Soooo. National Service, NS in short. How has that 1 month been?
Most boring week. You eat 6 meals a day and the time in between, you sleep. The timetable for that week is something like this:
10:30am Morning Tea
4:30pm Evening tea
Everything in between is free time, or rather sleep time. You may ask why all the free time? This is because, during the 1st week, trainees from different places will come and register on different days throughout the week. I'm part of the very "lucky" group of trainees who made it to camp on the very 1st day, and had to endure the remaining empty days...
I was designated to the squadron "Fulchrum" named after our country's Royal Air Force's still in service Mig 29 jet fighter. The other squadrons were "Black Hawk", "Sukhoi" and "Hornet", all named after servicing aircrafts to the Royal Air Force. Our Camp Commandant is a Major of the Air Force, some of our trainers are from TUDM, most are from the army. Now what's unique about this camp is that they don't follow the standard naming of the companies, instead their called squadrons here. "Alpha", "Bravo", "Charlie" and "Delta" dominate the other camps throughout Malaysia, but not this one. Yay for Kem White Resort!
Introduced to the "roll calls", the time when the squads gather in the hall and the leaders take head count of the members in the squad. 1st time doing this, everyone was in a mess. No lines were formed, no sign of basic discipline, no hope for the leaders to take control. It was chaotic... Until we all got it from the instructors... ><>
So when we finally learned the basic roll call procedures, we moved on to learn that there were 5 roll calls a day, that's a lot... The hardest roll call is the morning roll call, at 6:30am, not in the hall, but on the marching field. You're supposed to be in line in attention mode, not flinching nor moving, all when you're half asleep. Right after that, the singing of the national anthem, the NS song, taking the national oath and a brief morning prayer for the Muslims. After all that, it's morning physical training...
We were also introduced to character building classes. I actually enjoyed the lessons, their very good compared to your average moral and civic classes combined, by a tenfold leap to be exact, it's that good. Classes were held in the morning.
Now the hard part was at 2:30pm, when the sun was all out in its glory, we trainees have our basic marching classes in half uniform... No sun block, no long sleeves (for guys), no excuse for not doing (until you faint). March and march until 4:30pm, tea time.
For Wednesdays and Thursdays, it's religious classes at night. I dunno about the Muslims, but for us Chinese, it's 2 choices, Buddhist or Christian (sorry free thinkers, you must pick one). Well happy me, Christian classes are all games and song worship. As for the Buddhist, meditation and moral classes.
So after all this, it's 10:30pm time for supper. After supper, it's the final roll call, and after that, it's national anthem, NS song and night prayer for the Muslims. And we get to go back to dorm at 11pm.. After cleaning up and tidying the dorms, it'd be 11;30pm, that's when we get to sleep.
As we got used to 5 hours of sleep a day, I found out that my squadron is one of the most disorganized bunch... Apparently for this year, the batches' trainees aren't determined by academic achievements anymore. That explains why there is the presence of the social misconduct group in the camp. My squadron happens to home quite a big number of this group of people...
After a series of misadventures with the group, having nearly lose an instructor to another squadron, pissing off nearly all the squadron advisers and having nearly the whole group, even girls alienated... We settled it finally with a finger pointing session. Although it showed the animosity between the members, it in a way settled the differences, cause after that, it was the mass forgiving session!
after a tiring 2 weeks of physical and mental trainings, I fell sick, we all fell sick. It's hard to write out everything that's happened in camp. Well at least for the final week, it was really hard to describe. Many things did happened.
Our squad got poorest conduct in the final week, we got last. After putting up with us for 3 weeks being nice and friendly, our instructors did what they call "tukar chanel" or simple switch channel. You lose for the week, then you pay for it. 60 push ups at one go, on a tar road, ouch.
Nevertheless, Chinese New Year was around the corner, so everyone's spirit was still up and running.
And since coming back home, I have never felt so thankful before. So I'll be going Sitiawan tomorrow, it's that time of the year to bai nian again! And going back to camp, I'm expecting it to be harder still, because that's when it really becomes physical and tiring.