Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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The Eagle has landed…. The Eagle has landed…. :) – Yes, it landed twice :)

Multiple meanings can be conveyed by the above phrase.

Many a time, we hear that as a cliched codeword in spy/comedy movies as in the phrase being used as a code for communicating that a long awaited contingency has occurred.

Of late i had been battling Law Society complaints, lawsuits, divorce proceedings. I also had a birthday which had had been the worst in my entire life. I had came under scrutiny for having dabbled in a few cheap bikes. I was made to feel as it the dabbling in the bikes was a heinous sin. I was also made to feel that I was the scum of the earth.

The Eagle landed on me twice during this period. No, I did not visit the Bird Park during my US trip in August. Nor did the American Bald Eagle try to lay its talons on me when i was a guest there. And no it was not the law soc complaints. And neither was it the lawsuits.

How then did the Eagle land on me twice?

Back home, we all know that the Eagles have landed. They landed somewhere in Idaho, USA where the F-15SG detachment training squadron is. Its all in the papers. All pomp and fanfare. Taxpayers’ money. That’s what its all about. 🙂

I have no complaints about the F-15SGs, I just don’t like how sometimes the deals are structured. The planes seem a little expensive to me somewhat… 🙂

Nevertheless, i will confess to my preoccupation with the F-15. The preoccupation started since i was a child. It came after I won a small 1/144 scale F-15A Tamiya model in a lucky draw of sorts. I was about 3-4 years old then. but I managed to put the plane together despite my age.

When i completed the plane, I proudly said to myself that I would pilot it. Big dreams i had.

Until then, the Singapore Air Defence Command [knowledgeable guys will know that it was not called the Republic of Singapore Air Force as yet then] was stuffed with stuff like hand-me-down Hunters, ex-USN mothballed Skyhawks, used T-33s, ex-Omanese battle-damaged Strikemasters, but at least brand new F-5E Tiger IIs. Singapore was through and through a 3rd world nation.

Short of becoming an Israeli, Japanese, Saudi Arabian or American fighter pilot there is nowhere i am getting near an F-15 Eagle. Or so it seems.

However, at the age of 4, i told myself there is nothing stopping our country from getting this plane.

At the age of 8, after staring wide eyed, speechless and transfixed for a many minutes, I went back to school and i insisted to all my friends that i had seen an F-15 roar over my home. Yes in Singapore skies. I got laughed at by all of them.

Several years later through careful observation i did find out that American planes did stopover in Singapore, P-3 Orions on maritime watch duty, C-5A Galaxies, C-144 Starlifters lifting God knows what stuff. I smiled to myself knowing that was nothing stopping an F-15 from dropping over when it had to. 🙂

I also did find out that our fighter pilots had taken part in the Red Flag Exercises in the late 80s and early 90s. Our Skyhawks and Tigers went side by side with F-15s. That fact brought the possibility a little closer – a little more consolation.

At the end of primary 6, after my PSLE examinations, being doomed to failing eyesight, the pilot dream was drifting further and further away but that did not stop me from rewarding myself with 3 model aircraft kits – all from Hasegawa. 1/72 scale models. I was only 12, I could not afford the 1/48 and 1/32 scale types.

The three were: An F-15C single seater, an F-15D twin seater, and an F-15E Strike Eagle. See the similarity with 3 bikes in the garage?

Mum discovered the boxes in my cupboard and thought i was mad. I was. I still think i am.

Now that the Air Force has finally gotten the F-15SG which to my understanding is an updated version of the F-15E, the thought of touching this plane and piloting it would be close to coming true. But then again i am not a pilot, so how can it come true?

Has anyone ever noticed that the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence can sometimes pilot our Air Force Fighter Jets under the watchful eye of air force instructors when they are not qualified pilots in the first place? 🙂

This now adds to my reasons of why the PAP regime needs to be overthrown. Now that the F-15SG in in our stable. Kicking out the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence out from office would bring added personal benefits. The allure and temptation to ride this bird is something that cannot be underestimated. 🙂 Talk to the pilots or aspiring pilots, they will tell you.

Now i did not intend to have my right minded political aspirations tainted by whimsical desires. Even though these desires are not necessarily bad in the first place and the people in office are also not necessarily good as well. However, as it is always better to declare it now rather than to be accused of later, when critics call my materialised visits to the F-15 squadron in Singapore as an brazen abuse of power.

Apart from childhood dreams and personal aspirations which may or may not come true, on the level of reality, the phrase “the Eagle has landed” carries special meaning and significance for me as well.

Battling bike repairs and offers from a tenacious dealer who offered to buy my Shadow 400 for export to India. I had deliberated with much angst about letting go of my best conditioned bike for some improvement in cashflow as well as an test of self-denial, relinquishment and detachment.

The cute thing about the Shadow 400 was that there was a characteristic Eagle head on the front wheel mudguard.

Riding along Cantonment Road about two months back, the Eagle head fell off onto the road with a full bodied metallic clunk. It fell off right in front of a crowd waiting for a bus at a bus-stop.

I had to hastily park my bike and run back 100 meters or so to the spot.  I ran back with my helmet still on. The crowd was waiting for my arrival and was smiling at me – not unkindly but kindly and amusedly. They had witnessed a bike falling apart whilst in motion. Commuters waiting for the bus were kind enough to pick up the Eagle head off the road so it would not be run over by the passing vehicles.

Recovering the Eagle head with an embarassing smile, i made no attempt to offer explanations as to how the Eagle head could have come off.

I could not have offered any explanations as to how the Eagle head came off. The crowd understood and smiled. No explanations were needed. The truth is – the bike was falling apart – there was no way to deny that.

I did had to endure some giggles but none of the giggles were the malicious sort, for there is nothing untoward in having a bike fall apart and there is also no one-upmanship to witness some poor biker’s Eagle head fall off and nothing to crow about as well.

I thanked the kind souls who reached out to save my Eagle. I had a good laugh at myself as i walked back to my hastily parked Shadow. I got the Eagle head refixed back soon thereafter at a cost.

Doing my careful calculations, I decided that renewing the COE for my shadow 400 and keeping it for good was the wise thing to do (for this bike was one with the best engine and physical condition I ever had – yes even though it had parts dropping off). I scrounged S$18/- for the vehicle inspection, S$61 for the road tax and another S$923/- to renew my Shadow for another 10 years.

I had thought to myself: Though this ride is not a Strike Eagle, it was firstly paid by myself – not paid for by taxpayers’ money – which is something to be proud of. Furthermore, in renewing the COE to keep it, I had contributed to tax with my money. Next, it was mine at least for the next 10 years without further payments to be made. AND LASTLY, there was also an Eagle head at the front. 🙂 What more can i ask for?

There is nothing more blissful in life than to be wisely contented with what is truly yours is it not? Or so it seems. 🙂

And as if almost on cue, as i was riding to office this morning , the Eagle head dropped off again. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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November 26, 2009 - Posted by | Life

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