enter the donald

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When I was 8, I remember first wanting to go to the U.S. I had been watching DVDs (or probably just VCDs back then) and most of them showed large landscapes of New York or San Francisco or Chicago, and I remember having a sense of awe at this country. The US was fed to us in various forms as the epitome or the ideal country. But when I came here as a 21 year old, I was matured by the realities of travel and the military, and I quickly realized this country was two systems in one.

I had an interesting question at an interview recently, by none other than Craig Calhoun who headed LSE, and he asked me if I saw a future of more fragmentation than cohesion. Do you think the idea of global cooperation is at risk? It took me a quick second, but I had to answer yes. In the short term, we are going to see people protect their own interests before they offer compromise for long term growth.

This post is not about the U.S. elections as much as it is about leadership. I have always reserved my opinions on the political processes of other countries, especially so because context always fails when you do not live in a country, just as when others critique Singapore and its politics.

I think we are seeing a megatrend play out in the larger theme of globalization. This is literally the most connected and interdependent the world has ever been, and it cannot be surprising that we are seeing inertia act to return it back to a state of familiarity.The promise of global cooperation is beautiful, and something I believe in both economically and philosophically, but as with most things beautiful, there are costs to achieving them. Were those costs forecasted, managed and equally distributed, we would see a slower acceleration to this beautiful dream, but still movement forward.

Instead, what we see across the globe now, are sub-populations lashing back at the dearth of hope facing them. Short-sighted thinking? Perhaps, but can you really blame the human nature to want prosperity as soon as possible, as easily as possible. You see wealth being flouted day to day both by your elected leaders and next door neighbor and cannot help but feel cheated. Willonia lashed out in CETA, Rural UK lashed out in Brexit and now Central US, where the bulk of blue-collar Americans work lashed out against a system that was taking away from them more than it was giving. There is a lot that is tied to the idea of privilege and social identity in this conversation that is incredibly important, especially because Trump as a person is abhorrent. He himself probably would admit he does not attempt to be Mr Nice Guy. But in the minds of the cheated, all of these do not matter anymore, and that is where leadership has failed.

I am afraid to paint with such broad a stroke the foundation of this megatrend as leadership failure, but it seems more and more convincing. The idea of globalization and working with other countries and flouting economic prowess seduced so many leaders that they failed to help their own people level up for this new future and worse, be ready to deal with new challenges. The scary side-effect is that people may see this economic and political reversion as just as much an opportunity for civil rights and social reversion, which would undermine every good work done till today.

So what do we do? We can start by holding the fort on social and civil progress, recognize that we must change our economic and political model to be more equitable and take a deeper dive into the true reality of what global living means for the future. I am a global citizen, and ironically I am invested more in the future of the world than any one country (with a natural bias towards Singapore), but damn if I see what happened last night and not recognize that in my dream to connect the world, I must seek to understand all, especially when I am afraid to.

hooah.

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and then I said no.

I’m marking today as a milestone in my life. I’ve begun my first steps of saying no ; of choosing what is important over what is necessarily visible. Strangely, I’m feeling displaced , as if a rock has been placed in my gut and I don’t know what to do about it. All I can do is think about it, appreciate my new place and somehow get used to this discomfort. It’s refreshing – being displaced. Today, I made the decision to not run for leadership in my chapter.

Giving some context, I joined Lambda Chi under a contract to myself to commit to improving the state of affairs in the chapter. What is a great brotherhood, lacked the momentum to inspire initiative and project its true self on a community that was obsessed with image. As the Vice-President, over the past year, I overhauled frameworks and planted seeds for a culture of self-motivated external involvement. But my proudest take-away from the position was when I was tired of doing well and wanted to empower others to do better. The game had become easy – it was as if I was an advanced character playing on beginner mode. That’s nothing to say of my own absolute ability – there’s so much I have to gain in experience – but I also came from two significant leadership experiences ; leading in the army and running my own private company. I realized quickly the challenge then was to captivate the chapter to adopt my vision and make it their own by finding meaning in it.  One year later, and I’m incredibly satisfied with the distance we have come as brothers and the vastly different perspective and energy we have for things. There were leaders within the chapter now – voices that mattered. I was no longer the shining tip  – I was part of a bigger foundation for the future.

