*Jargons are explained. Ladies, we promise this isn’t another one of those ‘army talks’.

There’d always be an SOP (standard operating procedure) to carry out before a serviceman can ORD (operationally ready date) in peace. Dutifully filling up the ORD checklist, removing your belongings from your bunk and all that jazz. And then there is the rite of passage of clearing your eMart credit points; the ‘free money’ ah gong bestowed us with to buy our supplies.

Now, we’re all too familiar with the usual supplies we clear our credit points with: the ShamWow-like bath towels, admin t-shirts, shorts, and the white socks that go hand in hand or foot in foot with even the most obiang pair of sports shoe you’ll ever own (provided you didn’t just lose your 4th pair of admin socks and need the credit points to actually replenish your wardrobe.)

If you ever need a reminder of the most mundane of eMart items you could clear your credit with, this is it.

1. Soap Sponge

Use: make-shift shower in a packet, especially useful outfield when there’s a lack of shower facility.

SAF soap sponge
Image Credit: Carousell

The existence of this god-sent is almost always a distasteful throwback to a back full of heat rash in the middle of an outfield. The only salvation to a stinging back is simply a couple drop of water into the soap sponge and almost miraculously, it turns into a soap inducing sponge that is just the remedy you need to scrub the grime off your back.

At the end of the day, are you going to be using a soap sponge with a fully equipped bathroom at home? You know what, keep the answer to yourself.

2. Arc of Fire Sticks

Use: to demarcate the ‘arc’ where the soldier should fire within, so as to avoid cross-firing.

Image Credit: Mindef

Oftentimes compared to the joss sticks of a soldier’s own grave due to how these unassuming sticks look when they’re erected right in front of your shell scrape (the ‘shallow’ hole we dig to protect ourselves from shrapnels in wartime).

Basically, a packet of hollow metal sticks with a token luminous patch towards the tip of each stick, let me know if you ever discover a practical use for these sticks.

3. Insect Repellent

Use: you guess?

SAF insect repellent
Image Credit: Carousell

These are no doubt military grade insect repellent. Ask anyone who’s used this and they would immediately recount of the corrosive nature of this inconspicuous green tube. Unlike most commercially produced insect repellents, the SAF branded one has a significantly different form of usage. Instead of applying it to your skin, it should be applied to your uniform.

A dear buddy of mine back in my army days learned this lesson the hard way when he applied a handful of this repellent at the back of his neck, in a desperate attempt to rid of the sandflies, only to be kept awake through the night by the corrosion and a burn mark thereafter.

Why would you apply this to anything but your uniform? Willingly staining your expensive garment and the pungent smell that comes with it, you’ll repelling more than just insects.

4. Soap Box

Use: hmm?

Image Credit: Carousell

Well, I guess you could use this to keep your spare change.

Note: doesn’t come with the soap bar

Moving on.

5. Headdresses

Use: military rule states that all soldiers have to have a headdress on when they’re out in the open and when not under a sheltered area.

jockey cap
Image Credit: Fahmi Ahmad

Need a new headdress the next time you serve ICT (In-camp training a.k.a reservist)? Sure. But to wear it as a fashion statement should be (and isillegal. Save the eMart credit points and buy the admin shorts your civilian friend has been begging for since day 1.

6. Ear Plugs

Use: Noise-cancelling when you fire a weapon.

saf ear plugs
Image Credit: Hock Gift Shop

Note: these are earplugs, not earphones

To be completely fair, these earplugs are of superior quality, cancelling out not only the sound from firing your SAR21 but occasionally also your sergeant’s orders to chiong the enemy line. Why else would you need this level of noise-cancellation after you ORD? Beats me.

7. Camouflage Face Paint

Use: to cover and conceal the face, so as to blend in with the terrain of the jungle

camouflage face
Image Credit: Israel Defense Forces | Flickr

Or more commonly know amongst NS boys as camo cream. It feels as though your face is caked with oil and grime and goo all at the same time. Yet, you know a careless scratch on your face or the slightest rub with your sleeves will ruin the whole orientation of the camouflage and risk having to ‘camo off’ and ‘camo on’ within a minute by your psycho sergeant. Ladies, the pain we have with camo cream is parallel to yours of makeup.

Unless you’re going for the au naturel look in your next big breakthrough in ah boys to men 5, save the eMart credit.

 8. Garters

Use: to tuck the ends of the uniform pants neatly

Image Credit: Qoo10

‘Eh y’all got extra garters?’ Perhaps one of the most expended accessories while I was still in service due to how flimsy it is. Good to stock up for future ICT uses but aside from that I know no pants that require the maneuver of a pair of garters.

If you ever need more garters at a fraction of the price but ran out of eMart credit points, do check out Qoo10 for a list of sellers!

9. First Aid Dressing (FAD)

Use: barely pocket-sized dressing kit that is used to dress superficial wounds

First aid dressing
Image Credit: Black Tactical

No one’s going to be bringing a FAD around, let’s face it. I mean, us guys barely even have any pocket space for anything in our jeans. Perhaps another item for the girlfriends to hold in their handbags.

10. 3 Litre Water Bag

Use: for a bigger storage of drinking water, especially useful for hydration when doing road marches and also serves as a deadweight when clearing SOC (Standard Obstacle Course).

SAF waterbag
Image Credit: Carousell

I swear everything’s on Carousell nowadays.

For the average person at least, we won’t be needing to lug 3kg of water with us at all times. It’s just not an item which someone would go, ‘let’s get another of this’. It isn’t exactly the cheapest item to get either if you’ve had your water bag ruptured like mine. At S$24 credit points, you could get 3 of that comfy admin t-shirt at the same price point!

Your credit points might be abundant at the end of your NS (national service) stint, but in case you needed a reminder on the items you shouldn’t be splurging your credits on, there we have it. Hold on tight boys, this isn’t a forceprep (force preparing) for outfield,  time to shop smart at the SAF eMart and ORD loh!

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