When it felt like the world has given up on you….
When I was in secondary school, I was in National police cadet corp, Npcc for short.
I didnt really like shining my boots, starching my uniform, pressing my beret, following every commands and fulfilling every punishments, nor do I fancy learning shooting with revolver etc in my first few years but I ended up completing it on my 4th year.
The very motivation aside from camping trips and islands staycation etc… to stay on… Was the first class uniform.
To me, it was a prestigious white uniform only allowed to be worn on super special occasion. It was once in a lifetime chance for me. And if given the chance, I won’t say no. It’s an honour, really. (because I didn’t intent to make police or any uniformed group to be my lifelong career path).
Every year, our school host the Minister on our speech day. And it was considered a very prestigious event for uniform groups like Npcc and also the army cadets.
So between the police and army cadets, we took turn to wear the first class white uniform for such events, yearly.. And only final year cadets get to wear them.
I was in love with the uniform, at first glance. It looked so good. Anyway, lucky for me, it was Npcc turn to host the final year I was there.
I cannot remember the reason why, my squad of about 20+ peeps, only 3 were chosen to participate to join with 1 year junior cadets as a squad. Perhaps majority chose to focus on studies since that was also the year we took our GCE olevels before college and poly.
So we practised our drills and special gun drills (on actual day, we get to take the actual rifles from Police Academy to do the official drills to welcome the Minster to our school. And if my memory served me right, it was M16.)
Anyway, I had turned down my Malay dance club to perform on stage for that very day. I was an active member and always perform yearly for such events and competitions for school but that very year, my Npcc teacher do not allow me to participate because I cannot neglect my M16. So I had to say goodbye to my dance group.
Then as we were rehearsing, my senior cadets of 3, decided to have some form of mutiny. Because we were higher ranked than the commanding officer and most of the junior squad members, some of us wanted to lead and be the commanding leader.
So we fell out. And we were interviewed individually. It was no biggie for me, as to whoever was the commanding leader because I just want to wear the first class uniform, I promised myself 3 years ago. I decided to stay on while my 2 mates gave up.
I felt like a traitor. My whole squad was gone. Only I was left behind to join a junior squad for the event. I believed that all these rank were just ego thingy, and so I let it go to fulfil my own promise to myself.
So, no one from my squad was there, nor support nor congratulate me. I had to let go another group I had bonded for 4 years.
My final group was my family. The night before the prestigious event, I had a great falling with my younger brother. It got ugly and my head got hit and bleed. The next day, my head was still bleeding faintly, I continued to proceed onto the event on my own.
No friends was told, I did not even shared with my mom. I was angry at her because she left me on the floor lying in shock, after I found my head bleeding. Not even curious nor cared for me.
That day felt like the worst day of my life. All the groups who were supposed to be there for me, was not. I felt abandoned. I felt victimised.i felt unheard, hurt, wounded and invisible. But the day must go on.
I muster whatever courage I had and wore that uniform I promised myself. I put on my hair net, beret, boots and all, and make myself looking beautiful for the event even if I’m the only one supporting me.
I put on a strong demeanor and outer look with a smile. Inside, felt like I was about to crumble and collapsed any moment. But the event was a success. I was happy.
Looking back, I wonder how did I do that? I was only 15 going to be 16. And it felt the world I relied upon came tumbling down. But yet, I persevered and compete my mission. I’m glad, and proud that I stood by me. Stood by my promise, no matter what.
I can crumble and got medical leave and forego the uniform I desired for years. I can submit to the roller coastered emotional ride within and just collapsed at what seemed unfair to a teenager. In fact, I even wondered why it felt like the Creator was testing me so harshly at that most vulnerable moment.
There was no parent clapping for me in the audience, no loved ones, or closed ones. No one hugged me. No one was beaming with pride as I dutifully did the practiced drills in the hot sun for hours (which we had practiced for months).
But I knew, I wasn’t doing that for anyone other than me. No trophy or award for my commitment and dedication. But i was there, for me.
After the event, I realised my inner shirt was cladded in brown stains of my blood dripping from my head. I went to the doctor that night with my grandma. She was angry at my mom for letting such things happened.
But no one knew, I was there in one of my proudest moments of wearing the first class uniform.
Not many knew about this story. I only get to shared this story to my sons recently…. and as I browsed back thru, my old photos…
I reminded them, that I never teach them to follow the mass blindly but to be true to themselves.
And this is one of the stories that reminded me, if ever I felt the world was unkind to me, all hope is never gone or lost. For sure, I will be there, standing for me.
And I knew the Almighty has always been there with me. I’m truly grateful.