So says my platoon mate Dilbert Chua, 433rd Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment Bravo Tactical Team Seven Section One Second Light Anti-Tank Weapon Gunner and journalist.
He makes that sweeping statement while we clean our new SAR21 rifle after a day at the firing range, and after receiving a phone call from his girlfriend, who has obviously exasperated him somewhat.
We’re sitting at the foot of our beds while we meticulously rub carbon off the gas regulator and the other small parts of the unfamiliar weapon with pieces of flannel held with tweezers. Takes a lot longer than the old M16, we complain.
Singapore men are submissive, can follow orders and are easily trained.
Dilbert’s girlfriend apparently hasn’t been sensitive to the fact that he is in camp for all of six days sacrificing his precious time for the security of the nation. She has asked him to help her assemble her new IKEA cupboard on Saturday, the day we get out-processed, without as much as an iota of consideration for his tiredness and need for some tender loving understanding.
A piece of flannel 2 inches by 1 inch is too thick when folded by the eye of the five piece pull-through rod to be pulled through the barrel of the rifle. We struggle with the cleaning. There’s still carbon all over the little nooks and crannies of the rifle.
Singapore men are the new Thai women.
Dilbert says Singapore women use and abuse Singapore men. Singapore women are obviously oblivious to the universal hardship that Singapore men have to endure: 13 years of part-time National Service, 2.5 years of full-time National Service, going to university and graduating 2.5 years later than Singapore women, getting jobs later and still expected to be the bread winner and provider for parents and children, and still be expected to wow women and sweep them off their feet. It’s a hard life. It’s a Thai woman’s life.
And the parts of the rifle are just as hard to put back together as they are to clean.