There have been many lists of how to survive army, what to bring and what to pack, but more often than not they only serve to see you through BMT. After that, you’re on your own. So what’s the life after BMT like?
And how to change NS posting if I don’t like where I’m posted to?
This list will give you a brief rundown of what you can expect throughout your life after BMT.
1. There are a ridiculous number of places you can go to after BMT
On paper, it’s more like two main places while the rest are mostly places that people don’t want (unless you opted out of command school): OCS, SCS and a myriad of places like rifleman, mechanic, security trooper, etc.
In reality, from OCS and SCS, you can become an instructor, be posted to various units at the battalion, brigade or division level, do staff work, or chiongsua. Multiply that by the number of vocations and you get what I mean by “ridiculous number of places”.
Oh wait, did I say vocations? I meant inclusive of navy and airforce and all the different vocations they have as well. As for those that don’t end up in command school, under every commander there must be men.
For every staff job, chiongsua job, CQMS and whatever form of stores, there must be clerks and storemen. So look at the above paragraph and multiply once more. For those that wanted to enter command school but failed to do so from BMT, or wanted to go to OCS but ended up in SCS, you also have a chance to be transferred to command school if you perform well.
Which also means your posting may not be where you’ll remain for the rest of your NS life.
2. You’ll most likely end up in Infantry anyway
Infantry will always be the largest force of any army. How else will they get the manpower to fight? But remember, you could still be posted to an admin (i.e. not chiongsua) job in an infantry unit. Or at least it could be not as shag as most of the rifleman if you’re posted to Support Company. Keep your fingers crossed.
3. Life after BMT is always better
At the start of every new phase in your NS journey, you will always find it tough. As time goes on, life becomes better and better, until you hit the next new phase and the cycle repeats. However, every cycle will generally be easier than the last, and definitely easier than BMT.
Nowhere else in the army is the regimentation as strict as BMT, and freedom as restricted as BMT. Further, you would have adjusted to army life and gotten used to the most basic of regimentation anyway.
Physical training may ramp up, but ultimately you’ll see the burden of physical training being shifted from the army to yourself, and you’ll take it up willingly. (You’ll have to if you don’t want to stay back for RT while the rest happily book out.)
4. You’ll see (and perhaps learn) to truly wayang
Even before you enlist, you’ll hear stories of how some people wayang to their superiors, especially as a recruit, to try to increase their chances of entering OCS. This can include volunteering for every single thing (section IC, platoon IC, rations IC, PT IC, whatever IC you can name), always talking to superiors and praising every small thing they do like they are heroes, and bringing them food (such as fruits or yoghurt) at the cookhouse.
After BMT, you’ll really understand the meaning of wayang. This is because the people doing it won’t be lowly ranked NSFs, more often than not they’ll be regulars. They’ll tell you not to wayang, and that they hate to wayang. Yet, when there are events where high ranking officers and wospecs involved, they expect you to clean the company line until there isn’t a single leaf, to march around perfectly like you’re at a parade, and sing loud enough for the whole camp to hear.
Perhaps you’ll notice these regulars “transform” in front of these high ranking people, from an intimidating figure to being intimidated. Throughout their conversation with the VIPs, they’ll be smiling and nodding their heads, and they’ll rarely walk in front of the VIPs. This is a nuanced side of the transformation from Ah Boys to Men.
This is when you realise that the working world is probably like that too. In fact, at home, when you have guests over, you’ll ensure that your place is in its most presentable state, kids will be expected to behave at their best, and guests will be treated like royalty. This is when you don’t blame those regulars at all. It’s only human nature, and everyone does it. In fact, you don’t even blame those wayang recruits you met in BMT anymore.
They did what they could to set themselves apart. From here on, you learn when it is necessary to wayang, and to what extent it should be done.
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