WOFFLES WU, 47
Served: December 1978- July 1987, disrupting for six years in between to study medicine
NS Rank: Captain
Vocation: Medical Officer
Unit: HQ 3rd Division
“One of the memorable things that stood out during my NS days was jungle survival training, which I went through before I became a medical officer.
We had this burly commando instructor and the first thing he taught us was to kill a pigeon, which they had already trapped in a cage. He demonstrated, pulling off the head of the pigeon with one strong tug, while us cadets looked on squeamishly.
Then, looking straight at me, he boomed: ‘Now you try.’
At this point, I was already going to faint, but I had to put on a brave front as my fellow cadets were egging me on.
First, I had a tough time subduing the bird, which was fluttering around in the cage. When I finally grabbed it, worse was to follow – the other guys kept shouting ‘pull the head, pull the head’ but despite many tugs, I simply couldn’t pull its head off.
Then they told me that if I kept doing it so gently, I was just torturing the poor bird. So I took a deep breath, summoned my strength and plucked its head off.
The instructor told me I then had to suck its blood – and he was serious – but at this point I had already turned green and had to sit down.
On the bright side, since I had already killed the bird, someone else had to kill the next animal – a snake.”