Saturday, October 27, 2012

Experience Onboard

If my fellow Midshipmen didn't take the risk to fill up the officer's leave book, I wouldn't be so lucky to enjoy my holiday at home at this time. There's nothing unusual when officers say, "All Midshipmen R.O.B!". That mean words straightaway slammed my door of freedom. Last Thursday, we bravely wrote down our names on the leave book requesting for short weekend, we knew that the officers will surely disagree. But, we have nothing to lose, so just give it a try. We were in the wardroom eating our lunch when the Anti Air Missile Officer (AAMO) came in and nailed us with sarcasm after seeing our names in the book. The very mean stares from officers clearly explained, "No holidays for Midshipmen!". An hour later, they told us that holiday granted, with one condition :

The fridge in the wardroom must be filled with good food before we sail to Kota Kinabalu.

Just so u know, I have no cabin on board this Frigate. I've finally found a place to keep all my belongings and rest in the sonar room. The first few days, 3 layers of clothes didn't help much to keep me warm. I got myself a thin mattress, and my parents sent me blanket, that's all I have. The aircond of KD Jebat must be the best aircond in the world! =p Living inside the sonar room is just temporal, because the ship will need to operate the sonar when submarines are involved in operation and I'll have to move out. I don't know where I'll be staying after this. I've mentioned this to my Torpedo Anti Submarine Officer (TASO), and he promised to inform me when the sonar need to be operated. The Sonar ping, can kill all my "tadpoles" =p  

 This hatch is my only entrance and exit. That's why I call it rat hole. =p
In this confined space, there're 2 ever-shining bulbs. I have no idea where the switch is, definitely not in my rat hole. The only time it was turned off was during Fire Fighting drill. Sometimes it feels like combating in Vietnam war, because this hatch is so small and low! I'm short, yet I can't even stand straight! Soon enough I'll grow shorter by an inch. =p On the other hand, it reminds me of the luxury of having a proper bed and hot shower. There was one bad day of mine, everything went wrong, I was really depressed. Normally, I'll try to look for some simply entertainment to make myself happy. Guess what, I was standing under the shower praying for hot shower before turning on the tap! Only when the calorifier is turned on, we can shower with hot water. Even the tiniest blessing can make me feel content. That quicky hot shower have made my day! =)

 Pathetic, enough said.

Tasks just fall from the sky out of nowhere to keep the Midshipmen busy. Come to the end of the day, the officers will ask :
The technique to answer is to explain fluently using all the technical terms, talk non stop for about a minute with confidence. That'll sound convincing. Before I can do that, I'll need to do A LOT of homework! Too convincing can lead to them thinking this bloddy Midshipmen is over confident. Learning how to handle superiors are the soft skills needed to survive on board. Before entering the Commanding Officer's room, there's a mini notice saying :

Rule No. 1, Your Boss is Always Right.
Rule No.2, If Your Boss is Wrong, refer to the Rule No. 1.

Choosing military as a profession is a sacrifice. Living on an island of steel is not easy. Our job to defend Malaysia's sovereignty not only demands our fullest commitment but also requires sacrifice and great understanding from family members. The simplest example, we don't really have much time to contact our loved ones. By the time u get to rest in your cabin, u won't be able to reach your loved ones because there's no coverage in the ship! No more sweet talking while lying down. Whole day working surely drained all your energy, walking out to the helicopter deck to make phone call after pipe down (lights off) takes up your resting hours. It can be extremely demoralizing to face family problems when going home. Also, what if anything happens to the family when you're in the middle of an operation ? Will they ever understand your job demands? Look at the young officers' phones, some filled with messages from the girls, scolding them for their ignorance. What the hell, she should understand that we can hardly get coverage!

Managing the men is never easy. Handing the boss is even harder. Ensuring the machinery in working condition is a challenge. Lacking of rest is normal. Feeling pressured and hopeless is usual. Look left, look right, look fore, look aft and you'll see nothing but the great blue sea, hometown is just too far from sight. I'm not working in a place whereby when I call MayDay and rescue can come immediately. Because of all the challenges, it makes me feel closer to God. I learned so much on board. Comparing myself to my Army comrades, I should be feeling grateful for serving under an efficient organization. My daily routine is to conduct engine room tour =p From Fore to Aft engine room, auxiliary machinery rooms, and even the sewage, I'll try to understand the layout and functions of each machines. To date, I'm progressing quite well in learning and understanding the job of a mechanical engineer, hopefully I won't lose the momentum =)
Lekiu and Jebat.

I truly miss my triathlon training. Hopefully when I go to the air wing, I can race more often.
I'm really putting everything aside to focus on my training. Surviving on board is something worth to be proud of. With one more day left, I shall sleep less and enjoy my freedom to the fullest. 

I'm still loving you by Shiga

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