Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sharing Nugget #39

#39: New Year Reflections.

Finally, I feel mentally light enough to blog again. Time to catch up on reflections.

Other than the usual stuffs like managing school work, CCA, social life; and keeping my wife company, working to build a stronger marriage, learning to share space with my mum-in-law, spending time with my family; here are some highlights that are worth a thought.

#39a: I can never feel numb about war.

Most recently, I saw “Yamato” – a Japanese movie set in WWII. Briefly, it is about a few characters who went through the birth and death of the greatest warship of its time. Historically, the warship was one of the last Japanese surface ships left. Consequently, it was sent on a suicide mission to Okinawa in an attempt to inspire Japanese soldiers to defend the “holy” homeland.

Besides serving as a “wow” insight into life as a sailor on the ship, it reminded me that war is painful. That hardest part came when the sailors were allowed home to visit their loved ones, knowing that they will never come back. I cannot describe how heart-wrenching it is. We can only imagine. And you must see it for yourself.

There is a mother who cried to her son, and told him, “Don’t you dare die… Don’t you dare leave me alone”. There is a girlfriend who said, “I love you, and I will wait for you in Hiroshima”. That sucks really. We all know she will be vaporized by the atom bomb later. Then there are the fathers who saw their children for the last time. No one deserves such pain.

Then we think about those in Iraq. Americans and Iraqis dying for what? Freedom? Capitalism? Oil? You make up your own mind.

#39b: Rank and file.

Over the December holidays, I was posted to Air Force School as a Project Officer in the service support branch. It was a good experience. I was tasked to write a paper and manage the renovation projects. This means I get to design a lot and have my designs actually constructed. Woo-hoo!

Anyway, what was new to me came during the first few days when I was there. I was very uncomfortable about being “ambushed” by cadets, trainees, and even warrant officers who are as old as my dad saluting me and addressing me as “Sir”. There were times where I replied “good morning” when it was 2pm. Also, I had to practice my return salute abit. Haha… Then it struck me.

I have been in SMU long enough to feel uncomfortable about one human being having to salute another (me). What makes you different from me that you have to address me as a higher entity? Okay, I know… SAF needs hierarchy. A defense force needs rank and file. No contest, I fully agree. I think what changed is that I have learned, in SMU, that people can get things done as a team without depending on rank. I don’t see cadets or trainees as subordinates. Rather, they are colleagues.

This reminds me that I must not become on of those Officers who goes around “screwing” their subordinates, throwing their rank around and demands respect. I trust that my memories of team-work in SMU will serve me well as a reminder. In short, I have found evidence that participating in student life has opened my mind a lot. This is something we cannot learn from a textbook.


My mind feels drained now. It is tiring to reflect. Haha. “Must… rest… now.”


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