Before I upload NS photos here next week, I'd like to share an article with all of you. This article will be posted in my former school magazine (Gema Bakti)
The National Service Programme (Program Latihan Khidmat Negara - PLKN) has been organised by the Ministry of Defence Malaysia since January 2004. Apart from improving our physical and mental endurance, the main reason for the government to carry out this programme is to enhance unity among the multi-racial communities in the country and to mould young people into patriotic citizens. There are about 80 National Service camps all over the country. During the programme, all trainers are known as "Cikgu" whereas male trainees are known as "Wira" and female trainees are known as "Wirawati".
The year 2006 is a special and exciting one for me. I had been chosen to participate in the National Service Programme at Kem Rekreasi Pertanian Teluk Sari, Mersing in March 2006. Honestly, it was really a hard time for me to adapt myself there at first. I had to cope with homesickness, had to follow daily routines, and had to do a lot of chores alone, without getting any help from anyone. However, when I started to mingle with friends from different races, religions and educational backgrounds, I started to familiarize myself with the situation there. I think I was very lucky to be chosen to undergo my training at Kem Rekreasi Pertanian Teluk Sari as I was told that it is a four-star-rated camp. The camp compound is very large (in comparison with other NS camps), the food is not bad, the panorama is beautiful, and all trainers there are very friendly and helpful.
During the National Service Programme, we have been divided into four teams: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. Each team consists of approximately 130 trainees. I was placed in the Delta team.
Generally, the National Service Programme is split into four modules : Physical module (Fizikal), Character Building module (Pembinaan Karakter), Nation Building module (Kenegaraan) and Community Service module (Khidmat Komuniti). In the physical module, we have to undergo a lot of activities, such as Obstacle Courses (Kembara Halangan), Jungle Trekking (Kraf Hutan), Drills (Kawat Kaki), Navigation (Navigasi), Hand to Hand Combat (Tempur Tanpa Senjata), First Aid (Pertolongan Cemas), High Rope (Tali Tinggi), Low Rope (Tali Rendah), Water Sports (Aktiviti Air), Creative Sports (Sukan Kreativiti) and many other activities every weekday. Teamwork is needed to complete these physical activities. I personally like the Obstacle Courses and High Rope the most. To complete the Obstacle Courses, we have to cooperate with one another to pass nine obstacles (including Tarzan Swing, Monkey Rack and 12-feet-wall). On the other hand, in the High Rope, we have been given an opportunity to play the Flying Fox, Abseiling and Repelling. Apart from that, Water Sports such as kayak and rakit are sometimes quite enjoyable too.
The Character Building module and Nation Building module are classroom based. We have to enter the class every weekday from 9.00am until 12.30pm. Character Building module comprises two sub-modules. The first sub-module is Bringing Out The Best In Me while the second sub-module is Bringing Out The Best In Others. Both these sub-modules are meant to shape leadership qualities among trainees. From the Character Building module, I learnt to make decisions accurately, trust my friends, set my targets in life, and be more creative in my works.
When the Character Building module had ended, the Nation Building module was started. There were a lot of activities and group discussions in this module. From there, we had been exposed to the importance of unity among people of different races and religions. There are four elements in the module: Land (Tanah Air), Citizens (Rakyat), Government (Kerajaan) and Sovereign (Daulat). From these elements, we had been taught about the government and political system of our country and our responsibilities to the nation.
In the Community Service module, we had been divided into 26 groups. Every group would go to different places every Wednesday and Saturday to serve the society. Apart from doing voluntary work at villages nearby, I got the chance to visit several governmental and non-governmental departments which I may not have an opportunity to visit them again in the future, such as Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat Desa Bina Diri, Pusat Pemuliharaan Burung Kuang, Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia (LKIM), and Jabatan PERHILITAN. Other than that, under this module, those who volunteered to donate their blood were given a chance to do so in a blood donation campaign organised by the Pejabat Kesihatan Mersing.
I was told that there would be a lot of competitions among teams and a jungle trekking and camping trip (Wirajaya) at the end of the National Service Programme. It was a pity that I had missed the chance to join them as I had to leave the camp one month earlier to further my studies in Form Six. However, I may say that these two months experience was a very fantastic one for me. So, to all my juniors in SMKJKA, if you were chosen for the National Service Programme, don't be afraid, it will certainly be an enjoyable experience for you!
Written by : Tan Shing Cheng
Former student of SMKJKA (2005 Batch)