Monday, December 11, 2006

In the army, we'll love them white horse kings...

Don't we all love to hear more white horse stories? Especially when the horse is 'super-white'.

Found this on a blog, written several months ago. I can't vouch for its authenticity, obviously. And the date's wrong if he was referring to this year, for 7th July fell on a Friday. The vocation (Signals) was right though.

On the 7th of July, a thursday, we, sergeants-to-be and future commanders in the SAF, did saikang. We shifted huge steel lockers, tables, cleaned windows and bed frames, arranged chairs in the "entertainment room", swept the floors and took out the trash. All this on the Officer-Cadet-Trainee(OCT) floor. And not just for the OCTs, who are of the same age as us by the way, but for a particular OCT who was going over to Signals the next day. An OCT with a...particularly powerful father. I don't think i need to mention his name, do i?

It wasn't just the sergeants-to-be who had to do all this work. Every operator had to do their part, and there were warrant officers, people who've spent over 20 years as commanders in the Army, shifting beds around and going around unscrewing our locker door handles 'cos the OCTs did not have enough of them. Unscrewing door handles. An officer doing construction-worker-style stuff for no bonus pay. We even had to make sure the OCT's lockers had enough hooks to place their precious jockey-caps and berets...when almost all the beds in OUR own bunks have no hooks at all. (Not to mention the fact that our big mirror has been taken well as our own bloody toilet door!!!)

It wasn't just yesterday. Word of the young prince's imminent arrival had spread over a month ago, and renovation work had begun since then. The particular floor was given a new coat of paint, mosquito nets were installed in the OCTs' bunks and new rust-free fans were installed. 10 fans to a room. In contrast, the sergeants and operators have 4 fans to a room, all rusty. And no way to block out insects that often fly in.

What makes me so pissed is that this normally wouldn't have been done for officers-to-be at all. Only for THIS particular batch for you-know-what-reason. As a senior officer whispered to us, normally there wouldn't any renovation at all, and no effort to wipe out the rat population before the OCTs arrived. Our OC apologised to us, as making sergeants-to-be do saikang wasn't his directive (although his sergeant probably couldn't refuse the officer who had sent him off to find man-power). "You know how it is", our OC told us. After all, what if that OCT had complained to his dad during dinner that the bunk conditions were horrible? Yes, what if?

Everybody i've talked to don't like what's happening, don't like this obvious show of favouritism and pulling strings, but most of them, including senior officers, also believe that there isn't really much choice. "Bo bian mah, he's his father's son after all." This's what disgusts me the most. WHY should it be "bo bian"?? Why should it be obvious to people that he should receive better treatment than the rest of us? Why are there so many people just craning their necks and taking all this crap simply because he obviously cannot be touched, that the world is unfair and "we have no choice"??

Is this something like our own Singaporean facination with our former colonial masters?? Is this favouritism for the supposedly more noble so inbred in our bones that we do it without thinking and even acknowledge it as a normal frame of mind?

It's really sad that you can be treated like a king simply for having the right parents. It's something like people getting treated better for HAVING lots of money, although they don't spend any more than the next guy. This particular OCT doesn't give SAF head honchos ANYTHING; he's just a normal 18 year old with normal grades like the rest of us (i don't know if he even plans to go into politics), but he still gets to have an easier life in BMT, OCS, and gets to go to an easy course in Signals and succeed in the army while doing less and having less hardships than everyone else. Simply because he has a father who MIGHT give the head honchos SOMETHING, however unlikely. It's not gonna help, you the future he'd have a really myopic view on the hardships of NS life, which wouldn't be good for Singapore if he DID go into politics.

Other people have to sweat blood to get their officer rank. But he doesn't. And in the future, everyone except for those who were there when he was in NS would think he had gone through one of the toughest courses in NS. Whatever job he applies for, he'd be able to show off that rank to a lot of "Wow, he's such a talented person!" People will think that he had experienced hardship during his NS life. When he hadn't, actually. And that's really unfair.

I don't bear too much of a grudge to this particular OCT though, he probably doesn't have much of a choice except to accept the good treatment. His dad too; there's a good chance he doesn't even know what's going on. I definitely don't blame the poor warrant officers who had to make us do saikang as well. Rather, the blame lies with someone higher up, who just loves to lick other people's boots and get promoted.

But what can i say? As my friend says, the world is dark after all, and i'm just a corporal.

*Title of this post taken from oikono's comment to my earlier post.


Paladin said...

I sweated blood for my bars.

And no, i hate how favouritism shows out.

I hate it worse when these people who have NO IDEA of what it takes to earn those bars the hard way try to impress their dads or political masters with their suggestions on how to improve (read: de-militarise) the Army.

For pride's sake, no. 4 now full of pretty badges to 'foster a sense of belonging.' This is so superficial you know?

I'd fight for the men i am responsible for, i'd fight for my sergeants who have become friends. And i trust that they will fight for me too.

They don't see that it's the people which count. Not pretty badges and not a 'come on guys' speech (my batch used it sarcastically) and i suppose it shows how soulless our leaders have become.

nofearSingapore said...

It is sad that the SAF continues to be associated with "area cleaning" and "white horsery". I was hoping that such behaviour would have changed for the better over the years, but it seems the mentality of the people running the SAF has been frozen in time. An anachronistic anomaly more suitable for the 60's than the present. Seriously, the Human Resources Management needs to be revamped. It is because the cost of conscription is negligible, hence there is no effort to utilise the resources fruitfully. If the cost is pegged to market-rate, then educated men would not be used to move furniture ( as you said do SAIKANG).


Anonymous said...

Of course the SAF regulars say 'bo pian'. Their careers, their promotions are at stake here. Which ultimately makes the SAF a fucked up place to be.

Ever seen some privileged white horse kid serve in some horrible unit as an enlistee grunt? Of course.

I have a feeling there will be another very young BG in the making very soon.

And this precisely is one of the reasons why Singapore is such a fucked up place. The arrogant actions of a certain family. Their aura of invincibility and infallibility.

Doesn't require too much brainpower to understand why so many Singaporeans leave for good. Especially the more capable ones.

Oh and it's not just the Saikang incident as mentioned in the anecdote. There are rumours (although easily verifiable ones) that this particular super special then-OCT got 2 MONTHS Medical Leave, but wasn't put Out of Course.

Only in the little paradise known as Singapore.

Agagooga said...

Security breach. Die liao.

timm. said...

lol if you sweated blood for for your bars,

you must really not be that impressive.

Paladin said... lah...i meant, in comparison to what our new BG in the making sweated...

in terms of the effort n all we had to put in in doing AREA CLEANING for example...

but yah. i'm just another anonymous LTA (NS)...not impressive at all. BG sounds more impressive to me. haha