To the locals of Malaysia, especially those under or aged 17, who were fortunate enough to be "randomly" selected for National Service (NS), good luck. Hopefully your stay in hell...I mean camp, will be as eventful as mine was. However, by the time I returned from NS, I had no regrets as I really did enjoy myself there.
Common questions around this time will be;
- What to bring for NS?
- Stuff to bring for Khidmat Negara?
- What are the items for NS?
- What do I need to survive NS?!
This will hopefully serve as a last minute guide for those who are about to leave for a part of Malaysia they have never been too. Whether it be in the East coast or East Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak), hopefully with this, you will be PREPARED.
Hygiene, Health and Safety Items
- Old Clothes - (dark preferably) shirt from school activites like Pendidikan Jasmani and club shirts are recommended. No expensive Billabong or Quiksilver-like brands as you are a target for theft. YES, even undergarmets too...
- Long Pants - No short pants allowed. Seriously...
- Pail and Brush - for washing purposes. YES, you wash you OWN clothes by HAND! (or borrow them)
- Detergent - Same as above. Alternative is soap powder but may spill out.
- Toiletries - Men, bring your shaves too. They will hound you if you have a long moustache Women, stock up on your requirements. Its never enough... you'd never know.
- Supplements (Vitamin) - Health purposes. Pharmaton is good as well as Vitamin C tabs. Unless you wanna try going back early due to sickness, not gonna happen. They have their medic and will POSTPONE, not EXEMPT, your stay. Must redo in the future.
- Flashlight - Most camps are in rural areas with minimum lighting. Bring if you still wanna see where you're going at night.
- Socks and Undergarments - (dark preferably) Bring thick ones. Those boots are HARD like ROCK. Unless you wanna have blisters at night, bring ALOT to make up for the thickness.
- Locks - Bring a few. And lock them. And double-lock them. And make them big. For your suitcase and own locker.
- Pouch - The one's at hawker stalls which workers have around their waist. Good for holding important stuff (IC, bank card, pens, etc...)
- Towels - They will supply you their own with NS logo but an extra for emergency
- Slippers - People will just walk off with YOUR slippers to other dorms. And dont expect to find them tomorrow. Old ones will put them off from wearing them and avoid theft.
- Old shoes - You MUST wear shoes at all times, even when going to the canteen. No shoes, no eating. Going to toilet is okay though.
- Fork and Spoons/Chopsticks - don't expect to find these there like at food courts. There, you replace them with your hands.
- Blanket - It gets cold at night. Very cold. Especially when its raining during monsoon season. They give you their own but a fishing-net type
- Sleeping bag - trust me, there will be a time when you WILL camp out from your dorm. Optional but if you are okay with tents, no problem.
Consumables and Edible ItemsThese will be the best gourmet meals of your camp, no matter where it is. If ever the canteen grub looks like from yesterday or they just caught it at the teh-tarik river, turn to these. It will keep you full and hopefully, alive...
- Instant noodles - Better in cup but more filling if larger one's like bowls. Bring your own bowl/plate if you're gonna eat alot like me.
- Mee goreng - After you get tired of maggie mee... just hope someone in your dorm as a kettle or water boiler. If not, eat like Mamee
- Milo 3 in 1 - great for morning breakfast. Can be eaten straight in powder form for instant energy. When tired of it, iron the milo. Creates a biscuit form...taste good btw
- Biscuits and chips - what ever snacks you love. In camp, you will love them even more...
- Resealable containers - when getting stuff, make sure there's a way to reseal them to prevent insects at night from coming to claim them. Rubber bands are good too.
- No milk-based products - try washing off chocolate on your bag after being melted over a few times
- Sweets - great for keeping awake and making friends really fast
- Large amounts - so that you'll never go hungry after dinner and can sell off any extras
Entertainment and Portable Items
You will start to realise later on that, when in camp, it will be B.O.R.I.N.G. So you may bring these stuff which are allowed but bring at your own risk. Maybe after your holiday when you go home for a break. You're then more familiar with your dorm buddies and trust your friends.
- MP3 Player - My best friend in class, when marching, eating and sleeping.
- A charger - for the above. And don't try bringing a laptop. Get the USB socket one with the CORRECT VOLTAGE.
- Radio - share the fun with your dorm. And thieves.
- Guitar - my dorm was a concert for acoustic guitars. And thieves
- Comics - just to kill a few hours. Newspaper was always 3 days old. So don't hope for any current news. Try radio
- Alarm clock - for waking up at 6.00AM. Try sleeping and see what greets you in the morning. Mine was a pail of water. Others was the Uztaz for muslims.
- Batteries - for your alarm clock and MP3 player.
- 2 phones - NOT RECOMMENDED. I did it but up to you. 1 to give them, the other for YOU to keep in secret. NEVER tell you friends no matter how close. I had too many close encounters... especially when SMS-ing at night (btw at night, your face lights like a lamp post. And they're not blind). I've seen a lot of good phones taken away and don't return...
- Phone charger - when you get it back during weekends
- A comfortable bed - if you're the first unfortunate group to arrive at camp, you may choose your bunk. Get one near the socket. More opportunities to recharger your stuff first.
- Extension socket - with up to 4 sockets available, you never have to fight with your dormates again.
- Books - best way to kill hours and hours. I read 8 novels (+500 pages each). I was that bored.
- Journal - if you would like to write down your experience so that your family may know what you have suffered, go ahead. I did that too.
- Games books - Sudoku saved me from those boring hours at class. Thought it was taken away...
For know, that's all I can think in front of my CPU, in my well air-conditioned room. Will post anymore info I find relevant in your survival before the 1st batch is sent after December. So, enjoy your days before your departure date. You won't be enjoying the same luxuries I have now for the next 3 months. Goodluck...