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How To Make Real Life More Efficient With SAF Phrases

If you're doing your national service or in the middle of your reservist cycle, you'll come to realise that military jargon is veritably a language by itself.

Succinct and efficient, these abbreviations and lingo could be so practical and useful in the civilian world, if you think about it - in fact, some phrases have already made their way into our vernacular.

Here's our list of favourite SAF-inspired words and phrases you can consider using (sparingly) to level up your everyday efficiency. (Disclaimer: if friends and colleagues get annoyed and start avoiding you, not our fault ah )


1. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Lima Charlie, Roger

Let's start with a little something tongue-in-cheek. "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" is a more "innocuous" and more inconspicuous substitute for its crude and direct civilian counterpart, "WTF". Frustration at work or stress at home is a common occurence but if keeping your cool is a virtue you aspire to uphold, this phrase might be the best way to let off some steam.

"Lima Charlie" is military-speak for "Loud & Clear" while "Roger" is a term of acknowledgment when responding to somebody. I've always felt that saying that feels kinder than the dreaded (and dreadful) "Noted" or worse, "K".


2. Time

Military Time is essentially a time format that employs the 24-Hour time system. It eliminates the need for the abbreviations "A.M." and "P.M." (which, by the way, stand for "ante meridiem" and "post meridiem") aka it saves you time, well, telling time. 

Can you imagine confusing your university assignment submission time for 12pm today (yes, we're looking at you, fellow procrastinators) when it was actually 12am last night? While 0000 hours sounds kinda lifeless and cold, trust us, once you've experienced this approach during your army days and it's been ingrained in you, it simplifies everything going forward. So guys, lunch at 1300hrs?


3. Clock Dial Analogy

When trying to give directions using the clock dial analogy — imagine yourself at the centre and each number between 1 and 12 is a direction. So far example, your 12 o' clock would be pointing north of where you're standing. "Enemy at 9" would mean that the enemy (or the crazy ex) is directly to your left.

Very useful when you're trying to help a poor, lost soul on the street or trekking in the forest and your GPS fails you. Bonus points if you've mastered terrain reading during your army navigation exercises. Who needs signs when you can just rely on land topography? #NatureBoy

Another bonus phrase is "Got Your 6" which literally means to have someone's back. Just like in the army, as a form of moral support, it's always reassuring to tell a friend or colleague that you’ve got their 6. It's a sentiment anyone can appreciate.


4. Zero Dark Thirty

Some of us might get used to waking up real early every day in the army; it might be a habit that continues into civilian life. Whether it's an early morning call time at work or getting awoken by your kiddos, "Zero Dark Thirty" can be be used to substitute the phrase "crack of dawn". So, if you're an early riser, you'll probably enjoy being up at "Zero Dark Thirty". Otherwise, it's a great phrase to imply any unpleasant hour of the morning when you'd rather be asleep.


5. AAR - After Action Review

How many times have you heard this term during your work meetings or briefings after a major event? An "AAR" or "After Action Reviw" is basically a structured debriefing process for analysing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better by those responsible for the project or event. Plus, "AAR" sounds way sexier than "post-mortem".

In the army, depending on the success (or failure) of the mission, an AAR can be an opportunity to reflect with a sense of accomplishment or turn out to be a sibeh jialat cross-examination.

You see? There really is not much difference between the office and the war room.

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