So the latest news that shocked the nation is the revival of our National Service Program. When it was first introduced in 2004, 17 year olds born in 1986 could send an SMS to a hotline to check if they were selected for the program.
“TAHNIAH! Anda telah dipilih!”
Nothing very much to Tahniah about for most 17 year olds back then. Most dreaded it as they wanted to go to college and uni and not waste time. Not knowing what to expect, most went in with much trepidation. Boys had to have all their hair shaved, mobile phones were kept by the trainers and for most of them, it was their first time away from home.
My husband, born in 1986, was one of the first trainees selected for the inaugural batch in December 2004. His three month NS stint was spent at a camp in Terengganu,
When I was selected to go for national service in 2005, I wanted to keep my blog alive! Having a blog made me want to experience everything that national service had to offer. My family was allowed to visit me twice a month and every time they came, I would give them a stack of written entries for my brother to upload on to my blog. He would come to my camp with my laptop opened up to my comments page just so I could read everything and get my dopamine hit of people reading my stuff. Haha.
My three months was cut short to two months because my dentistry course was about to start. I was told that I would have to serve one more month when I graduated at 23. I remember feeling so worried.
The news that gripped the nation was that those aged 18-35 years old would/might be called for national service. The government came up with a statement that the people had misunderstood their proposal.
I just want to say I’m glad I am 36. Never been happier to be older.
Now, if you would indulge me, let’s go back to 18 years ago when I was in national service, writing my entries after lights out, my pen and paper illuminated only by a torch light.
Finally. Jul 17, 05
Foreword by my then 16 year old brother: I didn’t follow my parents to visit my sister today, cos some friends wanted to watch a horror film. Sorry! But luckily, my dad took some pics. Will be posting them up when I have the time.
In the meantime, I’ve just found on my desk a 15-page essay written by Jolene. It chronicles her entire week in NS, and I’ll be writing each entry every day. Which means, the entry that you are reading, happened a week ago. Here’s the entry for the first day, which is after the day she arrived at the camp. She DID write about the day she arrived there, but I’ll skip that part and just let you guys read her first real training. Might update about the first entry if I feel like it.
It starts on Tuesday, so here goes:
Day 2 National Service
8:00 pm :
Currently: In the canteen amidst 80 female national service trainees awaiting our next briefing session. I’ll need a new pair of arms as I get back, the mosquitoes have destroyed them.
At the moment, an entire table of girls (think like Harry Potter’s Great Hall in Hogwarts) are trying to dodge a wasp and letting out very feminine screams. I cowered in a feminine position, acting quite demurely.
The sleep was okay because I was so freaking tired from carrying my luggages. I was the last to sleep as I was reading The Family Way. In a room of 30 beds, I made my way to turn off all the lights at the front of the room. How very brave of me.
In the morning, the lights came on very rudely and my eyes opened almost immediately.
It was 5.30am. 5.30am…WHAT THE HELL!??
But since this is national service, I was prepared for this. Threw my toiletries into my bucket (which is green and matches the military look) and made my way to the toilet. As I was descending the stairs, I caught sight of a beautiful golf course opposite the camp and the limestone hills are absolutely breathtaking when the morning mist swirls around it. The place AROUND my camp is beautiful.
Since my hair was still damn itchy, I decided to give it a wash since it was friggin 5.45am and we were to be at the grounds for aerobic exercises at 7.00am.
Remember, this place ACTUALLY has mist in the morning.
So I stepped into the stall and the water trickling down from the shower head scared me. I had no idea how cold it was going to be! The moment the ice cold water hit my bare chest I took a huge gulp of air, somewhat on reflex. I could not wait to get it over with.
So far, the only activity I’ve done was aerobic exercises. The songs they used remind me of home. Such as Geri Halliwell’s It’s Raining Men and Eminem’s Stan. Sigh.
I’m still desperate to find a fellow banana. I tried explaining the banana concept to the true blue chinese girls…but they don’t seem to laugh. During lunch, I was washing cups and I overheard a couple of guys conversing in English. I was astonished and I asked, “You speak English!?? Ohmigod, finally someone who speaks English!!!” He is Janson from Puchong. The friend is a bit of a snob though.
