For the first two weeks of March, I was serving my national service reservist training. When we booked out for the first weekend, my wife commented, “Wow, this time round, it seems like you all are quite busy no?”

This was the toughest reservist I had ever experienced. When we were outfield in the second week, it coincided with a heat wave that hit 36 C in the shade.

In a five-ton truck under the cloudless sky, the 36C felt like being cooked alive. At one point, the heat got to my head, and I could not understand what my teammates were saying to me: momentarily it all sounded like gibberish. At another point, I was so exhausted that I could not finish the tasks I was asked to do, because every single bit of energy was drained from me.

But what kept us all going was each other, with the little kindnesses and concern. Like my buddy H., who poured ice-cold water on me in an effort to cool me down, and who also taught me to put a cold water bottle at my armpits (that was a lifesaver) And our officer L., who kept telling us Please, if you can’t do it, just fall out. I would rather fail this assessment than lose one of you. And our driver Z., who wordlessly passed me an isotonic drink when I was recovering.

In fact, the truth is that every single one of us chose to be there, when every one of us had a million reasons not to. A few of us could easily medically downgrade, but decided not to see the doctor. Some others had urgent work commitments, but opted for the reservist. A lot of it is due to the leadership of L. and A. Without them, I don’t think there would be that level of commitment amongst all of us.

Thankfully, we all pulled through: there was a small scare, but we subsequently gave our feedback and complaint about an overzealous (to the point of possibly unprofessional) MO. The training cadre were also amazing, being very focused on ensuring that we learned from all our mistakes, and that we were evaluated fairly for our battalion assessment. We were all very grateful for that.

But I think we’re also super grateful for each other.