..............We were used to each other and relied on each of us doing our job. When there was a change in the resolved arrangements it was like a change in the heart beat.
..............A trainee (candy cake) candidate for promotion arrived one day. He had that unfortunate look on his face of sickening superiority. He was to take us out of our usual patrol route to look for a Chinese habitat. The usual scuffle of putting on packs, checking weapons and looking around to see you pals were with you was completed. When we were out of the way and on track when the candidate was asked to go to the rear and keep out of the way. I had nothing to do with this but was happy to comply.
..............It was near the end of a monsoon and the sun came out with a burning heat that we were not used to. We walked cautiously through a rough path of elephant grass and out into a bare field. The heat was now intensive. At the end of the field an elderly native woman was cutting up a large pineapple. With a sharp knife she cut it from the top to bottom while her daughter poured water over it. The work looked cool and delicious. She took pity on us and gave some of her cool pineapple. It was unbelievably enjoyable and made us feel human again. At the end of the longhouse we were given a mix of cool water, certain fruit, routes and long red objects placed in one of our mess tins.
..............The candidate leaped forward and grabbed the mess tin and drank its contents down. His face in a trice changed to a reddish hue and began a coughing spree. The red long objects were peppers of a very hot kind apparently. By chance I looked around and saw three of the lads huddled tight, laughing. I had the feeling this incident had been engineered.
..............On the track again and I called the Border Scout to have a look at what I found. We bent down to examine a foot mark. The mark made us almost certain we were on the right path. We found the Chinese residence neat and clean in comparison to the locals. The shoe mark indicated to us the Chinese were near as they were often seen wearing them. It was not rocket science and we could have been wrong in our estimation, but luck on this occasion was on our side.
..............We left the Chinese abode and walked the long way back. As we neared the river again I was approached by the candidate. He asked me to come with him to talk about something. “Admit it you are lost, admit it your lost?” I was very interested in how he had come to this conclusion. “I was watching you and you didn't’ know where you were going.” This and other things he raved at. I called Knox over and told him what had transpired.
..............I lifted my right hand and pointed to the roofs that could be seen over the curve of the river. Knox knew as well as I did where we were. “That is the camp and we will be there soon.” We had only about a mile or two to go and I was glad. I never saw this guy again and never want to. To be fair-minded there is good and bad in any group of people. But my thoughts may have been biased as I was in every way one of the section.