That Camp Growl Life

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22 Oct 2019 | OPS & TRAINING

That Camp Growl Life

// Story Benita Teo

// Photos Chai Sian Liang

English Melayu

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.

The pole that used to mark the area with the best phone reception in the whole camp.
  1. 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 to 30 other guys doing the same thing.

Soldiers gather at the charging tentage to unwind and charge their devices at the same time.
  1. 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.

Just four simple steps to get clean: fill up the pail, pour the water into the water bucket, raise up the water bucket, and press on the lever.
  1. One-of-a-kind shower

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.

The SAF cookhouse’s specially planned menus make sure that the troops at Camp Growl will always feel close to home.
Soldiers can chill out over a cold drink and some Aussie grub at the canteen.
  1. 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.


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