Pasir Laba Camp
Let me share with you a true story which I have encountered during my army days.
Life was tough back in the olden days, when NS is all about physical training. I was posted to Pasir Lebar Camp and I thought life will be much better there, without having to stay on a spooky island (Pulau Tekong) and eating the awful cookhouse food that taste like junk.
Training was tough as usual and most of us normally do not have sufficient sleep. Thus, every night, all of us will just knock out flat on our bed till the sun rise.
There was once, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought of walking out for a puff. I worn my slippers and quietly walked to the smoking corner, which is just right outside my bunk and right beside the staircase.
I sat down on a bench and lighted my cigarette and had my first puff. Feeling wonderful to have such a peaceful time, smoking alone at night. This was when I realized that I was actually not alone. Someone was standing on the stairs and I could actually see his legs, but not the entire body, because the wall is blocking my view. So my instinct told me that he must be another smoker like me, trying to find peaceful time to have a few puffs alone. But then, when I finished almost half of my stick, that guy is still standing on the stairs without any movement. Then was when I find it creepy but yet, another side of my mind was thinking, maybe he has finished his pack of cigarettes but he don’t dare to approach me for one, since cigarettes are rather “limited” in camp.
So I decided to take the initiative to walk over and offer him a stick and maybe we can smoke together. However, the moment I stood him, I suddenly feel this extremely cold wind blown towards my direction. This very unusual “dark and cold” wind that makes me stopped and turned around and ran back my bunk.
As expected, I could not sleep for the whole night and was in fear rolling around on my bed. Even though I did not have the courage to verify the truth back then, but somehow, I was pretty sure that the “someone” is not a human being. So I keep dozing off during the morning lecture. My Officer asked me to do push ups and star jump a couple of times. This was when I met a Malay guy (Hanafi), from another platoon, who was also punished for dozing off during lecture. Both of us look like we haven’t sleep for a year and one of the Platoon Commanders was so pissed off that he order us to go to his office immediately.
I was very much prepared to sign a few extra duties for this issue, rather than to speak the “truth” as my Commander might not believe me and charge me for maligning. “Not worth to take the risk”, that’s what I told myself. Hanafi sat beside me and he seems troubled over something. The Commander slammed the Informal Punishment Book in front of us and demand for an explanation first, before he decides to punish us. I paused for a few seconds and that’s when Hanafi speaks.
“Sir, I don’t know whether you will believe it or not. But I swear I am not lying to you. There is this old lady, standing outside my bunk, keep calling my name in the middle of the night. I am so scared and I could not sleep.”
I could not believe what I have just heard and I immediately ask him, whether his bunk is near to the staircase and he said yes. So I told the Commander my story and hope that he will buy it.
The Commander paused for pretty long, as though he was wondering how should he phrase his sentence when he reply us. He said in a very serious tone, “I know as a Commander, I should not have tell you all this. But for the sake of both of your safety, I am breaking this house rule. But first, promise me that whatever I say here, stays here. Do not go and spread around okay?”
At this moment, both me and Hanafi were in total silence and we just nodded our head.
“A few trainees before your batch also complained about this “old lady” incident. And soon after they lodged the complain, another “kid” appears. So I wanna ask both of you, did you also see the kid or just the old lady?”
I swear at that moment, I felt like calling the SAF hotline immediately to request to post out, because it seems like something bad has happened to the previous trainees who have seen the “kid”, since the Commander do not really want to reveal the whole story.
Fortunately, the rest of the nights were spent at outfield trainings and night navigation exercises, when we do not have to stay in bunk. And after which, all of us were officially posted out to our various units and out of Pasir Lebar Camp.