I remember an old post I made about appreciating Singapore and that if Singapore ever got itself into a position where military defense was inevitable, I would be here in this tiny island doing my part. I asked myself once again whether I would do it, even though the platoon that I am going to have may not truly like and understand me. I guess I would do it, now and forever, for I have certain friends and bonding with some people who overshadow those who do not like me. I am delighted that my friend 3SG (NS) Ikhwan is going to be my S2 commander, 3SG (NS) Vincent who is going to be my S3 commander. I truly hope that my OC would choose 3SG(NS) Benson as my MG commander. I would really gladly have Benson anytime because he went through shit with me and he knows me better than the other choice, the 2nd year MG commander. For all these people and the 4 special men I have mentioned, I will be here, alongside with them, doing our best, because he who fights alongside with me that day shall be my brother.
Well, no point feeling sad for those who do not appreciate me right? I should feel happy for those who do and make my life memorable. For those who remind me of happy memories, not sad ones. For those that woke up with me everyday at 5.30 (2SG Francis, I have not forgotten you) to go for breakfast with the men. For those who encouraged me when I was down and out. For those who went through GCC with me. For those who gave me strength. For those who treat me like a friend when I am no longer a commander. For those that are truly happy of my appointment as reservist PS. I guess, I’m lucky after all. For how many NSmen can truly say that they have 4 special men and a whole company of special commanders who will go through thick and thin with you? This brotherhood, I will never forget.
Forgive me for being emo but I guess I am truly touched. Thank you 1GDS, Alpha Rawdy Company, Platoon 1, The One and Only.