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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What goes on in Tekong?

In the spirit of National Day, i thought i'd highlight this post by Joe McNally, one helluva writer.

I'm one of the many girls who have a thing for men in uniforms. Uniforms AND suits, cue Chippendales who nailed it.

This is probably the most narcissistic confession i'll make but i did really want to ***k myself in the mirror when i saw myself.
Uniforms make a person look polished, smart and disciplined. Oh, how disciplined righteous (read, NOT self righteous) men turn me on.

I always felt that National Service is a rite of passage for Singaporean boys. It's when boys turn to men, after all unlike other parts of the world, it is unlikely that our boys leave parental homes till marriage.

Thus i hold army boys in high regard. It's a time where they fight for the country, defend our families, sacrifice their time, skin and go through hell weeks. Despite how much flake National Service gets or criticism from the army boys themselves.

I tend to be attracted (subconsciously) to boys who were officers in army. That means no clerks, no Pes C for me. They tend to be leaders and more assertive men. The Alpha Male, in one three words, although that may not necessary be a determining characteristic of what i look for in a partner.

Unfortunately, girls may be into uniforms, but not all teenage girls can last in a relationship with a NS boy. 9 out of 10 fail. That's a daring figure plucked out of thin air but i've heard countless break-ups happening during NS because of

1) the boy don't call enough (but that's because mobile phones are not allowed for the boys selected for intensive training) so she sulks.

2) the boy falls asleep in cinemas or want to stay home the whole weekend (but that's because he is really tired from training) so she sulks.

3) so she sulks and she meets someone else from school or out.

I always thought that a relationship with a NS boy can work out, similar to a long-distance relationship. It just takes communication, understanding, compromises and trust.

With the hilarious parodies spun from the headline news of a maid carrying a NS man's backpack, everyone deemed him as a disgrace and thus started the debate if our men are puss.
Well, i do know for a fact that my friend who was in the Navy during his service went through hell week where his leg rot due to it being soaked in urine when they had to be stranded in a boat for hours. Or that friend who went through commando training did pour out sweat and blood in training.

As girls, we may not know the real truth behind those Tekong gates, but I like Joe's post in particular to the Navy Seals. They let me fantasize that our Singaporean men goes through the same training too, like real men.

Taken from Joe McNally's blog.
I’ve worked out in Coronado with the SEALs a couple times, and was stupefied by the demands, the stress, and the resultant call to excellence. It’s a narrow funnel you pass through as a SEAL, and many don’t make it. I was one of the first journalists allowed to spend all of Hell Week with one class of hopefuls. (As my guide and adviser, himself a SEAL, told me, they had been reluctant to let the press into Hell Week, ’cause they “didn’t want America’s moms seeing what we were doing to their babies.” I gained entree by virtue of being on assignment for the National Geographic, doing a story on the limits of the human body. When you do a story like that, you pretty much have to make SEAL training one of your objectives.)

Just keeping pace with the week photographically was daunting beyond much of anything I had previously tried. I would hump cameras through various exercises and drills at all hours, then go back to the PAO office and grab a piece of linoleum floor and crash. I didn’t leave the base much during the week, and I got so tired that linoleum felt like a feather bed at a Marriott. But all I was doing was carrying cameras. I had breaks, and was often ferried about in a truck while they ran in wet fatigues. What they faced, night and day, was a schedule designed to break them.

That particular Hell Week started on a fairly easy going Sunday, in the very late afternoon. The class was summoned to a general meeting hall, and lulled into a sense of well being by being shown a movie. In the darkened room a DI walked in and started screaming at them to get outside. As they went running out of the room they were greeted with the din of machine gun fire into the air (dummy rounds) and flash bang grenades going off all over the place. The air was thick with smoke, and they were told to run over the berm and into the ocean. From that Sunday afternoon, until the following Friday, they all remained constantly wet.
They generally lose about 70% of the class during Hell Week. It is easy to see why. From Sunday through late on Thursday, they are generally allowed no sleep. They are constantly drenched in salt water, even when on land. Often times, they are actually in the water, and depending on what month your class is going through, the waters around San Diego can range from just plain cold to an ice bath.
During training like this, recruits are organized into boat crews, based on their respective heights. Tall guys with tall guys, and so forth, reason being that they carry their boats on their heads, so everybody’s gotta be in the same ballpark. The short crew generally gets dubbed “The Smurfs.” Interestingly, though, during the week I observed, the shorter crew did very well. In fact there seemed to be no actual body type that would guarantee success. A lot of the bigger, body builder types dropped out. My PAO confirmed that often happens. He chuckled and told me, “Yeah, when you see some of these skinny little guys make it all the way through, you know you got yourself one tough little motherf@##$%!”
One particularly difficult stretch involves a length of time staying afloat in San Diego bay at night, and then laying down, shirtless on a steel pier. From what I was led to believe, while embracing the pier, certain classes have chanted, “The cold steel is sucking the life from my body. The cold steel is sucking the life from my body.”
One really tough evolution is through an area called “Mud Flats.” Recruits basically have to perform maneuvers in muck so thick it can render them immobilized.
If you screw up, you meet Misery. Misery is a 300 pound piece of lumber emblazoned with the words “Misery loves company.” Boat crews who under-perform, or displease an instructor, do a round with this log.
While I was making this picture, the DI came up beside this struggling recruit and shouted at him, “Oh good, they’re gonna put your picture on the cover of Whiner magazine!” I felt bad, but I kept shooting. They do their job, and, as a shooter, you do yours’.
Protein intake is important, even though guys are literally falling asleep in their plates. The instructors move among them, pushing them to stay awake, and eat.

At the end of Hell Week, a handshake from the Bullfrog, the oldest active SEAL. It is a handshake well earned. In this week after Memorial Day, if it were possible, we should all shake their hand.

Happy National Day! One people, One nation, One Singapore.

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