The trainers laid out some rules and you have to fold your blankets in such a way or else you’ll have to do the “katil kawad” meaning “Bed March”. It involves pulling the entire bed up and down a 45 degree slope. ARGH!!!
They have this silly rule about washing your pads before you throw them away because this is a “kawasan keras” meaning haunted grounds. I mean you’re speaking publicly to us and superstition is brought into the picture??
Then there’s the disgusting threat for girls who simply throw their pads around. If the trainer finds out who it belongs to, she (the trainer) will make that person kiss the pad. Gross!!
I’ve been made head of the dorm because I accidentally put my name down onto a paper that I thought was for attendance. See my communication problem here???
Then just before bedtime, the trainer came in and asked me to turn off the inside lights and keep the outside lights on. I asked her how to turn off the lights outside and she asked me how old I was.
SO SARCASTIC RIGHT!?!?!?
I merely asked where’s the switch and she rolled her eyes when I asked her to repeat her question. I’ll take it as trash talk. Happens a lot in camps apparently. Bleh.
Everyone’s asleep. Another day tomorrow. 🙁
That’s about it for the first entry. Next up will be posted tomorrow.
My brother’s foreword: I hope she loses this much enthutiasm next week than the one she had while writing this one I’m holding right now. 2 pages per day? I don’t have time for my own blog! Bah. I forgot to PPS her last entry. Will also need to check her mails, print her comments, print her stats…and many more. I think she’s enjoying herself there more than I am here.
Day 3: National Service: There’s A B*tch Already
We had our first marching practice today. We were given some cool looking PVC shoes that shouldn’t be giving us any more blisters as the days go by.
A guy actually fainted during the march. He just dropped to the floor and being typical Malaysians our only reaction was to stare. At least his group mates had the right mind to lift him up and bring him to the grass. So scary. how can there be a guy who is actually weaker than me?
I feel so lonely because there is such a horrible language barrier. The chinese girls are most comfortable speaking in Mandarin and I feel more at ease speaking in BM as my cantonese was giggled at. Now I appreciate my friends back home more.
There was actually another girl who is selected as group captain so she “takes care” of those on our dorm as well. So I’m not a permanent head of the dorm but one of my duties during my one night stint as acting head of dorm is to off the lights and it is still my duty even though I am no longer a temporary head of dorm. It’s okay, but am I supposed to be the only one that is in change of turning off the damn lights!? Before that she even “warned” me about my bed saying it was messy. Whatever.
And she had the nerves to call me an “Ah Moi!” when she asked me to wear my shoes. I mean, just because you’re captain of the group, you don’t get bossy on the third day.
I have to deal with this power hungry monster for the rest of my days here.
I WANT TO GO HOME!!!!
My brother was tired already: Shit. This one is a 6 page long essay. Good bye, my dear social life. Esther, expect my distress call pretty soon.
Day 4: Homesick But Surviving (surprisingly)
Jul 21, 05
I actually cried last night when I talked to my dad on the phone before I slept. I felt like there was no way out of this thing but today was really, urm, fun. Heh.
I complained to my father that I am sleeping on dead unpluckable-off-the-bed-bugs every night. It is so disgusting.
I’ve even gotten accustomed to the toilets as well! I can even bathe in the stalls which have squatting toilet bowls in it quite conveniently. Believe it or not, *stage whispers* I’ve washed a few pair of clothes. The good news is that the Dobi guys are really nice and will wash anything. It is free. HAHA to last year’s batch of national service trainees!
You guys nearly did not get to hear from me for three months because when they passed out the rule books yesterday, I nearly broke down in tears when I read the rule about not contacting the media or any outsiders and telling them the camp’s activities. I was afraid blogging might actually fall under that category. So today I plucked up the courage to ask the commander of the camp about keeping a blog and letting a few hundred people people read it simultaneously, he was actually quite cool about it. I had to explain it in BM, of course.
