Thursday, October 13, 2011

Operation EliteFightingMan

I’m not too sure how to write this post. For one, it’s been about 9 days since the Graduation.. but perhaps due to how fast things were in the course, these past 9 days actually feels more like a month. Yes, time seemed to have slowed down, significantly.

In a way, it was a deliberate plan to NOT write this post any earlier.. I didn’t want to be caught up writing anything in the spur of the ‘moment’. I wanted it to be a true reflection after things settled down. A tonne of pictures and even our stylo-milo video is with me, but I’m not about to post them, cos that’s not the point of this post. This is not a show-and-tell session, but more of a reflection of what I feel now and how I felt then..

It wasn’t easy.

To say it was a walk in the park would be undermining what myself, 26 other individuals and 37 other batches stretched over the years, have gone through. I have to admit that some parts did feel like it needed some extra work, or could be improved, and there were some portions that I had a ‘this is it? Is that all?’ moment.. but for the better part of it, it was a self-actualization journey.. crystallized only by going through hardship.

A journey, I guess, that began 17 years ago, when I had my first taste of being in a uniformed group. Where I first learnt to recite a pledge or a creed by heart and that I was expected to live a life that upheld something.. that I was specially selected.

It was a journey that, over the years, I have seen how bits and pieces of those lessons and experience gained somehow got re-used and played an even bigger and more significant part of my life at each phase..

Throughout the duration of the 1st phase, I never exactly thought I’d make it true. In all honesty. I didn’t even dared think that far. All that I wanted to do, was to secure Phase I, so if anything, I’d at least have cleared it and will re-enroll into the course next year, into Phase II. Lo and behold, Phase I was over and I was thrown into a whirlwind of activities in Phase II..

They were right when they said the hardest part of the course is the Selections. In my opinion, I guess that’s the moment when the greatest pressure to perform is on you.. It was a make-or-break event, unlike most of the other activities that are scattered throughout the course. Phase II went by hard and fast. You don’t really have any time to stop and think.. u just went along with the flow. Real colours start to reveal themselves and u start getting an inclination of how a person might be on the inside..

The climax of it all, Phase III, is exactly what and how the others have described it. The superficial part of me notes down the ridiculous amount of sleep (or lack thereof rather) that we get.. almost humanly impossible, the insanely little amount of food we get and the huge weight loss I measured at the end of the course, coupled with the almost comical number of socks that I used.. but digging deeper I realize there’s actually a whole lot more to the course than just the lack of sleep, lack of food, long distances, fighting with each other, outrageous load to carry around.. there’s an underlying truth that u find out about yourself.

The truth about what makes u tick, what keeps u going.. what thoughts run through ur mind when u’re placed in a position u never thot u’d get out of.. what risks u’re willing to take.. who u really are on the inside.

To me, it’s not as important what I find out about my colleagues and buddies that matters most. Sure, I know now that there are some who will steal from me to sustain themselves, there are some who would stick by me no matter what stupid decision I make or opinion I have just because, and there are some who would jeopardize their own safety/comfort/good standing, just for my sake without me asking.. these are good things to know about the people around u when u are in this line of work. But no, that’s not the most important.

It’s about finding myself. It’s easy for someone to know who I am and how I’m like, but for me to know myself.. that’ll be more than an easy task. Which is why I’d say that perhaps our forefathers who conceptualized this course (even tho it’s copied from our American friends) had a good foresight that this would allow a soldier to truly know himself. Cos only then, is he able to perform his role better.

So my prayer now, at the end of it all, is that I keep these lessons in my heart. That I never forget the experiences, lessons and comrades that I have gained throughout these 65 days. That I learn to trust in Him who has started the good work.. That I be more like how I wanted myself to be, and less like those whom I do not want to be..

I pray I made You proud and shone your light as a guidance for others to follow.. I know there were times where I did not shine as brightly as I’m supposed to, and instead I crumbled, but I pray that amidst that, You use it and work it out for Your glory that I have made a difference to at least one individual.

It was my honour to have served You under difficult circumstances and I thank You for giving me this opportunity which few have gotten.. keep me strong to walk this path You have chosen for me and give me trust to know that You will see me through whatever You have planned in my life.. This life is Yours after all, not mine.

The 6 letters that mean the world to a soldier..

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