I got it as a gift from my recruits while I serving NS. I just completed my studies and I had to serve my remaining 6 weeks of NS when I decided to disrupt 4 years so as not to interfere with my university studies. They were my one and only batch of recruits that I ever had the privilege of training them before ORDing.
It was tough. I wasn’t a section commander or platoon sergeant by vocation. I was just a transport supervisor back then. I hadn’t even undergone basic section leader’s course or advanced section leader’s course to be properly trained to handle recruits.
It was immensely challenging. One of the most difficult thing as a person I had ever done, in which you are responsible for the health and wellbeing for a group of people, my very own recruits in the army.
But I did remarkably well, despite some hiccups along the way. With the help of other, more experienced section leaders, commanders and platoon sergeant, those crucial 6 weeks felt I was constantly learning new things. By the end of it all, I managed to gain the respect of my recruits. They respected me immensely as someone who has the capability to lead not through fear and intimidation, but through mutual trust, respect and fairness.
That was why I was so shocked to receive a parting gift from them, not because I was ORDing, but because they know that I was someone who deserve the recognition of putting everything I had, for them. Everything I did was for them, every single day.
They gave me the iPod shuffle. Such a small thing, barely useful as a storage device (only 2gb storage) and it only plays music without a screen interface. But they knew I would love the gift. They knew that I was an Apple fan and that it was all they could afford. I was deeply appreciative. I understood its symbolism, and accepted wholeheartedly, even though it really wasn’t necessary for them to get a gift in the first place.
I never really used the device till several months later. It was kept unopened, until I explored the possibility of using as a running companion as opposed to using my iPhone to listen to music while out running. The problem with listening to music with my A-jay 1 earpiece was that the cables would swing wildly while running when attached to my phone held in my left hand. This causes the earpiece to be easily dislodge from my ear due to the constant pulling of the long cables.
With the iPod shuffle, I could attach it to my left sleeve, putting it closer to my ear. I could then shorten the cable by removing the extension cord, which in turn would result in less swinging of the cables, reducing the tendency of the earpiece to be dislodged. It was a great solution.
Now I wouldn’t run without bringing the iPod shuffle along. It has become one of the most useful gift given to me after months of neglect. Something so simple, yet so useful.