Xmas 2016

So it’s xmas today.

Not like it would have made a big difference to me this year actually. I have to work at the outlet later.

But as long as customers enjoyed themselves and have a memorable xmas connecting with their family and friends, I am happy.

People usually shun F&B jobs because of reasons you and I know –  The hours don’t justify the income, demanding & fussy customers, need to work on weekends & public holidays etc etc. But for me the rewards are on the intangible side – The smiles, the satisfaction, the human connection (Provided if you have put in your heart to serve lah). 

It feels real and down-to-earth, because everyone needs to eat. The opportunity to fill your tummy with food, added with the special ingredient of the presence of your loved ones…The thought and imagery of the whole experience makes the moment a comforting one.

This year was just a celeration at Paya Lebar and Westgate. (I have more days & workload at the office now). No more crazy escapades like riding on a motorbike and trekking to see a waterfall in Palawan with someone whom I only knew for less than 20 days. As long as it makes my heart warm, I am happy enough, no matter how simple it is.

Oh ya tomorrow is supposedly a public holiday but I have to work. Maybe I have to erase the word “Tired” in my dictionary.

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We don’t talk anymore

 

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I guess that is the saddest thing that can happen after you go on separate ways from someone who was previously significant in your life.

After we called it quits, there were times when i look back at the moments when we were together. I felt really guilty for how I took things for granted and letting the negativity overpower me.

But on second thought… the whole experience did teach me to look out for what I do not want in a relationship.

Some persuaded me that there is a chance to reconcile, while others comforted me that there will be someone better.

Part of me is already dead towards this relationship, while another part feels hopeful, albeit a little. Sometimes my heart still aches whenever I go down memory lane. Does he feel the same?

I feel so conflicted.

03/16 BMT Part 1 of 3

Way overdue. 

Was supposed to be part of the SAFVC 02/16 batch but an untimely fever came 2 days before enlistment so I had no choice but to defer to the 03/16 batch. 

That aside, I can now finally declare that I have graduated from basic training! 

On Mondays to Fridays and Sundays, I am a civilian living the 3-11pm work hours (some days 9-6), but on Saturdays, I am a volunteer soldier. Talk about a double identity. Some weeks I look forward to Saturdays, some weeks I have the pre-book in blues. But I had to remind myself Why are you feeling the dread? Why did you sign up in the first place?

And the answer is because… I hope to pay it forward by being part of the group that protects the country. 

Anyway, here is part 1 of our 9 weeks of modular training in a nutshell. 

Week 1: enlistment 

Mostly administrative stuff and getting used to SAF lingo. But before settling down, we had to go through the rite of passage of taking the SAF pledge in front of our loved ones which sealed our fate as part of the volunteer corps. Instead of “see you in 2 weeks”, we said “see you tonight” to our families.

Going through every single SAF issued item in our duffel bag, field pack and getting to know our uniform was overwhelming because there are so many foreign looking objects I have never seen before. Highlight of the day was lugging our heavy barang onto our bunks at the 4th floor, whereas the males occupied the 2nd and 3rd floors. Nabeh.

Another thing was to familiarise ourselves with the drill commands, standing in a squad and learning how to march in step in preparation for our graduation parade. As compared to the drills I did in military band during secondary school, it was much simpler due to time constraints. 

Also arranged our bunks according to the standard manner. Our section commander (1WO) is really approachable and everyone started talking to her in a very chummy civilian way. 

Started the day at 9.30am, ended at 11.30pm. It felt like a really long day, but it’s only the beginning. 

Week 2 

First activity in the morning was IPPT. We aren’t tested for good nor is there any incentive if you got gold, but it was included in the training for us to gauge our fitness level. Also got introduced to the legendary 5BX.

Next was team building, which is in reality more of expectations setting and what you hope to achieve yadda yadda. 

Then we headed off for some national education. First up was visiting Battlebox and then the to Kranji War Memorial (history again wtf). 

And the main event of the day was receiving our husbands – The SAR21. We held ours at Kranji War Memorial with all the dead soldier souls as our witnesses. And I also learnt that the ceremony is usually held at night to prevent the enemy from knowing that the soldiers receiving the weapons are a bunch of newbies. 

Anyway we were presented with our rank and had to snatch the rifle from the commander to show that we have to earn it with our efforts. Also we had to shout “with this rifle I will defend my country ma’am” and recite another pledge. I finally felt how 3.5kg felt like, but 3.5kg was only a number. Our husbands weigh of responsibility….and sometimes a burden. 

Week 3

Started off the day with aerobic and strength training at the parade square, which meant rough floors. Doing push-up was the most jialat for us females because we had to put our knees on the floor. Some of us tried to do the guys style but got told to put our knees down. Sweated buckets but it felt good. 

The rest of the day was spent with our husband, learning how to strip (no this is not a sex scene) and assemble so that we will be proficient in handling the rifle and subsequently progress on. Initially I caught no ball during the theory part. The weather was so humid that i wanted to sleep and we were all tired out by the morning PT. In the end I kalang kabok during the hands on session and the instructor singled 3 of us out for remedial. 

Long story short, we were all able to handle the rifle at the end of the day. Moral of the story: The SAR21 is actually quite idiot proof. 

Did I also mention that we had to do the technical handling drills in our ILBV and helmet? For a first time wearer, it was really suffocating and the helmet made me 50% stupid…when I am already stupid enough. 

Basically to pass your technical handling test, you just have to keep doing and doing and doing until it becomes muscle memory. Yeah true that you need to know a bit of theory… but not too much actually. Just go with the age-old adage called “Don’t think just do!”

My wrist ached like crazy the next day due to overexertion while cocking the rifle, and suffered a few bruises. But from zero to being able to handle a weapon, it was a productive day. 

Stay tuned for part 2 and 3. Sorry this has to be all text because we weren’t allowed to share our training photos elsewhere.

Update

Seems like my mission to be a 女汉子 failed because I am down with flu again. Feeling quite nauseated now also. Ever since SAFVC started, I haven’t had a proper break for 3 weeks straight. 

Working night shift from Mon to Thur, morning shift on Fri, full day of training on Sat and full shift on Sun, is one of the deadliest combinations to what your body can tolerate. 

Sunday was quite bad for me because of the crazy muscle ache (The ma’am said that we will definitely ache the next day and we didn’t believe her, but okay we felt it now). I strained my left wrist because cocking the SAR21 turned out to be harder than I expected. Really worried about the subsequent firing sessions because the weapon is already so heavy, coupled with the suffocating ilbv vest and the helmet that makes every wearer’s IQ drop by 50%. 

I really want to have my Sundays off to recuperate but I just dont think it’s an appropriate time to do so right now. The new menu is launching soon (now is the soft launch) and so I guess manpower is needed more than ever. But in all honesty, I have always found Sundays to be exhausting. 

People may think that being an attendant is just assigning seats to customers in the shop, dishing the menu at them and then telling them to have a look and place orders. I believe that the position is something much more. You don’t simply shove menus into customers’ faces and walk off just like this. For first time customers, I strive to make recommendations, ask for their feedback on the food, answer their enquiries to the best of my knowledge and attempt to establish friendly conversations  (depending if they are willing to talk to you). For introverts like me, environments that require me to socialise are draining to me, because I need to muster 150% of my energy to talk to strangers. 

Okay time to sleep again for the 3rd time.