Joining IFC was my way of playing on ‘very difficult’ level. The issues I’m faced to confront are so much more complex and dynamic ; and ever so scary. Mental health, inclusion, sexual assault, wellness are all topics that are so embedded into college environments and yet perpetuated in echoes throughout society. There’s so much I have to deal with just by tapping on the string that unravels into a mess of related issues and personal lives. But there also lies the opportunity to heal brokenness and potentially transform the future. I know I frequently talk in big ideals and visions, but here I see myself possibly dealing with my biggest challenge ever. And I’m excited.

We went on a retreat this past weekend to have a first touch on our leadership councils and see what we want to plan for in the year ahead. Amongst many other things, the displacement originated from a realization that the scope of my job was very real in its effects. If I did my job well, I could do the same I did for Lambda Chi – I could build a culture that perpetuates itself. I traveled back to my chapter, thinking about the election that was to happen that day. I had expressed intention in the months before of running for the first Vice-President role – a role I wanted to transform in a similar way to how I had transformed the second Vice-President role. The chapter seemed favorable to the idea and I simply had to run to prove myself. Regardless of whether I won, the decision to run itself started to become difficult for me.

I had to choose between two roles that demanded so much from me and it tore me that I cared so much about each community. The decision came finally in the comfort of my brothers, who above all else, reminded me that I had pioneered such a self-starter culture that there was a new brand of leaders emerging in the chapter. One of my mentors once told me ‘The best type of organizational leaders are the ones who empower others such that they are useless by the time they leave’ . I finally realized I was experiencing some semblance of that. I could finally say no, no because it was important that I let this culture perpetuate itself, but also because I needed to see to the bigger task at hand in my new role.

It’s here that I’m displaced. I grew up fighting for roles that allowed me to transform my environments and make them better. Yet, here I am , realizing the success comes in my saying no. In saying that I should not be involved this way – still involved, but in less prominent ways. And if this is the trend, then I’m truly growing up. I’m truly moving into my senior year and making something out of both my youth , and out of my college experience. I’m inspired, and I’m ecstatic, because the final lap is ahead, and oh boy, they’re always so sweet.

As I type these final words, the displacement is starting to sweep away. I’m starting to understand how powerful leadership can be, and how I’m still learning. The world has so much more to beat into me, the stubborn idiot that I am, but every lesson is a ballad in itself.

It’s good to be alive.

hooah.

 

where the sunset kisses the night

Recently, I’ve wondered about the difference between a soldier and an officer. It’s a subtle distinction, neither are completely exclusive of each other, but there’s a clear focus on a particular skill-set for each role. A soldier focuses on the operational execution of the task. His job is to do what must be done, and to do it right. He thrives in the heat of action, making judgement calls that are intuitive and based on experience. He is about the mission. The officer, on the other hand, thinks about the mission less in its particulars and focuses on everything else. He focuses on ensuring partners are informed and coordination is done. He ensures the front and back are covered, and that the big picture is in view. The officer leaves the fighting to his men; he can do it and he probably will be involved but he commits himself to the intellect of strategy.

There’s definitely an absolute advantage of one over the other – the officer gains more prestige because his attributes are more cerebral. He is the face, the point of contact. Yet, I wonder if the soldier ends up being the one who lives a more pleasant life. I’ve shyed away a lot in the past year from roles that are largely administrative (mostly student leadership positions) , because I’ve gained a lot more joy from being in an operational/strategic role. I can do things, get into the heart of the matter, solve things and create possibilities. I derive satisfaction from being the driving force; the pulse in the heat of things that is causing a shift in perspectives. Where the officer gets bogged down in the administrative catch-up game, the soldier pushes on doing what he knows is good.

Again, neither role is completely exclusive of each other. Every soldier needs to think like an officer, and the better soldiers in fact are officers in all attributes but name. Therein there lies a dilemma. A soldier’s hope is to do his job well, uninterrupted and to the best of his ability. Yet because he insists on leading based on influence and respect, he refuses positions where leadership is based primarily on the prestige and administrative prowess of the office. He must therefore ensure he that leads him has his best interest at heart.

It gives rise to a new paradigm in society. Politicians, leaders of all kinds, CEOs have to keep themselves in check because of their dependence on the people that follow them. If the people you lead don’t like you, you’re out. But what if the power is unbalanced? What if the person , aware of more of how the world works, decides the person in charge needs to be able to lead the way that he ‘feels’ is the most appropriate. He wouldn’t do it himself, because he’s a soldier. The burdens of the officer aren’t for him. But he’ll be the kingmaker and he’ll decide the king.