He said “Boleh boleh. Tapi tak boleh burukkan program khidmat negara ini. Asalkan cakap cikgu (?) baik, bolehlah tu!” (in english for those non malay speaking: CAN! But as long as you don’t talk bad about us, and say that the trainers here are nice, then there’s no problem!”
The Malay girls are really really fun!!! They are learing cantonese from me and a couple of them actually follow the TVB shows on TV3. This girl called Fateha enjoys checking out the (bald) chinese guys with me. I’m teaching her how to “kap chai” (look at aboys in cantonese) and she chose this cute guy whom she thinks is adorable because the acne makes his face red.
Weng Lum called me last night and he is also hanging with the Malays in his camp in Terengganu because there are too many Ah Bengs there. Are bananas really that small a community?? It is confirmed. I am the ONLY girl in this gawd forsaken camp that prefers to speak in English. Only. Girl.
I threw in a couple of English words while talking to another chinese girl amidst broken cantonese and she asked me not to speak English to her. And that was the end of our conversation. =/
Weng Lum was telling me that he is shifting camps because the canteen staff has gone on strike. That is just too cute. ^^
Before I thought that Weng Lum and I are the only PTS (skipped standard 4) kids in the entire Malaysia who are attending national service, remember that Janson from Puchong?? We met at the water cooler again today and I asked him what he was doing before this. He said he was foing AUSMAT in Sunway College and he took the year off. I felt like screaming in joy.
FINALLY SOMEONE FROM THE CITY!!!
I got excited and asked if he is a PTS too and HE IS A PTS. Doesn’t speak chinese well, PTS, city kid, prefers to speak in English…the only problem is that he is not female. If so, we would have so much fun bitching and ranting together throughout these three months.
We had integration classes in the day and this will go on for a week. Classes are from 8:45am to 10:30pm with meal breaks and bath breaks in between. It’s not too bad! We had ice breaking sessions and played hand slapping games and I was the runner up of the hand slapping game that involves both sexes. It involves the tapping of the thighs of the person next to you and you have to tap it in rhythm to some rhyme. I had to sit in between two Terengganu trainees because you know lah, not appropriate for a Muslim guy and girl to touch each other. The sacrificial thigh of the chinese girl. But actually after a while, they still had to tap each other.
The integration classes are to encourage a sense of unity in all the races here. Our syllabus involves learning the culture of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Peranakans, Iban and Kadazans. I kept getting selected as group leader. (Our class of 50 people are divided into 4 groups.) Our first task was to do a presentation about the majlis Berinai (Henna ceremony) that the Malays practice. So some of the malay girls did a mind map and I tried presenting it completely in BM. They complimented my BM! One malay guy even asked one of the girls, “Dia tu cina yang beragama Islam ataupun Melayu?” Haha.
I feel like the only outgoing chinese person in my assigned group of 50 trainees. The malay guys are really funny and one of them worked in Hartamas as a bar tender. I was trying to pick out any bananas in my group but just getting them to pronounce my name (Cho Ling, that’s how they pronounce it) I can tell if they are bananas or not.
After lunch, we were to do the chinese culture and once again I had to present it. Not that I’m complaining. It’s quite fun. Being muhhibah (racial unity) and all.
For the integration classes, they have teachers from outside the camp who are here for a week. I finally spoke a proper sentence in English when I was speaking to them. My class teacher actually lives in Subang Jaya!!!
I hang with the malays better because I am more myself. I can’t tell Jolene Trademark Jokes in cantonese. Only small talk.
Physical excercise today was only slightly daunting. This is an improvement!
My camp’s Penghulu (head of village) is one of the chinese girls whom I click well with. Her name is Angel Lam and she represents Malaysia in basketball. So she was saying that national service is nothing to her. She was also saying that she can’t stand soft girls (but I think I’ve been pretty tough – eating fast- bathing fast, standing still when I should stand still for a long period of time…etc).
However, I’m now scared of her as I am trying to prove to her that I’m her friend (because we’re both loners) so I suppose being scared of getting labelled allows me to get through this camp in a more positive way.
I also don’t know how to break it to her that my dog at home shares the same name as her too. Angel.
