From Call of Duty to Being Called to Duty
Transitioning from boys fresh out of Uniqlo bermudas to one decked out in the scratchy smart fours can be quite a traumatic change for the typical Singaporean son. Diving right into NS starts at the deep end – the two week intensive confinement.
This list was curated from all the army derps made by my guy mates – honorary mention my boyfriend – who have graced the island of Tekong and back. Thanks guys for suffering and screwing up so that this list could be made possible. Helping your fellow to-be soldiers, brotherhood amirite?
Sure you’ve received your packing list, but this is no OBS camp where you can just call home and ask your mum to fetch you an extra pair of undies. In true Singaporean fashion, we’ve listed out every little item you’ll need to make your stay at Tekong Resort better.
Disclaimer: TSL will not be held responsible for the weight of your bag as a result of following this list.
The Hygiene Parade
1. Cheap slippers
Don’t bother with the Havaianas, or worse, the Abercrombies. In the army there is no such thing as ‘ai sui’. You wear your slippers, you shower, you get out. And you pray they don’t get stolen in the event that you do bring your Guccis.
2. More toilet paper than a Mama shop
By the end of your 2 week confinement, toilet paper sheets are worth their weight in gold. So you better be prepared, son.
3. Febreeze, Febreeze, FEBREEZE
For all you pre enlistees, this is going to be hard to accept, but you’re not always going to have time to change. Also, almost everything stinks. Never underestimate the illusion of cleanliness to not break yourself up in hives. Febreeze is your best friend here.
4. Powdered detergent
Don’t bring liquid detergent in case of rogue spillages. You’ll never know if you have to kalang kabut pack all your rubbish by the time your encik counts to 10- it’s much easier to clean up powdered detergent than liquid ones. And they’re lighter on the pack as well! But remember to put them in a bottle for easy dispension and minimum leakage.
5. All the 3-in-1, 2-in1, 1-in-1 things will save your life
So you have 3 minutes to wash up. 3 minutes to wash dirt, grease, and sweat off your face. 3 minutes – 1 product. Lather up and you’re good to go.
Body washes and shampoos are practically a ‘duh’, but a lot of guys say that they have no time to use facial washes. So instead of any generic facial foam, try NIVEA’s Men Mud Serum Foam, which is a wash, a deep cleansing mask, and a serum all in one. You’ll thank us when you book out of camp and meet your girlfriend looking fresher than the prince of Bel Air.
Pro tip: Read till the end to find out how to get 25% off NIVEA’s Men Mud Serum Foam at Guardian or Watsons!
6. All the coins you can carry
Sure the cookhouse food is healthy and nutritious and has the required kilocalories needed for you to go about your daily torture training, but sometimes a man just needs his sugar fix yeah?
The in camp vending machines are your best friends here.
But don’t worry, after BMT when you’re posted to your units, ordering McDonald’s will practically be a weekly affair. Maybe daily. Depending on how clogged you want your arteries to be.
7. 7/11 snacks
It is not an uncommon sight to see throngs of NS guys populating the 7/11s and Valu$s of Pasir Ris, or whatever nearby shopping centre their camps are at. Better yet, watch them stuff as many packets of Lays and M&Ms they can before their field packs tear at the seams.
8. Electrolyte powder packets
If you’re like me and pride yourself on being a maximiser, you would’ve spent the months leading up to NS maximising slacking and lazing about.
Well honey, you’re going to be in for a wild ride of physical trainings and sweating. Although you’ll be thoroughly hydrated by the endless mandatory water parades, you’ll still appreciate the extra electrolytes to keep running.
9. Clothes hangers with pegs
Although such hangers are more costly than the normal plastic ones, they’re a real lifesaver when it comes to drying bottoms. They allow maximum surface area contact, unlike normal hangers that will cause your pants to bunch up. And wearing cold wet pants is just gross.
10. Wet wipes
In case you ever need to feel more macho. Source
You never know what else that you might have to clean. Like rogue spills and questionable stains. Also, fantastic to refresh your dirty face during mid day admin time.
11. Magic Mop Sheets
They wipe up dirt and dust like absolute magic, pun intended. And when your sergeant is 3 minutes away from barging into your bunk for a surprise visit, these babies come in real handy to save you from some “down 20″s.
12. Your own stationery
But still no pen to sign 1000 times. Source
One thing they never told you about army is that there are forms to fill and lectures to attend. There are notes to take on what you can and cannot do – especially important because doing anything wrong can cause you to kena blacklisted. And if you’re thinking ‘I’ll remember it, it’s all in my head”, nope. It won’t work.
Absolutely no idea how, but every single one of my friends who have gone to NS have lost a garter or two right before an important event. Just bring extras.
Other “senang” hacks
14. Permanent marker
Write your name on EVERYTHING. With the madness and general rushing that comes with NS and their ridiculous punishments, you don’t want to add 10 to that 20 pushups by not being able to find your items.
15. Medicated patches for body aches
As mentioned in #8, your muscles, or whatever that’s left, have been hibernating for a good couple of months and they’re about to get a pretty rude awakening once you step on Tekong soil. Be prepared to face the hell that is delayed onset muscle soreness alone if you don’t have Salon Pas with you. You’ll smell like a TCM shop but it’s worth it.
16. Alarm clock
A friend of mine was bestowed extra confinement as a reward for using his phone to set his alarm after lights out. Additionally, leaving your phone switched on throughout the night drains it of precious battery juice.
An extra tip: if you’re that one guy who wakes up at 4 am to bench, set your alarm to the lowest volume possible, Or if you can’t, stick some tape over it the speaker holes.
17. At least 2 portable chargers
Especially during confinement! Do not, and I cannot stress this enough, be tempted to use the power sockets in your bunk unless you want more confinement.
If your phone dies and you go cold turkey from the lack of Tinder action, it is not a pretty sight.
18. Plasters for blisters
Long road marches, hard tarmac, and stiff leather boots lead to blisters galore! Love yourself a little bit more and bring some Hansaplast Blister Plasters. The company office may have other blister plasters but it’s leceh, plus will you want to ask your sergeants for them?
19. Ear plugs
Lucky you to got to sleep in a whole room to yourself for almost two decades. But you’re in for a real wake up, or should I say, stay up call, when you have to listen to the cacophony that is 11 exhausted guys snoring.
20. Mini sewing kit
As you’ve seen in Kingsman, the suit maketh the man. Although the gear is touted to be indestructible, accidents do happen. And those accidents usually happen in the most inconvenient of occasions. Pack a small sewing kit just in case. But of course, have some knowledge of how sewing works in the first place.
Bonus: Your helper (if you can)
Ideally if she is less than four feet tall and possesses the stealth of a ninja. If not, please don’t.
For a true Singaporean Son
“Feel like a winner, act like a winner” – Anonymous
Entering BMT is every Singaporean guy’s first step to becoming a man. And contrary to popular belief, going into BMT doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taking care of your skin! When we look after our physical appearances, we feel more confident and are better able to perform to the best of our abilities.
Giving our best at all times is paramount for everyone in the army, and NIVEA MEN eliminates the hassle of personal care by streamlining the process and allowing you to do it as quickly as possible – a godsend especially in BMT. Happy enlistment everyone!
This post was brought to you by NIVEA Men.