That’s my fascination. How can the world we live in, be controlled not by the kings, but by the kingmakers? These people with money, influence and sizable authority put in power kings, who are in all respects officers, that help them, the soldiers, gain more advantage. People like Murdoch and Daley who run their societies without prejudice have to be complimented for their cunning.

Is this a problem? I would argue so. How would you fight it? Current models fight for systemic change, changing the way systems work so that people in power can do their jobs without the burden of being beholden to the kingmaker. But that takes time, and the people in power are incentivized to fight these efforts. Instead, I prefer a more Batman-esque approach. You fight the darkness by using it against itself.

What if people who had the best interests of everyone at heart were kingmakers instead? They knew what the countries and organizations would benefit from, and ensured the right person got in power. It’s a tricky line to walk on. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and in this position , if successful, power is again held unevenly. There has to be hope though, absolute strength of belief in what is right and good. What is necessary for the future. Discussed through discourse and hammered through experience, and most importantly not veiled for another agenda.

Kingmakers and kings, a tremendously fascinating phenomenon that continues to permeate through society in every way without us even knowing about it. Can we turn it on itself?

geronimo.

my national service story – and why green goes well with everything (part 3)

the final part of this reflection series.

i started my time in Bravo Company, which was a training company. Life was good right off the bat. My PC was very flexible, my PS was objective-oriented. Four of us joined an existing batch of specs – meaning we had to adapt to their culture rather than define our own. The great thing was that it was pretty easy to get used to the culture; it was a “do what’s needed” culture which in all honestly is under-rated.

Too many times do we end up overworking, especially from all my experience in training school. The fact that they were all from poly gave me a lot more to learn. Some dear friends I made in the bunk.

The batch the ORD-ed way before me – PC Charles Bey, 1SG Tank, Jeff, Wenbin, AJ, Yonglin (the monster), Sherwin, Ryan, Yi Hao, Zhen Hao, Jay, Wei Jie, Jon, Rico, Victor, Wee Tong, Edward, Don, Yongli, Derek, Joshua, Wen Jian  and everyone else.  Lots of fun.

My RSM disrupted my regular NS routine very early and asked if I wanted to be a part of NDP, as part of the Colour Party. Usually, only regular WOSPEC are asked to take on this role, but they were extending the privilege to me. It was a tricky choice cos I had just started The Hidden Good. But with Leon’s agreement , I decided to expand my exposure. NDP is something everyone has to participate in at least once right?

It was one of the longest, most tiring journeys I ever took. Footdrills are not just monotonous and repetitive, there’s almost nothing to look forward to other than the final day. Every Saturday for four months were burned, and that disrupted my normal work schedule. It was easy for a lot of tongues to swag during this period.

But with good friends made on site, we grew closer. From my Ensign, Dickson, and my orderly Hongbin, to the people from other formations and services, not only did I learn a lot about the Army, I learnt a lot about MINDEF and about doing Tri-Service wide activities.

On the final day, I remember the strong sense of pride standing in front of the nation, and marching through the crowd. People pointed to you and said “look at that handsome man” . That was a day to remember. Four months of tireless training and we finally reached here.

Gerald, Jiarui, Meng Yuan, Elvis, Wen Jie, Chen Rong, Brandon, Kaisheng, All the Parade SMs and all the Support Personnel from Air Force – thanks for making the NDP journey a proud one.

___

Immediately once I came back, I only lingered around for a while before going off for my Platoon Sergeant Course. This time, it wasn’t so much about learning anything rigid – it was experiencing sharing back in ETI. Something like an MBA course. I learnt a lot about how other Engineer Units functioned and some best practices. Being a PS was somewhat more organisational, and required a good balance between being in the office and on the ground. We were neither one nor the other.

Small batches come together fast. We hitched up pretty well , and got friendly fast. It was a great 3 weeks. None of us wanted to go back.

Thanks to Boon, Ah Tu, Adrian,Yong Jie, Raymond, Alan, De Jun, Joshua, Qing Gui, Ardy, Zhenguang, Putra, Darren, Amos, Wai Hon, Yunus for the wonderful new experiences.  I’m glad we kept in touch.

___

When I came back, things had more or less shifted. The platoon was still there but I had new 3SGs, my new PC had settled in and the new command team was in place.

LTC Kenneth who I deeply respected and admired had been posted out, and MAJ Lim had posted in. Warrant Chew had taken over as BSM recently as well. My CSM had changed to Warrant Andrew  – basically this happens a lot in the army. Luckily my RSM , Warrant Chua was still there – he was the biggest enabler of my whole army career – someone I respected a lot.

