Steph's Friend

Friday, June 29, 2007

End Of 6 Months Attachment In IMRE

It has been 6 months already. Time really flies.

I was attached to IMRE in January and I must say that it has been a very memorable and exciting experience there. I have learnt a lot of things there.

Soon I will be in NTU. I guess I will rest a while now and maybe brush up on some A Level stuff lest Bernoulli become a cake shop's name to me.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Enlistment Day

It was a very familiar feeling. The dread and misery was there. However, the difference was that it occurred 3 years ago and it's not me, but my brother. Today's my brother's enlistment day. Strange enough, I felt the dread I experienced 3 years ago even though it was not my enlistment day. It was as if I am being enlisted. Anyway, we woke up early, packed the stuff and took a taxi to Pasir Ris interchange.

The taxi ride was long since we stayed in Jurong. Mum cried along the way. I remember those tears. She cried a lot when I was enlisted. It was 3 years ago, but somehow it felt so real.

We reached the interchange and went to the bus that will lead us to the jetty. The queue was already there in the early morning. I looked around and saw young men with their family/friends/relatives/girlfriends. They were all in different shapes and sizes. Some looked fit while others looked unfit. The bus came and we took the bus. Before I entered, I turned my head and saw two ladies crying. I think that they are the mum and sister/girlfriend of the enlistee. It was a sad scene. I remembered when it was my enlistment day, my mum cried so often that it made my day even worse. It's one thing to be enlisted, it's another thing to see your mum cry. Yet they are both similar in that they can really ruin your day.

In the bus, I looked around and the road seemed familiar. It brought back memories. I won't say that they are good memories. The long and winding road seemed to reflect the confusion and dread I had then of being enlisted. Why the dread and all? Well, the transition from civilian to military is definitely a very tough change. It's worse than puberty. Bad analogy I know.

I remembered how on our first day we were treated in a distasteful manner. One sergeant entered the room and kicked the red pail on the floor. It flew across the room. Luckily it didn't injure anyone. Thinking back, I wondered why on earth would he do such a thing? We are humans. We are all Singaporeans. If you want respect, you can begin by showing respect and not by kicking a pail. The pail was not all. He shouted and gave a very black face. He asked us to sign some forms. My friend signed his signature and his signature touched some line. Guess what happened? The sergeant flared up! Oh please, it's only a signature. It's not as if he lost the first prize for Toto or his house was on fire. What followed was a fine and exquisite show of skilled expletives that so smoothly flowed out of his mouth. He's a natural! I guess that's the only talent he has, or at least that's the impression I had then. All these pail kicking and expletives just on the first day. So you can imagine the despair one would feel away from family and with people like the sergeant who is suppose to take care of you. Ironic.

I grew angry at all of these and then the bus reached the jetty. We alighted and waited for the fastcraft, which is something like a boat that ferries people from mainland Singapore to Pulau Tekong. So far, not many people cried. I guess it's natural as they won't be experiencing what I experienced. Why? Because the intake was a PES E intake. A PES E intake consist of only a 1 week stay instead of 3 months or 6 months. Also, the recruits are treated very nicely because of their PES E status. So what's this PES E anyway? In short it means that an enlistee is unfit for strenuous and demanding physical activities. The sergeant on duty informed us the fastcraft reached and told us to board it. It disrupted my train of thought and we went to take the fastcraft.

My family and I sat down in the fastcraft. We gave some advice to my brother like drinking lots of water and making sure that he gets enough sleep. The overall mood then was light. The my mum shed tears again. It reminded me of the same thing that happened 3 years ago.

3 years ago, I sat down in the fastcraft with thoughts of what life would be like in the army. Would I adapt well? Would the people be fierce? That's a stupid question I know. I looked at my mum and saw tears. It was saddening. I turned to look at my dad and saw a distressed faced. It was also sad. I looked in front and just prayed for the best.

Back to reality, the horn sounded. I recognized that sound. We have reached. I looked at my family and this time they looked much better than 3 years ago. We alighted from the fastcraft and went to Pulau Tekong.

