Passing Out Parade

At the end of the day, we tell ourselves how fast time flew by. Without us knowing, we had ended an episode in our army life.

I got enlisted on the 1st August 2011. It was a remarkable date because at the same time, we started our first day of fasting in Ramadan. The challenges were abysmal and thankfully I was mentally prepared.

Days past by and there are a lot of memories to be told and today we stood by the skyline to celebrate another milestone in our life - Passing Out Parade as a trained soldier.

The trainings while we were in BMT (Basic Military Training) were tough - mainly due to extreme weather. It could be very, very hot. Other than that you spend most of the time smeared in dust, grit and dirt. Several events are still vivid in my mind like going to the rifle range, throwing of grenade, the unforgettable field camp, route marches, or even recruit's night.

On the last night in the bunk, I can't help thinking that that would be the last sleep I have as a recruit in the bunk. There were so many mixed feelings. After all, the bunk had been my second home - as much as I would want to deny it in early stages. Then comes the 24km route march to The Float@Marina Bay.

We were in high spirit, sing songs and cheer on our way there - but only for the first 4km. What comes next are just crickets laughing at us because we're too tired to open our mouth. Almost everyone started getting cranky and angsty. So it is really good if people were to really shut their mouth and not spark any anger in anyone else but I understand. We felt cheated don't we? We knew it all along our march would be more than 24km but we could close one eye to that. What is extra mile after 24km right? But what crossed us out really was the climb to Benjamin Sheares Bridge to complete that extra mile. That was like living in the line of one of our cheers...

"Up the hill, down the slope, up the slope, down the hill. Any sweat? No sweat, chicken feet!" I swear nothing was 'chicken feet'. We had one nerve left and they were getting on it.

I am grateful to be given the endurance, and high level of patience to go through this. Being talked to rudely by your comrades is the last thing you want to hear when you are tired. Know that no one is more tired than the other. All is good though, peace!

My heart bloomed with joy to see the grandstand, and everything was a bliss. Okay, not really. We had to wait for the event to start and some of us had to be repositioned for dressing because there were intervals. It was funny to see everyone sweating in the uniform, who most have abrasions and blisters and yet comfortably sleeping pillowed with rifle. Poor sergeant major (CSM) had to walk around, wake them up to shift them to a new position and then they'll go back to sleep. That was how tired everyone was. Everyone made the best out of that situation to sleep.

And then the parade started. We shall engage your eyes and ears and let the video do the talking. Here's the gist of the 2-hour event.

All I felt was joy once I tossed the cap. I think everyone felt the same. Amazing how we had that spark of energy left after tossing the cap. Remember how sleep deprived were we when that happened. This merry occasion would not felt the same without the many people whom I have to thank.

A big virtual hug and thank you goes to my family, and relatives who came for my POP (Passing Out Parade) like my cousins, aunt, uncle, and my adorable nephews. They are the catalyst of my determination and one of the reasons why I stood there putting up a show for them. Thanks to my mum and dad for their words of encouragement and well wishes. Because of them I have a purpose to look forward to toss my jockey cap. I am very grateful to have their everlasting support.

It was a surprise that two of my best friends came too! It was a pleasure to have them around to give me the morale boost. It was funny how they planned to be early and ended up right at the back of the seat. Apparently they do not follow army time - if you two realize, both of you are/were from police. That explains!

After spending nine weeks in BMT, how can I forget my fellow comrades? Brothers in arms, comrades for life! A bunch of thanks to my commanders, coy mates, platoon mates, and of course, closer to heart are my section mates. The bunk is the place we call home-sweet-home after a day of vigorous training and the only place we find comfort in. The place we eat our snacks, chat, polish our boots at the corridor in a row, do our laundry in, and whatnot. I will definitely miss the environment and the positive energy that all of you had created. This is the reason why I woke up each day knowing it would be a good day. Because of you, I held my spirit up high.

Lastly, my smooth sailing journey would not have been possible without pointers and major help from Kheed Airwalk, Haikarl Turner, and known predecessors. All of you who told me that I will miss my time in BMT, guess what, your prophecy came true.

I am grateful to the mighty Almighty for the pillar of strength given. Here's my standing ovation for all of you.

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