I’ve since been inducted into my new army unit. It’s pretty classified (which is not as cool as it sounds) so all I can say is limited to what already exists on public domain. My work involves ammunition and explosives, I will operate enormous machines and I work so deep underground the oxygen levels are diminished and all I see all day is raw granite walls and ceilings.
If anything, it feels right out of some sci-fi Bond film.
In the 1967 You Only Live Twice (which remains my favourite Bond film largely because of the kitsch), the iconic climax takes place in a massive dormant volcano, refitted into a villain’s lair, featuring a grandiose battle of Japanese Special Intelligence Service ninjas wielding rifles, grenades, shurikens and samurai swords, Sean Connery and his bikini-clad Bond girl (I suppose only Bond girls wear a bikini to a gun battle) against the villainous henchmen of Blofeld.
As they say, reality is stranger than fiction. For all I know, my unit commander could very well be some renegade super-villain, and I’m complicit in his villainous dreams of world domination, orchestrated from my seemingly un-villainous subterranean workplace.
Due to the health limits imposed on the time I can spend underground, I have an anomalous magnitude of time available for reading and it’s wonderful news for my hopes to complete my new year resolution of 50 books.
On another note, I picked up a collection of Alfian Sa’at poems. He writes so beautifully. It is perhaps a misfortune that all that power is drawn from an raging undercurrent of brutal anger. There is a certain sort of tragic beauty in his ferocity.
Tell that to the chao ah beng who has seven stitches a broken
collarbone and three dead comrades but who will not
hesitate at thrusting his tiger ribcage into another fight
because the lanterns of his lungs have caught their own fire and
there is no turning back.
A verse from Singapore You Are Not My Country
Alfian Sa’at, 1998