After walking through the main entrance, the enlistees went to a certain place while the visitors were given a tour of the place. Everything looked the same. The only difference was that the paint on the buildings looked worn off. Then we arrived at Mohawk and Leopard company. It all looked so familiar. My brother is posted to Leopard while I was posted to Mohawk 3 years ago. They are just beside each other but things operate differently. It was like two different worlds placed side by side. Anyway, I was happy that my brother was in Leopard. Leopard is good. We went into a lecture room and were briefed about the things the current soldier has. I learn that a lot of things has changed since my time. For example, the field bag is different. Anyway, the lecture was kinda informative. After it, we were directed to the auditorium.

We were guided to the auditorium. It looked the same. There, we watched a video on NS stuff. Then suddenly, I heard something. I looked behind and it confirmed my suspicions. A senior looking man was sleeping and snoring so loudly! Oh man, that was so unprofessional. The lady beside himr looked at the senior man and produced a smile. Anyway, after the video ended, a major gave a talk. He sounds sincere and nice. It looks like that day only had a PES E intake and not any other.

After the talk, we went for a meal at the cook house. The food was the same I had tasted 3 years ago. Same taste. They said that the food now is now much better. I can't imagine how it was then. Maybe I am just so used to food in the mainland. I didn't eat a lot as somehow, the longer I stayed there, the more I am reminded of how my first impression was and it totally destroyed my appetite.

They say first impression counts and I believe so. So it is no surprise that a first impression made by kicking a pail and hurling expletives really leave a deep impression in me. It was a total turn off. Yes, I made good friends and would say that the OVERALL experience I had was okay, but that first day was totally off, it really ruined my day. Of course as time passed by, I soon got adjusted to the scoldings and expletives mouthed.

Anyway, after the lunch, we went home. At the checkpoint, my brother went with the others to this training shack and the visitors (us included) went to the fastcraft back to the mainland. Finally...

I am happy that my brother need not experience the trauma (yes, it's traumatic) I experienced on my first day. I am also happy that the sergeant who gave us the tour seemed friendly and nice, unlike the pail-kicker sergeant I had.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Britain's Got Talent

I don't know whether you know about this show, but "Britain's Got Talent" is something like Singapore Idol, but you can do other things than sing. Anyway, I saw a few clips of it and I was stunned by the quality of contestants they have! Let me show you two examples of my favorite contestants. They are simply amazing!

First is Paul who sings "Nessun Dorma".

His voice is nice. The atmosphere was simply grand and majestic! And you know something? This guy's a hand phone dealer! I guess it's like what Amanda said, he's a lump of coal that's about to turn into a shiny diamond. Amazing, simply amazing.

Second is Conny who sings "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". I won't talk much here, just listen and be surprised.

Her voice is angelic, her face is innocent and eyes so charming. Seriously man, she melts the hearts of the people there. Her voice is something very rare in these times.

I was surprised with these two people. One gave a grand and majestic feel while the other gave a serene and calm atmosphere. They are definitely one of Britain's talents.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007


I heard news concerning one friend I know in Medan, Indonesia. The last time I saw her was on her wedding day somewhere at the end of last year. I was initially surprised when she told me that she was younger than me. She was 19 when she got married. Surprise? Yes. If I were in her shoes, I may have kids already since I am older than her. Yet in conservative Medan, it's no surprise that girls marry young and stay at home to be a housewife.

Anyway, I heard news that she's having a hard time. She is required to mop the whole house two times a day; wait on the husband when he comes back home; not allowed to visit her mother...etc. In short, her life is tough. It seems as if her mother-in-law is giving her a hard time. I heard that wives and mother-in-laws may have a hard time getting along once the knot is tied, but this is the first time I've seen it happening. I've seen the mother-in-law and she does look kinda...scary. I can only wish the best for her future.

This made me think. My friend from there lives on with such a life, but would a modern Singaporean wife live on with such treatment? Are they different? No, both are girls and love their husband to the point of marriage. The only difference is society and their upbringing. Here in Singapore, women are encourage to think, are independent and work until late in their lives. There, girls just grow up, get married and have children. I am not trying to discriminate against girls or say anything like that, but the fact is there are societies out there with such a "hidden rule".

