Paradise

I remembered back when I was still in Basic Military Training, during the first few weeks of confinement where we spent 2 and a half weeks away from women, the internet and all things civilized. I remembered the first day I came back after being away for so long & how I embraced my abode with all its splendid appliances with such longing.

Warm showers & cold drinks. A comfortable bed & an air-conditioned environment.  I fell in love with my own home again & it was an extraordinary feeling that I’d never forget it. I wasted no time & hoped onto my computer to catch up on all the Youtube videos I had missed. During that time, Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” had just came out and I went to watch the MTV of it.

When that music started playing, I nearly died…

That was the first time I’ve heard music for over TWO WEEKS. This may not seem like such a big deal to some, but I listen to music a lot. And I mean A LOT. I didn’t bring my ipod into camp fearing that it might got stolen or whatever. Plus, this was our first ever week in the army so no one had the sense to wanna bring a radio in or anything thing like that. Throw in the fact that I was a huge Coldplay fan, still am, and you can see now how this would’ve affected me the way it did.

From that point on, Viva La Vida’s always been my song of inspiration for my 3 months stay in Ninja Company. Every time I’d hear it over the radio I’d get a slight boost of spirit which helped me get through the day. Over the course of my army days, there were many other songs that would keep me going but Coldplay’s was the very first, so it stuck with me the most.

Recently, I had to attend my very first In-camp Training, which was a real hindrance since I had to go on UN-paid leave and I didn’t like the idea of going to the west of the west since it was very likely to be the cast when going back for ICT for NSmen to report to that accursed airbase in that accursed part of town. I tried my best to get out of it but to no avail so when judgement day came and they began briefing us of what was to come for the next 3 weeks of my reservist, my heart damn near sank right down to my toes.

I hate the west. Everyone knows it. I fuckin hate it.
Back when I was an NSF, I’d flip my shit every time they’d tell us to report to that condemned place. I hated it so much. People there are weird. Place looked all post-apocalyptic & what not.

To get there, I had to take 2 buses & change 2 trains. Not to mention walk a good kilometer or two up some stairway to hell, which frankly made taking the Ring to Mordor sound like a piece of cake.

I was just miserable. The first day I went there, I had to wake up at 5.30am to get there by 8am. It was a good 2 hour journey and even then, I was still late. When I exited the train station, I saw Winson waiting for me near a Jollybean outlet and stumbled over to him. I placed my hand on him and I gave him a weak look.

“I can’t do this for much longer Winson…”

And at the moment, a little girl, no more than the age of 10, stopped about an arms length away from us and just straight up started puking buckets. She shot a continuous stream of the fluid for a good 30 seconds, heaving wave after wave of the chudder all over the ground until that tiny body of hers could expel no more.

Winson & I started laughing of course. And no, not the kind of maniacal laughter of having seen a poor little girl throw up & deriving pleasure from it. We were just stupefied. It was God’s way of saying, “Welcome to the west, assholes.” And that was my first FML moments of my reservist.

There were many more weird experiences when traveling to the west. From gross shit like old ladies cutting their toe nails on the trains to the occasional weirdos who wearing hats that keep little birdies in a pencil cases and walk around with them. I once saw a guy on a segway zoom pass the bus stop one morning…. yeah….

How I had managed to survive these past few days was mainly due to my friends being there and keeping me sane. Another thing that helped get me through the long train rides was Coldplay’s “Paradise”. It was quite  ironic how their new album had just released recently and I had found yet another song to get me going in the wee hours of the morning.

I love how empowering these 2 songs are and every so often when they happen to be played on the radio, it’d remind me of the times I’d had it bad & that despite all the adversity, that everything’s gonna be alright and that I will be alright.

They say music can change the world…
I dunno bout that, but it’s one of the things that helps keep me sane in this terrible world.

So that’s enough for me~

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“The punishment should always be commensurate to the crime. It should be proportionate and visible. A punishment is not only an act of retribution, it’s also a signal.  It needs to be seen and understood by anyone else who might have flirted with the notion of committing the same transgression, and it’s a signal that no one is exempt from the consequences of betrayal.

We had a saying when I was in the boy scouts whenever we entered a camp: “Take pictures, leave footprints.” But now more than ever, you must do neither.
There is a formal aspect to punishment, a ritual nature. It has shape and body. It’s about Consequence, Accountability, Actions having repercussions. It’s vital that the transgressors understand the rules they have broken.

Your choice of punishment needs to be seen as fair, proportional and reciprocal.
But the nature can only be decided by the punisher himself – You.

You decide, the boss.”

-Ezra Stone