Friday, August 20, 2004

Showers of Blessings

My graduating cohort from Officer Cadet School is remembered as one of only 4 that was rained on during our commissioning parade.

I remember standing on the parade square, head bowed, as we received a communal blessing from representatives of the various faiths that we cadets on parade believed in. Typically Singaporean: the blessings were en masse and for all (as long as one cadet was of that faith, the relevant priest would be up there on the platform) regardless of your particular faith, or lack of, and several separate gods/pantheons of gods - some of whom are distinctly mutually exclusive with others - were invoked on our behalf. The way I figure it, we've got all angles covered here.

The clouds were already looming ominously overhead, and I remember distinctly as the words "... shower his blessings upon you..." were uttered, the skies opened up. A distinct lack of irony rained down upon us in the form of ... well, rain, which continued torrentially until we got off parade. I won't mention the faith of the priest who uttered those particular words: I like to think that every one of them had a hand in causing us to curse and mutter under our breaths in ways distinctly inappropriate for the moment (considering the number of holy people praying on our behalf) as we got soaked left, right and centre (literally too: the wind was whipping the rain round from all directions in a way that would've made a believer of you, even if you weren't).

I mention this because whenever my reservist unit gets together for training, it rains. We've always believed this was due to the fact that we descend from the only infantry battalion with a fish for an emblem: we were liberally rained upon when we were in active service (including a memorable thunderstorm in Thailand in the dry season. Locals told us it never rained in the dry season, let alone stormed - we, of course, knew why). This grand tradition has continued into our reservists, with rain aplenty for every mission (those who remember the torrential storms in March this year ... well, guess where I was).

Today was no exception. It poured its heart out on us almost the moment we got in camp. It rained buckets, forcing us to delay our little route march, and then dribbled on us while we were walking, finally giving up after having wrung itself dry for us. Showers of blessings still, even after all these years ... to which I can only say, Praise Be. = )

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