15 December 2009

National Service Phenomenons and Events

by 16:27
EDITED (18.12.2009)

This is a continuation of my previous post on "Essential Items for National Service". But on a different topic, like, what to expect there and and what not for the next 3 months of hell...i mean camp.

For privacy purposes, I will not reveal my enlisting year for NS as it may give away my age (ultimately my identity. But to my friends and comrades, you know its me ^^) .
But I can say it was recent enough for me to remember (or just because it has been etched in my memory data forever...) the fun times and worse times in NS

 Chapter 1: New Firsts and Beginnings

On the day of departure which was the day before it officially started, I got on the bus (or plane for some) as the 1st Batch and headed off to a part of M'sia I have never been in my life... (specifically Pekan,Pahang. WTH is that?)

After 3hours of going through rural roads, passing ALOT of palm trees and stopping for cows and goats crossings, I came to a beachfront camp (OMFG, WWII D-DAY! And I was in Nazi territory...) to be greeted "warmly" by an inspection of our belongings and search for dangerous items.

Then, off to find the dorm and bed where you will rest for the next few hellish weeks (90 days. Keep counting)

Now for the ladies;
EXPECT MANY BALDIES AND SHAVED HEAD IN CAMP. We're actually good looking with hair ^^

For the Guys;
EXPECT TO BE SHAVED ON THE FIRST DAY ON ARRIVAL. And regular cuts every month...

Expect lots of first times (for the city folk) like;

  • Washing clothes by hand (I love and cherish my washing machine now)
  • Waking up at 5.00AM (the sunrises are so beautiful...and dark)
  • Experience flooding in dorms (It was Dec. Monsoon season. Watch out)
  • Staying with all races in 1 dorm (not even in Muslim boarding schools can you do this)
  • Actually singing national anthem (not even once for me in secondary)
  • Attending useless patriotic "classes" (expect lots of 1Malaysia crap...i mean propaganda)
For those in 1st Batch, expect the next few weeks to be soggy and wet and depressing. It sucks, really...
For those in 2nd Batch, too bad you missed the 1st. They have less days cause of holidays (CNY)
For those in 3rd Batch, ............ goodluck. Its Puasa? time so maybe not so bad?

By this time, you should have met some friends and stick together like glue (and rely on each other. Like a lot, every time)

Chapter 2 : Rough and Eventful Times

For the first month, don't expect the bad scenarios like you've heard from relative/friends/internet. Cause it's worse...

  • With morning classes from 8 till 12, then having boring lecturers about survival guides where you just feel like sleeping... just don't get caught.
  • Weather WILL start to affect you and your clothes like when to hang out and planning your laundry days are.
  • Handling different people, races, customs and culture shocks. (Yes, we have different ways to do stuff)
  • Getting into fights (Please don't. The penalty for that is extreme, as bad as smoking)
But in your 2nd month, you will finally start to enjoy (or bear) the camping days as you will finish your classes and move to TRANING! YEA! (for girls, im sure you'd prefer indoor classes)

Training comes in many forms like;

  • Company training (into 4 battalions. Alpha,Bravo,Charlie,Delta)
  • Endurance test (with "beep" sounds. Try beating mine, 7.6)
  • Cross country (I love running. With my MP3 :(
  • Inter-company competitions (obstacle courses ROCK!)
  • Flying foxes (and other things. A bonus if you have a river nearby)
Well, its much better than sitting in class all morning doing NOTHING.

Chapter 3: Do's and Major DON'TS

Lots of stuff actually but pretty simple when you know what your trainers and teachers expect from us. Just don't be cocky as your house is a few tens/hundreds of kilometers away with no lawyer around your camp. Here are some adviseabvle stuff but wheather you follow them anot, your choice.

