Happy Mum’s Day, Mother.
I was livid.
I had barely gone to bed when my mother burst into my room at 6 in the morning in high spirits. “Get up! Go get ready!” She danced into my room and sang. Pulling the covers over my head, I muttered vaguely about being sleepy and telling them to go ahead without me. I sensed that she froze in mid-dance and the room became still for five seconds. Then, the nagging started.
As she used that reproachful tone of hers to tell me how visiting my brother’s army camp is a “once-in-a-lifetime experience“, I wondered to myself the importance of my presence at my brother’s Parents Visiting Day. He did reserve seats for four, this I know because he told me last week that four was the maximum he could reserve anyway. I rolled my eyes at him and reminded him that excluding him, there only needed to be 3 seats. IF I was going. I was too tired to get out of bed and didn’t budge. My mother walked out of the room, grumbling to my dad. I knew what was coming next.
My father walked in fifteen minutes later, fully dressed and ready to go. Where my mother’s tone was reproachful, his reeked of disappointment. And he did what he does best. Pouring in the guilt. “You only have one brother” and “I’m sure he would be very happy to see you there” and “He booked 4 tickets for a reason“. I tried to block it out by sandwiching my ears between the pillow and the bolster, but the words resonated in my skull. One minute after my father stormed out of the room, I got up and went to wash up.
So I spent seven hours at godforsaken Sungei Gedong watching pointless static displays, climbing in and out of training simulators, walking around in the blazing sun, and visiting his bunk. I wouldn’t be surprised if my face was the blackest among all the cadets in the camp. Camou painted.
p/s. My heart goes out to the two soldiers who died in the training camp in Taiwan after a Taiwanese jet crashed into one of the storage area there. It was especially frightening for me because my own brother had been in that very camp just a week ago. Of course, my mother didn’t miss the opportunity to remind me how precious her son’s life was.