So you have received your pink enlistment letter, the one that you have been dreading for the past few months. It’s going to be 2 years of hell, where they claim that you will emerge stronger.
But first, you need to survive BMT. It’s time for your role in “Ah Boys to Men”, which actually accurately describes your ill-fated life.
I’m sure, as kiasu Singaporeans, you would have asked your seniors on how the training is like, how the food tastes, and more importantly, what you need to bring.
I can’t say too much about personal essentials, but here are some things that you, as a 3G soldier-to-be, must not forget.
With effect from September 2014, BMTC has allowed all smartphones with camera. However, no photos are to be taken in all SAF premises, and phones are subjected to spot checks (no explicit images please).
Contrary to popular belief, there is no longer any screen size limitation. That said, think of the consequences before you bring in a tablet and claim that you make calls with it.
For those who are too poor to afford the 128GB iPhone 6S, MicroSD cards are also allowed provided they are installed in your phones and not removed. Oh wait, the iPhone has no MicroSD slot.
Finally, I would recommend that you do not bring a phone that is too expensive, since they would likely be spoilt more easily or even stolen (in rare cases).
For safety reasons, most, if not all, companies prohibit the usage of wall chargers. Only portable power banks are allowed. Considering that your first confinement period can last up to 3 weeks (2 weekends), we would definitely recommend that you obtain a charger that can charge your phone about 3-5 times. Kiasu Singaporeans can bring more than one Powerbank. Bringing additional power may save the lives of your bunkmates and you’ll become the star of your company.
For a quick and cheap deal, head over to XiaoMi Singapore’s website and pick up a 16000 mAh powerbank, and another for your friends. (Now, can we get some commission from the recommendation?)
On a side note, USB cables are allowed for charging.
We know. You will miss your girlfriend, your friends and your family. You will want to snapchat with them, whatsapp them, and call them. So you need a one-size-fit-all plan.
One option, if you bought your own phone, is to consider the SIM only plans from the local telcos. Coming in as low as $20 for 3GB of data + 2GB Singtel WiFi, or $30 for 5GB of pure data + 300 mins calls + 1000 SMS/MMS, these plans are more than sufficient for the occasional user.
NSFs also get additional 1GB data, unlimited SMS/MMS and free campus / camp calls, but that is if you sign up for a regular plan that I would forsee setting you back by at least $40 for the light user.
If you are a Starhub user, the Youth Perk gives you extra 2GB of data for the 4G 3 plan and 3GB of extra data for the 4G 4 plan which gives you a total of 4GB and 6GB of mobile data respectively.
Finally, you can choose to go the Easy Mobile route, and by relying on WhatsApp for both calls and texts, you can end up saving a lot of “units” in exchange for data.
One more thing: Snapchat is not allowed, because no photos are to be taken in camp. Oops.
If you would like some private time to relax in army, why not pop a pair of earphones and listen to some music? We would recommend the portable earbuds as compared to a pair of audiophile headphones, for obvious reasons.
While a pair of Apple Earpods or the Samsung counterpart would work well enough, if you are an audiophile, you might consider the Sennheiser CX 300 II.
In case you are waiting for me to recommend a gold plated Apple Watch, no. A Casio F-91W is the one you should head for, with its always-on display, smart features like an alarm clock and a stopwatch, as well as an LED back light. It is also water resistant and dust proof. Most importantly, if you ever manage to break it, it wouldn’t be as painful as breaking your Apple Watch.
All other lifestyle devices (eg Amazon Kindle) are not allowed unless its screen size is less than 4.3 inches. Well, I guess PSP is fine. But do you really have the energy to continue playing after a tough training? I doubt so.
Here’s wishing you all the best in protecting the nation with your life.