Those hardworking guys digging trenches in the fields have caught our eye. After smearing dirty green makeup on our faces, we trotted over, eyed their M16s nervously—and try to chat them up.
What is National Service (NS) to you?
Teo Ah Beng: It is a time when you grow up to learn if you are a man, a gu niang (girl) or an ah gua (transvestite).
Malcolm Png: It is my duty to serve my country.
Krishnamoorthy: National Service means I won’t be able to see my Lathi for a long long long time!
Johari Salleh: A time when all men come together and fight, fight, fight.
Kenny Pereira: A waste of time.
Why do you think NS is mandatory for guys, and not girls?
TAB: Girls dirty, dirty, macho, macho, where got nice!?
MP: Because the government decided that girls should continue with university, while the boys become men.
K: Aiyoh! My Lathi wouldn’t be able to take all the running around in the hot sun and holding a gun! She’s not that kind of girl my sweet Lathi.
JS: Because all of us guys are very strong. If we all come together we even stronger.
KP: It’s not mandatory for girls, meh? Then what am I doing here?
When the going gets tough, what do you do?
TAB: Lim Tiger beer. (Drink Tiger beer)
MP: I call my mother or find a nice quiet place to drink my Milo.
K: When the going gets tough I run lah.
JS: I relak.
KP: I get someone else to go.
Do you think green camouflage uniforms are hot? How do you think they can be improved?
TAB: I think certain parts of the uniform should have Velcro, so that when no exercise, can strip and the uniform can become a short sleeved top and Bermudas. Ka liang! (It’s cooler.)
MP: Gee, you have to ask Kenny! I don’t know anything about fashion.
K: Actually I like the uniform. Lathi says it turns her on. I can pretend to be a tree while Lathi dances around me.
JS: I think the green is very nice, but maybe if they can also make them red, then we have choice.
KP: Yes, they are hot. How can they be improved? Get Donna Karan to design them.
Do you pick up all that supposedly macho behavior such as cursing and feel manlier afterwards?
TAB: Actually I’m the one who teach them.
MP: I think cursing and swearing is a sign of insecurity. I don’t have to behave like that to be manly.
K: I don’t swear, Lathi doesn’t let me.
JS: Before I go army, I can swear already. In the army, it makes swearing better.
KP: Why would I want to feel manlier?
Do you really believe that running, digging trenches, doing pushups and marching make you a better person?
TAB: Don’t know about being a better person. Maybe more muscles.
MP: It certainly has made me fitter and stronger. It also cultivates teamwork
K: Of course! Long distance running is going to help me run away. Digging trenches will help me hide!
JS: Yes, it does, because we become stronger and our minds are fresher.
KP: Yes, no, yes and no. Running keeps my lovely limbs lithe, digging trenches is so dirty, doing pushups increases my bust and marching … oh, come on!
One of the favorite hangouts of desperate NS guys is Geylang. Anything to say about that?
TAB: Ya, the food is also good!
MP: I only go to Geylang for the beef hor fun. Other types of fun I’m not familiar with. The guys that go there must really be hungry.
K: None of them have girlfriends that look as good as my Lathi.
JS: If it makes them happy, then that is okay.
KP: Geylang? Why ah?
Complete the sentence. “My ring tone for my handphone is…”
TAB: Techno – logy man!
MP: Ring ring … ring ring…
K: Oh Lathi you’re so fine, You’re so fine you blow my mind, Oh Lathi! Oh Lathi!
JS: Rock terus rock.
KP: Bette Midler’s “I’m Beautiful, Dammit”