Found this while “decluttering” my desk. I think this was for the platoon “yearbook” that we all had to submit a autobiography for. I was in Foxtrot company, and little known fact but I won Miss Foxtrot. That’s for another story. This was written 2 months after I had returned to Singapore, having spent 8 years, or all of my teenage life in the States, coming home and being treated like a foreigner because of my accent and weird morals; and thrown immediately into BMT. It was a difficult time. 6 years later, I would reconsider the desire to move back to the States, even though I had the opportunity to with grad school. 12 years later, this is home truly.

Dated Sept 7, 2002

It sucks. There I said it. Life in BMT is not fun: waking up at 5am every morning, drinking a butt load of water each day; going to “piss” every 5 mins; scrambling over a crazy wall after running a ba-gillion meters (oh fine, so it’s just 700m) and then knocking it down; the 7 day “basha chalet vacation”; receiving the wrath of PTIs (a.k.a. gods)…I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself calling my friends over the weekend and asking, “Hey, wanna go do the SOC today? C’mon, it’ll be fun!”

BUT (erm..yeah, hear me out before you reach for that confinement book), I have to say, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and yes, even about Life. In the past couple of weeks that I’ve spent in Tekong as a recruit. I came into BMT expecting the unexpected, yes, and nervous as heck. The first few weeks were what I expected…CONFUSION. Having not heard a word of Malay for the past 8 years, it took me awhile to get adjusted to the simple drills like sediya and senangdiri, and having 2 left feet didn’t make it any easier either. Nonetheless, slowly but surely, things got easier as I became adjusted to the ways of the BMT recruit. Drills became easier to execute, my endurance level improved, push-ups became easier to swallow, platoon mates became more than just another botah head with black glasses as bonds began to form.

However, I think the biggest lesson I learned was during field camp, as we started to march away from our first camp site, after being “surprise” attacked. The chaos that ensued gave me a physical and emotional taste of what war must be like. Though it was easy for me to literally walk away from the experience, the realization that for a good number of people in the world, this chaos and this scramble for survival is their daily reality, gave me a deeper appreciation for peace. Ultimately, it gave me a deeper understanding of the peace that generations before me had strove to secure for my generation.

To be honest, I cannot say with integrity that I am ready to lay my life, my future, my dreams and my hopes down for my country. Albeit, though BMT life still sucks big time, I do hope that by the time I pass out of BMT, I lived these past 2 and a half months as fully as I can. Why? Because I firmly believe that God placed me where I am in my life for a reason: that through the end of my BMT till I ORD, life lessons, like the one I learned at field camp, will challenge me to choose what my priorities are, and ultimately, what I want my life to stand for.

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