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I can remember exactly what I was doing at this time last year. I had just eaten an early lunch at Kem Ovai’s mess hall, fried noodles and eggs and vegetables, brushed my teeth, and was collecting my mess tin, backpack, etc. from Logistics. My birthday was to be spent overnight in the jungle, for NS. And it was the weirdest birthday I ever had – eating half-cooked (yet somehow, burnt) rice, curry Maggi, biskut 10 sen, and trying to figure out why Logistics had given us canned food but no can openers. No toilet, just a hole dug in the ground and covered by a leaf. It was raining, everyone was wet, nobody could change clothes. Hardly got any sleep, taking turns to watch over each other, and being wet and dressed in full Khidmat Negara celoreng gear – boots, etc.

When I finally got back to camp, the tight ‘Stoking ATM’ had somehow cut into my skin (and everyone else’s) and left scars that stayed for two weeks. I cursed the government for giving me a crappy birthday, but then again, everyone seemed to envy me for having my birthday on such a day.

Now I’m in college. It’s “Dead Week” now, the week before finals. It’s crazy. I have a Math quiz today, and a Chemistry exam tomorrow. No time to stop, have to study or am doomed.

My birthdays, it seems, will always be a little loopy. I used to hate it. But now, I think I might be starting to like them being a little crazy.

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