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Encik Quotes

8 Iconic Encik Quotes Every Singaporean Guy Has Heard During NS That Could Be Solid Life Advice

Encik life advice from NS days

Enciks are arguably the father figure of whatever force there is, be it the SAF, SPF, or SCDF. Usually they’re stern and really loud, but they also have a knack for coining iconic quotes that will stay in the mind of chao recruits for generations to come.

But if you think these are just army lingo, think again, because these Encik quotes may have legit life advice hidden between the lines.  

1. “Don’t make your problem my problem”

Encik quotes - Welcome to Pulau Tekong
Image adapted from: Basic Military Training Centre

Our first quote is one that will be unlocked literally on your first day in NS. The words “don’t make your problem my problem”, may sound crude at the beginning, but over the years I’ve come to realise the advice that comes with it.  

What your Encik means by this is to simply handle your business and take ownership – albeit in a very blunt fashion.

2. “At the end of the day, the day ends”

Encik quotes - Route march
Image credit: Basic Military Training Centre

The simplicity is beautiful, isn’t it? Even Shakespere himself couldn’t possibly come up with this. Let me set the scene, you’re in a PT sesh and time seems to slow down to a standstill. “When will my suffering end?”, you mutter under your breath. 

Perhaps this phrase is exactly what you need to hear because no matter what you’re going through and how tough it may be, it will eventually come to an end. Write that down for your next Instagram post, you’re welcome. 

3. “You think, I thought, who confirm?”

Encik quotes - Inspection
Image adapted from: @saf.bmtc

This one is a cult favourite, and you might even hear it out in the wild. If you find yourself on the receiving end of this phrase, you’ve royally screwed up in one way or another. During my NS days, my team had a saying that went “assumption is the mother of all f-ups”, and the abovementioned phrase is exactly what you’ll hear when you assume. 

We get it, when you put on that helmet, you go into autopilot mode and live by “don’t think, just do”. But does it really hurt to clarify the instructions given? If the answer is yes, then knock it down. 

4. “Never mind, you take your time”

Encik quotes - Obstacle course
Image adapted from: Basic Military Training Centre

If you hear these words coming from your Encik, then you’d better hurry up. If you hear it from your significant other, then you’re in real trouble. If NS were a restaurant, then this phrase would be the appetiser to the main course which is usually, “The whole damn company waiting for you! Never mind, whole lot knock it down”. 

You see, sometimes in life you don’t have as much time as you think you do. The causes vary, but the usual suspects are usually procrastination or straight up poor time management. So if you keep this phrase in the back of your head, you’ll never be late again – or maybe you will cause wadio.

5. “1x good one”

Encik quotes - 1x good one
Image adapted from: @saf.bmtc

1x good one”, or rather “wan tahm guud wan” is something you’ll hear when something needs to be done well. In a sense, it can be a motivational phrase as well, seeing as it’s usually used before a monotonous task is handed out. Translated to layman terms, it means: do it once, do it right.

If you really think about it, this has a major part to play in your daily life too. Rather than half-assing anything, it’s better to get it over with the first time you’ve been asked, right? So if you find yourself arrowed with a boring af task in the near future, this phrase is one to live by. 

6.”If you are comfortable, you are doing it wrong”

Encik quotes - Comfort

I once had an Encik who was also a physical training instructor, and during PT is when he would unleash this phase. Not that he was sadistic, but because we were from the “unfit” batch, physical training was a foreign concept to most of us. And by the end of basic training, we were all attaining at least a silver for IPPT – so thank you, Encik. 

In life, are you really living if you’re in your comfort zone at all times? Sometimes when things get boring or when you feel like your life has evolved into a day-in-day-out affair, it might help to throw caution to the wind and try something new. Hey, you might even find a new purpose in life, or at the very least a new hobby. 

7. “Can means can, cannot means cannot” 

Encik quotes - SAF personnel
Image adapted from: @saf.bmtc

This phrase is one that perfectly summarises military life. In a uniformed organisation, there’s usually no way to bend the rules to your comfort. And when you do find a way to, it usually severely delays or obstructs the flow of operations. 

The same can be said for even the most mundane of day to day affairs. Case in point, the aunties who keep trying to tap their EZ-Link card without taking it out from their bags. It’s a coin flip and when the coin doesn’t land in their favour, they end up holding up the line for other commuters. 

So please auntie, if you’re reading this, I urge you to please take out your EZ-Link card ahead of time, so we don’t have to wait for you to search through the endless abyss that is your bag during our groggy morning commute. Thank you. 

8. “You die, I die, everybody die”

Encik quotes - Encik Muthu
Image adapted from: The Ghosts Must Be Crazy

What’s an Encik-related article without bringing up Encik Muthu? Played by David Bala, Encik Muthu coined the most iconic Encik quote of them all. The lead up goes: “If you cook in the jungle, the enemy aircraft fly overhead and see the fire, they will bombard the whole area. Then you die, I die, everybody die.”- a legendary quote from the movie The Ghosts Must Be Crazy.

More than just a local movie reference, this phrase can be applied IRL as well. It’s a reminder of how a small, seemingly insignificant matter may blow up and cause your immediate downfall. 

Take social media for example. In this age where cancel culture runs rampant, anything you say or do may be twisted in a negative light and could potentially have you cancelled, shamed, and even bring forth consequences beyond the cyberspace. So the next time you go on a 5-paragraph rant on Twitter, exercise discretion a bit lah hor?

Life advice found in Encik quotes

You see, not everything your Encik said was to tekan you. When you look deeper than face value, there could actually be some life lessons within. So the next time you find yourself in a sticky situation, ask yourself what would your Encik say. You might just find the solution sooner than later. 

If you don’t want to sign extra, here are more NS-related articles: 

Cover image adapted from: @saf.bmtc