Part I: PLKN 2009
Posted June 10, 2009on:
I’m back people!!!
I have officially completed my 3-month NS stint!
After weighing out everything, I’ve actually really enjoyed PLKN. To those of you who are chosen, grab the chance. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. At first, you’ll experience the usual homesickness but after that stage has passed, the people and the routines there will stick to you like parasites – in a good way. You’ll return home a different person. I’m serious.
Okay, since I’ve got so many things to write about National Service, this post is going to be in a Question & Answer format. It’s easier that way.
How are the trainees organized in camp?
When I first arrived, the camp trainers briefed us on the overall NS stint and what can be expected. Then we were divided into our respective dorms or platoons. There are altogether 16 dorms. 8 dorms for the girls and 8 for the boys. Each dorm holds an average of 30 + trainees. After that, we trainees were further arranged into our respective companies. The 4 companies in our camp are:
- Satria Gemilang
- Harimau Bersatu
- Skuad Malaya
- Helang Hitam
I’m in Harimau Bersatu, the best company in camp. Heehee…
After days of organizing, in which they distributed logistic stuff (issued clothes, and sleeping stuff) and after all the boys got their groovy haircut, we’re finally down to business.
How’s the schedule for trainees?
It’s seriously packed. Generally, the schedule goes like this:
6.30 a.m. – Roll call and morning exercise
7.30 a.m. – Breakfast
8.30 a.m. – Character-building class (CB class) or Kenegaraan class (KN class)
10.30 a.m. – Brunch
11.00 a.m. – Class continues
12.30 p.m. – Lunch
2.30 p.m. – Physical activities (marching, TTS etc.)
4.30 p.m. – Tea time
5.30 p.m. – Evening exercise
6.30 p.m. – Dinner
8.30 / 9.00 p.m. – Tayangan video
10.30 p.m. – Supper
11.30 p.m. – Sleep
This schedule only applies on weekdays. On weekends, sometimes we have community service, miscellaneous programs and religion classes.
What are the activities prepared there?
There are all together 4 modules prepared:
- Modul Fizikal
- Modul Kenegaraan
- Modul Pembinaan Karakter
- Modul Khidmat Komuniti
Modul Fizikal includes activities like marching, flying fox, abseiling, obstacle course, TTS etc. Anything that’s, well, physical.
Modul Pembinaa Karakter aims to build your character through simple games. Trainees are given workbooks and further divided into 7 classes. I was in CB 2.I thought Modul Pembinaan Karakter was boring. But I gulped back my words after experiencing Kenegaraan Kelas. At least during character building classes, we have fun and games. Although the games are quite childish, they’ve got meanings behind it.
Modul Kenegaraan for me is the most boring one out of the 4. I don’t know about other camps, but my Kelas Kenegaraan was totally dull. We have 14 classes altogether and I’m KN 7. My teacher would be blabbing away and I’d be sleeping away. I doubt this module achieved its aim (meningkatkan semangat patriotic). The only fun thing about it is at the end of the entire module, each class would be required to give a performance on a night called Malam Patriotik. So there was acting and choir singing. I got to be the MC of my class.
I enjoyed Modul Khidmat Komuniti the best. That’s cuz we trainees could go out of camp according to our respective companies. If I’m not mistaken, this module only started in the second month. We went to museums in Taiping, Lake Garden, Rumah Seri Kenangan (old folks home), jungle trekking at Bukit Larut, etc. Community Service are on Wednesdays and Sundays only. Sometimes when we don’t go out on those days, we usually listen to speeches regarding HIV/Aids, Money Management, Road Safety, Smoking etc.
And not forgetting the oppurtunity to use M16. At fisrt, I wasn’t at all looking forward to using the gun. I have phobia toward loud sounds befofre this. But now, I can officially said that my experience in using M16 has successfully diminished my phobia for loud sounds. Yipee!!
After the semester break, things got a hell lot busier. One of the major events being the Sports Carnival. The performance of trainees counted a lot towards their company marks. The sports that were being competed were volleyball, netball, football, sepak takraw, creativity sports, kembara halangan (obstacle course), marching and tarik tali.
I entered volleyball, obstacle course and marching. I must say my team’s performance was very satisfying. Harimau Bersatu got runner-up for volleyball, runner-up for tarik tali, champion for obstacle course, champion for marching, champion for football and champion for netball. I forgot about the rest ‘cuz we didn’t do too well in them. *grins*
Then at a much later stage of the camp, we trainees went for Wirajaya, a 2 day 1 night stay in the forest. For Kem Tegas Mesra, we were situated at Ayer Itam. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy myself there. That’s cuz my comfort needs are very high. The tent was very, very simple. Just 4 linen cloths and 3 sticks. That’s all. I had to sleep with full celoreng with half my body soaked thanks to the night activities in which I was forced to cross the river in the middle of the night. And those dreaded spike boots with their weight made the whole sleeping process much more torturous. Oh well, it’s still an experience.
The second last Saturday, my camp trainers brought all the trainees to Bukit Merah! I love Bukit Merah ‘cuz I’ve had good memories about it since I was a kid. We had to pay RM10 as an entrance fee though. Not bad considering the normal price being RM 25 ++. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there splashing around and playing with my friends. We were in the water for 4 hours straight. My friends and I didn’t even stop for the lunch break. That’s how much fun we had together. After that, we went out and shopped around for souvenirs. I bought a pretty purple hair accessory. It’s cute.
How frequent are the holidays?
I’m not sure for other batches, but for my batch whish is the second batch, we’ve got Ching Ming, Good Friday, Indian New Year and semester holidays. I went for Ching Ming (3days) and the semester holidays (4 days).
Semester holidays is a must for all trainees whereas the other holidays goes according to your race.
How much is the National Service allowance?
As of 2009, trainees are given RM150 per month. If you obtained excellent SPM results, you’re entitled to get an extra RM100 (one-time only).
How’s the food there?
Not bad. Really, stop smirking. Although I’m a vegan and my food choices are a little bit limited (imagine eating fried rice every lunch and dinner time), I still appreciate the food there. But for breakfast, brunch, tea time and supper, I get to savor other types of food.
Sometimes, I can ask the canteen people to give me a whole pack of buns although I can eat the normal food cooked. I usually store these buns up in my locker. =) That’s the privilege of being vegan. For non-vegans, their food palate is bigger. So it’s not the same type of food every time.
Only on some days, the food served is bad. But that’s only on some days. Overall, it’s quite nice for me. When it comes to food, I’m very hearty. For others, the food may not be to their liking. So this is just my personal preference.
Part II: PLKN friends coming soon with pictures.