Ever since I took off my national service entries from the net three years ago, I’ve been receiving emails from future NS trainees requesting for my blog entries. I usually get a surge of emails every time there’s a new national service intake. However, the requests have dwindled down this time around and I was curious if anyone has actually posted my entries up on a blog somewhere out there.
While googling, I found this blog. This boy fell in love with a girl he met at camp and even though their romance was short, you’d agree with me that it was definitely sweet.
It reminded me of the days when no one was anyone’s boyfriend or girlfriend and every close encounter with a potential boyfriend was cherished. Those early high school days. I guess that’s what national service does to some people.
In his posts he mentioned that a lot of girls had boyfriends in and out of camp. It was the same in my camp too. The guys were hitting on the girls and the girls were hinting at guys through little notes. Every other camp was doing it too.
To quote him, “..as we promised each other before, weâ€™re gonna part our ways when we go back to our own world.”
National service romances, as far as I know and heard, they don’t last out of camp.
My dorm mate was a short little chinese hair stylist who was very beautiful despite her stature. She had a boyfriend out of camp for about four years already and yet she grew close to this boy from the Bravo company. She used to call him her Black Horse Prince as he was very dark. She tried to grab every moment to be close to him. Communication was difficult because they were from different companies hence our activities were carried out during different times. It was only on Saturday that the hand phones were returned to us. All of us would be sitting next to power outlets yakking away on our handphones. Now, I can’t remember what her name was but I remember she would be talking to him for hours on Saturday night.
Just imagine that. 🙂 The quiet camp grounds,the surrounding forest, the slow rotation of the dorm ceiling fan and just you and your hand phone. How incredibly romantic was that?
With all the restrictions that the Cikgus at camp impose on the trainees, you could see everyone bursting with romance. The need to rebel and the secret rendezvous when the lights were out. I wouldn’t know because I never tried to sneak out after lights out. All these were from the mouths of my fellow dorm mates.
It was all very high school. A couple was caught kissing behind the prayer room after I left camp for university. Isn’t it like high school? 🙂
Not all camp romances were sweet, some were slightly heartbreaking. I’d call it heartbreakingly sweet. Who couldn’t relate to the crush that never responded? This happened to my my dorm mate Mei Hwa who had a crush on this boy from the Charlie company. She told me that on the first day she met him while washing the dishes. She found out that they were from the same hometown and thought that they could hit it off and be better friends. I remember we were teasing her about it. Yeah, even in camp the primary school kid in you will surface.
This boy drank a lot of water and was always filling his bottles right after dinner. A few of us would usually accompany her to the dining hall after our shower and wait for the night lectures to begin. She’d come up with a hundred and one excuses to talk to the poor boy. She admitted to us that she did indeed have a crush on him. Not to be mean or anything but we sort of knew that it was not going to work out because he was very different from her and so we didn’t try to matchmake the both of them. Yet she persisted with her efforts to communicate with him.
During the Visiting weekends, her parents would bring magazines for her. She would then pass the magazines to him after reading it. Of course all of us had the chance to read the magazines first lah. It was a very communal thing, reading material in camp. She did this almost every other week so after awhile it became obvious to a lot of people that she had a thing for the boy.
Apparently, during the last week of NS, the boy was down with a bad case of sore throat. I wasn’t there to witness this as I had already left by then but she packed all her Strepsils and passed it to him. Apparently the boy didn’t respond as well. If I’m not mistaken I think she made him a get well soon card.
She used to call me after leaving camp and I remember she told me that she knew she’d never see him again after national service ended so it didn’t matter that she did all those things. Embarrassing as they may be, but at least she knew she did something.
I know I would’ve done the same if I were in her shoes! Live life to the fullest. 🙂
There was also another story about this chinese boy who chased this malay girl from my dorm. He went back for his grandmother’s funeral or birthday(not sure which) and came back with grapes and mandarin oranges for her. He would always demand to have photos taken with her. He made sure that he would sit next to her during activities and you could see her cowering her embarrassment by being very vocal during activities. 🙂 Very cute.
She was aware of his pursuit but she’d usually bring up reasons like race and religion to deny her feelings for him.
In camp, despite the sweet romance stories, you have flings of many kinds too. There was this girl who slept next to me who would flirt with all the boys and come back and tell us that she thinks this guy or that guy has a crush on her. We’ll all be like yea.. right. She even flirted with some of the teachers and they even responded to her! Nice girl otherwise. Strange thing was, the whole camp knew she was pregnant and I, of all people, didn’t know. She kept patting her stomach after meals saying, “Perut buncit lah!” and giggled. She was very weak. Now we know why. Last I heard, her baby started talking already. 🙂
Writing this made me remember how I used to walk in and out of the other dorm rooms at night to visit our friends. All of us were in our pyjamas by 9pm and it was very cozy. Since it was in the forest, the dorms were very cooling and the night wind would blow gently as you walk back up to the dorms with your Ramly burger in hand. And my national service nightly blogging. How I miss those times. Terribly romantic in a suffering author kind of way.