Thursday, December 7, 2017

An Elite Gentlemen Golden Jamboree

25 November 2017
The moment finally arrived for me to screen the 2-part anthology The CDO Gentleman. It was a moment I had waited for close to 25 years since I ROD ORD. I braved myself to come forward for a pre-screening speech. This was a special audience. And they overwhelmed me.

This was a different crowd from the usual ‘film crowd’ that I normally speak to at film festival screenings. I’m humbled and honoured to be standing in front of almost half a century of SG Commando history. Watching me were the pioneers who carved that history, the guys who braved it all so that future generations like myself can have it ‘easier’, this was the fraternity that progressively set the standard to SG’s most elite league of gentlemen.

Most importantly these were the gentlemen who had inspired me when I was a teenager.

I had wanted to be just like one of them. I didn’t want to go for second best.

These were the guys that taught me to always strive for the best (nothing less), regardless the circumstances.

So many things I had wanted to express. While I stood there looking at these guys, I noticed that beneath all the ceremonial cliche, we are just normal folks. The years may have grazed the bite that defined us during NS but we retained that sting. The concept of camaraderie may be abstract to some people and lost to many, but when I stood there, it made sense.

It’s great to be home.

Flashback, August 2017
I received a call from CY about the upcoming Cdo Formation 48th Anniversary 2017. He watched all the videos I did for 1st Company’s 25th Anniversary on July 2017 and was especially moved by one of the videos, In Memoriam. I was asked if I would keen to do some videos for the said formation’s upcoming anniversary. CY is an administrator of a closed group exclusive for past commandos.

Almost 50 years of history.
Visual documentation.
Great Story.

I have always wanted to do a story on the Commandos. It’s a subject that intrigues the imagination and command attention regardless of the scope - as are any other stories that involved the elite military units around the world. There is a captive audience for any nugget that emerges from the fraternity.

‘Nuf said, haha.

For this project, I am interested to capture the spirit of the Commandos - the fraternity that I used to be (and still considerably) a part of.

I deliberately avoided the cliche treatment showcasing the alpha masculine bravado that the public may be familiar with. Previous documentaries missed the point about the Gentleman that makes a commando, in my humble opinion. Thus I prefer that the visuals do the talking and actual voices of past-present commandos drive the narrative.

As much as I would like to cover more stories, there are only so much I can cover. It is what the stories offer to tell rather than the quantity that matters. Doing these documentary made me discover about myself. The process has also reconnected myself and my buddies. Yes we are still in contact and I wouldn't want to trade these relationship with anything else. They were there when I was a naive young adult in National Service and they are still here 25 years later.

The Commandos have a mantra - we don't leave anyone behind.

An episode happened during the production of these videos. These brothers rallied together to turn around the issue. I shall not dwell on it here but this insert serves to remind me later on when I come back to this story. Thank you brothers, I am forever grateful. You know who you are. 

The stint in the elite unit and wearing the red beret have moulded me into somebody that the young teenager version of myself will be proud of.

Thank You to everyone involved who had made this herculean task possible. For Honour and Glory!

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