Category Archives: Life as a Reservist

Bring me the dawn

It was not a difficult choice, but I took my time just the same. Deliberated, consulted, thought some more. Until I was fully convinced of where my future lies. Not in education, not as a news rehasher and not as a ride sharing driver.

So this morning I sat down and wrote about myself and why I should be here at the RMN Headquarters a while longer. There is a 50 per cent chance I will get the assignment, or not. We’ll have to wait and see.

With all that is going on around me, this would provide stability in a turbulent patch of my journey. Who knows, I might be able to sail with one of the new ships for a bit. Heh.

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Do you laugh at those who cry?

Coming to the middle of the third month of my latest navy assignment. The work itself is good, with the usual challenges which is to be expected when the unit deals directly with the Chief.

On the admin side, I have not received my allowance since I started and things are slowly getting stressful. With the regatta job now put on hold, this is now one of my better (by not much) paying gigs but a prompt and regular payment is something I have never experienced, even during last year’s book project.

I have been told of the process of application for allowance, the back and forth with Armed Forces payroll unit and everything, but I still can’t accept how sloooow things move when it comes to payment.

Yes, I am a reservist who still works outside the military but that’s not the point. It is about taking care of one of your own, even if she is a reservist. While she may have joined the ranks due to pure interest and passion, when half of her working hours are spent on navy assignments, it does have an economic impact.

I value the respect awarded to me by my superiors and colleagues. I just wish it could come with toll and petrol money, at least. Those stuff are killing me. It’s like I’m paying for the opportunity to work there with no monetary compensation and I’m expected to say thank you.

It’s your day

Three of my squad members received their commission yesterday.  I’m really happy for them, finally being able to contribute and to be utilised as reservist officers.  The day should have been about them and the other officers getting their respective promotions but it was shadowed by #MH370.

In addition, I had people asking me about my own commission and why I wasn’t with the guys.  I know why, and having to explain it annoyed me somewhat.  It will happen in due time.  I hope.  No rushing, no pressuring whomever involved in the application process.

– – –

A friend had asked if I wasn’t called in to be in the SAR process.  I’m just a midshipman, with nothing to contribute.  But, if I had received the call, I’d go in a heartbeat.  Even if it’s only as a spell checker or to bancuh kopi.  Because it’s so much better than feeling helpless like this.

Leave home without it

It’ll soon be two years since I officially became a naval reservist.  There are loads and loads of stuff I still do not know but I am learning.  Bit by bit. I am lucky to have people I can refer to, who tolerate my silly questions and are willing to guide me to be a better officer.

One thing I’ve been told since Day One was to leave my civillian credentials at the gate as I enter the base.  At basic camp, everyone is the same.  It is how you work towards moving up that will separate you from the rest.  I can accept that, and I was prepared for the worst, thinking back to my schooldays and what little experience I’ve had prior to joining.  A few others in my group had difficulties in adapting, and I understand how one former Captain in the Wataniah struggled to follow orders given by young sub-lieutenants when he is used to be the one giving orders.

However, I do not get those who can’t shed their titles and think it would help them in their training.  Case in point, a newly commissioned acting sub-lieutenant who is a Masters degree holder and currently pursuing his PhD in engineering while not lecturing.  He was actually disappointed with his commission, as he was expecting to get the rank of lieutenant, jumping two notches up from his current rank.

In my group of new officers, he was one of six people with at least a Masters degree.  This guy and I, we did not start off well but that is a story for another time.  He seems to me to be really impatient to be promoted and had decided to solely focus on the technical side of the service.  Meaning that he just wants to learn about engines and nothing else.  Errm.. I think you’d be happier working for a shipyard if that’s what you’re looking for.  He has a disregard for other aspects of our training bordering disdain and other officers have started to notice.

If a senior officer tells you that you’re wearing the button on your epaulette wrong then the thing to do would be to rectify it, not brush him off, right?

IT, physics, medicine.  Whatever your expertise may be useful to the Navy should there is a need for it but who you are outside does not count for anything.  Anak Datuk ke,  Ingénieur ke, apa diorang kisah?

As member of the same intake, I do not want him to be subjected to anything bad but there is a part of me that doesn’t care.  A big part.  Heh.  Still, I fear he would give a bad reputation to my group of intake, especially since we’re likely going to be the last batch of midshipmen at KDSK for a long while, what with the ROTUs from three universities already attached to the unit making it difficult for qualified and interested working civillians to apply.

Just a piece of paper…

… but it is priceless to me.

My name was the last one to be called out and I could hear someone being surprised at having a midshipman involved in such a big event.

 

I was part of the team and it felt great.  And the coffee wasn’t bad either.