I guess this story isn’t new to most people who served National Service. But perhaps it would be an interesting story for the Non-Singaporeans, ladies, under aged and white horse.
I still remember that we were issued 5 set of uniform on the first day at Tekong. We call them Number 4 (Don’t ask me why). But there is a set of number 4 that I’ve never wore since day one. Even till today.
Back in Tekong, the rules are much stricter. Stand by bed or Stand by fullpack is something very common. Everyone is supposed to arrange their stuff in the same exact order as instructed. Tooth brush on the left, 5cm away from the toothpaste etc etc. I guess its either a way to install discipline in our head or some easy way to past time for the sick, pervertic officers.
We are supposed to put 2 set of uniform in our cardboard during stand by bed. One hanging on the clothes hanger, another set folded nicely, to a size measurement given from the top. Since we have stand by bed quite frequently, most people just arrange everything nicely once and try not to touch it. So out of the 5 set of uniform given to us, 2 set were untouchable.
For the stand by fullpack, we are supposed to put a set of uniform in our full pack too. The top will give us a standard zip lock bag size for everyone to squeeze our uniform. The size of the zip lock bag is usually very small. I’ve lost count of the number of ziplock bag that I broken when trying to squeeze my uniform. That is why when you finally managed to squeeze the uniform into the ziplock bag, you wouldn’t want to take it out anymore.
So we were issued with 5 set of uniforms. 2 sets untouchable in our cardboard and 1 set untouchable in our full pack. That left us with 2 sets of uniform to wear for the 5 days in camp. Which more or less explains where the term “Chao recruits” (Smelly recruits) come from.
As we pass out from BMT and move on to our units, the stand by bed and stand by full pack become less frequent. (perhaps once a month instead of at least twice weekly) I started wearing the 2 sets of uniform that were in my cardboard. But the set of uniform in the full pack remain untouched till this day.
The ziplock back has been changed countless of times. But the uniform remained untouched. I need the uniform in my full pack during mobilisation. It is still the same set of uniform from Tekong which I used for my countless stand by fullpack.
They say the we will use the fullpack items if we ever go to war. I wish I’ll never need to wear that number 4 of mine.
(Please lah…. 7 years never wash. Wear liao sure ganna rashes one lor!)