Do not treat the armed forces as cheap labour, says Chin Tong
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong has called for a consensus within the government, within society on the role of the armed forces and when they should be mobilised. When I joined the Army in November 1972, as a recruit, my pay was RM 60 per month, paid fortnightly. The food dished out was shitty. Dead maggots in the rice, hiding there for extra protein!
Not forgetting the brutal training. The very first day at the railway station in Seremban was chaotic with hundreds of potential soldiers from a multi ethnic background. The senior NCO’s were yelling away trying to bring order to a very chaotic situation. There was this gentleman who was moving along all pumped up with self importance he was making the situation worse by barking out to the already harassed NCO’ s.
That action brought out the meanness in the NCO’ s who started abusing everyone in the language most foul, mentioning mothers and sisters, private parts, copulation, a bit on what to do with male parts and all of it brought about shocked stares from us. The strutting gentleman we later found out was the Commanding Officer of the Recruit Training Center in Port Dickson named Major Aarof. That guy we realized later in training was a cross between Gomer Pyle and Gilligan.
All of us were rounded up like the sheep we were onto trucks .It was twenty guys to a truck, of course we were warned, not to wave or yell to the public on the way to Port Dickson which was an hour away, to maintain proper military decorum and image. As though we were the guys who created the bad image, imagine all the curses and abuse at a public railway station in full hearing range of the public, especially on the matter that somebody’s mother’s private parts was diseased.
These NCO’s who were going to be our instructors were the most sadistic bunch of people I ever had the privilege of meeting. They would put the drill sergeant in the movie Full Metal Jacket to shame.. Not to soon we reached the great big square. This is where you get to see the great military bullshit of being yelled at repeatedly. You get sorted out, which platoon you going into, under which company; you are repeatedly shuffled from place to place under the blistering sun. The realization hits you then, what the fuck are doing in hell on earth.
After all the pathetic souls have been sorted out many times and some semblance of order has been retrieved, we are issued with plastic cups and plates to go for lunch.
We are made to form in lines of three and herded to lunch. In most armies the place soldiers eat is known as a mess hall, here it is known as a cook house.
The guys were all famished, after a long journey many of us did not have much money on us, we were the poor middle class, to get rid of the hunger pangs we were always filling our bellies with water. Now when we were finally at the cook house imagine we had to line up, in four lines that snaked around the building 1500 of recruits!