My first in-camp training (ICT) was in early 2009, which meant the last day of my ten full active years would be 31-Mar-2018. For something that I’ve waited ten years for, this is sort of like an anti-climax. 

You will be deemed to have completed your ORNS and be phased into MR when you have fulfilled at least 7 High Key (HK) In-Camp Training (ICT) and 10 active ORNS years.

In the process, I had fulfilled the full cycle of 7 HKs and 2 LKs with the one and only NS-unit I have ever known. I only found out about the MR status when I logged-in to NS Portal to attempt to book my IPPT.

Sorry, you are ineligible for IPPT due to Type of Service (e.g MINDEF Reserve or NS Disruption).

And just like this, it’s over. Forgot to consume my available eMart credits, so those are gone too. A positive situation to be in, I suppose.

Being from a support unit (combat medic) at a SAF training school, I didn’t have a unit to go back to after I had ORD-ed. My fellow camp mates and myself were basically orphans, waiting to be dispatched to any units that needed us.

I ended up in the infantry, but luckily enough – airdropped into the HQ company. The best part is, the unit is made up of many folks who didn’t know what unit life is like.

The Last Tentage Builders

Tentage builders – that’s what we call ourselves. Being from the 2G-era, we didn’t have access to fanciful and high-tech equipment. Our Battalion Casualty Station (BCS) throughout the entire ten years were all assembled manually using tentage poles and torn down by hand. Loading and unloading infinite crates. Setting up camo nets. I believe we may be the last of the remaining ones. We have never ever used the Transformer on the right!


To be honest with you, we were 101% into slacking and hiding from everything and everyone else, since no one else in HQ knew what we were supposed to do LOL.

But one thing we made sure of, is that we practiced damn hard when we had the time, instead of playing dai-dee in the bunk and taking afternoon naps all the time. Our “work-hard-area” was behind the medical centre where no one could see, unfortunately – SAF is much about wayang. We made sure we always knew what we needed to do, and how to do it.

That was how we aced the setup during outfield deployments (and made friends by helping the HQ company AFTER we’re finished) and more importantly, scored well during ATEC assessment. This meant we could legitimately slack off after that, but no one will question what we’re doing. It helps that some of us could pass IPPT too – again, it is all about stats and numbers.

Reservist vs Real Life

Much related to real-life, isn’t it? Sometimes, it is all about the results. As long as we produce the results when asked to, people don’t really care how it was done, right?

That guy in the office who always comes in late but leaves on the dot? Always playing games on his phone or dozing off? Well, perhaps he has automated his work process or found ways to do more (work) with less (time).

Doing more with less can be applied to anywhere else. Pay economy fares to travel in business. Pay 4-star rates to stay in 5-star properties. Automating investments with robo-advisors to achieve market returns. 

With ICT out of the way, that is one less disruption to my life. Especially the IPPT/RT part, right? Guys would know.

While the initial few ICTs were dreadful, we grew comfortable and knew each other better as the years went by. To be honest, many of us looked forward to going back for ICT!

In many ways, it was like a holiday camp – an escape from real life responsibilities. Slowly, ICT became more disruptive as our work responsibilities grew, and more of us had kids. The smartphone era took over with 24/7 connectivity. ICT was no longer the sanctuary we used to have. Dai-dee, chit-chats and newspaper reading sessions became lesser and lesser.

I’ll miss my ICT days.