There were so many things happened everyday in BNB, especially when I had my first duty as a guard commander 2 I/C. Hugo got ‘buang’ with his bicycle even before prowling, and I had to activate LSF back. He was the first one I 'operate' on. To worsen the matter, CO planned to have a black out drill and nobody knew the procedure. Fortunately, only the Wharf Charge Area got their electricity cut off and we were spared. Then, there was this farewell dinner at Shangi-ri Hotel ballroom for the Chief of Navy, who would be stepping down. After some shifting of arrangements, I became the one trying to open the door for Chief of Navy, Chief of Army, Chief of Air Force and Chief of Defence Force.
Days after, 6 newcomers were posted to BNB. They were RL, MO, Sotong, FL, Wee and AT. They were the first batch to go to Tekong and the first batch to sleep on the King Coil bed. They went through the 2 weeks OJT, learning the scope of the prowlers, A1400, Echo and WCO. Somehow, after them, there will be another 3 new ones coming. However, the MPO was still pending on whether to let the 3 stay, as we had enough manpower.
Early in the morning, AT wanted to book in. it was only then that we found the book-in book-out book missing. The informal punishment book was missing too. It was only until TPS told us that he found 12 of them did not book in and remarked them for one extra each. It may be due to this reason that somebody were not convinced and tried to sabotage. Moreover, the punishment book has new entries recently.
When OC knew about this, he called everyone to fall in in the carpark and questioned them. Nobody owned up and he wanted a stand-by cabinet. Still, no results. They fall back in again, and CN, OC and I discussed on how to settle this. OC intended to give them 14 extras each, if the book was not found by tomorrow night. We were taken back, of course. When OC told them about this deal, CWL was not very happy. A quarrel almost broke up between them and OC was going to charge him for insubordination. The whole morning incident almost made us loss appetite.
Seven of them went to the Mandarin Hotel and LHJ was one of them. As he did not know where it was, I arranged him and ET to meet at Somerset MRT station entrance, leading to CentrePoint. However, at around 1300 hrs, he called to say that he still had not seen ET yet. I told him to come back first, and right after he came back, he had 5 curry puffs and a can of coke. He did not have his breakfast and lunch yet.
Then, this morning, as we went around to set up dummy RPs for the RTN ships and 185 SQN, one sir from 185 SQN told me to arrange with PSA to let about 80-100 officers a smooth entry to the base for a RTN reception. I called Inp Belinda Ho about the matter and asked her to tell her men to keep a look out for it. However, I got a told off from her, saying that I should deploy a RP there for the task, instead of asking them to help. She said it was a long-time practice by CSM. How would I know, since nobody told me and I got a telling off for nothing. She even told me that I should tell her much earlier. Fortunately, Wee was there to assist me. Otherwise, I would be like a fish trying to free myself from an entangled net.
I thought I had finished my job by telling PSA to provide a mobile escort for a 2nd Minister yesterday night. Yet, the moment I stepped into the office, OC told me that the 2nd Minister decided to return to BNB instead of alighting board at Tuas. My mind was throbbing with questions on how to settle this promptly. I called the FOC, then paged for Encik Ong. At the same time, KC helped me in typing the fax to PSA by the stated time. I really had no time to think of tiredness, except when everything was settled, had my lunch, and took a short rest.
I waited until 2 p.m. until the PSA personnel came. I took him to see Encik Ong and I handed everything to him to settle. 1530 hrs, at last, everything was over after the 3 days ordeal.
After a long preparation for the Family Day, it was finally visualized at Tampines SAFRA. Wee, TKM, ET, Holy Man and I went there together at around 0830hrs and helped in the setting up of the props.
The programme started with the SAFRA talk, followed by the water games: 4x50m relay, water polo, dog & bone and diving hunt. Initially, I was only to take charge of the games. In the end, when it came to the 2nd round of the water polo, I was tagged down to assist in the winning for Provost. Wow, the threading of water is more tiring than throwing balls. For the Dog-&-Bone part, I only helped to assist in placing the ball at the center of the pool. Somehow, when the other team got the ball and intended to swim back to his group, TLT went after him even when he was about to reach his goal. TLT really laid down his life to the game. He brought us the most laughter to this part.
(sat) To think that there are so many happenings this week and it all began on Wednesday.
LSF, TKM and Hugo were on duty that day. For no reason, TKM and Hugo had to run many times to old armoury and new armoury, when CISCO called to say that the alarm went off. This lasted for almost 6 hours. As a result, Hugo could not get up at 2 am for his detail, cos’ he said that he was very tired. The next morning, when ET and I knew about the incident, we had no choice but to give him 3 extras. On top of that, he did not even sign out arms. For this, TKM and Hugo had agreed to stand at the main gate, one from 0700-0730hrs, and the other 0730-0830 hrs tomorrow as an informal punishment.
