The difference between off and leave

When I was serving in the army as a conscript, I had 14 days of annual leave, and sometimes I would be given 1 day off. Initially I could not understand the difference between leave and off, because they were subjected to approval when I submitted the application. To me it just meant I need not report to camp on the day I was to be on leave or on off. Then my friend explained to me. Leave is an entitlement; off is a privilege given by the unit, with an expiry date set by the unit, and it can be cancelled by the unit. Most importantly, when a person is on off, the unit can cancel that off-day and call him to report back to camp. They usually do not do that to those who are on leave.

Thus I would not be at home on my off-days. It was an era before mobile phones were affordable, and not everyone owned a pager. Without a mobile phone nor pager, I would not be contactable at all once I was out of the house.

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