How Does Cheng Powerfully Convey His Feeling In Reservist? Dulwich College Essay

806 words - 4 pages

Boey Kim Cheng is disapproving of most of the policies of the rulers of Singapore. A pacifist by nature, Boey Kim Cheng finds the annual military training a waste of time and effort. He conveys this by showing us how the men are unfit for service, the training regimen is outdated and the monotony is killing. Yet every year, this exercise is undertaken and he shows us how the men have no choice in whether they partake or not.
Cheng shows us throughout the passage the stoicism of the reservist and feels the pain of the reservist is unnecessary. In stanza two, Cheng display the monotonous nature of the training when he says ‘we will keep charging up the same hills’. This shows us that there is no rest for the reservist, he can see the rest of his life spread out before him, which is depressing as there is no possibility of diverting from this foreboding path of life. Cheng also implies that everyone will be doing it together as he says ‘we will’ so it’s the same for everyone, they all can see their life before them and it’s all the same. None of them have any individuality, they are all clumped together in a group identity. This further shows us Cheng’s belief that they’re all just useful accessories to the Singaporean regime. The reservist also has to comply with this pain without complaint, they’re ‘quick to obey, like children’, although their adults they’re referring to this child-like status. They have to conform, to become submissive to this never present but always on-looking higher being, they are passive bystanders to their own lives, watching as it is wasted away. And at the end of all this pain and suffering all they receive is a medal ‘long years of braving the same horrors pinned on our tunic fronts’, this makes winning medals not seem so glorious but sad and petty. It is bizarre how something so large can be condensed into a tiny tacky badge, it is almost satirical the way the regime forces these men into such enduring pain, when all they gain as a result is a meaningless badge which represents all the pain they have had to withstand.
Cheng also reflects on existentialism and questioning the futility of his actions and whether he is actually free and able to decide what he can do. He talks about ‘the same trails finding...

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