Five people you’ll meet on enlistment dayThey're here to welcome you to the first day of the rest of your life (in National Service or NS).
// Story Benita Teo
// Illustration Lee Kar Weng
The transition from civilian to soldier is never an easy one. But here are five people you'll meet on your enlistment day who will help to make your Basic Military Training (BMT) experience go smoother.
Forget about the latest style and colour trends. This makcik with the shaver is here to cut you, or rather your hair, down to size. For a few dollars, she'll give you the latest in BMT fashion (it has to be fashionable if everyone is sporting it, right?) You'll be glad for the hairstyle when training gets intense and you get sweaty.
Platoon Sergeants (PSes) & sergeants
What’s an "iLBV"? When do I use this helmet? What in the world are garters and where do they go?! You'll be learning the meaning and use for these things in time to come. For today, these PSes and sergeants will be making sure you have everything you need for your training in BMT. Remember to follow their instructions and check that you have all your issued items.
Struggling to adapt to NS life? Worried about problems at home? Girlfriend wants to leave you for her university orientation group leader? You're not completely alone in this, you know.
Your Platoon Commander is here to lead and also offer some help and advice. He'll be going around to get to know you and your platoon better, so talk to him or her if you have any pressing questions or issues.
Company Sergeant Major
Don't be fooled by his quiet demeanour; this encik is here to instil the discipline necessary to make a good soldier out of you. You'll definitely hear him every time you forget to march when moving from point to point or if your uniform is anything less than perfect.
He could come in any shape or form. But one thing's for sure: he's gonna be the most important person in your life for the next few weeks. You'll have to look out for your partner's safety, know each other's whereabouts at all times, and take care of the other when one of you is unwell or in trouble.
If you're lucky, you'll have found yourself a lifelong friend. Otherwise, at least tahan (tolerate) each other for the rest of BMT, ya?