The Human Instrumentality Project

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Last week I opened my written diary and was shocked to find that I had not written in it for half a year! I analysed the reasons in my written diary, so I see no need to repeat them here.. Somehow in my written diary I'm more open about what I think, feel and experience. The idea of living in a glass-house, writing everything in a public blog for all to see, is impractical. After all, everyone has hidden secrets, hidden thoughts, that are not for public consumption. Furthermore I put in effort to write with detail and elaborations in my diary. I do not want to be reading it months or years down the road and not understand what I was trying to say to myself then.

Hindsight makes the insurmountable problems of the past seem so insignificant now.

My friends appear to be going through bad patches recently. Their blogs speak of sadness, of being lost. I wish I could do something for them, but they are the ones who have to slay their own dragons. And meanwhile, I have my own dragons to slay. I can only wish them well from here, and leave them with a quote:

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
- Helen Keller

I have not seen my secondary school classmates for more than a year already. They must have forgotten me, for that's who I am: forgettable. Quiet, unremarkable, had no life, nothing special to remember me by. I was very average then. And still am now. It is a subconscious urge, to be average, to be in the background, to stay out of the limelight. I am quite adverse to attention, a fear that I'll be unable to 'rise up to the occasion', a fear that I'll disappoint. Since my youth, expectations of me have been high, being in the Gifted programme where everyone was expected to be a leader, to be special, to be talented. But I was not, am not. As long as no one can tell, it's alright, I'll pretend to be one of the bunch. But when the light falls on me, they'll find out that I'm no tall heron, I'm just a chicken thrown into the wrong pen. What will happen to me then? What will I do?

How I did stray from the topic. Anyway, now that a number of my secondary school classmates are abroad in university, there seems little incentive to meet. I'll have to find the time to meet them, either individually or as a group. I haven't seen my JC classmates for a few months, as well, and I'm starting to miss them. Looks like I'll be busy during my platoon block leave next month.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Made a few modifications to this page over the past fortnight. Added a few links, changed my blog description into a quote, that I'll be changing once in a while. All the quotes were drawn from's Quote of the Day e-mail service. Lots of repetitions in that one, but gems pop up once in a while.

I also got a new website, but it's gonna be empty fro quite a while, I've got nothing to put on it really, but it can host any pictures or sounds I wanna use here. There's a bandwidth limit that I'm not very eager to test, though..

My Day of Defeat download just completed! I'm gonna spend some time playing it right now. =)

Before I know it, it's been a week since I last posted. I'm on standby this week, and time passes very fast as a result. Actually managed to get more sleep this week, since we can't do anything during standby except man the ops room and wait for something to happen. The odd day off (like today) helps as well.

I believe everyone (in Singapore, at least) has heard about the Bungling Robbers, who robbed a bank in Malaysia, scooted onto a sampan, and landed, of all places, in Pulau Tekong. As I write, they're still weaving through the jungle in Tekong, running into the usual spiders, thorns and marshes. They must feel like hell, I know 'cause I did, during my SISPEC days. Serves them right, heh.

I've been reading misty's blog for the past couple of weeks. Misty was my junior in junior college, but I wasn't very close to my juniors. I was lost in my own world of misery, one that I had, in a moment of extreme short-sightedness, painstaking made for myself, one that I'm still trying to get out of completely. Reading misty's blog is an enlightening look into the life and thoughts of a person with whom I've shared a class bench for a year. Now I'm only a name to them, perhaps even less to some.

Life in the office is now pretty normal, after the air has been cleared. I'm quite indebted to my platoon 2IC for that. My opinion of him was going slowly downhill before that, but now he's earned my respect again. I'm putting in more effort as well, no longer uncaring about what others think of me. Another life's lesson learnt.

