National Service (NS) for young Singaporean males can be a journey — for fear of sounding like a certain ice enchantress — into the unknown.
Sure, seniors and family might have plenty of stories to share about their own experience, but they would have to capture the attention of youths first.
Now, thanks to Pioneer and award-winning animation studio Robot Playground Media, we get a glimpse into what goes on during the nine weeks of Basic Military Training (BMT) through a series of animation shorts titled Every Singaporean Son.
This lighthearted fictional series, now available on Pioneer's Facebook page, aims to give recruits-to-be and their parents some insights into what to expect on Pulau Tekong upon enlistment.
1. YOU'LL HAVE TO WAKE UP YOUR IDEA
Recruits will find themselves told this at perhaps every turn possibly by everyone — your sergeant, your encik, your officer, everyone.
It goes without saying that being plucked out of your bubble and dropped onto an offshore island can be tough and eye-opening, but it doesn't stop everyone from reminding you that this is the reality.
2. YOU MAY LOSE YOUR GIRLFRIEND, BUT YOU'LL DEFINITELY GAIN A WIFE
She just wouldn't come in the form you expect her to.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of BMT is receiving your very own SAR 21 rifle, or more commonly referred to as your wife, during the Weapon Presentation Ceremony.
It's a significant milestone in every recruit's journey, affirming one's transition from a civilian to a soldier and, in its own way, from a boy to a man.
But as with every marriage, this relationship is till death do you part. That means making sure absolutely nothing happens to your rifle.
3. FIELD CAMP ADVENTURES GALORE
Famous last words: how bad can it be?
Unlike school field trips, there aren't any campfire songs and games to enjoy. Instead, you'll find yourself digging holes in the middle of forested terrain with other recruits.
Not to mention, since showers aren't an option, every one of you would smell.
You can, however, look forward to the camp's nighttime activities, such as having your 'wife' stolen.
Just pray that the sky doesn't decide to rain on your excursion.
4. THE HARDEST TEST OF YOUR LIFE
The Battle Inoculation Course, also known as BMT's final exam, is the last hurdle where recruits sink or swim.
It'd be the hardest test of your life, but think of it as a culmination of all your past efforts and break through your limits.
5. THE SWEET RELISH OF FREEDOM
Before you know it, nine weeks pass by in a flash, and all that separates you from your passing-out parade is one last 24km march.
So close yet (literally) so far.
Still, while it is the end of one journey, it's just the beginning of another, with another 22 months to go before you can shout, "ORD loh!"