Think SAF is taunting me

by Terence

Think SAF is taunting me. They called me this morning to tell me I’m getting my MR gift – a watch. However, I’ve not been discharged from NS yet… due to their cock-up.

So anyway, this morning, some clerk from my unit calls up and tells me that they will be sending me a letter to inform me to collect my good service award and a watch. Having watched my entire unit stand down during my in-camp earlier this year, this was and still is a sore point for me – I knew that the watch was only given to those who were standing down, i.e. put into Mindef’s reserve list, also known as MR.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity so I started grilling the poor sod who called about whether I am on the MR list or not, and when I would be getting my official MR certificate (you don’t MR until you get the certificate, so screw the watch, just give me my certificate!).

Unlike the poor clerk, I know that I am not in the MR list, simply because I have been called up for another round of in-camp training with my new unit near the end of July this year. I finally gave up because I knew that this clerk obviously knew nothing and it didn’t really matter what he said, since he would just be lying to get me off the phone anyway. I ended off by asking him why on earth was the SAF calling me to tell me that they would be sending me a letter? Why not just send the gosh darn letter and be done with it?? As expected, all I got was some mumbling that he was only doing what he was told to do… sigh.

Of course, my grilling must have gotten his panties in a twist, and he must have gone to check with the higher ups, and ten minutes later, I got another call from the idiot, telling me that he wasn’t sure whether I was on the MR list or not, but I would still be entitled to pick up the watch and good service award anyway (lame attempt at trying to put a positive spin on things).

That got my goat. Firstly, why on earth should I collect your stupid watch if I have not been discharged? Secondly, you don’t even have the sense to give it to me when I go for my next in-camp training? Why do I have to take time and go down to bloody Clementi Camp to pick up the darn thing?! Thirdly, (and this is a minor point) I know for a fact that the watch has my name on it due to a cock-up during the last in-camp, when they messed up the entire list of people who were MR and those who weren’t. A lot of the watches had the wrong rank and name on them, and some people (including myself) who were not qualified to MR had watches made in their name, while others who were qualified to MR didn’t have watches made. In short, it was a big colossal mess.

I didn’t get the watch during my last in-camp because I wasn’t on the MR list, so why the change of heart now? Probably some higher up decided that he was tired of his office being used as a watch storeroom and ordered the poor clerk to start making calls to make the stuff disappear pronto.

Lastly, this is the second good service award that I will be receiving. The first one was given to me 3 years late. So I have no idea what this second one is for, and whether it is late or early, but I have no doubt that it was not meant for me this year.

At the end of the day, all I want is for the SAF to leave me alone. Make no mistake, I will defend my country and am proud of being a Singaporean, but I just want nothing to do with their inefficiencies, senseless decisions by incompetent management, and dealing with ego-maniacs on power trips. I’ve been going through this crap for the past 10 years already (more if you count the 2.5 years doing full-time NS), and trust me, NOTHING has changed.