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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pulau Tekong

The last time I stepped onto Pulau Tekong was more than 20 years ago. And unlike the younger male of today, I did not do my Basic Military Training there. So I had very hazy memory of the island other than that it was bare and hot!

View of Tekong camp from the sea
Recently I managed to visit Pulau Tekong. No I wasn’t going there to do any soldiering. Me I too old for that. I was there to send off the Kid for his stint. D day for him and a good old walk down the memory lane for me.

The last time I went there, we were dumped onto Changi Beach from our 3-tonners and then herded like sheep up to a hot and open RPL. Once on Tekong, we had to march to the training ground. But nowadays, the soldiers are ferried in air conditioned passenger launch from a airy clean ferry terminal at Changi and whisked off straight to another equally spacious jetty which leads directly to the compound of the camp.

I don’t have any impression of the old camp there but certainly the camp on Tekong now squeaks squeaky clean. It looks a little like one of those nice holiday resort!

We were taken on a mini tour of the camp. Much has changed from my times. The parade square is tiled.  The obstacle course has changed too. Now there are more obstacles and only a few favourite have remained. Training for the soldiers has changed too! Now, it seems there are no night training in Tekong and training ends the latest at 6.30pm. Is that true? Maybe the Thursday night story is real after all! Now, the soldier uses mini-note book instead of paper manual and honed their shooting skill in air condition comfort in an arcade like simulator room!  Now, the mattress the soldier sleeps on is 6 inch thick, branded some more! Mosquitoes net are available for those who fear mosquitoes!

Swearing In
Last time we did our swearing oath at CMPB. Now the enlistees get to do it in air con comfort in an auditorium with all the parents, friends and relatives present.
The standard of army food has apparently improved. Even the canteen looks different. More spacious and seems like they no longer use those heavy compartmentalised metal tray.

Chicken Rice
We got to sample the day lunch of chicken rice which comprised one roasted chicken thigh and some cabbage. It also come with a small bowl of tofu soup. The food is certainly edible. Not great gourmet food but at least the normal food court standard. I remembered back in our days when beehoon taste like rubber band and the hot beverage that they poured out was whatever our mind wants it to beJ

All too soon, our little tour ended and we bid goodbye to the Kid and memory of what it was as they marched off from the tiled parade square to 2 years of learning how to defend the nation and become a man in the process.


  1. Hey....your boy in NS now??!! How time flies, you are still as young heheheh..

  2. Shiong, long time no hear from you. I old liao. When I first got to know you, I was just out of NS and now my kid is in there. Time really really flies!