More later tonight, I think. It's dinner time now.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Short and sharp thunderstorm in the evening. The skies made a tremendous din, the sounds and lights were impressive. There must have been 1 lightning strike every 3 seconds or so. If I had a camera with shutter control I'd have some pretty pictures. 1 plus point for getting a digicam. I've been scouting around but ain't willing to take out my wallet. Hard work for little money makes one stingy. Haha. =P

There's this voice in my head that drags me to doom. I call it the short-sighted one. I suppose I've been listening to it too much in the past. What it does is focus on the short-term feelings and emotions, and allow them to influence my actions, mainly negatively. It keeps whining, "I'm tired, let's take a rest", "I'm tired, let's not go out today", "I'm tired, ignore him, he can fend for himself", and other such negative stuff. And I listen to it too much. Thus causing my "personnel problem" in camp. Damn it to hell.

I tried not listening to it today. I went out with friends today. True friends. Friends who are there for me whether I deserve it or not. Most days I think I don't deserve them. I enjoyed myself rekindling the friendship. Compared to the alternative of spending the afternoon at home in front of the computer, I think I made the right choice.

Thanks JQ, PF and C, for an entertaining afternoon. I've not had so much to laugh about for so long. Especially PF, your warmth really made my day.

Thanks Ed, for coming along. Sometimes you might feel weird, and many times you make small sacrifices, but you always keep me company whenever I need it. Pity you had to leave because of an emergency, but hope you have a nice day today.

I'm growing up, I suppose. Bit by bit, sometimes by the hard way, I'm becoming more mature. I can look back at my previous actions and see how silly they are. Next step is to actually stop doing them silly stuff. First I can quash this stupid voice in my head...

Friday, March 12, 2004

Unknowingly, I have become a fishmonger.

The kettle had been whistling for a long time already, and the head honcho decided to let the steam out today. Steamed fish tastes nice, but steamed fishmonger doesn't. Especially when one find out, to his horror, that he's the fishmonger. Suddenly he is an ostritch, looking for sand to bury his head in. But he is also a man, and a soldier, and he takes it straight in his face, unflinching. The hurt and sadness is borne within. After all, he grudgingly admits, he had it coming.

A man wakes up in the depths of a dank pit. His dreams of sunshine and breezes dissolve in the rain. The way out is long and hard. But he has seen what lies beyond the confines of the pit. The sunshine and breezes and rolling green hills can be his to enjoy again, if he has to will to get there. Gritting his teeth, he begins the climb.

A very trying day. Morale has never been lower. Retribution comes in lump sums. I almost hate myself, hate my life. But the harder I hit the ground, the higher I must bounce. I'm no cheap ping-pong ball to stay quashed on the floor. I must be a rubber ball, to bounce no matter how hard I fall. I must correct my mistakes, and show myself that I can do it. Only now I'm very very tired. I could either scream it out at the beach or weep into my pillow. Or I could wither and die inside, become a hollow shell. But I can'[t afford any of these options. Maybe I'll learn from you, JQ. I'll walk home tomorrow.

Monday, March 08, 2004

The skies just played a cruel joke on me. Yes, I'm home again. I was almost at my camp gates when I received a phone call -- my sweep detail had been cancelled. It appears the VIP doesn't enjoy breakfast in the rain. So here I am, back in front of my beloved computer, slightly drenched and quite disgruntled.

A nice introduction into my rant for today: the rain.

I hate rain. Rain has ruined many of my activities, more than I can count. Soccer games, trips to parks or to Pulau Ubin, even shopping trips or dates with friends have been ruined by rain. Because I do not have a waterproof bag, I hate to travel when it's raining. I always fear for my bag and the inevitable book within. Whenever it rains I will moan, "There goes a fine day." Even after the rain has stopped its effects linger. Puddles along the pavement to weave and skip about. Dripping eaves everywhere. Cars offering free showers as they roar through puddles on the road. Outdoor activities are a no-no after a rain. Wet grass and muddy tracks combine to ensure the day ends with me wet and dirty from the waist down.

