2 years ago, on this very day, I first stepped on the shores of Pulau Tekong, meeting my buddy and my other BMT mates, not knowing what’s installed for me for the next two years. (I forgot that Pastor Eddy drove my parents and I to SAF Ferry Terminal on that day lol.) I never knew I would meet such a great buddy-in-Christ in BMT, my primary school best friend, and the bunch of people whom are better known as the 26th NSF FLC. Now, 2 years later, I’ve learnt many new things in RSAF, more uh pride (yes), more resilience and experienced more shit.
It’s kinda surreal, as I was contemplating how I do not need to call for in-time anymore, how I do not need to wake up at 2.30am in the morning to go prepare before flights. Suddenly, my life seem so aimless. Of course that’s just a temporary unnecessary feeling, I’m certainly looking forward to my university life in 3 or 4 months’ time.
The last week in camp is kinda the usual, with monday and thursday (yes 2nd last day still have to work) being normal work days for me. I still had to launch and recover jets and also send the Black Knight jets to Bangkok for performance. My ORD launch was with BK 5 – LTC P. Chionh, for his departure to Bangkok. I had some interesting experiences with him, some of which I cannot declare in this blog.
The week was also spent to plan our ORD mini-celebration. About a month ago, I thought of renting cars to drive to base on our last day. And thus with the support of my batch mates, I went to call up all the car rental companies found on newspaper and online classifieds. It was quite difficult to find those which allowed P-plate *and* allow one day rental for weekends (considering Friday-Saturday is under weekend). We also had some difficulty in choosing whether we should rent 2 MPVs (bigger, more difficult to drive but save fuel) or 3 normal cars (easier to drive but waste more parking fees and fuel). In the end, we settled for 3 Fiat Puntos, but alas, the rental company backed out on me. Grrr. On thursday night they called me and said cannot rent for what day. And so I’ve to scramble and call the other companies again. There were 3 Getz available, but I decided to go for 2 MPVs instead…one Honda Stream and one Kia Carens, taking the risk that I will be able to handle one.
I couldn’t sleep well on the nights preceding April 18th…after all, we have waited for this date for so long. I was also worried about my driving plan, especially in terms of safety and my driving skills, since I have not driven for quite some time. In the morning, I woke up at 0630 hearing thunder. But the weather miraculously cleared an hour later and the sun rose. I met YF at Hougang at 10am and we went to Hougang Festival Market to collect our car. I was a little shioked when a Hyundai Trajet came instead. The lady said the Carens was not available. We inspected the car and paid our deposit, and Leslie and Edwin arrived. I hopped in, familiarised myself with the controls, and we drove off. Wow, I’ve never driven such a huge car with a huge butt before, and also it’s auto with a weird gear shift behind the steering wheel, but it’s definitely a challenging and good experience.
The petrol was low, we pumped at SPC (expensive sia…25 litres for $51)…Went my house to collect the batch photo and camera tripod before going to fetch khooty at macpherson. YF took over the wheel and drove to AMK to fetch yip and william. The car is now full…7 people haha. We drove to a carpark at AMK to collect our 2nd car…Honda Stream (old version). William, Leslie and yip hopped on it and we drove as a motorcade to Bukit Panjang to fetch ZC and DY before going to base. We were a little late as we wanted to reach base at 1pm to meet the NMO for clearance first.
Entering base was smooth, though we couldn’t find a place to park initially. After NMO clearance, we had lunch at Club 2 (the scamy place…they gave only like 6 strands of fries? but no choice lah, last day already anyway), before proceeding to squadron. We bought $20 worth of teabreak for squadron too. This time, I drove the Stream. Wow the pickup is much better, one step on the accelerator and the car jerked forward. In contrast, the Trajet’s pickup is like shit, rev till 4-5k rpm and the speed is still slowly picking up at 20-30kmh. lol.
The feeling of driving to my unit is exhilarating, finally we do not need to walk all the way in! Parked at the VIP slot (Haha) and we went in to collect our stuff and say our last goodbyes. Our dy OC played with us, asked all civilians (we were wearing cv) to fall in outside his office. it was a quite comical. we had our last ‘parade’, yip reported strength to him, and fall us out with a “ORD lo!” shout. haha. We presented our batch photo with our autographs to him before leaving. Too bad the rest of my unit people were doing aircraft work, hence cannot say bye to them.
