When I'm bored, I write articles, hahaha... Anyone has writing jobs for me?
Today marks my 1 year as a soldier in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the time I should have commissioned as an officer, but did not due to my lack of determination. However, this article is not about me, but itís about you, the officers of the Singapore Armed Forces.
I reckoned that in my 1 year stint, I have been to many places, having served as a recruit, officer cadet, signaler as well as a civilian working for the army! I would like to think my time with officers of these different vocations as a good learning experience.
There are many reasons why many people outside think that officers have the better end of the stick. They are given trust to handle their own matters, awarded higher respect by superiors, receive better pay and viewed by the public as more reliable. Itís almost like a textbook example of Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.
However, to my own calculative mind, I cannot help but think officers have gotten the shorter end. Like most conundrums, the paradoxical response is often the truth. In the 2 years NSF career, an officer would receive a total of approximately $20,000 while a Man would receive $13,000.
This makes it a difference of $7,000, which a single trade on the stock market would negate or increase. Think of it as small change once you start working in the civilian world.
Most Officers endure arduous training in their 9 months in Officer Cadet School (OCS) and finally after much blood, sweat and tears, commission. Having been in there, I can attest to each day being a constant struggle, and no one really knows if he will even commission. Itís a mental and physical challenge everyday. Why did I write Ďmost officersĒ? Because the officers at ALTI (Army Logistics Training Institute) hardly chiong-sua during their Pro Term!
After they commission, most are sent to units to become platoon commanders, staff officers and so forth. Being an officer is a badge of honor, but like most badges, it is also a magnet for work assignments.
Unlike a man, who can nonchalantly say he does not know to do it (tah bodoh), most officers have to accept work thrown at them by senior officers or warrant officers. The term ďact blur, live longerĒ does not apply to an officer.
Being an officer also brings about added responsibilities, and there are many things which only an officer is able to handle, as deemed by the upper echelons of SAF. Many times, men in unit would sit around stare into blank space while the officers can be seen running around handling matters. At the same time, officers also do not trust men to do things other than the most menial of matters. (lucky me I say!)
Finally, as an NSF Officer, you have to handle regular specialists, who view you with disdain because you have lesser experience, but are of a higher rank than them. If youíre unlucky and pair with a WO who is unfriendly, good luck with your 1 year stint in the unit.
As if there is not enough grievances they quietly face, officers have to serve their reservist till they hit 50 years old while man and specialists end theirs at 40 years old. Trust me, when you see reservists men ambling around in my unit, you donít want to be in their shoes. Rounded, and less fit in their later years, every moment in green is not pleasure. This applies to everyone.
In operation / war, officers must plan and execute. It is no mean feat to plan and think of battle formations in the sweltering heat while caring for your menís welfare. Men just loll around and eat their muesli bars after setting up the command posts waiting for orders. Every moment is a wayang moment. Even if youíre tired, you cannot show it to your men or risk losing their morale and confidence.
Now tell me, for seven grand, is it worth it to put in such a sacrifice for a government that doesnít care for the peopleís general welfare? It plainly isnít.
Therefore, to my platoon mates who just commissioned, and to the many more officers before and after me, I salute you, for your dedication to the country, to our parents (I remember LTC Fred Chungís speech), and for your ability to look beyond the dollars and sense.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
Ode to Love, Ode to Officers.