Saturday, 5 January 2013

BMT POP

I was enlisted last year 4th of September, to the Physical Training Phase (PTP) batch. Why PTP? That's because I didn't attain at least a Silver grade in the physical test IPPT during Poly, hence landing myself an additional 2 months in the army to prepare my fitness for the upcoming Basic Military Training (BMT).

Yes, you read that right - 2 ADDITIONAL MONTHS! In total, 2 months of PTP + 2 months of mandatory BMT = 4 months at Tekong Island. I was welcomed by strict regiments from those siao on (over-enthusiastic, and demand others to follow suit) commanders who see punishing us as their favourite pastime, such as ordering over a hundred of us to knock it down (push-ups) inside a cramp auditorium with chairs that we are sitting on, and turn us out in the wee hours when we were sleeping simply to tekan (punish) us. With all these tekan sessions, countless knock it downs, physical trainings and route marches, and coming out even stronger than before, I guess we are not regarded as 'Man Made Machine' for nothing.

Though the trainings were tough, but when your buddies were going through the same thing with you and supporting each other, the pain is indeed somewhat lesser. I remember in my bunk there was a guy who was not seen after the first day of enlistment, resulting in an odd number of men in my bunk, hence one of my bunk mates have 2 buddies instead of 1.

During our stay in Tekong Island, we were each given a laptop for online lessons. However for me, I also use the laptop to watch the anime Sword Art Online with my buddy during our admin time.

We also did live range with our assault rifle SAR21. It wasn't a pleasant experience for me as I have to constantly wear an eyepatch to aid my aiming, but in any case I'm still considered as a 'Bobo Shooter'.

After a few weeks of acclimatisation, we underwent the infamous outfield training and test - Field Camp. On Day 1 of 5 the first thing we did when we arrive at the woods was to setup Basha tents for two. Shortly after we were off to a "great start", it rained pretty heavily and the tent me and my buddy built prove to be incapable of keeping us from getting drenched.

The next day, we are to dig our very own shell scrape and spend the night inside. Everyone was given a time to be on guard duty and when it was my turn, I heard someone shouted at the top of their voice and that woke me up. Yeah, I don't know when but I must have drifted off while on duty. My surrounding was still as the night, everyone else snoozing in their shell scrapes. There was no sign of anybody shouting...

With my section mates, looking our best in this state.

The following days we had to take Situation Test (SIT Test) in groups, with people from other platoons. Our performance was assessed by senior officers. During one of the missions, I was assigned to be the 2IC (Second-in-command) but guess what? I was such a sotong that instead of supporting my IC and give instructions to the man, I went to be on a lookout at one spot for possible enemies approach. The officer shouted for me and asked me why am I there? It was an embarrassing moment and I felt really stupid at that point of time.

After field camp for some reason I have huge craving for snacks like Kit Kat Chunkies, Twisties and Super Ring. Hence, I often bought few packs of them after every book-out and enjoy them over the weekend.

It was a gruelling 4 months but finally, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel! On the last week at Tekong Island, we are preparing for our long-awaited Passing-Out-Parade (POP). On the last night, we bid farewell to this island and embark on our last challenge through the night - 24km route march. It wasn't easy when you are carrying a heavy-ass field pack and SAR21. The route just seems endless, especially along East Coast Park. However, I was glad to have a fellow platoon mate who could keep talking and pushing me on.

Yes, families and friends have arrived to welcome us!

Finally, we reached our destination - the Marina Bay Floating Platform, where we are going to finish our parade as a whole.

Here is a video of the final segment in the parade. The act of throwing our jockey cap signify our graduation from BMT. Everyone was waiting for this moment. Immediately after we threw our caps sky-high, the chorus of the theme song from the movie "Ah Boys To Men" started playing in the background. It was a memorable and joyous moment, I have never felt so happy in my life! My platoon mate who was beside me the whole time hugged and lifted me off the ground!

There were 2 other videos in fact, one of which show our march-off and the other is our entrance without our SAR21. Yeah, we said goodbye to our BMT SAR21 backstage. As the file sizes were too big, I was unable to upload them to Blogger platform.

A shot of my company during the moment. I spotted myself!

With my mom.

With my brother.

With my dad.

With Ah Gu.

We soon leave the place and Ah Gu drove us to Vista Point to have breakfast. I had shredded chicken hor fun and wow, it has been a while since I had something so delicious!

So, what's next? After BMT, we were given a few days break before being assigned to our new units. The journey of my army life, is not over yet.

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