WHAT WENT DOWN
So it has been a while, I get it. I just returned from my overseas training which took place in a little tiny country called Brunei. A piece of land which holds the lives of a mere 420,000 people lies a series of dense and merciless terrains. So to those who do not know what is going on, here are some background information. The whole overseas training in Brunei mainly revolves around Jungle Survival. It's a Jungle Training Camp. My exercise duration over there lasted a good 20 days. We call the over arching exercise: Exercise Lancer. Ex Lancer consisted of 2 portions. Exercise Nomad & Exercise Buaya. Both involving a 3D2N and 5D4N outfield exercise respectively.
Story time. On the day of flight, before I left the house, my mum dropped my bag onto the floor, quite harshly to say the damn least, to her oblivious mind that there was a camera in it. So, the filter of the camera cracked. Since I am a photographer for the company, I had to pack a camera for this trip. And to make things worse, IT WASN'T EVEN MY CAMERA (I'm sorry to the rightful owner for only knowing this now :/ ) Anyways, my dad and I rushed to a nearby camera stall to see what damage repair could be done on the spot. Unfortunately, the owner said that they had to take at least a day to repair the lens and so I was extremely devastated. My dad suggested I get a whole new camera since I have had plans on getting one for quite some time now and in the midst or desperation, we did. I got a new Canon 760D and that is now my new baby. Of course we bargained our way to make the payment a little less painful. So thank you for the discount. Like seriously, thank you. Anyway, my dad offered to help repair my friend's lens and we set off to the airport with the brand new camera. However, on the way there, I realized that I had forgotten to bring along my wallet and my earpiece. Thank goodness I took out the necessary cards and slot it in my phone case pouches the day before if not I would have been in SERIOUS trouble. My aunt was kind enough to lend me her earpiece so thank you too. My aunt also gave me this tube of Yutzu sweets which you will later learn that it was extremely helpful to me.
After suffering from multiple klutzy heart attacks you would expect it to be over but it did not. At the airport, I was held back 3 times because I was told that I looked nothing like the photo in my passport. Honestly, that photo was a photo of me 2 years ago. I have received comments outside that I changed quite a lot (idk how) but I didn't expect it to be of such inconvenience. Landed in Brunei and everything went smoothly.
Woke up the first morning in Brunei to a sight of a cicada by my leg. And just so you know, that bug was the size of an index finger (no exaggeration). The first night we slept in a holding camp because in order to reach the actual camp, we had to take a 3.5h ferry ride. You might think that 'hey, that's not that bad, you can take a long nap and you will reach camp!' But lo and behold, that didn't happen when you realize you are allocated to a seat at the upper deck where the air conditioning has spoiled. So I died and bathed in sweat there.
Anyway, the living condition in the actual camp was pretty all right. Except for the fact that there were multiple water supply shortages during the first few days because everyone in camp was just binging on using water that the rate of using the water was like a lot faster than the rate of filling the water tanks. But that problem was solved a few days later after strict regulations on water usage. Oh, and it's like this breeding ground for cicadas because it's filled with it.
During Ex Nomad, it was a super fun experience, learning to navigate your way through the jungle. We were warned never to bash into the vegetation so my team strictly followed the clear ridge lines. However, the jungle plays tricks on us. Most of the time you will think that you are going in the right direction but after walking a good 10 to 15 minutes, you find yourself skirting to a different direction and that sucks. My team went up and down so many ravines and crossed so many streams we became immune to them. We met a few teams here and there and realized we were one of the few who actually managed to find a checkpoint. Yes, there were teams that were zero fighters. Teams who did well and teams who didn't. My team wasn't fortunate enough to have an experienced member inside to guide us, so being able to find 1 checkpoint kinda made us proud in a way. Cause the jungle is a merciless maze and we were told that people who have signed on in the Army and did navigating the jungles of Brunei can still get lost in there. Just so you know, during this exercise, during the last few hours, my team found ourselves at the bottom of this super steep ravine. I practically injured myself then. Basically, my rifle(M203) was trapped by this vine(we were along this steep ravine and on all fours) and I used all my might to haul it out. The rifle flew into midair and landed right smack on my knee, that same knee slipped along the slope only to find itself kissing a stump of wood. But still alive so still grateful.
During Ex Buaya, oh damn, the flashbacks give me chills. The tube of Yutzu sweets was a piece of home I smuggled out to eat, keep me sane. Basically, the overall general plan is that on the 1st day we will be heli-inserted into the wilderness and climb to the top of Mountain Biang (MB). On the 2nd day, we will walk quite a distance to a certain checkpoint. On the 3rd day, we were told to assault an enemy party that has already been deployed. On the 4th day, we will cross a river and climb 7 knolls (THE 7 KNOLLS) and on the last day we will walk to the gates of camp and assault a second party of enemies. Sounds simple but it was super tough. The terrain was harsh. It rained every single day. We had to be disciplined out in the jungle. Stay tactical. Hidden. Idk if I am allowed to say what we were taught then but just so you know, injuries happened, it was crazy, it was dirty, it was tiring and you have to really be prepared to conquer every single challenge. Especially, the 7 knolls. You may think climbing the mountain will be the worst. But wait till you climb 7 knolls. You can lose count of the up slopes and down slopes you will climb. The only easy day was yesterday. And that quote never felt so true. So for future batch mates going to Brunei. All the best. You will survive. But you will NOT come out in your tip top condition and that is OK because you can conquer Ex Lancer. I exited the gates with 100 over mosquito bites and rash so bad they were comparable to shingle rash. Sorry if I'm being too explicit but I just want you to know that it may look horrible and feel lethargic but the feeling of accomplishment will definitely be there. My body is recuperating and the recovery is good and I hope my friends are too.
Thanks for reading!
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