  • Getting along with your dormmates (like them or not, they will be with you for the next 3months. Be nice)
  • Bringing an extra hand-phone (not advisable but if you miss the sounds of home or just wanna check whether your girlfriend is cheating you, do so at your ownrisk. But be prepared to lose it if anything happens; theft, confiscation)
  • Don't smoke (kinda impossible for active ones but at least limit yourselves. Cause the less you smoke, the better air for us all at camp to breath and less noticeable by your trainers...)
  • Smuggling cigarettes (You can try but for my intake, the trainers were SMART. At least 50 ppl when down. Punishment was 70pushup and if you stop halfway, + another 70. Goodluck)
  • Keeping your head down (saves you from trouble, even if it didn't happen to you and less chances of you being called out to be the leader of a stupid programme)
  • Talking to girls (if you can actually talk to one during camp, your considered a playboy. For us all in kebangsaan schools, we have no such problems along with other co-ed. But for asrama... well, its not easy talking to girls when you have nothing on your head, right?)
  • Talking to guys (A bit f a dare as you're not sure if he's a gangster of some sort. Kinda scary when you're talking to scared bald guys. Ladies, were already shy with being bald. There nice guys out there, like me!)
  • Attend any religious classes (for the muslims, 5 times a day is bad enough. For buddhist, go for it. They served lots of food when I went on Sunday morning at the temple. Christians, if you're lucky, its located in town where you can buy stuff or go home for awhile)

Chapter 4 : "Time flies when you're having fun..."

As the saying goes, it really flies. From a 2 digit countdown, I was already crossing off the days in 1 digits on my countdown calender. Blissful times but I started to feel a little sad as to leaving my friends who come from all over M'sia (Johor, Kuantan, Batu Gjah, Selangor,)

On the last night, every camp will have a night party where you will eat better shit than the last 90 days. No doubt, its still shit... So bring a nice dress/outfit for the last night as EVERYONE will mingle together. Even the commander and his staff, trainers and faculty members join in.

After that, I stayed up the whole night finishing our remaining stash of food while drinking sparkling wine (non-alcohol. As your trainers for permission though, he might get himself one too) and eating chips all night while texting friends in other camps/states.

By the next day, its time to go home. And the 90 days of hell...i mean camp has come to an end. Hooray! Pat yourself cause you MADE IT and are STILL ALIVE compared to the unlucky ones in the news.

When going back, make sure you have these;

  • Completion Certificate (by the prime minister himself. To make sure you don't have to re-go the damned program)
  • Company photo (if by any chance you lost your certificate, the photo is proof of your enlistment in case it's not in their database)
  • All belongings (you can even take back you NS stuff like uniform and exercise clothes but not your loreng outfit. They will ask back for it, nicely...)
  • Contact info of friends (you suffered for 3months together in hostile lands and almost saw hell. That bond counts for something, right?)
  • Girl's number (respective to your own state. no point have a long distance when you hardly talked much during camp)
  • Guy's number (Ladies, we're pretty cute and handsome with HAIR. Go for it)

Chapter 5: Aftermath

After being chucked in unknown territory, surviving dangerous everywhere and putting faith in comradeship, I've more or less become more grateful of what I actually have. In camp, I learned a lot from different people and their daily life routines and cultures.

Sad to say, most of them are worst off than where I currently am. Some have no moms or dads, others abandoned to live by themselves as orphans. Some relatives are convicted for some crime (like hell I'll ask what felony it was). It is quite an eye opener for me.

This is what I actually learned as soft skills(go Google it) which are a great help in real life (rather than following the true end route and hopefully get harem ending. Load of crap there ^^).

  • Dealing with people (No one said handling people was easy. Whether they're angry or depressed, I've learned which buttons to press and what not.)
  • More sociable (I was really happy with my current life (before NS), hardly mixing with a lot of people and caring only for me and immediate family. But I've gotten better at socializing, thus the "Extroverted" part is born. ^^)
  • Gratitude and thankfulness (the greatest thing I can bring home. I love my computers, my parents, my house, my comforts, my life!)
*Btw, most of chapter 5 is self-indulgence, revealing my opinions rather than giving tips on how to survive. Tank them into account if you want.

So good luck, may all the deities/gods/charms/anime gods watch over you and bless you for your 3month journey.

God speed!

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