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 <abbr title="Singapore Armed Forces">SAF</abbr> Day. The reservist unit I belonged to was – the only term I can think of – army proud, and there was even a <a href="">small tribute video</a> 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 <a href="">one of these guys</a>. 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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