My PC was an amazing person to work with. I came to deeply respect his thought process, but more importantly the amount of care and concern he gives to his soldiers. He is really a leader with a heart. LTA Lee Cheng Qian  , I will proudly salute you anyday. He honoured his word, and worked on what was necessary, rewarding fairly yet remaining strict in his principles.

My 3SGs are really last-mile leaders. I didn’t have to micromanage with them at all – they were incredibly capable and burgeoning with soft and hard leadership. Shawn (now a 2SG of course), Yao Chen, Kenneth, Chester, Colin, Nigel, Ming Zhe. The platoon is in good hands.

My platoon – I’m damn proud of them. I wasn’t there a lot – being pulled out for all kinds of activities, and when I was finally back it was time to ORD. In fact , as I type this I’m booking back in for the last time…

I can’t say I was a very good PS because I wasn’t there a lot – but I tried my best. I did hope to share with them the importance of leading a healthy life while in NS, to care about things, to live for a purpose. These lessons are probably the best I could impart. One year will pass by soon enough guys.

I must give special thanks to my OC, CPT Alastair , CSM Warrant Andrew, S1 CPT Derek, CPT Jerome, S2 CPT Wu, S3 MAJ David, SSG Qiu Guang, SSG Joon Hong, SSG BenMin, 2LT Wen Yang, 2LT Wenbin, 1SG KK, 1SG Vincent, Desmond, Damien, Kenneth, Eric, Gerard,  Clarkson, Wei Kwang, Marcus, Sam, Aaron  for giving a great working environment. Army is indeed a people organisation  – and these people made it survivable.

___

So there it is, my life in Army in 3 posts. There’s probably a lot more people I met, interacted with, befriended, fought with etc. but I’m sorry if my memory didn’t capture you now. It’s going to be refreshing living as a civilian from tomorrow onwards – to be free.

Reservist Cycles only starts in 5 years so I have little to worry about. Most important in this equation were God, my Family , my BS Group and Church, my Core Friends and my Online Community for taking this journey with me.

Someone like me doesn’t just connect with others easily, he remembers them. He is grateful for the volume of experiences he accumulates, and the treasure of friendship he has plundered. I can’t wait – it’s time to remove this green uniform.

geronimo

my national service story – and why green goes well with everything (part 2)

after getting the news I was going to SCS, I remember pulling out my wisdom tooth to get a good break before going in . Honestly, my extra teeth were starting to ache, so it was just very timely. I remember shaving my head to match the “freshly POP-ed” Privates that would form the bulk of my batch.

SCS was a new world. granted, karma was a bitch to me again , sending me to Lima where Guardsmen held the fort and the infamous Ranger PC kept domain. and of course, because I had the unique CBR badge, I was quickly singled out for the slaughter.

a part of me wished I could still cross over to OCS, but I was generally satisfied with where I was. leadership was self-determined – we were to decide for ourselves our fates. if we were honourable, we’d get through; but if we were to play around too much we’d get the axe. it was back to life as an infanteer, wearing the iLBV and learning about various weapons and tactics. my knowledge of the army continued to grow. my bunk was pretty fun, with its fair share of antics. there was no one excessively “wayang” in our section, everyone wanted to do their best and graduate. i made some of my dearest memories in the field camp on Tekong.

i remember feeling so suay that we were the lucky bunch being sent back to the treacherous island. i had so many memories left behind there, going back awoke them all again. i learnt that in the jungle, with the gear on, the soldier in me comes out ferociously. it’s do or die, fight or lose.

but we pulled through. the enciks were easier to talk through as well – they were fountains of wisdom, pouring out not just skills but stories that made a lot  of sense. the 8 weeks there flew quite fast, but SCS is truly the spiritual home of the WOSPEC Corp.

Thanks to Warrant Yuen, Warrant Chang, Staff David for your honest leadership. Created the best kind of memories.

My section – Kah Leong, Bobbi, Pak Ming, Jun Zhou, Kevin, Jon, Liang Jun, Jyh Harng, Edison, Joe, Daniel, Yuan Feng, Zi Xuan, Zhi Sheng,Ernest and Justin the Shark. 

Fucking amazing what we had.