My muscles are aching though.
We even have a meditation session after the excercises. Period came today and I finally pooped (forced) in the morning (5:30am) after not shitting since I arrived on Sunday.
I think having constant exercises will eliminate the possibility of having period camps. It’s true.
Everyone’s asleep, I suppose I should sleep too. 11:30pm. HAHAHAHA. But I am really tired. I was tired by 9:00pm.
p/s: I smsed my goodbyes to my mum, dad and dear Chee Kiang (who was listening to me curse NS all the way in Singapore) before I turned my phone in as there is a no handphone rule during training days.
p/ss: Our commander is enthusiastic about getting us to march at Putrajaya for Merdeka! You’ll see me on TV. What would happen if I flashed a PEACE sign at the camera? “PUMPING 200 KALI!!!”* HOHOHO!!! (translation: Pumping 200 times!!)
Comment from my tired brother: Okay. That…uh…took me an hour to write. My hands are aching…and mom is bugging me to sleep. I’d like to comment abit though. I think the reason why Jolene is surprise that there are hardly any Bananas in her camp is because she doesn’t realize she is living in the highest standards of Malaysia, which is Selangor. All the best things are here, which is why the people around her are advanced and speak English more than their chinese mother-tongue. But not for the other states. They are still under-developed…resulting in most chinese still not influenced to speak in English.
Me washing my own clothes on my own.
Me copping out and using the dobi instead.
Note from my brother: Terribly sorry for the late update. Haven’t had much time lately…and Jolene’s snail-mail still has yet to arrive. Couldn’t go to school today due to being sick, so I’ve finally got some time to update for her.
DAY 5: Racial Integration Classes
The trainers got us to run up friggin’ hills. Thankfully it is only a slow jog or else my parents would have to come and collect me in a box today. (On the bright side, I get to go home…).
I’m feeling really fortunate to have been placed at the Templer’s camp because the view is so breathtaking and it is so bloody cold every morning. Sometimes you actually have mist rolling through the camp’s grounds.
Even though the morning run is quite tiring the beautiful camp site makes up for it. A stream here, trees there and everywhere. My calves and thighs are so…urm, tight. Not in a fit way but more like I-hope-I-don’t-pull-a-hamstring way. The shoes that they provide for marching has a bit of a heel and is NOT flexible at all. My toes are still pulsing from the pain.
During class today, I made friends with the guys in my group and yes, they speak chinese. There is a particular friendlier one name Kin Seng and after national service she plans to do fashion design at Lim Kok Wing. It’s so rare to find someone here who puts importance in education. The people are getting nicer. Angel is trying to learn English from me and Fatihah is trying to learn cantonese, she’s SO FUNNY! She reads my NS entries as well (she feels entertained). I just discovered that the girl who sleeps next to me is working in Sunway Pyramid. A kindred soul!!!
During integration classes, we had to act out a Chinese, Malay, Indian and Christian wedding. It was so funny because the Malay boys are such class clowns. We had to do the Malay one and I was the kompang (a type of drum). The Malay boys even did Silat perfomances during the wedding. LOL. Then for the Indian one, the guys were singing, “Tarik, menarik” and they are referring to the Indian wedding tradition where the bride must hold on to a cloth tied to the groom. The Christian wedding ended with the bride throwing her bouquet of flowers. Hahaha. The Chinese one was boring though. (Brother’s comment: cos throughout her entire life, Jolene has been to countless chinese weddings.yawn)
I did a presentation on Chinese death traditions. I even talked about a time when my friend’s cousin sister asked her mom: “Mummy, why is it called a funeral? It should be called a fun-eral. Because it is so fun,” SO cute.
Anyway, late night, early morning tomorrow.
Woke up at 5:15am to bathe while the malays prayed. Exercise for an hour. March and sing patriotic (I NEED LYRCIS, HELLO?) songs under the sun at 9:15am. UNDER THE SUN.
I think I’ve turned bacon. But I still get the fair comments. Hope it stays that way.
