Call-Up Me Maybe – The Singaporean Woman’s Guide To Reservist
I was on reservist duty for the past 2 weeks and it was quite a ride! It’s been many years since I first served National Service as a young man and I could tell that things were very different this time round. Most distinctively, I could sense a strong and palpable feminine presence all around us. I’m not talking about Cik Pon and her Supper En Blanc friends; this was something else altogether that was thankfully more comforting than terrifying.
I could taste it in the cupcakes that one of the older men shared with us, packed lovingly by his wife that very morning. I could see it in the smile on my buddy’s face as he chatted with his mom on the phone at night. I could feel it in the excitement in his voice when he told me about his plans to meet his girlfriend’s parents over the weekend.
It was undeniable – the emotional support these men received from the women in their lives had a significant and positive impact on their morale and spirit. So I decided it would be a great idea this week to provide our female readers with some insight on how you can make life just a little rosier for your man while he’s on reservist!
Getting Back Into The Groove
Being flung from normal civilian life to walking around camp at 7am and watching recruits marching everywhere around me was bewildering, to say the least. “This is not normal human behavior for this early in the morning,” I kept thinking to myself, “What’s with this unhealthy obsession with marching anyway, why do we need to walk like we’re constantly angry at the earth beneath our feet?”
But alas, I quickly got back into the swing of things and my head managed to sync with the many ‘quirky charms’ of army life. It’s still surprising how quickly I can get used to wearing green everyday. It was my first time wearing the newer uniforms with pixelated design and I felt like I was in the Nintendo army, circa 1995, but I soon realized they were much more comfortable than my old ones.
By the end of my first week, I could easily sit and watch strange behavior happening all around me without batting an eyelid, although this could also be attributed to the fact that my brain functions had halted indefinitely and my innate ability to get affected by anything had gone on permanent vacation. It was like a spa for my mental faculties and I embraced it completely.
Here’s what I’d tell my wife or girlfriend – Let me be someone else for 2 weeks. Don’t ask me about work and try not to bother me with too many chores and errands. Grin and bear it if I suddenly come home from a week of reservist and my vocabulary has inexplicably transformed into that of an Ah Beng with special emphasis on various colourful expletives that you have never before heard in your life. It’s the green uniform – it makes me stupid in the head and vulgar in the mouth. I promise to morph back into my normal self when it’s all over!
The Way To A Man’s Heart
“I can’t wait for lunch at the cookhouse!” said nobody, ever. There were times when I suspected that the cookhouse auntie must have been born with taste buds akin to those belonging to an undead zombie of the night. And then there were days when I marveled at her killer instinct when it came to eliminating any hint of colour in the food she prepared daily – this was exactly the kind of bloodthirsty sensibility we needed in the army, just maybe not in the kitchen. I was deeply perplexed at how even the broccoli looked like they’d been brutally shocked the green out of them.
Perhaps this was simply a genius way to boost morale – it must have been comforting for us soldiers to note that our torture tactics were being proven effective even on the most docile of enemy vegetables. Maybe it was great to know that our kitchen staff and our food will never run the risk of ever being taken by enemy forces and that our fried chicken was probably bomb-proof and radiation-proof.
How you can make it all better – A hot delicious meal waiting for me when I get home will be deeply appreciated! If you can’t cook, suggest eating out at my favourite place. I will love you for it all the same. And don’t worry about calories – I deserve comfort food and deep-fried everything rolled up in chocolate ice cream!
Spray It, Don’t Say It
I know a lot of guys don’t like to bring deodorant out with them. According to the ingrained manual of macho that most menfolk subscribe to, carrying around any tool of personal hygiene is on the same level as riding a rainbow unicorn on the expressway and throwing feather boas and glitter at people passing by. This behavior usually proves high detrimental to everyone around him especially after a particularly gruelling route march or 5 days of not showering in the jungle.
Here’s what you can do – slip a bottle of industrial strength deodorant into his bagpack. Okay I’ll be honest; this one is actually just for my personal benefit. Thanks in advance!
Water, Water Everywhere!
I saw something new and unexpected in camp this time that I had never seen before. Every bathroom cubicle featured educational urine colour charts! These little posters (dazzlingly colour-printed and furiously laminated) showcased a spectrum of possible urine colours indicating various levels of hydration. The caption in bold said it all, “Aim for urine colour that shows you are hydrated!”
Aside from the fact that this has obviously elevated motivational posters to a whole new level, I was deeply impressed by this new effort to promote proper hydration. Heat exhaustion is the number one cause of soldier casualty, given the tropical climate and our regiment of intensive training under the hot sun.
I’m a medic by vocation and I barely did any exhaustive training but even I was not spared from the constant heat beating down on me everyday. I felt like I was slowly transforming into an 18th century old lady, fanning myself with my jockey cap while watching ambulance demonstrations.
Do what you do best – Here’s where your nagging might actually save his life! Make sure he’s drinking enough water in preparation for his training the next day. Just don’t make him overturn his water bottle to make sure he’s finished drinking everything though; his sergeants make him do that all week long and I can assure you, it is not sexy behavior.
I hope I’ve given you some great insight into the life of a typical reservist man. Basically, the best you can do is to show him some love any way you can! You can count on the fact that he hasn’t been on the receiving end of any grand displays of affection all week long – it’s hardly army policy for his superiors to be giving him air-kisses every time he does something right and you know the poor guy can’t even get a seat on the train without being labeled a national traitor on Stomp.
Greeting him at the door with your biggest smile might just make his whole week worthwhile. Because if you think about it, he’s doing it all for you and the home you’re building together. Can you think of anything else you’d like to add? Comment down below and share it with all of us![divider]
Rafiq is the resident funny guy at Muzlimbuzz.sg. A big fan of movies and television, he is a freelance writer who blogs at www.omgsianz.org