It was in the year 2001 (or maybe it was 2000?) and I was still serving my time eh… I mean my nation as a BMT instructor on the lovely island of Pulau Tekong, turning ah boys into men against their will (of course).
One fine day, our Coy Sergeant-Major, or more affectionately known as “Encik”( though hardly any affection between us), gathered all the specialists in the office and informed us that our Coy was tasked (read: “arrowed”) by HQ to welcome a certain “VVIP” to Tekong. While his identity was not revealed at that time, it became quite apparent to us when Encik told us “there is only 1 VVIP in Singapore”.
To cut the already short story even shorter, a team of 6 (I think) sergeants, including me, were “handpicked” (based on looks, I presumed) to be part of the Welcoming Task Force.
The plan: We were to be stationed at Singapore Ferry Terminal over at mainland. 4 of us were designated as the “umbrella party”, holding up the umbrellas to shield the VVIP from the rain (if it rains), while me and another buddy was given the enviable task of securing the place where the VVIP would be at his most vulnerable: the toilet.
The Day: Couldn’t quite recall most of the details (it was more than a decade) but I did remember one of the bodyguards, a grim looking guy with a triangular bag, which no doubt contained some kind of lethal weapon, watching the 2 of us like a hawk as we shifted nervously in our chairs. (Till today, I am still not too sure he was really looking at us. For all I know, he could be taking a nap while standing. There was no way to tell as his eyes were perpetually hidden behind his sinister-looking shades.)
Just as I was getting restless from sitting in front of the loo doing nothing, the VVIP and his Mrs finally made their grand arrival in a white limo (Lexus or Mercedes?)!!
I tried to catch a sight of him from my (dis)vantage point, but my view was obscured by his entourage of high-ranking officers and bodyguards. In any case, he did not hang around for long and went off in the fastcraft quite immediately. At that point, I was left wondering would he be utilizing the toilet that my buddy and I had so diligently guarded for the past few hours?
Then… for what seemed like an eternity, he came back!
And my heart began to pound like crazy when I realized he was making his way towards my direction with all the intentions of a man bent on relieving himself. But before I could shed those tears of joy, I (along with my buddy) was mercilessly shoved aside by an officer, and those storm troopers… I mean bodyguards took over.
Ever since that day, this has become one of my favorite NS anecdote and I call it “The Day I Guarded the Toilet for Lee Kuan Yew (so that he could take a leak in peace)”….
*But I am glad to report that I did manage to catch a glimpse of him from a reasonable distance and he was all I have imagined him to be but only taller…*