Anyway, I just hope that my friend will have a better life. I guess when you marry someone, you don't just marry the person but his/her family too.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007


Today was fine. I went to the library early in the morning to read. I managed to complete like 2/3 of a book there. I read at the Jurong East Library at the 4th storey. It was quiet and nice. However, being the place where teens gather, you can expect it to be noisy at times. The group of boys to the right of me were from a certain secondary school. They were suppose to be outside doing CIP by asking for donations, but they were there enjoying the aircon and chatting. Smart? I don't know. Anyway, I was reading my book, but their conversation seemed to be so loud and I can't help but overheard what they said. It's not my fault okay...haha. Guess what were they talking about. They were talking about girls! Well, it's a group of boys who looked like they are from Sec3 or Sec4. Well, place a group of boys with hormones in their blood and you'll get a topic on girls. No surprise. They were talking about a certain girl and how to attract her attention. Natural. After they quiet down, I continued to read my book. My book was about a man and his experience in MIT. It is a good read.

After reading, I checked the time and it was time for lunch. I bought some food and went home to eat. In the bus, there was an incident that happened. The bus passed by a certain bus stop. Just after it passed, an auntie pressed the bell. The auntie looked at the driver and the driver looked at her via the rear mirror. Then this conversation ensued. The conversation was in a mixture of English, Hokkien and Chinese. I will just translate all to English.

Auntie: Eh, I pressed the bell already. How come you never stop?
Driver: Auntie ah, you pressed the bell after I passed the stop. I can't stop halfway you know.
Auntie's Friend: But she pressed the bell already.
A Commuter: The driver is right, you pressed the bell a bit too late.
Auntie: Haiz...

In the end, the auntie, her friend and a senior man had to alight at the next stop. The distance between the two stops may not look far for me, but for them, it may be troublesome to walk over that distance. Lesson learnt? Remember to press the bell early.

At home, I switched on the TV and I saw this joke. It was so bad that I guessed it''s just bad lah. It was meant to be an educational question but somehow, the lamer in the show turned it into a bad joke. Here it goes.

Guy A: What's the difference between a "hare" and a "rabbit"?
Guy B: I know!
Guy A: So what's it?
Guy B: "Hair" grows on "rabbit" and actually, it's not called "hair" but "fur".
Guy A: -_-

I was stunned! Seriously. It was at Kids Central on one of the shows which I won't mention. I guess they are teaching kids to be lame too. If I had watched such shows when I was small, I wonder what would happen...

Anyway, the difference between a rabbit and a hare is that a hare has longer legs and looks bigger. A rabbit is much more tame than a hare too. For the details, you can look at Wikipedia.

I checked through my email and replied to a friend overseas. I decided to check his blog to see how he is doing. Surprisingly, he wrote a few lines about me. He would put a picture and below it, he will place a caption. This was what he wrote with photos that had my face.
1. some of the NS guys i would see every single day in MINDEF.
2. stephen tay, there are so many ways to describe him...but let's just leave at at this. he's the nicest boy i've ever met, with absolutely the most kampong style of dress. it's awesome.
3. yes ladies, he's still single.
4. okay, as much as i like steph, i think that's enough of him, don't you? from now more photos of stephen in this post.
Aw...that's so I am not too sure aboit the "kampong style of dress" part though. Maybe it's because I went to his birthday party with my shirt tucked-in. wonder how he knew that I am still Okay, I think he meant "like" as in friend-friend. Relax, don't think too much. All in all, he's a nice guy who would tell lame jokes. He was one of my NS friends who made life easier in NS. Here's one of his jokes that I remembered (it's not accurate word for word, but it's roughly like it).
Him: What do you call a frog without legs?
Me: Erm, frog without legs?
Him: Nope.
Me: I give up.
Him: Aw man, try harder.
Me: Leg-less frog?
Him: Nope.
Me: I give up.
Him: Lame sia!
Me: Huh?
Him: That's the answer!
Me: Huh?
It was only later that I realised the frog in the joke should have been a prawn. If it is a prawn, then the answer would really be "lame sia". Anyway, he's a nice guy.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

My 21st Birthday

Well, guess what. It's my 21st birthday today! I guess I am now an adult. The guy behind this blog who tells lame jokes is finally an adult. Can you believe that? Me too.