___

My Engineer Training Phase was probably the defining part of my training year. This was where the skills that mattered most were taught, and the decisions I made that affected my path most were made.

the bunks here were phenomenal. life was abit more regimental but we didn’t mind. heck, I came from Kestrel. Regimental was nothing.

Again being singled out as someone who came out from unit was an advantage I played out fully. in ETI, i met some of my best friends in army. it was a smaller batch, so we grew our culture fast. we defined it and held it proudly.

we were that much closer to being a specialist.

Ervin, Frank, Li Xu, Jeremy, Ping Woo, Paesson, Deng Yang, Kah Fong, -Daniel, Aloysius – some smexy times we had.

Some of the better friends I made in my army life – Alex, Joshua Chee, Jervin(Who I met again after class), Brandon and actually a lot. There were so many people.

___

CBRD CC was where everything played out. here, it was home turf. I knew the game, and I had to play it well. there was added responsibility, because not only was I the resident laojio, CPT Alex who was my OC when I was in the unit as a pioneer was now the Course Commander. He had higher expectations of me, and rightly so. My ex-CSM was a Course Warrant as well. What were the chances right?

I had learned enough this whole journey to start applying the lessons I learnt.  Leadership is about applying yourself to the needs of others , it’s about being present, being available. Leadership in the army is about decisiveness. No one needs a political speaker, they need someone who can give specific direct decisions and instructions to lead to success. It’s about building an image of trust, of certainty. It’s about tough love, and soft touches – showing you care in the darkness but remaining the spirit of force in the light. Did I embody of all this? Probably not, but I tried my best.

Graduating out of the course with the Golden Bayonet was recognition that I had what it took. My blip as a pioneer was only temporary , that this was where I was to be. It was my underdog story – my clawing up the ladder.

So CPT Alex, CPT Zhifa, Warrant Kelvin, Warrant Ravi, Warrant Jack, Warrant Neo, LTA Jerome – thanks for your mentorship. Thanks for caring so much. Thanks for giving a damn.

My powerteam Half-Life that emerged victorious – Yong Kee, Alfred, Frank

The friends I made – Akio, Soon Kee, Dickson, Chea Hau, MSG Adrian, CPT Derek, Yong Jian, Darren, Raymond, Puvir, Meng How, De You, Terry, Vincent, Wei Chong, Min Ren, Shaun,  Dickson, Brian (who I met after so long in Kestrel) – all made the last leg of the course a power-packed one.

During SCGP , it was really another proud moment. I didn’t tell my parents I was the contingent commander again, and that gave them the bejeepers. My churchies (MY AWESOME CHURCHIES) came down to support me – love these people. Man , that was an amazing day. I love creating memories.

___

I’ll write Part 3 about unit life soon , and schedule the post for tomorrow! Talking about the Spec Culture, NDP 2013 , EPSC and finally my dear platoon.

it’s good to remember.

geronimo.

my national service story – and why green goes well with everything (part 1)

i’ve planned this for a while – my National Service post. i’m not doing it closer to the date, nor after I ORD mainly because I’ll be running the Standard Chartered Marathon and I want to thank everyone while I’m still enlisted.

___

i started my national service as the archetype “Wayang King” – I’ll admit that. I walked onto the epic parade square , jaw squared to face the next two months thinking whatever training I had from Scouts would prepare me for what was to happen. i remember getting the slot of paper saying “Company : K” and feeling my heart sink a little as I recalled the advice of my seniors “If you get N or K , you’re dead” .

there wasn’t much time for things to sink in. we were pushed towards the SAF pledge, and a loud appraisal of the “With My Life” caveat, in front of my parents. i remember walking away from them, telling myself I have to make them proud. it’s one of my key motivations in what I do – making sure my parents see their efforts in raising me weren’t wasted; that I was reaching, punching, fighting.

the next two months went by slowly. it’s by far the slowest two months I ever experienced. coupled with having the fiercest Encik on the island, and some of the craziest sergeants known to BMTC that year, my section was quickly forced to pull things through fast.

my fitness was god-awful. listen guys, whatever your parents or friends tell you, don’t binge before you go into army. it will destroy any possibility of an easy life in army.

i had pulled my MCL before coming into BMT, making running and jumping an absolute horror. i wasn’t at my peak exactly when I  should be. but i was still focussed on making sure we got things done – at all expenses. and that’s where things took a turn for the worst. putting my fitness aside, i think in retrospect i had made for a healthy candidate for command school. but when my fitness was clearly lacking, i had bouts of overcompensation , and rubbed off wrongly on a lot of people because I was fighting to prove my worth. i need to apologise for that. i was wrong, and was hard to get along with.

