Manage episode 298558514 series 2959701
Bry is an ABC (America-born Chinese) and he just served his four months Taiwan conscription. This is his journey from a newbie grunt/大頭兵 to confronting crises with tea-flavored eggs/茶葉蛋.
Tenure/輩分: it is easy to tell from the length of the hair because upon entering the service, one starts with a shaved head.
Institutional secrets/基地的秘密: senior grunts often pass on wisdom from prior generations by yelling these out when newbies pass them by in physical exercises. Each bunk bed also has carved messages from prior occupants.
Esprit de corps/同袍情: camaraderie are formed thru sharing of personal secrets because it is hard to hide these in bunk beds. It is further strengthened when nightly mutual support discussions take place where brothers remind other brothers to stay strong when dealing with girlfriends.
Smartphone: twice a day.
Chow/伙食: it is never enough. And, this is where the prized tea-flavored eggs/茶葉蛋 makes its appearance both as a nutritional supplement and as a currency amongst the grunts.
Trainings: a little as possible.
Bang-bang and official tasks/公差: because bullets are highly controlled material in Taiwan, only selected grunts are allowed to handle them. This task is recognized as official and entitles the lucky ones opportunities to buy tea-flavored eggs/茶葉蛋 in a store.
When official tasks/公差 go wrong: military hardware does not always behave in the same way as one would expect in the civilian world. When the god of resistentialism (莫飛定律之神) decides to visit Bry for one of his official tasks/公差, Bry has to pull out his street smarts, use all of his Mandarin skills (albeit through 注音符號, a phonetic system taught to small kids learning to pronounce words but most adults have forgotten), and a lot of grit to get the mission accomplished.
Or, did he?!
What does Bry, TUX's favorite grunt, take away from the four months? Taiwan boys are too reliant on their girlfriends. It is possible to live without smart phone 24/7. And, yes, he now knows for sure he can handle the logic of bureaucracy.
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