Serving the Nation

22 May

A big hello to everyone!!! I’m back!

If you’re wondering where I disappeared to, well I was away for reservist for a week, that is to undergo refresher military training. As Singapore is a small country, it is necessary for guys in Singapore to be conscripted for Army. Guys will have to go for full-time National Service for about 2 years and after which go for X number of reservists (which typically last for a week to 2 weeks) or till they are age 40 before they are officially released from the conscription.

So while I was in the camp, I can’t bring my tools along to create my doodles and my schedule got disrupted. And therefore once I was out, I was busy catching up and getting my schedule back in order for the past week. Been working on this comic strip for 3 nights so here it is…
Comic StripArmy is a place of discipline and order. Frankly, I dreaded it at first when I did my full-time National Service because I lost lots of my freedom. I had to follow a schedule of when to wake up, when to sleep and even when to eat. Everyone in camp is wearing the same outfit with the same super short haircut and I seem to have lost my identity. And when out in the fields, there could be days where one cannot take a proper shower or even take off the boots to let the feet breathe.

Gradually though, I came to recognise the merits for military training. It did shaped me into a stronger person both physically and mentally. Who would have imagined that a scrawny boy then at 45 kg would be able to carry a rifle, body gear, things that are disproportional to his body weight and walk for hours and even carry on with the tough training? I don’t believe it too but somehow I managed to. And this strong will of going against the odds and not giving up continues to be with me today as I take on the other challenges in life.

Army life also makes me appreciate the simpler things in life, which sometimes I fail to take notice and take for granted. For instance, basic things like having a shelter over my head and dry clothes when there is a thunder-storm, clean water for drinking during overseas training, a warm bowl of instant noodles instead of field combat rations and bonding with my family members. Of course, on a totally different level would be the appreciation for peace times so that people would never have to go to war.

And here is a special shout out to my friends and buddies that I have known during army! In life, we made choices that determine the people that we know. I mean we choose the schools that we want to attend, the jobs that we want to do, the communities of interest that we wish to join and it is these choices that we make, that we get to know people, usually of similar interests. Army which is compulsory for us and with its unknown black box categorisation system somehow brings us together from different walks of life. It is amazing don’t you think?

So thank you my army friends and buddies for being there! Without your mental support, encouragement and laughter, army life would not have been bearable and as interesting. While we transit through the different phases of our life, from boys to men to uncles,  we will forever be boys in our shared memories. Stay in contact!

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12 Responses to “Serving the Nation”

  1. l1or May 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    I had no idea Singapore had a compulsary military service with reserve duty. I always thought Singapore was a peaceful country – not really a country that’s at risk of being at war with anyone (unlike a country like Israel where their compulsary military service makes more sense to me). Wow you must have had a lot of interesting experiences that I can’t even begin to imagine. Perhaps some memories from there might make more good cartoons! : ) Is the reserve service at regular intervals? eg once a month or once every 3 months or something?

  2. rusty May 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    I suppose while the Government tries it best to maintain peaceful ties with other countries, it is always good to be prepared for the worst. I can only hope that the preparation is never to be put to use.

    There are quite a few memorable experiences. Let me see if I can work them out into some cartoons. 😀

    Reservist is about once every year or every two years. It is about sufficient to recall the things that was learned previously. Another reason is because the Army pays the salaries for the period of absence of the servicemen from their work. So higher frequency means a need to set aside a bigger budget.

    As I don’t have a employer or a steady stream of self employment income to make any claims, so I depended on the token amount given which is still more than what I have earned from my design work so far. LOL.

    • l1or May 24, 2013 at 12:49 am #

      It’s interesting to hear how it works. And not bad that they pay you whilst you serve! hehe

      I look forward to more cartoons – army-stories or anything else 🙂

  3. ruleofstupid May 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    What an experience. One half of my family left Israel to keep the kids from compulsory service – but there’s a stronger chance of combat in Israel I would think.
    Hope it’s going to feed the creative juices 🙂

    • rusty May 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

      Glad to hear from you ROS! 🙂

  4. Irene @ In A Different Place May 24, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Based from this post military training does sound tough, and I applaud you for being able to make it! Freedom in any country does have a price. 🙂

    • rusty May 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      Agreed! Freedom cannot be taken for granted.

      The tough part of the reservist training was going out to the fields. It is always a humbling experience where I will remember the basic needs in life.

  5. kenlumlee May 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    I’m just glad Rusty is back ^^

    • rusty June 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      Thank you. 🙂

  6. yanyandf May 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    welcome back!! i have a friend who’s serving in the us army for almost 2 years now and it does get really lonely and the food’s really bad. Kudo’s to you rusty and your service to the nation. 😀

    • rusty June 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      Lucky for us the food for the military here is getting better as the years go by. We got ice cream, grass jelly and soya bean pudding. 😛

      • yanyandf June 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

        hahaha that’s good to hear! atleast you get to a bit happy when eating 😀

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