LGBT Info

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Army Daze is a 1996 Singaporean comedy film based on the 1987 theatre play of the same name by Singaporean writer Michael Chiang. Distributed by Cathay Asia Films and directed by Ong Keng Sen, the film portrays a group of 18-year-old Singaporeans from different classes and cultural backgrounds as they perform their National Service and their experience within the Singapore Armed Forces. The movie is spoken in Singlish, Standard English, Malay, Hokkien and Mandarin.

The tagline of the movie, From Real Blur (Singlish reference to a mental state of confusion) to Real Men.

Plot

The film shows six men of different backgrounds enlisting in their National Service. Malcolm; a nerd and "mother's boy", Johari; a large, laid-back hipster Malay man, Krishna; a heroic and loving Indian lover, Ah Beng; a gangster-like delinquent, and Kenny; the effeminate boy who is into women's lifestyle are all introduced as they make their way reporting to the manpower base before assigned to their camp. Malcolm serves as the narrator, the army life is seen through his eyes and thoughts. All six men are placed in Hotel Company Platoon 4, alongside various other males.

Prior to enlisting, Malcolm is seen interacting with a shady Mr. X at the manpower base who sells him a guidebook teaching ways of playing truant in the army while Krishna makes a heart to heart final talk with Lathi, his girlfriend. When Platoon 4 is brought to their bunks after bidding farewell to their loved ones, the six men share their thoughts on the current state of affairs, before being introduced to their drill instructor, Corporal (CPL) Ong, who is a tough-as-nails stereotyped army man. He dramatically tells them all about their upcoming life, then leads them all to their mandatory haircut. At night, the six men introduce themselves to one another, with Malcolm finding himself out of the league almost immediately.

Training goes on with morning physical training, and soon comes the standard obstacle course. The six are shown trying hard but failing, albeit comically, to get through the various itineraries. The recruits are next shown to learn about camouflage, and again unfortunately, they comically fail, upsetting CPL Ong, who tries his best previously to appease his superior, Captain (CPT) Lim.

Soon comes the day relatives and family are allowed to visit the recruits at their camp. Krishna reunites with his lover Lathi dramatically, Ah Beng has his sister Ah Huay outlandishly showing up and Malcolm meets his mother, although she is sickened by the army training her son is put through and demanded to complain. Johari feels his parents aren't coming due to potential weddings to attend, and Kenny dismisses his parents as absent due to holiday. Nevertheless, all six gather for a picture at the moment with Ah Huay photographing.

During combat training, the platoon is introduced to an unsurprising instructor; Sergeant (SGT) Wendy Chung. She is tougher than expected, but Ah Beng unwittingly falls for her. Field camp is next. While the six are assigned to bunk with each other under tents, Kenny and Malcolm try to turn their campsite homely which enrages their commanding officer SGT Monteiro. He punishes both to guard duty, and it turns out Krishna is down for it as well since he attempted to feign a reason for absence but is caught (he is revealed to have bought the same book as Malcolm did and tried its contents). Unfortunately, at nightfall during duty, Krishna faints from shock after getting into a scuffle with a python, and Malcolm discovers him. In lieu of this, Second Lieutenant (2LT) Collin Heng decides to pay a visit to Krishna's immediate family alongside CPL Ong and Malcolm, whom he feels they need to meet. With Krishna's parents overseas, Lathi breaks down upon hearing the news but is comforted by 2LT Heng, who inadvertently informally introduces himself, making Lathi enticed by him. Malcolm however notices this.

After discharged from the medical center, Krishna returns to his bunk to find it empty, only to realise the entire platoon is given off for outstanding performance. The six surprise greet him, but it goes sour after Kenny tried disclosing that Lathi was flirting with 2LT Heng and he claims it was all seen by Malcolm who vehemently denies saying it is so. Krishna is shocked, demanding for the truth from Malcolm who neither affirms it. Kenny continues to go on a tirade before getting snapped back by Johari who had enough of his antics. Kenny angrily storms off, revealing he was left behind by his parents to serve his NS while they left for Australia without him. Johari and Malcolm go out to pacify him, with Krishna crestfallen before Ah Beng who too tries to do the same. Krishna nearly thinks of breaking up with Lathi but is chided by Ah Beng for being shallow given the circumstances, and Kenny pours out to Malcolm and Johari the undesirable truth his parents said to him about serving his time in the army, to which in fact they are right he needed to be who he is and man up.

In a phonecall, Krishna and Lathi manage to reconcile, while Malcolm finally manages to refuse requests from his overprotective mother. The six men bond together as their final days of military training is ending, with each speaking out their desired vocations and the respective responses from one another. The training finally ends with a route march where everyone completes successfully.

Graduating from military training, the families of the six come to pick them up and they all share the efforts and camaraderie they have, now bonded not just as soldiers but like brothers. SGT Wendy Chung then introduces star Deanna Yusoff, whom Johari is previously known to be a big fan of. He is stunned by her appearance as he often dreamed of being with her and they share a final picture with everyone.

In the end, Malcolm signs on with the army and is a Captain while remaining faithful to his nerdy hobbies, Krishna becomes a lawyer and together with Lathi who becomes famous start a family, Johari joins the media industry and finally gets to work with Deanna, Kenny goes into boutique sales and dreams to become a dance choreographer for big events, and Ah Beng who went onto become a cellphone manager and striking lottery which he buys a diamond ring for SGT Wendy Chung.