I used to enjoy tumbling on a cool bed on rainy mornings, refusing to wake up till noon-time. I used to peer out the window at the lashing rain pounding the streets, the wind howling anguish, the lighting weaving amongst the clouds. All while snug in the warmth and comfort of my home, feeling thankful for the roof over my head and the four walls around me, looking at the forlorn street below which seemed devoid of life, like a ghost street in a ghost town. Sadly, there is little opportunity for that in my life anymore, no time to gawk at the rain, no time to whittle away in the house doing nothing. There's no reason for me to like the rain anymore.

My hopes of writing a long entry today are dashed by a last minute phone call from camp -- I have a sweep tasked at 0330 hrs tomorrow morning. Therefore, after this short entry I'm heading back to camp to prepare for it. I'll end this entry with a quote:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, March 04, 2004

On Monday, I had been looking forward to a relaxing week. My platoon had been rotated to a passive posture, and work would consist largely of attending lessons on new equipment. The rest would have been welcome, for the month of February had been a hectic one.

My hopes of a peaceful weekend were broken as tasks started popping up like weeds in a yard. Paperwork and job taskings amidst equipment lessons meant little time to sit and soak in the air con in the office. Coupled with an intensive PT regiment in preparation for IPPT, and I am shacked out. Therefore my "radio slience" the past 2 nights. I had entries in my head for the previous 2 days, but always chose sleep over the internet.

No special thoughts for today, since I spent my free time either dozing or reading a book called 'Panzer Battles' by Maj. Gen. von Mellenthin about his experiences as a Wehrmacht (German Army) commander during World War II. In the book he analysed the strengths and weaknesses of both sides' armies and commanders. The tactics and thought processes of German commanders were also detailed. Our own SAF has plenty to learn from the Germans, who were superior to the British and Americans in tactics and training. World War II marked a revolution in the tactics and strategy of war, and the Germans were forerunners in adopting the new ideas. It is fascinatinig to read about how the new ideas regarding the use of armour played a part in propelling the Germans to overwhelming victories in Poland, France and North Africa, against superior numbers and later superior equipment as well. The Germans could well have conquered one-third of the world, if not for Hitler. And if not for Hitler, the prospect of a German superpower might not be that bad after all!

Monday, March 01, 2004

I was worried that my downcast mood the last week would affect my work performance this week. Instead I was surprised to find that it had gifted me with a sense of serenity. Things that made me depressed at work no longer shook me as much today. None of the difficulties and grievances I encounter in camp can compare to the loss of a precious relationship. It is a fresh new look at life, at what really matters. Colleagues, I'll have hundreds in my lifetime. Acquaintances, thousands. A girl like JY, I might never meet ever again. What hurt can a few unfriendly colleagues cause me when I've experienced the hurt of giving up someone priceless? Why should I let what they say or do bother me?

But enough about that for today. Today I had to postpone my first dinner date with a girl in almost 2 years. I had not seen my jie for months, so I proposed dinner with her today. But my RSM had other ideas for me on this Monday and first day of March. My bunk is a famous pigsty, one into which even pigs would hesitate to step. The SAF is partly to blame for trying to stuff 20+ 3SGs into a bunk built for 8. My RSM chose do broach the issue today of all days, with the end result being a stand-by-bed at 2100 hours, and no 3SG allowed to book out before that. Even though this was eventually relaxed to a 1900 stand-by-bunk conducted by a comparatively lenient warrant officer, it totally ruined my dinner date. My earlier-mentioned serenity helped me get over this calmly, for the usual me would have whined about it incessantly to anyone who cared to listen.

On a side note, my bunkmates and I near broke our backs transforming our pigsty into a five-star hotel bunk. We even made radical changes to our feng shui. The end result amazed concerned specialists, warrants and officers who popped by to give us encouragement. I was amazed myself at the end of it. My bunk actually looked habitable!

My friends

Sheares Hall Acers


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