Sunday 11 November 2012

If Jack Neo can do a story about national service, so can I

It’s not propaganda.

Or so claimed film-maker Jack Neo about his new army movie Ah Boys To Men Part 1.

This is despite the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) having approached Neo to make the movie to commemorate the 45th anniversary of national service (NS).

This is despite Mindef having provided equipment and locations for the movie, including the Basic Military Training Centre on Pulau Tekong.

This is despite Mindef holding a contest on its website to give away movie posters and tickets for Ah Boys To Men. Submit your entry before 10pm on Thursday!

As you and I know, everything in “lame-stream” media is government propaganda.

Like that news report about the $7,000 cabby. Like Phua Chu Kang going for English classes. Like this column.

That’s right. Unlike Neo, I voluntarily admit that what I write here every week is nation-building propaganda. Yes, even all those times I made fun of Glenn Ong marrying his colleagues.

Furthermore, for today’s column, I’m going to share my own NS story to commemorate the 45th anniversary of NS, even though Mindef hasn’t approached me at all.

As a medic in the navy during my full-time NS many years ago, I was once given the opportunity to go to Thailand for an exercise.

Since I was attached to the ship’s crew only for the trip, I didn’t know any of them and felt like an outsider, which I was.

So to fit in, while on shore leave, I went out with a few of the guys to a bar and drank beer - even though I was (and still am) allergic to alcohol.

Before long, I was itchy all over. My allergy had kicked in. I desperately needed relief.

I searched all over town and finally found what I was looking for - Prickly Heat Powder.

I rushed back to my cheap hotel room, took off my clothes, lay on the bed and poured powder all over myself. Shiok, man!

And when I say “all over”, I mean “all over” - especially around the groin area.

After a while, the rash subsided and I felt a little better. Thank you, Prickly Heat Powder.

Then I heard a knock on my door. I got dressed and opened the door, but nobody was there. Strange.

That was when I discovered I had left my room key in the door outside. I must have forgotten about it in my hurry to relieve my itch.

Fast forward to a couple of days later. I was back on board the ship on the way home to Singapore.

I noticed that members of crew were now friendlier to me. Did drinking with them actually pay off?

But they weren’t just friendlier – they literally laughed out loud every time they saw me. I couldn’t figure out why.

The two who laughed the loudest were the ship’s cooks who barely spoke to me before.

By now, they couldn’t contain themselves any longer and spilled the beans.

Apparently, they were staying in the same hotel that I was. They were walking past my room when they saw my key in the door.

They wondered who was so stupid as to leave his key outside.

So they peeked through the window, as the curtains weren’t fully closed properly, and saw me rolling around in bed naked, caressing myself vigorously.

They were the ones who knocked on my door and ran off.

When they returned to the ship, they told everybody what they saw.

I became known as the medic who had sex with himself in a hotel room in Thailand.

I tried to explain about my allergy, but no one believed me. You believe me, don’t you?

The bright side was that I was now the most popular guy on the ship. The cooks even gave me extra chicken wings at dinner time. So what if people thought I was an onanist?

The late great Whitney Houston did sing that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. So did George Benson.

And that, my fellow Singaporeans, is my contribution to the 45th anniversary of NS.

Maybe Jack Neo could do a movie about it for the 50th anniversary, unless he’s afraid of being accused of making another propaganda film.

I would offer to write the script, but I don’t want to appear too self-serving. The last thing I want is to come across as a jerk.

After all, it’s national service, not self-service.

Spank you very much.

- Published in The New Paper, 11 November 2012