When I was young, I made a lot of stupid stuff. For example, I thought that sleeping on my textbook would make me smart. I was wrong. I didn't receive any knowledge by doing that. The only thing I got was a sore neck. Another example would be sticking pencils into my nose and run around trying to see how long I could hold the pencils up in my nose. It was stupid. I guess I am now an adult and should act like one, but I guess if I am young at heart, then it shouldn't be a problem right? Of course don't expect me to stick pencils up my nose now as my parents would be worried...haha.

Today, I went with my family to Jurong Point to celebrate my birthday. We ate at Fish & Co. The food was great and so was the Anyway, it was a simple and nice meal. My parents asked me what I would like to have. Cake? MP3 player? I said no. I just wanted us to have a meal together. That would be good enough for me. I can buy the MP3 player myself later. The cake would make me fat. Yes, I am now starting to watch my weight. Why? Well, it's not very healthy if you eat creamy stuff that clogs your arteries.

Anyway, my parents said that I had a baby face. What does it mean? It means that I look young for someone my age. I didn't believe them until a few incidents. One of them was when I went to NJC's open house to look at how the band was. There, the student conductor asked me to join the band! He thought that I was some kid who finished his O levels! It was a joke and I laughed then. Another incident was when I talked with my friends of the same age. After talking to them, I went to sit with my parents. They were surprised that the guys I talked to were of the same age as me. They said that they looked older than me. Was it my height? I don't think so as our heights were kinda similar. My parents said that it was my face. I don't know if it's good or bad. I guess I should be happy that I need not worry about looking old.

My parents shared with me that in their times, when someone reaches 21, they would be given a key. Kinda like a symbol of adulthood. It's a representation of the "key to adulthood". I am not sure if this tradition continues these days. For me, I said that it was okay and a meal would be enough.

Anyway, no photos in this post as the memory card was not in the camera but at some other place. We only took pictures of the food and not anyone. Well, I don't really like to take photos. I remember the last time I took, the camera flashed when my eyes were closed! It was such a coincidence! Can you imagine a guy smiling with his eyes closed? It was a terrible picture man.

As I had my 21st birthday, I began to wonder how others would spend their 21st birthday. I know some of my friends would go to a club and celebrate, some would stay in a chalet while others would mug in the library. Some would spend it with their special someone, some with their close friends, and some with their families. For me, I am happy that my family was there to celebrate with me. Of course it would be nice to spend your birthdays with that special someone but hey, I look like a small I guess small boys shouldn't think too much...haha.

How would you spend your 21st birthday? If you are above 21, how did you spend your 21st birthday?

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


(So sorry for not updating my blog as quite a lot of things have been happening. This post may seem different from other posts in that there won't be any jokes or humor. Why? Because...I guess I am just serious this time...)

Sometimes, waiting can be a very hard thing to do. It may sound easy, but nevertheless, it is something most people can't or are not willing to do.

It may be a simple act of waiting for the bus, or an appointment. It may even be waiting for exam results or lunch. No matter the situation, people need to wait. Some wait for jobs, while others wait for opportunities. For me, I am waiting for something...something I really believe in.

It has been a long wait. How many years? I do not know. Friends told me not to wait as there's no point in it. So why do I still wait? It seems stupid I know, but I just want to because I believe in it. It's not easy to wait I know.

There were times when the bus seemed as if it will never come. There were times when an appointment was delayed due to certain reasons. There were times when the queue seemed long. In all these instances, I had to wait. Yet no matter the situation, all of them cannot be compared to it. I have been waiting and still am waiting. Patience? I don't know. I won't know when it is going to happen. Tomorrow? Next week? A month later? I can't really say.

I guess it's not easy, but I know it will be worth it.

God Bless.

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