Sep 23, 2009

Fun and Nostalgia at Army Open House 2009 (II)

Previously I blogged about fun at AOH'09 and how Yours truly the civilian soldier nearly lost to Ah Tiong at SAR-21 firing. You can read my adventure, including witnessing bobo shooters, here. While I brought Ah Tiong to marvel at our latest military gimmicks, I also relived some army nostalgia - at Pasir Laba Camp.

AOH'09 was Army Open House, but you could call it Pasir Laba Open House. Like I mentioned before, the open house was held at Pasir Laba Camp and visitors could walk around without escort. The organizers wanted us to concentrate on the gimmicks and not military secrets, so they covered some of the buildings in giant camo nets and the whole place felt like a big carnival, but with too many male ushers and attractions cast members.

Pasir Laba Camp Map
Carnival map on the tour brochure - in reality map of Pasir Laba Camp

(See if you can spot old and new landmarks on the map above.The main gate is at one 'o clock position, so PIE is the road bordering northwest and the hills - Peng Kang and FOFO - will be to the southeast.)

Who can forget Main Street, U.S.A. after visiting the world's most famous theme park? In Pasir Laba Camp, there is a street with an unusual name that invokes bittersweet memories for those who have served their time.

Pasir Laba Camp Sunray Avenue
Sunray Avenue and Victory Avenue in Pasir Laba Camp.

Ever wonder why they call it Sunray Avenue? So un-army, unlike Victory Avenue. I'm not sure whether the name was carried over from the time when Pasir Laba was SAFTI, but apt name they have given. For those who have served their time outfield, you know what I'm referring to. For those who have not, it is a code word. Haha.

While a full-time MIG (man-in-green), I spent a short stint at Pasir Laba Camp, not in their training schools but in TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command). I was pleasantly surprised to bump into our old accommodation block which looked as new. Of course Ah Tiong didn't know why I was more excited over the building than the carnival.

Pasir Laba Camp Accomodation Block
Pasir Laba Camp TRADOC
Top: My old accommodation block at TRADOC.
Bottom: TRADOC HQ on right. My block on the left. In the middle is the parade square where wargames were conducted and where we had our first parade.

While we were allowed to roam freely, certain places were out-of-bounds, as evident in the bottom photo. As a result, I did not get to roam as much as I wanted.

At Fun World, the crowd was entertained by the group singing and dancing on stage. They could be from MDC - Music and Drama Company - SAF's resident performers. Last time I didn't remember them as especially good, perhaps the training dulled my musical sense and I just could not appreciate.

Fun World at Army Open House 2009
Performers at Fun World

At one of the static exhibits, I saw this propaganda poster. Woah, must quickly snap it down. Do you know why?

Propaganda at Army Open House 2009