On Friday, we found that Hugo did not stand at the main gate. He said he had stomach upset and wanted to report sick. So we let him. However, he came down with the slip, saying that he was lying and the MO recommended him 2 weekend confinements. We settled with him about the standing at main gate first. He said he had a stomachache and could not perform his duty. However, cos’ he did not make an effort to ask someone to stand in for him, he was given another 1 extra. As for his matter to reporting sick, he agreed with us and said that never mind, charge him! Still, we had to wait until OC is back tomorrow.
Saturday. OC, CN, ET and I were in the office questioning Hugo. Even though OC has given him chances to explain, he still said it’s okay to charge him. From the way he talked, as if he do not have any future. He did not even given a thought to his parents. So, when OC decided to charge him on Monday, we followed Hugo to the toilet, persuading him not to be so impudent. As we explained, I could see that he wanted to cry out. He was changing his mind.
However, it was too late. OC has typed out the charge report. On the other hand, it was a relief to ET and I. OC will be the JDO and Hugo will only be fined $100. But we must not tell Hugo about this. Hope that after this incident, Hugo could spare a thought for others, especially his parents.
(Mon) We dismounted very late today, at around 1720 hrs. For the last 30 mins, I had been waiting for the guard commander or guard 2 I/C to take over the amoury, but to no avail. In the end, we went home happily.
At around 1920 hrs, ET called to tell me that I have not hand over the key. Suddenly, I remembered that it was in my drawer and they could not break the drawer, as I had suggested them. In the end, I had to rush back to camp to hand over the key to guard commander before BDO came for his next round.
I hailed a taxi and asked the taxi-driver to drive faster and he actually drove at 90Km/hr all the way. In the end, I managed to pass over the key before the BDO came 3 minutes later. What a great relief.
I do really have to thank ET for his timely warning and everybody on duty that day to help me pray very hard.
(Sat) After 4 months of preparation, the day has come. I would expect it to be a smooth one, but everything turns out to be a last minute change.
The committee members stayed back for the set-up at gym last night, washing the floor, setting up tables and stands. Today, it did not rain. I sensed a bad omen. Indeed, it rained in the next morning, putting us in a dilemma whether to conduct dry or wet programme.
In the last minute, the whole set up was changed, the weather stopped suddenly and the Guest of Honour was replaced. Everything was very different from what we desired. Still, we need to carry on. Fortunately, Chua and Low were there to help me.
However, during the chaos after the event, some of the out-standing souvenirs were lost and CSM was not very happy about it. Maybe this is what we called if the thing belonged to you; it will always belong to you.
I really felt the event was a failure.
(Mon) Today, we had to do traffic control at MacRitchie Reservoir for the RSN X-country. It was an exceptionally non-raining day. There were many people attending the run and many VIPs came, including CNV.
At each junction, there were RPs to control car traffic, whereas I had to monitor the progress. I stood at the entrance looking out for the VIPs vehicle, holding onto the vehicle list on my hand, as if matching 4Ds.
Everything went on without a hitch.
(Thurs) Most of the work came to a standstill, as all the furniture in the office got to move out for new furnishing and flooring.
The moving started as early as 0800hrs, as soon as CSM came. First, we moved CSM’s one, followed by OC’s, ours and BSM’s. The moving caused us to have no choice but took the cell area as our temporary changing area. All the moving continues with the removal of partitions, except the TV cabinet and computer. The office may look empty, somehow, I felt like not doing any work, since all the paperwork are messed up.
(Fri) First thing in the morning, there was no mustering. The removal of computer table, TV cabinet and pass office started the stripping of the flooring. The floor may be bare, but it emitted a kind of strange smell from the cement floor. Consequently, the guard commander and guard 2I/C and prowlers could not sleep in the office.
In addition, there is one shocking news that shook Brani. TKM was one of the 3 guys being selected for RP to Brunei. He felt very troubled and despaired, cos' if he leaves for Brunei, that would be for 1 year. If he were to go, we would miss his noisiness, his handwriting and his existence. He hoped that this could be settled through Members of Parliament.
(Fri) Early in the morning, H reported sick and asked me whether he can be excused mustering. It was around 0750hrs. I gave him the permission to go to BMC, but CN found him at the cookhouse having breakfast. Suddenly, my heart became ablaze again, despite after all those incidents. When H came back, I gave him a very serious warning that if he ever do it again, he will get it from me.
I also did not know why I am so in a very bad mood this week, and it all happened when CN ‘bao doh’ to me about xxx, zzz, yyy and H. Suddenly, all my men went havoc and didn’t put me in their eyes. I just feel that he was trying to pick on me.
Due to particular incident, IT told me that maybe I was too softhearted to my men that they took my instructions lightly, or simply do not bother to listen to it. However, never did I expect that she told CSM about this. Well, maybe I should thank IT for this, at least I felt better.
(Sun) I thought I could have a peaceful Saturday morning for my long weekend.
