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July 2013 Archives

Day nor the Hour

Faith and I sat in front of Dr Soon, our gynaecologist.

“How? You want to do it now?”

We sat there, totally stunned and unsure. The baby had grown quite a bit over the last few weeks, and his size had become a little bit of a concern. Our previous two had always come unannounced, so having a choice in when the baby would be born was a decision we had never made.

“Erm…tomorrow?”

A quick phone call was made, and things were set in motion. I sent out text messages to the necessary parties. It was odd telling my colleagues that we were having the baby tomorrow. Seemed almost prescient.

As we wind down for the night I look at Faith and tell her I’ll be cheering her on. As a husband, the birth of your children is one of those moments you stand so helplessly by.

“Wish I could do it for you”, I say, a little too quickly. “Erm…maybe not.” Even chivalry had its limits.

We both laughed.

It’s a new day tomorrow. The cold night air is tinged with excitement, but also fear and uncertainty. Grandma transferred from the hospital over to the hospice today. A poignant moment in our lives, standing at the start and end of life’s circle.

Heart on Your Sleeve

Today, in a sea of office attire along Shenton Way, I seemed to be the only one decked in Army green in celebration of SAF Day. The reservist unit I belonged to was - the only term I can think of - army proud, and there was even a small tribute video celebrating our time in service. When the unit is brought together for our yearly training cycles, there is a sense of camaraderie and a quest for military excellence.

Spending a normal office day wearing green - being different - was an interesting experience. People walked past my desk and stopped in their tracks to take a closer look. I had many colleagues who jumped in and wished me “Happy SAF Day!”, which was nice, because it felt like a birthday of sorts.

The night before, the choice to participate in this way wasn’t an easy one. In a world where hierarchies in status have the power of a silent caste system, wearing a military uniform brought everything hierarchical to the forefront. What rank you held, specialised courses you successfully completed, and even whether you performed exceptionally for your physical fitness test or possessed good marksmanship was placed visibly in the form of badges or patches sewn on to your uniform for the world to see.

I wasn’t decked out like one of these guys. I am not an officer of the SAF. I am not a paratrooper / guardsman / kungfu master. My plain, unadorned uniform expressed my basic level of service to this country: simple, humble service.

I eventually chose to wear the uniform to work because it honours the ones who had come before me and the many who walk this path still. It honours my brothers and sisters who serve; some daily and others like me, once a year.

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