Once, I brought my son to a wedding dinner. With my commander being the toddler with the need for his combat items, I brought my hell-of-a-universe-storing-capability-haversack in order to bring along little Admiral’s (that’s the rank my buddies and I gave him when he was born) world with us. “Reception” is the word given by hotel staffs for the time we spent waiting for the heavy ballroom door to open. Oh, and the time when guests have no where to go but to give their blessing in the forms of red paper packets with cash inside. (Cheques from well-to-do guests are welcome also, but CASH cheques please. And yes, cross them on the top left corner so that the newly weds will be able to find out if any motherf*ckers try to cash into their own pockets. I mean, banks) It was during this reception at the bar counter that I saw a half-decade-old gentleman sipping on a glass of coke (too much sugar for his age).
“Combat Engineers?” he asked with a smile.
I was astounded over the gentleman’s mysterious capability to see through me just by the dark tan of my skin. I was starting to get worried should he expose me for not washing my hands the last time I visited the washroom. I was stuck in a surprised god-knows-what-to-do period; I figured giving a poker face would save me from any embarrassment. While waiting for God, or Grandpa of Heaven, or any deity from any religion to unlock me from the evil magic of the man, he pointed at my chest, guiding me to my shoulder that my haversack’s strap was comfortably lying on. There, pinned besides the word ZiNC was the Engineer’s badge that I had forgotten about. Crap, I actually FORGOTTEN about it.
“30SCE?” he added.
“Used to, during my active days.” I was finally able to blink. God was starting to answer my calls to him. (Or was it Grandpa of Heaven?)
“Which courses did you clear? PNR II (Now CEC) or PNR I (Now FPC)?”
“Both” I replied, surprised at myself in being able to understand the terms he used.
“Never got the chance to go for PNR I for me. By the way, I was also from 30SCE. ME Coy.” He said with a sense of pride in his eyes surrounded by wrinkles. “Was from the old camp, just after SCE relocated from Sentosa.”
“Mandai?” I asked, starting to get a little interested.
“YES!” He nodded with excitement.
“I see.” I said, cracking my head trying hard to find some common topics that were un-classified enough to be discussed around the bar counter. I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing watermelon-faced Guardsmen crashing in from the glass panels behind the bar on swinging ropes and pointing their highly equipped SAR21s at me for breaching military security.
“Anything that you have gotten, or learnt from the SCE trainings?” He asked, seemingly trying to keep the agenda-less conversation he started seconds ago going without looking un-cool.
“Yes.” I said, breathing in and straightening my pretty much-bent spine from the carrying of my 2-year-old little commander. Tucking in my stomach, I guess we can describe my posture as “fucking cocky”.
“The pride in being able to pin this logo on my strap.”
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.