Day 6: Making friends with a fellow banana
The hills covered in mist again and it looks like a scenery out of a chinese painting. I was walking back from the dobi with Ah Yee and we both thought it felt like heavenly kingdom and that it looks like a scene right out of Journey to The West!
It is also very beautiful when it drizzles because the formation of the clouds around the hills are so beautiful even at 3pm.
After the morning class, there was a briefing in the hall about our religious needs. I saw some guys coming over to talk, so I popped over to Janson who was sitting alone.
He’s a littly shy but friendly enough to not piss me off. I just can’t stand it when I chat someone up and they mumble something and then look away. It happened with a new chinese girl and she totally ignored me. Perhaps she doesnt understand me. She could’ve at least given me an apologetic smile. Bah. I found out that Janson is planning on studing engineering in Monash next year.
Speaking of studying, there’s this really cute girl name Yee Ling who has been working at a hair salon since she was 16. Her hair has three vertical shades of brown and it is of course rebonded. She’s also a beautician on the side. She looks really special with her blue contacts and milky white skin.
I asked her if she was interested in joining A Cut Above’s Acedemy in Sunway Pyramid but she was abit wary about the fees. We yakked happily away about hair treatments and hair cuts all the way to the dorm. It sounds really cute because we’re both only scraping through with cantonese but yet we both enjoy talking to each other so much.
A new guy with spiky floppy blond hair just joined our class a day before. He was working at a salon in Sungei Wang. He is bald today. Poor guy. We all know hair stylists love their hair too much.
Do you know that every morning I have to wake up at 5am and be at the marching grounds for aerobic excercises at 6:15am followed by a “slow jog” up the hills and out of the camp to do some jumping jacks or pumping. We have to sing songs while we run, which is such a killer.
Three days in a row, THREE days. I can’t even stand up without wincing and worry about tumbling over. Besides, our feets are permanently cramped into a pair of court shows that is painful as well. Every inch of my leg’s muscles are knotted up. I don’t know what to do but bear the pain.
I’m still pondering if other bananas in other camps feel as lonely as me. Are there enough Bananas there to keep them sane? If I haven’t already explained, bananas are chinese who can’t speak chinese. We look yellow on the outside but we are actually white (english speaking) on the inside. Class is starting again. We’re learning about religions. I hope I don’t fall asleep.
My stupid group sucks. We’re given an assignment to list down the daily life of a Buddhist and they roused me from my slumber to get down on all fours to scribble away on a mahjong paper. I will be shit pissed if I am to present it again. So they got this ah beng from my group who they’ve nicknamed Ah Pek to present it. I don’t like the malay boys in our group. They call me Ah Moi and I’ve confronted every single guy who called me Ah Moi that my name is really Jolene and I don’t like to be called Ah Moi.
Then the boys are laughing because my name sounds like Angelina Jolie. Then the other chinese girls in my group know shit about Buddhism. This is starting to piss me off. I don’t like being the only one who comes up with the ideas all the time and talking all the time. I’m sure you can tell that I’m very sleepy. I’m napping in class now.
Almost the entire dorm is asleep. Hui Ying, a christian girl, prays before she sleeps every night. She kneels by her bed and closes her eyes with her hands in prayer. The malay girls ask me why is she sleeping in that position. So cute!
Integration classes are SO boring. I’ve had enough of “groupworks” but the latest assignment was well delegated among my groups and we actually sat down after calss to discuss it.
Everybody is pooped from the 6am morning run and 5 hours of sleep everyday and about 8 hours of the integration classes. The end of the segment is apparently coming soon. Our teacher is so boring. He doesn’t have many expressions. He reads it straight from the text.
I’m getting better at this marching thing. Out of boredom, I have decided that the camp’s sergeant has a cute bum. He walks around with his stick under his armpits.
I think I’ve seen more kinds of insects that I’ve ever had in my entire life. There are cooler looking species in the toilets. Those on my bed play a different niche in this habitat. They look different and have sticky legs.
I’m not sure how my clothes will ever dry at this rate as it rains everyday. Beautiful scenery means dirty underwear! The MIST!!!