Had some trouble with the auto gear when moving out from sqn. Thought the gear wasn’t working. Then realised that the gear indicator light was too dim. lol. can adjust. how noob of me. We drove out and went to PAC to collect IC. We were a bit lost as we did not know where/who to go, and nobody bothered to serve us. We were like standing around waiting for something to happen. Quite stupid. It was already past 1600 and we haven’t collected our IC. Finally we found the guy and found out that we had to fill up some forms, which were quite confusing. After much tension and mess, we finally queued up to collect our pink card. YAY!
But the stupid thing was that we did not have our COS with us. After calling up sqn and our S1, we found out that it’s with her in changi and we had to meet her outside to collect it. We left base and we split up…the trajet to meet S1 at toa payoh, while the stream to meet the others who already ORDed at Queenstown. We were early in toa payoh, and we parked at a HDB carpark to wait. Later we met S1 and realised that we could not collect for the others as need to physically sign the thing. aiya full of shit.
We rendezvous with the others at Labrador Park, which I originally planned to see the sunset. It was too late and too cloudy anyway, the sky already turned dark. We took some photos, switch cars, and went to Pasir Panjang Hawker Centre nearby to have our dinner. Had a sumptuous meal of BBQ Stingray, Kang Kong, Omelete, Chicken Chop, Chicken Wings and Satay, along with Sugar Cane.
After that, I had to pump another 15 litres for the Trajet (lousy car) and we went to fetch KMH at Plaza Sing. MLin drove the Steam and got a little lost as he couldn’t catch up with Pang. I must say that Pang is a very confident and good driver. We stopped outside the Atrium before kena chased away by the security guard. Now I learnt that Pick-up points cannot be used for stopping. Aiya so stingy meh, stop for a while won’t die wad, not like we are blocking the traffic.
ZC was done with his seminar and we fetched him at Suntec. After that, we drove past the Singapore Flyer (interesting sight with colourful lights) before stopping at the Padang for some night photo shoots. Eugene, Yip and KMH left for home. As expected, we got a bit aimless after that. Not many were interested in my plan of continue to go driving exploring. YF suggested to still go to Mount Faber. However, the rest of us felt hot and wanted a place to sit down and chill. Too many people with different interests and it was difficult to decide.
In the end, we decided to go check out Alps Cafe at Selegie Road. It was about 12.30am. But it was too crowded. We went to The Mind Cafe instead. We split into two tables and played some games. My table played two rounds of I’m The Boss, while the other table played a variety of games which included Taboo and Saboteur. After an hour, we were tempted to stay for another hour. And the waiter was very efficient. He calculated our bill and persuaded us to pay $0.80 more so that we can get the package of snacks and crackers. lol. scamy. And so we did, although the snacks do tempt you to order another drink. luckily plain water was free haha. The waiter also persuaded us to sign up for the membership card to get 10% off in future, which YF did.
At 2.30am, we wanted to leave after paying our bill. But there was a heavy thunderstorm. The Mind Cafe people were kind enough to lend us some lost-and-found umbrellas. So the drivers (me, yf and william) have to sacrifice to walk to our car parks a distance away. The Trajet was parked in some multi-storey carpark. We finally drove out and drove everyone to a (cramped) driveway at Sunshine Plaza so that we can exchange passengers and belongings.
I fetched yk, khooty, yf, mlin, edwin and leslie home, while william fetched pang, hsr, zc and dy home. On the way, I went past a red light without knowing it until my friends told me lol. Luckily the junction had no traffic and there was no red light camera. Guess I was too tired at 4am. Parked the Trajet at the MCP nearby. Now I know how dizzy it is to go round a MCP haha. Slept from 5am-10am before I had to return the Trajet.
I guess the driving trip went successfully and safely by the grace of God, even though not everything went according to my original plan. But it was meant to be flexible. I put in a lot of effort in planning for this, even when the car company backed out initially but I did not want to give my up dream of driving to base. Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves. As for myself, I think I was too busy worrying and thinking throughout the day to enjoy myself fully haha. I was sweating most of the time when not driving, and felt tired when at Mind Cafe. I guess I thought of too many things when organising, fortunately Edwin was taking photos hence I do not need to bother taking.
It was a good experience and I can say that I’ve conquered the Hyundai Trajet, increased my driving confidence, so any other big cars in future should be no problem haha.