The carpark looked familiar.
13 years ago I was doing warm-down exercises together with my camp mates at the same car park. Looking back the years, Salarang Camp have not changed much. It still look.. like an army camp. I half suspected there is a time stall in this part of Singapore. (I think it is more of the feeling and stereotyping, camps being camps and the dreaded ICTs every year.)
Better and bigger malls have sprung up everywhere over the island throughout the years (Think Vivo City). Trendy American cafe joints that offer high class 'kopi peng' have already invaded the country faster than SARS can spread. Yet, the army camp looked similar to me from the day I left the place more than a decade ago. I must add again, it is just my biased perception. As a matter of fact, everything is now electronic even in the SAF, and better.
I guess my point is : The world has changed. At an increasing speed.
And stepping back into Salarang camp have caused me to ponder. Those days (my NS days) where pagers cost hundreds of dollars to own, army boys used to queue up at the pathetic lone coin phone below their bunk waiting for their turn to make smooching calls to their girlfriends.
Earlier this afternoon as I drove in with my shining blue sports car, I was told to wind down my window and reminded not to bring in any camera phones.
I started to look back at how fast the society had advanced. We now lived in the digital age, where earthquakes in Taiwan crippled internet connections, resulting in billions of dollars lost in the commercial world. Less than a decade ago, we would have relied heavily on only fax machines. Now we cannot live in a world without emails, msn, and youtube. Camera phones are are now banned in army camps. In my army days, I used to walk around with my pager sticking of the front pocket of my levi's 501 button jeans, and I used to think I looked cool. Fuck.
Kids now carry cellphones wherever they go. Lately, one Singapore kid even broke the guiness record for the world's fastest sms typer!
Just 5 mins drive from my office, there is a polytechnic that runs a paperles system. The students generally bring their laptops everywhere they go. The exams are even conducted paperless, with students keying anwers into the laptops. I wonder how the new generation will end up, and the generation after that. How would it be?
Back in Salarang camp, I looked at the documents I carried in my hand. Without the essential army online portal, I wouldn't have been able to print out my 'SAF100'. I did not even receive a letter notice for my call up service, I was simply requested to return to camp via a system which sends message to my cell phone.