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7th Rangers: A Typical Sunday For A Recruit (Non Muslim) In Recruit Training Center, Port Dickson 1972

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No Atheists
In A Foxhole

Rudyard Kipling

" ā€œWhen you're left wounded on
Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldierā€
General Douglas MacArthur

" ā€œWe are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.ā€

ā€œIt is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.ā€
ā€œOld soldiers never die; they just fade away.
ā€œThe soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,
for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.ā€
ā€œMay God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .ā€
ā€œThe object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

ā€œNobody ever defended, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
ā€œIt is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as bright as his brass
"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint."
I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

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A Typical Sunday For A Recruit (Non Muslim) In Recruit Training Center, Port Dickson 1972
Monday, August 08, 2022

We are allowed on Sundays to put on our civvies, which we get from our storeroom, we are allowed to take out a pair of civvies and a pair of shoes once throughout the 6 months of training.

A typical Sunday starts off with all the non-Muslims gathering in front of the orderly Corporal, a NCO on duty. He will inspect us, ensuring we are shaved, wear stockings, carrying handkerchiefs, shoes polished and of course that the hair is in regulation cut, meaning nearly bald.

We are marched to the main guardhouse, inspected further and also verbally abused with derogatory terms. After all we are a mixed group of Indians, Chinese, and Dayaks with different religious faiths, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. After being ridiculed as worshipers of idols and Satan we are allowed to proceed to the bus stop.

Freedom is when you are seated in the bus and it moves out of RTC compound. Actually for us this was a respite as most of us were not overly pious, we used religion to take a break from the tortures inflicted in RTC. 

The Muslims are not so lucky, on Fridays they are assembled and force marched off, to the nearby garrisonā€™s mosque, they do not get to go out to town. Woe, betide any Muslim who misses Friday prayers. If any Muslim hides and wants to avoid going to the mosque, we non-Muslims, have to finger them out, as to avoid group punishment for all the non-Muslims. As though we were responsible for them not going for their prayers. Whenever we finger them out, they resent us. We lose both ways.

Normally, I couldnā€™t care a damn, as I believed religion was an individual choice. The instructors who have sucked our blood, become hypocrites when it comes to religion as they believe by attending Friday prayers they are cleansed of their sins, of course they will continue sucking blood until next Friday, the cycle is repeated.

All heave audible sighs of relief as the bus moves pulls out of the bus stop, we had been holding our breath and had not spoken since the assembly, and we did not want anything to jeopardize our movement to a short life full filling freedom. Some unlucky non-Muslims who do not pass inspections are not allowed out at the very last moment, for minor infractions like the Corporal on duty did not like your face.

All of us break out speaking at the same time, first words out are the curses for our orderly Corporals and the people at the guardhouse. We quickly form groups and present our plans to the various groups. The Christians want to have their breakfast and then proceed to the church, all agree to have breakfast together, and then proceed to their various places of worship. We arrange to meet up at the Hindu temple after mass.

When we have breakfast, it is not the normal everyday breakfast normal people have, there are about 32 of us. Breakfast is an exercise in engorging oneself for all the days of deprivation. It is an exercise in culinary revenge, every one of different ethnic backgrounds, due to the Indian influence, being the majority in a minority, indulge in the Indian food and most important of all, cheap.

Vadais (dhal patties), thosais (flat, round and crispy pancakes), idiapoms (literally meaning thunder bread which are steamed rice noodles), chapattis (flat bread made from wheat), puris (fried flat wheat bread) and putoo (a sort of pudding).

The various mouth watering gravy and pastes comprising dhal, mutton, chicken, peppermint and coconut paste blended with chilly, cooked in different styles. We lorded over this huge display of food. We were like starved and deprived people of the world. 

Our efforts in polishing off the food was like a big orchestra pushing, shoving, gaining a crescendo at the end, only empty plates were left before us. All notice, the stares, directed by the civilians at us, it is embarrassingly loud. We get moving to settle our bills, we feel bloated and stuffed. We move in a group, separating to go to our places of worship.

There is a feeling of contentment, happiness and satisfaction as we stroll slowly to the church. We are distinctly different from the outside world, short hair, sun ravaged faces, muscular, scarred and of course misery written on our faces. We go through the rituals at mass, following the majority action, as it has been sometime since we had been to church.

Furthermore the church was not of our denomination. In our group itself there were 5 different groups of Christians, but we were as one. It was just a place to be together. We were different, because we were the minority races who choose to serve by choice.

After mass we move towards the Hindu temple, there the prayers are over; my friends wait for us as they do not want us to feel out of place. What is there for us to do? Nothing, you need money to do something interesting, we go behind the temple; the temple is under a huge rain-forest tree.

It is cooling; we lay our butts on the cool cemented floor to rest and exchange gossip, usually about the various instructors in the different companies. We exaggerate, not too much though, to say that the training and the instructors were the toughest in our company and the training in others could not match ours.

Later in the afternoon, something everyone was not looking forward  and hated it, was reporting back to the training center. As usual we had to report to the guardhouse, go through the humiliation of being infidels and all.

I had always wondered how a person thrown in jail feels, one does not need to seek far for that kind of an experience, just join the Malaysian Army.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 8:50 PM  
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