Around 1030hrs, I went with my mother to my uncle’s house to collect rice and some groceries. As we reached the Toa Payoh market, I received a page from the pass office. Quickly, I found a public telephone and called back. I asked who paged for me and somebody said it’s OC and told me to wait a while. This waiting caused my 10-cent call to end without anything to say. So, I assumed it was nothing important and never called back again.
How would I know, walking halfway to my uncle’s home, my pager sounded again. This time, 999 were added. Unfortunately, I could not find any telephone booth and my uncle do not have a telephone himself. I was getting very flared up with the continuous paging by them and witched off my pager.
After getting the 2 bags of rice and some canned food, in anger, I found a public phone downstairs, but it was spoilt. I walked hastily to another block and tried to call, but the other phone’s button was faulty too. I vent my anger on the phone and pressed very hard to get the number out and tried many times before I could finally get through. After all those ‘emergency’ paging, OC told me that RL reported sick and was excused guard duty for 2 days. He has activated ET to do duty tomorrow and told me what to tell ET if he is to report MC tomorrow.
At this moment, I found my breathing very hard, and hastily walked to the bus stop and tried to make up with my appointment. Before I went out, I paged for Eric and he told me that, actually, there was another better solution in activating personnel. He said OC asked him if there is other better solution than activating ET, and ET indeed gave him a better one. Nonetheless, OC still wanted ET to do on Sunday. In fact, I was also very puzzled when OC told me that ET would be doing the duty.
He told me that OC was really very ridiculous, picking bones out of an egg. He’s not the only one that find OC a ridiculous guy, so do any one else. Not long ago, there was a swimming meet. TLT, LPE and OC were supposed to go there. However, TLT and LPE were having their duty on that day and they also did not feel like going. In the afternoon, OC was ironing his clothes, and suddenly thought why the both of them did not go for the meet. The 2 of them told OC their reasons, but OC insisted them to go, saying that it is a chargeable offence of not going. I could see that the two of them were not very happy with him. Well, if I were them, I would also not take up this ridiculous instruction. If they have to go, then why OC do not have to go?
During July, there was this shooting range. OC and I were in the office. He constantly told me that he had nothing to do and felt very ‘sian’. As I did my guard duty yesterday, I went home in the afternoon. It was only the next day that ET told me OC instructed them to run round the car park 2 rounds with their rifles holding up, right after they reached the camp.
It gave me a feeling that he never knows when to be serious, and when to joke.
(Sat) I thought the notification to TKM that he would be going to Brunei is already a bad life for him. Nevertheless, that is only part of his jagged journey of life.
Recently, he had difficulty requesting for the indentation of bicycles for the prowlers. That was because the current bicycles they used were already beyond repair. In the end, Mdm Patma only allowed the buying of spare parts for the bicycles. Along the process, he had to get different people for their signature.
At last, 2 days ago, he could buy the spare parts. However, in the end, he got summon from the Traffic Police because of insufficient coupon for the parking of the pick-up. Story did not end here. He had to ‘upgrade’ the bicycle for the prowlers with all the skills he had, with the assistance of CSK. Because of this, he was on time for his Blk 24, but forgot to bring the walkie-talkie. BSM was very angry when he knew of it, and demanded the RPs at Blk 24 to see him the next day. I did not know the outcome, as I went to Tuas Naval Base for the Nalcom Anniversary meeting.
Today, early in the morning, despite that he is on duty; he still had to repair the bicycle to maintain their condition. For no reason, they pit against each other on pull-ups. TKM joined in the fun and did 11 spider pull-ups. On his 11th one, he dislocated his right shoulder, came down with an expression as if nothing happened.
Quickly, KC and OC rushed him to BMC, followed by bringing him to NUH for treatment. KC accompanied him to the hospital, while I had activated J back to prowler to cover TKM, plus an extra from FSB. OJT helped in covering for A1400. In this way, no one was activated.
Next month, TKM will be going for an operation for his piles that he could not hold anymore. Most probably he had to get 2 weeks MC from the doctor. The last jagged journey is to go to Brunei for his RP duty. Right at the moment, nothing was heard from the other side. Everything was unknown. Hope that there is no fax from them until the end of December, so that we do not have to buy a dairy book for him.
What a poor guy.
(Wed) I'm sure people out there knew what happened this morning. To me, it was really a shocking and devastating news. To think that something like that could happen, and I know every duty sentry was doing it. It was just that they were not caught red-handed. It just happened that they were down on their luck, especially TKM. I think his was not only salted cabbage life (Giam Cai Mia, as he said), but also a discarded salted cabbage on the filthy ground in a wet market floor.
Just this moment, our CO wanted us to go and clamp cars. I was really very depressed then; still, I need to do my job. Though I did not know how to drive the buggy, and I did not know who gave me the key, I'd just try my best. Still, I could not do it and nearly met with a serious accident. Suddenly, so many things past over my mind that I could not concentrate on my steering.
This alarmed MPO, and she told us not to tell CO about this matter.
I think after this incident, maybe some thing I should wash my hands of it. Maybe it is really not suitable for me to learn to drive a car.