When I applied to join the RMN Volunteer Reserve last year, I did not set any targets apart from to able to wear the white (and blue) uniform again as well as going on ships. Maybe I had overlooked the first sign, which occured during my interview with the officer from HQ. Instead of joining as a recruit, I was offered to come in as an officer.
“You might have to write for the Navy,” said the Lt. Cdr., as part of my admission requirement. Sign number one.
After the initial 2-week induction course, routine slowly took over and most of my Saturdays were spent at the unit as an officer-under-training, meaning to say that I’m the first to be ordered around by other officers when they want something done. I don’t mind it that much, especially after I got my uniform, because I felt I’m really a part of the unit.
February came and I was off to Lumut for a course. I wasn’t too happy when I heard that officers from the Reserve Officers’ Traning Units will be there as well but looking back, it was really a blessing and I am now reaping the benefits.
It was the second last night of the course and we had a rehearsal for the closing ceremony. The emcee was an officer from one of the ROTUs and he was mangling his script with bad pronunciation. I couldn’t let it pass and at the end of the rehearsal, approached him with the intention of helping him out. The guest of honour was to be the Deputy Chief of Navy and it would not do to have him listen to bad pronunciation, in any language.
Long story short, what started out as an innocent gesture to help ended up with me being assigned as the emcee for the event. At 2300H and the ceremony is scheduled for 0830H THE NEXT DAY. The script had to be re-written, printed out and practiced. Uniform had to be ironed, shoes shined, accessories laid out beforehand. Oh, and sleep, which was a fleeting thing I barely remember before it was time to wake up again.
Writing and being a compere are very different from each other with differing requirements, but there are similarities. You can have someone else prepare the script for you but you still need to make it your own with your personal touches. In writing, people can help with your research on a subject but it is your choice of words and expressions that make an article / paper / book / etc. your own work.
Ok, back to the story. So I managed to not screw up too much and the DC took notice of me. Along with the Director for Reservist and a couple of admirals and senior officers. With that, I left Lumut on a high note. Then the unit made the appointment, and the Reserve Director once called to offer me a job but since I’m busy the Alumni, I had to decline.
And then last month, the calls came in earnest. Two (last minute) emceeing gigs with people wondering why was I assigned for the job. Followed by THE summon last Friday.
It was the first time I’ve ever been inside the MinDef building and something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. The meeting was initially to see if I could join the editorial team of the Navy’s magazine but I ended up being roped in to be part of the secretariat for an international workshop next week. On top of the editorial assignment.
So. I am grateful for all the good things that have happened since becoming a reservist. It has only been 8 months but I’m being entrusted with tasks not many people could even get a glimpse of. It is truly an honour to be sitting at the meeting table headed by an admiral with the officers ranking no lower than a Lt. Cdr. and then having the said admiral ask me for advice. Me, a lowly midshipman. Nervous? Heck, yeah. But at the same time, this is me living life