That Camp Growl Life
// Story Benita Teo
// Photos Chai Sian Liang
We dare say that every National Serviceman has either been to Exercise Wallaby in Australia, or knows someone who has. It is after all the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF’s) biggest overseas exercise. And if you've been there, you'll know only too well Camp Growl, the Singapore Army's home away from home. What do you remember about your stay there? Take a trip down memory lane with us and see what's changed and what has remained the same.
No longer pole-pular
Ah, yes. The once-ubiquitous "reception pole". This used to be every Camp Growl resident’s only link to the outside world, where soldiers gathered to call home. The good news is that coverage is now much, much better, so you will be able to get reception anywhere on the camp grounds. No more having to whisper sweet nothings to your baby back home...next to 30 other guys doing the same thing.
One point to charge them all
So you're texting, calling, gaming and scrolling through social media anywhere you want now. But what happens when your phone runs out of battery? #firstworldproblems Well too bad, there's only one place you can go to charge it – the charging tentage. The centralised charging station is set up to prevent individual servicemen from overloading power points with extension plugs. It’s also a safety measure – in the event of a power trip or electrical fire, the incident can be quickly contained. The charging tentage is available all day till 10pm for soldiers who need to unwind. Just remember to share lah, don't hog.
It's definitely a bath-time experience like no other. Fill a pail up with water. Pour it into the shower bucket. Pull the rope to raise the bucket above your head and fasten it. Press the lever for water. Soap up, rinse and repeat. Oh, and, always remember to have an extra bucket of water in case you run out mid-shower, or risk having to make the Walk of Shame to either end of the toilet to get a refill. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Food for the soul
We've never met anyone who went to Camp Growl and didn't rave about the food there. The SAF cookhouse delivers top-notch Singaporean fare like bak kut teh and nasi lemak to soothe tired bodies and minds after a long training day. Meanwhile, the canteen, operated by friendly local Christine, offers delicious Aussie favourites. Kabanas (sausage) and Breaka (chocolate milk drink), anyone?
It's nice to know that some things are getting better, but the good memories will never change.