Scenario: Friends and family members have spent the last year listening to Ming rattle on about what her brother has been up to in Singapore. She enthusiastically shows them photos from the milestones of his army training and is always at least one hour early for these aforementioned events. Additionally, she lugs around her oversized camera and uses up 8GB of storage space taking a ludicrous number of photographs and posting them all over instagram and Facebook with extended captions.
Diagnosis: a bad case of proud older sister syndrome.
So yes I have been plagued by this syndrome but I just can’t help being the proud sibling. As the eldest child, I never thought that my little brother would be the one teaching and inspiring me until he embarked on his National Service journey.
The last time I really wrote about Lil’ Bro in this space, he had just graduated from his Basic Military Training. What came next was something that he had set his mind and heart on from the beginning, once he had found his footing and rhythm. I don’t think I can articulate or comprehend what ‘clicked’ for him in the first two weeks of his NS experience, but it was during a short trip to Singapore that I realised just how inspired and driven he was to achieve this goal.
When his selection for the Officer Cadet course was announced, I am slightly embarrassed to say that I was probably more nervous than him…although I did see him scoff down half a log-cake before hand (nervous eater??).
It would be wrong of me to describe the next 38 weeks/9 months of training he underwent as just ‘training’. At the beginning he had his doubts…was he good enough and would he be able to make it? With the potential to go ‘OOC’ (out-of-course) not being uncommon, the fear was real. I remember the many WhatsApps of encouragement I sent him with my nerdy study analogies (that’s what university does to you) because I ‘had daaa faith’.
With the 9 months and his chosen life as an ‘infanteer’ came two overseas trips, injury, illness and being pushed to mental and physical limits which to me were unfathomable. However, there was also friendship, happiness and passion which I would say outshone anything else. (There was also an abundance of vegetable juice, diet tweeking and any medical science ideas I could share..)
A brief outline of the journey…
1. Common Leadership Module (2 weeks where the suitability of each individual in the cohort for OCS is reassessed)
2. Officer Initiation
3. Service Term – training and more training
4. Pro Term – specialised vocational training (the crazy kid elected infantry)
5. Overseas trip 1 – the Jungle Confidence Course… no food, no clean water, no shelter…how…how?
6. Overseas trip 2 – apparently a ‘heavenly’ trip compared to the first
7. More crazy training and assessment
8. Joint Term
Ok…I’m rambling again. The point was to flood this page with Lil’ Bro’s COMMISSIONING! He is now officially a 2nd Lieutenant. I am still trying to maintain composure and not laugh when someone addresses him as ‘Sir’ but …well I’m trying. It is quite difficult when I still picture that ‘toddler’ running around in his Spiderman outfit and the school-leaver leaping into this unknown journey.
That’s him…bearer of the Singapore Flag! To obtain this position in the ‘Colours Party’, he trained every weekend to obtain ‘Gold’ for his physical assessment. That crazy 2.4km sprint caught him each time, but he pulled through in the final assessment…phew!
This was an incredibly special moment. The commissioning officers were blessed by an array of religious leaders as the sun began to set on the parade square.
The flag was passed on to his junior cohort – a giant weight lifted off his shoulders (literally).
At the end of the official proceedings, Lil’ Bro waited for Mum and Dad on the parade square to secure his new ranking on his shoulders. When I ran towards him I could actually see the beads of sweat on his forehead. This event and role which he had been so excited and nervous about in the weeks leading up was finally over.
This was an incredibly emotional moment for my Mum and Dad; testament to their continuous support and every second spent worrying over the past year. I think I speak for both Lil’ Bro and I when I say that we are truly lucky to have these two amazing people in our lives.
Finally, they completed their commissioning in true ‘graduation’ style, throwing their caps into the air and celebrating!
I had to add in this token photo of my Ah Ma with Commander OCS…so awesome.
All I can say for now is: Lil’ Bro, you have stayed true to the mission ‘to lead, to excel, to overcome’ and I will never be able to express how proud I am of you and how much your ‘Jie’ loves you! Thank you for becoming someone I can look up to and learn from.
I thought it would be fitting to end on some words that my brother wrote as I myself find it hard to articulate the strength of his friendships (they have been to hell and back together), his inspiration and his love of army life. To a friend who should have been there. Thank you for teaching me so much and being such a good person. It was an honor to share the first part of our OCS journey together. @tanpeekayA photo posted by Linming Ho (@wallabmt)