SINGAPORE – The SAR 21.
Before 1 September, 2018, I thought it was a kind of virus that I wanted to stay free of.
But the last two days I have learned that the Singapore Assault Rifle 21 (SAR 21) is not only a rifle but also a rifle designed and manufactured in Singapore, and used by national military personnel.
I also learned how to load bullets, throw out the weapon's magazine (the kind without shiny pages) and pull the trigger of the gun.
Unfortunately, targeting is still in the making.
This was just one of many experiences at the Women's Boot Camp that was held at Maju Camp this weekend. Other activities included trying to camouflage my hand and face, sampling combat rations and of course including the Standard Obstacle Course (SOC).
Camouflaging turned out to be a big surprise, because the trainer smeared green paint without a trace of hesitation on her face and easily brushed three stripes. For me, taking the first jump on the Grinch took a bit of courage.
The combat rations were a treat, especially a marked cheese mashed sausage, which was savory and tasted like the bright orange cheese snacks I had as a kid. I can not imagine that I would eat it every day, but a dish like that in the middle of the forest after a long day of hiking would certainly be appreciated.
Calling the 12-obstacle SOC lifted a lot of groans from men I spoke to prior to my bootcamp experience, along with warning stories about the famous low wall.
However, women in the camp were exempt from the wall, together with two other stations: the top ladder and the balancing bridge.
It turns out that I had to be warned for the simple window obstacle, where I stumbled and fell as I walked through the frame to simulate a window.
Nothing was more bruised than my ego.
At the end of the weekend, the idea that this was only a fraction of what regular national military personnel did, made me realize the extent of their efforts and gained a new level of respect for our men and women in the green.