Once, after a long day at the hospital, I arrived back in camp around 2200H. I was worried about my fitness for this coming competition, so I decided to go for a late night swim session.
The layout for the swimming pool area in my camp is something like this:
There is a cafe just by the swimming pool and the benches is where we'll put our stuff.
As the pool was already closed and I did not want to bring attention to myself, I choose not to switch on the spotlights thus I did my swim in the dark.
Halfway through my swim program, I happen to glance up and I notice a group of instructors standing at the edge of the pool staring at me intensively.
So I stopped swimming and approached them with my googles still on. As I got nearer to them, one of the instructors wished me in the most polite voice ever: "Assalamualaikum tuan! Tuan dari mana ni?" (Peace be upon you sir! Where are you from sir?)
Two things were weird here. First, instructors never call us, cadets "sir". "Sir" is usually used by lower ranks to address seniors or officers. Second, instructors are never polite to cadets. They'll either be shouting or screaming at us cadets.
I felt a little perplexed at why these instructors were being so polite and nice to me. I wondered if I was commissioned as a officer recently without my knowledge. Maybe I was now Tan Sri Brigadier General Dr Lim...
So I answered them confidently in my most officer sounding voice: "Selamat petang staff! Saya Pegawai cadet Lim dari UPNM ni. Ade apa-apa tak staff?" ( Good evening staff! I am cadet officer Lim from UPNM. How may I help you?)
The instant they realise they were dealing with a cadet and not an officer, their expression and manners changed immediately. They went: "BLOODY HELL CADET! HOW DARE YOU SWIM ALONE IN THE DARK! DON'T YOU KNOW THE POOL IS CLOSED! GET OUT OF THE POOL BEFORE I BEAT YOU SENSELESS!
So out I went from the pool as fast as I could with my tail between my legs. So much for their peace be unto me.... So much for Tan Sri Brigadier General Dr Lim...
As I got out of the pool and made my way to the showers, I heard a shout coming from the direction of the cafe. "Cadet! Come here you!"
Let me make a few things clear at this point. First of, I am short sighted. My vision without my specs looks something like this:
Second, I was still in my swimming trunks.
Third, as cadets, we have certain protocols to follow when we approach officers and instructors. We have to stand in front of the person, stamp our feet twice, brace up (puff out our chest, hands at the side and tilt our heads up) and greet the person. Then as the person is talking to us, we'll have to either stand at attention (feet together, hands at the side) or be at ease (feet at shoulder width and hands behind the back). In other words, we'll be doing a little basic marching.
|Left picture: standing at attention. Right picture: standing at ease.|
So yeah, when I heard someone shouting for me from the cafe, I had no idea who was calling me and where exactly was that person situated. That means I had to enter the cafe wearing only my swimming trunks, try locate who was calling me and do some simple marching clad only in my swimming trunks. Not a very entertaining thought for me!
Like bats and whales, I used Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR) to pinpoint the source of the of the shout and blindly made my way there hoping I don't approach the wrong person.
Long story short, I managed to approach the officer calling me, did some half naked marching in the cafe then listen to the officer tell me off for swimming at this odd hour. All the while squirming uncomfortably as people looked at me funny wondering what is this fellow doing in his swimming trunks.
Instead of getting to practise my swim for the upcoming competition, I had to do some half naked marching in a public place. I wonder if this is some secret training my officers came up with, a training so effective it makes you crazy fit.
So, if you ask me: "Is there a secret to extreme crazy fitness?" To which I'll reply: "Yes there is. Try half naked marching in a public place. It work wonders for your stamina." At least I hope it does, else I'm screwed..