The Domain of Men

Ever since those 2 NSmen uploaded a video of their own little skit unto Youtube, all image-capturing devices have been banned on military installations.
Over the last week I've had the dubious honour of living in Pasir Laba camp, the former School of Infantry Specialists. It seems almost a crime not to be able to bring you images of this alternate universe Singaporean males have privy to.
The view from my bunk is quite spectacular. When I first hauled my trunk of junk up 6 flights of stairs, I was greeted by a most amazing view. On the horizon stood <abbr title="Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute">SAFTI</abbr>'s tower with a large Singapore flag flying proudly atop it. It was a hazy day, and the scene was so surreal. It brought about mixed feelings. Pride, that I should look up to an steadfast tower when I needed that extra strength. There was also a tinge of Tolkieneque fear, that the eye of Sauron looked down upon us peons engaged in menial sweaty tasks.
I kid you not when I say life in the army is an alternate reality separated from the rest of the world. It moves at a different cadence – the left-right left-right of a young cadet's strident voice, as opposed to the million individually shuffling feet at the nearby shopping mall.Army camps are testosterone-filled environments. More so during reservist training than the serving of one's national service, I think. Here men are older and more accomplished, yet carry the immaturity of youth, a remnant of themselves they relive every time they are called back for military retraining. Within the first few days there have been so many exchanges of job titles, and the occassional hint of humongous monthly paychecks. It is a personal statement: I am more than the symbol you see on my sleeve. It is ironic that we exchange our places in one hierachy with another in which we think ourselves more successful, without realising that both are poor measures of self-worth.
Army camps are filled with bad typography. While Trajan Pro rose to great prominence in Singaporescape after Adobe included the font in their creative suite, signages in army camps are usually constructed from the latest and greatest fonts made available on Microsoft Word.
It is also a world filled with acronyms. Buildings with huge, bold silver lettering emblazoned above them read TRADOC, SAF SWI and dozens more. You queue at the appropriate line for food depending on whether you were a 3SG and below, and get to dish you own slop if you're a SWO and above.
I'll be heading back in tonight and spending the next six days in whatever jungle Singapore has left. I'm not exactly looking forward to facing the millions of hungry armour-piercing mosquitoes, centipedes and what=not.
Especially after having spent the afternoon sitting at a cafe blogging and watching the world pass by.

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