10 things that make SOC more jialat

SOC, sibei jialat
IPPT, largi worse
Everyday, doing PT
With my rifle and my buddy and me-e-e!

– Lament of the Recruit


The SOC (Standard Obstacle Course) may be nicknamed ‘The Soldier’s Playground’, but it is actually more a place of nightmares than fun for many BMT (Basic Military Training) recruits.

The whole Course, which consists of twelve dreaded stations, are meant to transform a civilian man-on-the-street to a combat-fit soldier – capable of fighting in actual battle environments.

In 2011, the SOC was redesigned to include some new obstacles, such as the Rubble and Corridor. Some stations, like the Swing Trainer (aka Monkey Bar), were removed, and some, like the Jacob’s Ladder, were renamed to the Apex Ladder and modified.


Source: MINDEF

As though the SOC isn’t challenging enough already, here are 10 things that can make the experience worse.

1) Rope burn and blisters


Let’s face it – most of us are probably fortunate enough to have never had to put our hands through real manual labour. So just a few rounds on the Low Rope is enough to slough that baby-smooth skin right off!


2) Suddenly discovering you have a fear of heights


Source: Ah Boys to Men the Movie

The Jacob’s Ladder (now known as the Apex Ladder) may not look like much from the ground, but 3 or 4 rungs up and it will seem like you’re about to fall off the edge of MBS. Bad time to learn that you suffer from Acrophobia.

3) Sergeant tells you to semula


For the uninitiated, “semula” is Malay for “again.” If you don’t clear the obstacles properly, the Sergeant or PTI’s job is to make sure you keep doing it till you get it right!


4) Your rifle keeps banging against you


Source: Ah Boys to Men

The SAR 21 weighs 3.82kg. That’s about the weight of a large durian. Though the former is not as prickly, it still has parts that can jab you in all the wrong places when you’re running and jumping through the obstacles.


5) SBO keeps swinging all over the shop


Those who wore the old uniform and gear would understand how irritating it was to have your SBO not fastened properly and bobbing about whilst running and trying to clock your best timing in the SOC.


6) Sweaty palms 


Hey, it’s not that you don’t have the upper-body strength. It’s because lack of friction takes away half of it! And that’s also a pain when doing chin-ups during IPPT (not covered in this post).


7) Suddenly got stomachache


There’s a reason why running makes you feel like pooping. But can you just imagine your Sergeant’s face if you were to tell him that you need to go toilet first? Better just hold it in!


8) Crazy PTIs


Are your PTIs (Physical Training Instructors) giving you tough love? Or are they just straight up kee-seow? It’s hard to tell, especially when they “treat you to chiak pizza hut,” which is running back and forth between the obstacles 2-3-5-3-5-3-5. And the truly sadistic ones even add a ‘6’ in front.


9) Kena tekan before SOC and your arms are still sore


I guess one could say that during war times, you don’t get to wait till you’re in perfect form before going to battle. Perhaps that’s the point here?


10) Your arms refuse to cooperate


Source: Ah Boys to Men the Movie

After all the push-ups and Low Rope that you put your poor arms through, is it any surprise that they’ve decided to quit on you?

Which SOC obstacle did you struggle with the most?



We’ve created the Low Wall, Low Rope and Corridor obstacles in the form of collectible miniatures. Bring home your favourite one today and be reminded of how you conquered it (or succumbed to it) during your NS days! Click here to purchase.


SAF Standard Obstacle Course SOC Corridor Obstacle Toy Soldier Collectible Figurine (Cover)

SAF Standard Obstacle Course SOC Low Rope Toy Soldier Collectible Figurine (Front 2)

SAF Standard Obstacle Course SOC Low Wall Obstacle Toy Soldier Collectible Figurine (Cover)