I have a driving license, for a tank
Saturday, March 29, 2014

I know that I've always called Sungei Gedong Camp the anus of Singapore, but after spending a week here, it's not the shit hole I had initially expected it to be. The journey to the camp was one of the more interesting ones other than taking a ferry to Tekong.

Situated at pretty much the end of Lim Chu Kang road, the forested area of Singapore is a fresh sight compared to the sparse greenery in urban areas.

The air instantly felt fresher the moment we alighted the bus, which was excellent if not for the scent of canine faeces fighting its way up our nasal canal. All shit aside, the camp looks way more civilized than I imagined it to be. With proper buildings, roads and signs.

As far as accommodation goes, it's many times better than my own unit, if you are willing to ignore the distance, then you would probably find living here rather comfortable.

Speaking of bunks, we have gotten ourselves female bunks! Up till that moment, I had no idea that such magic existed. It's literally written on the door "Female Bunk". I mentally prepared myself for the wonders that may reside within. As the key slowly unlocked the door to heavens, we were swept by a wave of disappointment, it was simply a door to more doors. (kind of like a gate)

However, one man isn't discourged by the situation and made the best of it. As each group entered their own bunks, I turned and told J, "You know, the pillow and beds probably still smell like females." His eyes lit up and said, "Really ah! You're probably right you know."

I watch in amusement as he picked up a pillow to his face and took a deep breath; "omg it does smell a little like a female!"

The showers here are amazing; it's of appropriate size and the size water current doesn't feel like it's some child pissing on you. As I've said before, the standard of living here is definitely better than my unit's 80's built bunks.

There were quite a lot of lectures, many which were rather self-explanatory. Fast foward.

On the third day we travelled on a Bionix for the first time. As most people probably wouldn't have the priviledge of being in a tank, I shall try to sum up the experience.

It was very loud, very hot, very dusty, and kind of slow. The noise levels meant that you really have to shout loud in order for anyone to make out what you're saying. For the heat, let's just say that you will perspire travelling it. And because quite a lot of people have this misconception, no a tank does not have air-conditioning. Not unless it's an advanced troop carrier (which isn't exactly a tank)

Right after taking a ride there, we were expected to start driving already; I'm okay with that. What I'm not okay with is that we were supposed to drive through dirt roads straight away. I mean, aren't you supposed to give the newbies some huge open space to actually figure out how to work a huge machine?!

You see the thing is, I've never driven a vehicle before. Naught license. The closest thing I've gotten to is a go-kart which really isn't much as I could control it which flooring the pedal.

It then comes without surprise that my driving was utter shit on my first try. If even I could tell that it's bad, it must have been really bad. Trouble with aligning the vehicle and I had zero clue how to control the stupid accelerator and it was pretty much bouncing in rythm to the uneven ground beneath me. Sweat trickled, no, streaked down my faces as I pour all my concentration into not crashing the tank.

With that horrible ordeal in the day, one would've hope for some rest. But no! Night training ensues.With my abysmal driving in the day, I can't help but feel a little nervous driving at night; there's a real tangible danger for me.

The rest of the training involves driving, and a lot of waiting, then driving; through uneven terrains and obstacle courses. The interesting part about driving up a steep ascent is when you're at a certain distance away from the top, you wouldn't be able to see the road at all. All you see is the blue sky while stepping on the accelerator, hoping that you don't hit anything unexpected.

Without boring my future self from all the details, we move to our last day of training, a 17km drive with a few challenging parts within. 17km may seem like a relatively short distance looking from the perspective of a vehicle; but it isn't. With a max speed of 30km/h, such journey takes quite a bit effort and concentration.

Our efforts have been rewarded at the end of it.

Sensitive details oh well

Some of the interesting things I've seen in the duration includes

  • Monkeys rummaging trash
  • Cat killing rat and another cat tried to steal it
  • A Major asking us if he could top up his vehicle first (can we say no?!)

And I know that it has been forever since I've posted anything, sometimes I'm too lazy, sometimes I'm not in the mood. The past couple weeks haven't been smoothest sailing.

The next 3 weeks I will be going on course yet again. I need to learn how to blog with my phone effectively, or it'll take forever for the next one. On a side note, I feel like redesigning the blog again. If I stop procrastinating, maybe it'll happen in the foreseeable future.

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