My armpit hair has never been this long in the past four or five years. I’m waiting for it to get wavy. Haha. I’ll have to pluck my eyebrows soo if I can’t afford to wear make up, at least grooming my brows will make me appear presentable in this camp.
It’s after midnight. I hope things get interesting soon. Sigh.
I can’t believe I actually look forward to sleeping on this bed (filled with dead insects). No one told me that NS eats up all your strength.
p/s: The Ah Beng in my group whom the Malays nicknamed Ah Pek is quite the joker. Since we were in our group discussion together, I asked him about his home and stuff in BM so the malays won’t feel awkward. It’s so weird. I’m sure Najib dearest is happily swiveling in his Minister Chair smiling at the process of “integration”. (2023 Jolene: Najib’s brain child la this NS. All him!)
Brother’s comments: Jolene’s latest batch of entries (which she said was mailed 2 weeks ago) has finally arrived on Friday. Malaysia’s snail mail service live’s up to it’s name.
Day 7: Adjusting but unsatisfied
I’m sitting alone in the classroom with a very pissed of Angel. She is supposed to be in charge of the entire buddhist community. We’re going to the temple to pray on Sunday morning and a lot of trainees are reluctant to go. So she’s shit pissed and calling everybody “siu chehs” (Princessy girls). That girl has got a fiery temper. She hates girls who are really weak and slow. I’m scared. But I take her as a yard stick as I try to do everything fast so that I do not piss her off. It’s good for me as well. I become a tougher person.
There’s a girl in my dorm who helps her family sell chicken rice. I was expecting her to be simple and easy. You know, street smart as well. But GOSH, she’s the slowest to eat, attempts to break the rules, slowest to do everything la. She moves in a slow floaty way and if you didn’t know anything you’d think she has a throng of servants at her disposal.
Today is a little more relaxing but quite crazy as we did some hardcore spring cleaning. I actually washed the dorm’s toilet and it is thirty times the size of my own toilet at home. The stalls are filled with sand and the drains were all clogged up.
Most of the girls were busy packing their bags as we had to shift dorms. So I was cleaning the gigantic toilet with another girl named Farhana. We had a crazy time looking for the main drainage and I broke through the drain cover with a plastic pipe. The sinks were muddy and rusty and since it is not right to use other people’s laundry brush, I found a piece of dried leaf twice the size of my head and scrubbed away at the mess. I am resourceful. 🙂
Heck, I don’t even wash my own toilet at home and here I am, able to slave away.
I’ve developed muscles from washing the 10m by 30m washroom.
There are all kinds of insects floating in the water tank. Moths of all shades and bees of all kinds. Ants in abundance and beetles are a norm. Yet I don’t even scream when one flies towards me. What’s happening?
I’ve put my towel out to dry and it’s still stinky and wet. It’s been that way for four days now. I don’t know what to do with it and it rains everyday. I checked on it again today and I found a beetle residing amidst the threads. Bah.
We got back our handphones today at 4:30pm and i smsed Esther and she called me almost immediately. I nearly cried at the sound of her voice. She helped me contact the rest and when Mel called I could not hold back the tears. I bitched about the conditions of the place to Sush. I got medical advice from Chien as I am having weird blackish-brown discharge which I mistook for period but it has been going on for a few days. I was worried that it was probably the change in my diet (which should be a good enough medical condition to send me home) but Chien’s mom said it’s just a normal mid cycle occurance.
Dennis called and asked me not to teach the other trainees to curse the banana way and only save this ‘secret’ of our “people” until the last day of the camp.
Chee Kiang called me as well and I suddenly realized I’ve taken the fact that he too went for national service for granted. He had a tough time trying to make me feel better about being here.
Esther said that Mun Teng asked today, “Eh, Jolene went for NS already ar?”. Damn. Hello, Mun Teng…I’ve been gone for a week. 🙁
I smsed Kenny and asked him what’s up with the blogosphere but after I got bored waiting for a reply, I tried Kimberly. Sigh, she said she’s too busy to check out PPS and I bitched to her about national service.