nevertheless, i remember my BMT section with amazing pride – there were a lot of tacit plans made and late night conversations that made me miss home a bit less. i remember the first time i came home, my mom bawled at how much i  had changed. my dad fed me like a king , and my sister was amazingly cushy with me. my brother was normal , but he was 16, he hid his emotions well.

every week back home was a precious airlock in time and space. it was as if things back in camp didn’t matter and i could focus on being myself. but time passed by too fast. without even thinking about it, i would be back in camp. and the week would roll.

there’s so much more i could write about BMT – in fact I think I did a post on it immediately after. hmm… here it is! http://ilovelifeinc.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/a-slight-resuscitation/

but this is a thanksgiving post so let me thank the following:

LTA Jeremy, my PC. It’s tough being a BMT PC, and there’s probably very little time to help every individual but you tried and I can appreciate that.

2SG Han Wen, 3SG Martien, 3SG Kit –  Our Specs. Man, this was my first exposure to the WOSPEC Corp and you shaped my leadership style from then on. tough love . there was a lot of things we learnt NOT to do as well, but I think we took a lot more things that we SHOULD do.

2SG Michael, 2SG Anson, 3SG Ali – I had a lot of fun with you guys , even as a recruit. When life becomes too killer, having specs who can poke some fun into anything makes things a lot better to handle. I was glad to be part of that.

And of course my amazing amazing section –  Zhen Qun, Yilong, Wei Xiong, Tenny, Phang (man’s man this guy) , Yun Han, Ming Zuo, Yi Hong, Chris, Tong Wei, Hanaffi, Sitoe, Wei Cong. Lots of amazing shit happened – good stuff. Thanks for bearing with me haha.

There was of course the platoon mates as well – the people that made the days interesting. Matthias, Shaun, Tyn Long, Brian, Timbo (my first friend on the Island) , Kian Chong, Joel , Wee Ern, Jason, Ronald, Jielong, Andrew, Lipkoon and the rest of the platoon.

BMT was where I made mistakes and learnt from them.

___

After BMT, I went out for my vacation trip to Hong Kong and got the posting to CBR PNR in my hotel room. I inferred two things – I thought I was going to by in CyberPioneer (the media arm) and I knew I wasn’t going to command school. The latter point was coming – I had failed my BMT and couldn’t get in no matter what. The former was slightly exciting till I decided to use Google . That’s where I discovered that not only was I to be a “Man” but I was going to be wearing gas masks, working in high-risk environments and earning a $200 bonus. My parents immediately over-reacted and asked if I could revocate. They asked these kind of questions a few times in my whole army career.

I went in with an open-mind but a sunken heart. Seletar Camp had renovated 90% of the compound. My unit was in the un-renovated 10%. It was really a mental battle – having to stay motivated for the duration of the Pioneer Course, our 2 months of acclimatization into the operational requirements and technical backlog to be a Pioneer.

there was a big part of me that just wanted to do well enough to have a comfortable life, but a bigger part of me also wanted to be true to myself. my platoon mates were all over the place, and in fact they were some of the best bunk-mates I’ve ever had. when you’re a pioneer, you have a high level of self-respect . you know that despite having commanders, you still own what you do and therefore take pride in that. we worked hard, and came back to rest hard.

the course was a killer cos of my OC, one of the people I came to respect greatly over time. he had a no-holds barred approach, and was ruthless in his expectations. but he also ensured we had pride in what we did. so it was “those” kind of trainings that made us graduate with a strong sense of belonging to the seemingly lackluster compound we had. we gave our own color to the area.

life became a lot better this time – we could book in in civilian clothes, we had more flexibility in what we did. i had admin time for once (kestrel never gave us  the privilege). and the pay was amazingly better.

i graduated at the top of the cohort, giving me the blessed opportunity to go over to SCS. it was one of those flip moments because I learnt so much more about leadership as a Man than I think I ever did in my whole army career. i knew the impact of bad leadership, the frustrations of the men under your charge, and how to push people to the overall objectives from the ground. and this knowledge was only going to grow.

CBRD Pioneer Course was where I learnt I had it in me, and could grow.

this time , I’d like to thank my OC , CPT Alex,  2IC, CPT Shawn and CSM, 3WO Kelvin for running things. In the Unit, the make and break is really up to the command team and the direction they choose. This made it.

