My NS Life Part I

by hozhijie

171115; 2201;
belong wait long

Never have I felt like I ever belonged. Even the slightest attempt to fit in results in remorse. I feel like I’m living to be insulted and ridiculed every second of my life today. I thought the day could go better as I was energised with morale as the day began despite only having less than three hours of sleep. Yet life took a toll on me without any notice, almost abruptly. Getting misunderstood and receiving backlash for the little things that didn’t really matter. Everyone just strived to prove that they were right at the expense of empathy. Limits were pushed and I was like an elastic band stretched beyond its limit of proportionality, to a point of no return. I was drained and I still got to put up a composed demeanour to endure the monotonous training which was delayed unexpectedly.

Spites, taunts and disparaging words are the only gifts I received. Sometimes I see people demeaning themselves by exclaiming “_ my life” online or offline and I thought to myself that they probably never experienced something worse. It’s subjective and I know I shouldn’t gauge what they actually felt. I’m just trying to emphasise on how my life has been so wrecked in every aspect that I can’t possibly explain it explicitly anymore.

At times I cringed as I glanced through my old blog posts which showed how emotional I was because I thought those circumstances were peanuts and just trivial matters to actually be bothered about. Yet the feelings were undeniably real and it couldn’t be feigned to cause such outpouring. As much as this post comprises overwhelming melancholy, I want to tell my future self that this current dejection and despondency are genuine and my prevailing predicaments can’t be easily ameliorated. It’s stubbornly inimical.

Months ago I told one of my platoon mates that my goal for the ensuing months is to leave the place memorably and meaningfully whilst enhancing the mercurial, capricious camaraderie. I guess such a lofty aim is no longer relevant or achievable with the many relational and political impediments burgeoning. Last Wednesday, as we took a break after a strenuous exercise, someone spurted something jokingly but it made a lot of sense: I was requested to ask X to buy dinner for us but I said it wasn’t a good idea as I’m not close to him. That was retorted with “since when you are close to anyone in SOI? Haha” – a hard truth I gotta face and accept. I took it lightly but it sank it. Up till now, I still can’t establish an authentic friendship here in the place I resided for a year plus, so unlike the ones I made in other places before. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I guess I have already resigned to fate when overseas trips are planned without me in the picture, blatantly to some extent. Is this normal and okay?

There were several instances where I was told that I have improved tremendously since the course last year. And this seems as though I should be the only one making the change to suit the likings of everyone. Noticeably, I stopped interfering in many decision making with my inputs and that expedited things because as told, my body language and the way I put my views across were always offensive. Apparently, I have compromised my rights to express in exchange for an extra day of harmonious habitation here. Because once you made a mistake, it stained you for the next hours or probably days, and sometimes even eternity. On the other hand, people usually don’t adapt to my principles, even if they are rooted in basic courtesy and respect. It’s openly known that I abhor people nearby sneezing without covering their mouth, yet some of them do it flagrantly to agitate me. For the past few months, I have put up with their excessive name-calling, incessant mocking of my pronunciation, and intentionally raking up my grave mistakes made in the course, such as losing my magazine and an important screw. Still, people have this propensity to cross the line and proceed with such childish acts despite me pleading or gesturing that they should stop. 

And this is an issue I want to address – that I feel so oppressed and restricted here within my own world fascinating about things that can be done with my suggestions while abiding to rules and cultures set by the louder ones aka the righter ones. It wasn’t like that in the past where I used to have a great influence in everything – as a president of my CCA during my secondary school and JC days. What have changed? People or me?

In the course, I vividly remember my Encik saying to my platoon that since we were such a small bunch, if we don’t support each other, we’ll bound to collapse. It’s either we knit or we ditch. I guess I’m more of the latter, almost at the brink of crumbling. Since we are a knot, if we don’t have each others’ back, who can we further count on? Or maybe it’s just me who can’t find a shoulder to lean on and a soul to rely on, since I just suck at PR here. Even my PS rejected my desperate minor requests twice, such as asking person X whom he’s close with to stop agitating me. I really don’t know what to think and who to depend on now. Constant discombobulation. 

I didn’t expect myself to type out such an elongated post which summed up some of my dreadful experiences here in camp. There’s hardly anything I can look forward to every book in but only a growing reluctance and pessimism. Sometimes I envy the comrades who seem to be enjoying a good time with their peers from their online photos. Right here, snapchatting a moment outside camp together is deemed to be “annoying” and offensive. I have never experienced such obstinate scrutiny. 

I’m planning to only share all these after I ORD but I guess my mood decides that it’s the right time to do so now. In a nutshell, my NS life hasn’t been a very positive one. They say that army will enable you to meet all kinds of people and there’s no greater truth than this axiom. All kinds of people, the kind and unkind ones, and also meeting my other self who behaves so different from the usual me outside, who’s probably an aftermath of the politics, culture and vibes. I’ve grown much fitter and also much fatter. I have lost a lot yet gained a little. I realised how much of a human I am over this stormy course of trials and tribulations.

Spiritually wise, I used to say that NS will either draw me closer to or drift me further away from God. I’m embarrassed to say that towards the final laps of the service, I have lost some stamina and currently I’m struggling to stay afloat. Yet I’m heartened that He is still my sole comforter and solace whom I seek after; I start and endmy days with a prayer. I thought I could do better and I probably won’t love to disappoint those who assure me of my nascent potential very recently. I wonder where did all my drive and motivation insidiously depart to. 

Nonetheless, amid all these negativity, one thing that I’m really proud of is my accomplishment of not spurting a single word of profanity at all in an environment swarmed with filthy languages and vocabularies. Also, I’m proud that I still manage to survive through all the hurdles that almost wipe me out. My failures were uncountable but my grit is formidable.

It’s almost a month away from the big day. I’m gonna serve my final guard duty tomorrow. I pray that things can at the very last improve in every manner it can. Thanks for reading. Till next time.