I made a good friend called Farhana while washing the bathroom. An hour later her father came to take her home because he changed his mind about letting her skip three months of lower Form 6 classes just for NS. She will only return after STPM ends. What tough luck, having to return and all.
My brother’s foreword again:
one the phone with jolene last sunday
Jayelle: Wake up!
Luzzio: it’s bloody 8am…
Jayelle: And I’m already in a temple! Get used to it!
Luzzio: …groan…ugh…what you want..
Jayelle: How’s my blog?
Jayelle: My blog. My blog.
Luzzio: Oh…fine…got some flamers…other than that peaceful..
Jayelle: Been updating?
Luzzio:…u say leh..
Jayelle: Good boy =)
Luzzio: Must u write an entry EVERY day…?
Jayelle: Of course!
Jayelle: cmon! It’s NS! I want to remember every day!
DAY 8: The Recreational Buddhists Who Tries To Refrain From Bitching
We are in the canteen choosing the committee for our “integration classes graduation night”. The girls in my group are expressing their dissatisfaction at the selection as the emcee is calling only names from her own group. I think we are trash talking the other group.
I actually went to a Buddhist temple today. I enjoyed the ride because it was a rickety old bus with good air conditioning. Of course, I slept through!
Oooh, I just got called up on stage as I was writing this.
Sympathy votes were given to our group Delta and I am selected for some small committee. The entire dorm is gathered around, munching on biscuits now and bitching about the other groups.
I don’t think they should be speaking so loudly because we still want the other girls to love us for the next 9 weeks. We are not happy because our group was given the task to pick up rubbish around the camp.
Back to the temple experience, I was expecting incense everywhere and we were walking aimlessly around the temple grounds as we didn’t know what to do. 20 boys and 4 girls. How religious. The chinese trainer accompanied us and get this: He is a banana! The monk spoke to Angel in mandarin who translated the instructions into cantonese for me and I explained the instructions to the trainer in English. I have a feeling it became a totally different set of instructions when it reached him.
We sat around in a circle in the calm prayer hall and the monk’s soothing chants boomed peacefully off the walls on a quiet Sunday morning. After the prayers by the monk was done with, we went down for a vegetarian meal. It’s the best food I’ve had since I came.
It was the third Sunday today and our families are allowed to visit us today. My family brought me soup, biscuits, McDonald’s, fruits and strawberry milk. My mum brought me so many toiletries so my hygiene worries have been laid to rest.
Dad brought his camera and I went trigger happy around my dorm area and you’ve probably seen the pictures (that’s if my brother puts it up).
I couldn’t stop crying when my family left. Hui Ying was sweet enough to console me. I did feel silly though.
Our group is getting high on team spirit. I suppose it IS a good thing. But it’s not great to make enemies.
So many new people registered for the camp today. Their poor hair. Gone by midnight. Tsk.
Day 9 National Service: Finally Chilling.
I’m actually having time off and we’re having a mini picnic while I’m “blogging” and my dorm mates are asking me to write that I’m with a bunch of gila-gila (crazy) friends and the ketua (head) is eating a rambutan. Hehe. They are so fun.
Yeah, “blogging” and surrounded by fresh air and limestone hills, what’s missing is my laptop with a wireless connection in this area. The birds are going home and my dorm mates are exchanging gossips about the other groups. I suppose it is typical of girls.
Wonderful news: We’re converting the first dorm into a resting area. We’re actually getting Astro!! I do hope they subscribe to all the channels so that I can have my healthy dose of TVB series. I should be able to since half of the female trainees are chinese.
Oh, they just called us to help clear out that dorm. I’ll be right back.
Yes, I’m watching the sun setting in between two hills and an orange glow is cast upon the lake (at the golf course). The view outside my dorm is so fantastic that if this place is a hotel, we would have to pay extra for a view like this. The only thing that I don’t like about this dorm is that it is inappropriate to run in and out of the toilet in only your towel. The people hanging at the burger store can see you, the golfers can see you, the boys playing sepak takraw in the field can see you…. but I am pretty sure they can’t.
I was having a chat with the new guy in my group. He was previously working in a hair salon in Sg. Wang. Interesting.