My PC, LTA Su Weijie – I realise all my PCs were about to ORD once I come in… but anyway, you were committed and cool. Things had to make sense, things had to matter and that made it easier for us.

My Specs- PS 1SG Francis, Ming Han, Zhen Jie, Ian, Chuan Heng, Kelvin, Nicholas,  the whole crew was really a unique bunch to be led under but it was a different experience being led to work together, rather than being led to move on fecklessly . Chuan Heng and Kelvin (my section’s personal Sec Coms) were particularly inspiring – I took a lot of contrast to my BMT Specs from them, and combined the best of both worlds for my own experience.

My batch-mates, and the people I truly truly wish I didn’t have to leave but did – thanks for making the best damn experience I had in a platoon. Justin, Sanjev, Arshvyn, Antarcus, Nicholas, Jerry, Bryan, Yi Cheng, Mon Thu, Shi Yang, Paul,  Yong Hao, Zhong Hao, Wen Xiang, YuHao, Darryl. I’m glad I still got to talk to you guys when I was in camp. Thanks for not making it weird.

___

This is Part 1 – Part 2 will cover my Command School journey, NDP and my Unit life. I may have a Part 3, but there’s a lot I did while in army I realise. I’m glad I got to share the experience with so many people.

geronimo

i think best when i’m drunk

It’s all over now

so let me write 10 random things here –  because they float in my mind like incessant rats pecking at the edges of my sanity. these things are part of a whole, these things all make me feel cold.

  1. this is an exciting process. my mind goes numb again, i sleep late and wake up early. i skip breakfast, i drink to tone down the ringing noise, i let my ideas just run off onto paper and then into reality. i’ve had such highs before, and I know i must run the race to make best use of them. Yet, the day will come – when I die once again. everything will have a game-end – and this time I will be the cost.
  2. partnerships are tricky business. there’s a line you have to draw between being a friend, and being in business. but honesty has always been our key- and I’m a clinical liar with anyone else.so let’s keep this torch lighted- let’s not let metaphorical illusions get in our way. let’s fight , because I’m a warrior at heart.
  3. my body is dying. the heat load i’ve taken upon myself , together with the fitness regime I must endure to get back to shape and the emotional stability I must portray have taken its toll. geronimo, i sleep and wake up in a wink – and my body carries the pain for me.
  4. i’m glad my life is become so fulfilling. i’ve met new people (celebrities, experts, activists) and as I stand at this point – I know I’ve become 10x better than the person I was 3 months ago. God has shown favour on me. This is high intensity- high impact.
  5. Where I used to be afraid I was losing friends to time and travel, I’ve begun to treasure the few that I care about.  To me , I’m utterly loyal to those who believe in me and vengeful on those who try me. It’s not Christian , yes. Moving forward, I think I’m pretty happy with the posse that I’ve managed to discover, and am glad for the nights out I have with these individuals.
  6. Where the heart used to yearn for a relationship and a romance with someone , now lies a romance with life and God. Yes, I still go for random dates and meet with old flames but I’m happy that I’ve become satisfied with a pace that is God-driven and confident in a future that will unravel on itself. Boy, am I looking forward to college also.
  7. my music playlist is a lot more interesting now. as is my hidden finds. catalogue. as is my good reads. catalogue. as is my business ideas. sheet that i carry in my wallet. lists are great. they help me keep track of the fascinating things I encounter along the way.
  8. leadership is a lot more dynamic now. am i a good leader? I hope to be. I hope to inspire, to overcome, to take charge. yet, more importantly I want to groom, I want to unleash potential, I want to explode people to new heights. Mentoring is an investment – it’s not as easy as speaking words. Having over 90 people looking to you in total for a say or instruction is a hefty thought for someone who hasn’t entered university or work yet.
  9. I’m a purveyor of good things – talent, awards and skills. When I ORD , i don’t just hope to take a picture of all that I’ve collected in my time here in army – but a picture of the lessons I’ve learnt and the abilities I’ve gained. I don’t know how to capture it.
  10. i will have a hotel in my name called the rovik. this is my ambition speaking. and it’s proven to be a force not to be reckoned with.

there, my mind is a lot clearer now. i can stop drinking now.

to the rest – check out our facebook page here http://facebook.com/thehiddengood  – LIKE AND SHARE PEOPLE. I DEPEND ON YOU.

to the sleepers in the day,

rovik.

geronimo.