I wrote this on Facebook this morning and decided to post it here too.
Excuse the vulgarities and bad grammar, I wrote it within 5 minutes of waking up.
I just woke up five minutes ago and had one of the worst nightmare ever. It’s still very vivid in my mind.
No, it wasn’t me being trapped in a room with a reverse bear trap stuck to my face and Jigsaw talking to me through a recorded tape.
Not me being chased by a murderer, homicidal man, monster or Pennywise. Actually, I don’t have a phobia of clowns. Pennywise just popped in my mind.
In fact, to other guys, this might just seem a normal dream. But not for me.
It started off with a mundane dream. In it, I went for some random medical check-up. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. It was a typical one, blood test, urine test, eye sight test, x-ray, the works. So after the medical test, I went back home.
A few days later, I got a letter. Cool, results from the medical test are back. Here’s what the letter said:
Lim, Zhihan Zareth
Medical Results: Satisfactory
PES Status: A
Date of Enlistment: 07/09/2009 (I can’t remember the date, all I knew in my dream was that I had one week of freedom left)
Please report to Pasir Ris Bus Interchange at 0730HRS.
It was a rather simple letter. But one look at the heading and recognizing Mindef’s logo, I realized I was being enlisted. PES A some more. Now, I’ve always wanted to be a PES A or B as I wanted to learn how to handle a rifle and grenade. Call me dumb, but everyone has their own opinion. Some are just more garang (on) then others.
Back to the dream.
When I read the letter, I was horrified. What, enlistment? What the fuck is Mindef talking about? It was impossible for me to enlist because of these reason:
1) I had served 2 years of National Service
2) I am currently in Sydney studying and I can’t just stop half-way through my studies.
3) I served my 2 years of National Service and it’s time for me to fuck off.
4) Serve another 2 years? For FUCK?
5) I have permanent hearing loss. For goodness sake, did they not notice it during medical test?
6) I DID 2 YEARS OF NATIONAL SERVICE
7) Serve another 2 years as a combatant? FOR FUCK? FOR FUCK? FOR WHAT FUCK??????
Well, after cursing (in my dream, that is). I call the famous MINDEF (NS) hotline: 1800-3676767. My blood was boiling and I was ready to give that ministry a piece of my mind.
How? Well, in the real life, when I was serving my REAL National Service, I was a reservists clerk. Meaning I handled reservists policies and training. Me, being a ‘reservist’ now, knew my own rights. I still remember certain policies like the back of my hand. So MINDEF is going to have a tough fight.
Back to the dream.
I called the famous 1800-eNSNSNS hotline and managed to get through to a clerk after only five minutes of waiting. After explaining my situation to him, he put me on hold for another 10 minutes while checking my records. He came back on the phone and, guess, what he said,
“Aiyah, serve another 2 years lor. No big deal.”
FUCK THAT SHIT. Well, look here Mr. I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck, in two years, I would have finished my degree. FUCK, I would have gone on to do one more year of honours instead of wasting my time and youth camping outfield with 200 other guys. In fact, I FINISHED MY NATIONAL SERVICE AND HAVE NO NEED TO SERVE ANOTHER 2 YEARS. KNN. CHEEBYE.
Well, Mr. I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck hanged up on me before I can finish cursing his entire family.
Undaunted, I called every single superior in CMPB (Central Manpower Base). How did I know the number? Skills and knowledge from real life, man. In my REAL 2 years as a reservists clerk I made friends with the superiors in CMPB.
Well, after identifying myself to another I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck clerk, I got fed up and demanded to speak to his superior, who turns out to be a friend of mine during my REAL NS life. I won’t mention her name, its not her fault after all, its just a dream. Let’s call her Susan.
Susan: “Zareth! Long time no hear from you!”
Me (I cut to the chase): “Susan, what the hell is going on? Why am I called back for another 2 years of enlistment??”
Susan: “Ah, really ah? Wait let me check.”
After another 10 minutes wait.
Susan: “Oh, because MINDEF changed policies again mah. Aiyah, come back serve 2 years won’t die, right?”
Damn right I won’t die, not. Well, I cursed Susan’s family and hanged up the phone first. Desperate, I called direct to the enlistment office, where an unfortunate clerk picked the phone up, only to hear my screaming and ranting:
Me: “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU GUYS CALLING ME BACK FOR ENLISTMENT YOU FUCKING CHOA CHEEBYE!!! KNN! NABEH, 2 YEARS FOR YOU NOT ENOUGH, IS IT???? MUST TAKE ANOTHER 2 YEARS FROM ME, IS IT??? YOU FUCKING COCKSUCKER, I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION NOW!!!!”
The clerk on the phone reduced to a blubbering idiot. After I calmed down somewhat, I explained everything to him and told him, NOT, I repeat, NOT to just try to pawn me off because God knows, I handled every reservists matter before and I knew my rights.
FUCK, if I had to, I’ll write to the Strait Times forum and complain. Even to Temasek Review.com. God help Mindef once every reservist goes into riot mode. There goes Singapore’s security.
The clerk, sufficiently cowed, told me that he’ll need to do a thorough check on my records to understand why I was being enlisted for another 2 years. He told me he would take a long while and that he would call me back. Me, being a clerk before, told him that he better call me back by 5pm because if he don’t, God help him and his family.
Well, half hour later, my phone rang.
And I woke up.
It was my phone alarm ringing.
I’ve never made out with my pillow so hard before. I realized everything was just a dream, although a very horrible one.
I can’t explain, why, of all dreams, this has to pop into my mind. Even in Singapore, after I ORD-ed or ROD-ed, I never, ever had this kind of dreams before. My only explanation?
Well, maybe being a reservist clerk, I get screamed and yelled at by desperate reservists, who in essence, were just normal people trying to make ends meet in the harsh world of Singapore. Many times, I’ve been subjugated to lawyer’s threat, letters from the MP (Member of Parliament) and what nots. How I cursed at the clerks in my dream were exactly how they cursed at me.
Sure, some were complete, total bastards. They did not deserved my help whatsoever. They’d do anything to skirt from the call of duty, using any lame excuse. To those, go fuck yourself, you’ve never gained my sympathy.
But to the majority, especially the average joe working his butt off, I’ll always try to help them. Be it reducing their training by a few days or postponing it to another more convenient date. But sometimes, my hands were tied behind by the system and I could do completely nothing if their unit demands them to come back for ‘operational’ integrity.
In the 2 years of being a reservist clerk, I did become jaded and cynical, treating every single NSman (reservist) with suspicion, not believing their so-called ‘sob story’ until they can actually show me the hard proof. Blame it on the minority (the lame excuser, the fucking impolite ones, the one who try to fucking boss his way around the system) who spoiled the market.
And maybe because I feel guilty that I’m secured in the knowledge that I won’t ever have to do reservist training. Ever.
Who says being a clerk doesn’t come with emotional scars?