My group, Delta, is getting unpopular as well. The boys nearly broke out in a fight because of some silly incident. And it’s only been a week.
Oh shit!! I just got wind from my bitch of a group captain that I’m patrolling the dorms tonight. I will be a zombie tomorrow.
Day 10 National Service: I Can Be A Security Guard You Know.
Back to where I left off, we went to the canteen at midnight in our full uniform and were given a briefing by this joker of a trainer. While we were making our way to the canteen, we walked past him (he was eating at the burger stall) and he shouted at us to come over. We thought we were in for some serious trouble. He then stuck out a plate of crackers and asked us to tackle a piece on the count of three or else we’ll be in big trouble.
O-kay. Scared us for nothing.
During the briefing, he told us to be careful when we go to the toilet. “Cikgu pernah nampak kepala…” (Teacher has seen a head…) he trailed off leaving us so freaked out. Then, he continued, “Yang menitis air mata…” (that drop tears…) Then he said in a more upbeat tone, “Kalau nampak, tolong tutup kepala paip ya!” (If you see it, please close it okay!) Hahahaha!!!!! Cikgu Rahman is so funny!
Our night duty officer was away at the police station to help settle some problems. One of my camp mates, Janggut, made a hole through the fence and dashed across the golf course, got into a cab and went home. He was sent back immediately to the camp by the police. Haha.
A group of 12 trainees will patrol the dorms for two hours in a group of four. The patrolling hours are from 12am to 6am. I got the 2am to 4am shift. I was roussed from my slumber and we were given a walkie-talkie. Can you believe that thing costs RM1500?? (so yeah, now we know where all our tax payers money went to!)
I was walking around with my eyes half opened and cursing whoever who decided to create this national service for torturing me like that. Sleeping at 12 and waking at 5am for over a week AND made to sacrifice a night of good sleep. I believe they don’t quite like us.
We stopped walking after 45 minutes and sat outside the dorms on the corridor. I have mastered the skill to fall asleep anywhere at all. If I were to squat outside the girls’ dorms while awaiting the other girls to line up, I can actually fall asleep and start dreaming. What an amazing skill.
There are some stone steps along the perimeter of the dorms and the next thing I knew we were sitting in a row on the steps. I didn’t dare look up at the sky because the moon was so eerily bright. But when I did, wow…. I could see the hills around this area as clear as day. I fell asleep, as usual, before waking up when Teha tapped me on the shoulder and wistfully asked, “What do you think you’re doing back home at this hour?”
If I was home in Subang Jaya at 4am, the only light illuminating my skin would be the one from my laptop screen. Just how often will I actually bother to be under a 4am moonlight instead? A sprinkling of stars… if only my eyes could focus properly to drink in the beauty of it all. I was too tired.
Surprisingly, I got more sleep that I usually do. I had 6 hours of sleep in total and I think it is good enough compared to the given 5 hours.
We had our “Integration Classes Graduation Night.” Our play went really well and strangely enough my tiny mime acting managed to stir a few laughters in the crowd.
We must thank the stupid boys in our company. Delta for they are the one who provides humour in times of boredom. Basically, the stars of the show.
We had a sort of farewell for our integration classes teachers and most of the malay girls were crying after the farewell song. The chinese girls were all unfazed and to quote Yee Ling in her adorably broken cantonese, “The chinese seem cruel.”
Hehe. It is strange… almost everyday something will make the girls in Delta cry. There was the time when Farhana left for form 6. Then there was the time when Mei Fen shifted to another dorm. And today the class clown called Firdaus had to quit NS to pursue his studies. The girls were all so emotional. My take is that they all have a crush on him because he IS damn good looking even though he has the typical bastard player look.
The other Delta members have shifted into our dorm and I think I am loved. Haha. I am head of dorm again. I am also a little cheered up because Daya, who is now sleeping next to me dislikes our captain as well. We have a common enemy.
Thank you for reading so far! There are many more entries to go! Please refresh this page as I take my time to edit my entries in to this post. This post will continue to grow. I just need to sleep now!