Situated between Yemen and Somalia in the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden is a vital waterway for sea trade, with approximately 25,000 merchant ships passing through each year. Since the Somali Civil War, shipping along the Gulf of Aden has been threatened by rampant piracy. Pirates on skiffs are known to chase after cargo ships, intimidate the ship crew and hold them for ransom.
A maritime nation with the world’s busiest port, our country Singapore understands the importance of keeping the world’s sea lines of communication open. As a responsible member of the international community, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has been working closely with the navies of several other nations to fight against piracy threats in this vital waterway, under the ambit of the Combined Task Force (CTF 151).
Since 2009, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has contributed a total of three deployments of the RSN’s Landing Ships Tank (LSTs) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) Super Puma helicopters to the Gulf of Aden. My hubz was one of the Super Puma helicopter pilots in the 2011 deployment who was involved in the foiling of pirate attacks when he first spotted a white pirate's skiff in the sea of blue.
The hubz had a total of 20 seconds of glory in this video at 5:05--5:15 and 7:33--7:43.
I wrote a brief post on the hubz's mission in 2011 without elaborating much but having newspaper cuttings to tell the story. Also due to kh's nature of work, there are some tasks he does at work which are classified or not meant for the public or even for me to hear. Hence, I would always check with him what is appropriate for me to post. As usual, I'm doing a throwback here while trying to relate back to the current. I always have good reasons for having throwback posts.
~*SAF Overseas Service Medal Presentation*~
Welcoming RSS Endeavour back to Singapore!
It was too easy to spot kh. The one with the Mickey Mouse ears.
The Navy and Air Force men all in a row.
Me and Kh.
Together with my parents-in-law.
My FIL looked better with kh's cap than he did.
A shot with RSS Endeavour in the background.
It was time for the medal presentation. There were many deserving recipients.
Finally, it was kh's turn. I had to zoom to the max to capture this.
What a great honour to have received these.
After the medal presentation, RSS Endeavour was open for the families to visit. That was the first time I stepped into a navy ship.
From the visit, family members learnt a lot about their husbands/boyfriends/fathers/sons/brothers led their lives while away at sea for 3 months. Kh kept raving about how good the food was. Having good food on board the ship helped to keep morales up.
Each time my PIL and I bumped into a face familiar to kh and got introduced, everyone would tell us about kh and his $10K Bose TV and how they slaved to help him haul the TV up the ship. Kh had lots of "love notes" from his co-workers. It was really hilarious witnessing some of the same people helping him to haul the TV down. I should have taken a video of that!
Apparently my dear hubby bought a Bose Video Wave entertainment system when they had stopover at Muscat. He was really intrigued by the surround sound system without the need for speakers and wiring and impressed by the demo that he bought the TV there since it was not available in Singapore at that time. -_-||| I took a few weeks to get over his spending on the TV since I'm one who hates surround sound system at home and often complain about how his TV or computer is too loud. It has been almost 2 years and we have only used the sound system less than 10 times as I really could not stand all the deafening sounds in our little room.
Just to show all of you how big the TV is and how he had made so many people slave for him.
After all the hullabaloo, kh and I headed for one of our favourite Japanese haunt -- Tamako. It is a quaint little izakaya (居酒屋) that looks so old, forgotten and tucked away in Concorde Hotel Singapore that if Kh's Japanese friend hadn't recommended it to us, I would have thought it was a shady place. It is precisely because it is old, forgotten and tucked away that makes this little haunt an unpolished gem. The thing about traditional, non-franchise eateries would be their hand-made menu and funny English.
Tamako serves authentic Japanese food prepared right before your very eyes. If you know the owner well enough, he might prepare a dish for you that isn't listed on the menu. For a period of time, the owner recognized kh and prepared special dishes upon request. We have not been to Tamako for about 2 years since and I wonder if he would still remember kh.
My favourite simple comfort food would be their cooked salmon onigiri. So simple but the best I've ever eaten! I could simply sit at the counter and eat their onigiri without any other food.
Tamako isn't for you if you are one who hates cigarette smoke. (I really abhor 2nd hand cigarette smoke by the way). If the owner has his regular Japanese customers visiting, be prepared for lots of indoor inhaling of 2nd hand smoke. Singapore bans smoking indoors and even in many outdoor seating eateries. Tamako must be one of the only places to allow indoor smoking. Smoke aside, we really love the simple traditional fare at Tamako.