National Service? Been There, Done That

Here is something rare for all my readers. If you had absolutely no idea at all, I am actually a Series 7/2010 3rd Batch National Service trainee and I had hated National Service to the core since the moment I saw the words that went "TAHNIAH xxxxxx-14-xxxx TELAH DIPILIH UNTUK MENJALANI LATIHAN KHIDMAT NEGARA" flash in front of my laptop.

This is one of my good friends from camp and her name is Grace. :)

One of our better dinners with food from the Ramadhan bazaar thanks to selected trainees who were allowed to go out.

And that's...me on one of my lonelier days.

Funny enough,. I lived. I did the one most unthinkable thing to myself and had cut my hair real short to accommodate the heat. Because if there's one thing that is missing from the camp, it has got to be wind and fans.

And just today, I noticed at least 2 of my juniors who have been chosen for next year's torment training too! Just as myself, they have cussed endlessly on their Facebook statuses and I figured that the very least I should do is give them quick tips on how to survive 3 months of the torture.

Depending on the placement of your camp, these should merely come in handy. Unless you've been ordered to get to the Sabah, Sarawak or Sepang camps in which are absolutely HEAVENLY, you should by now be fearing for your life. Just pray hard you never get into the Banting camp alright?

Basic needs:
  • A pail. You read that right. You need a pail for all your dirty home clothes. You will be offered dry cleaning services for all your uniforms but clothes that you wear while you are in your dormitory such as your homely FCUK tees are all in your responsibility and you will HAVE to wash them yourselves.
  • Dettol / Protex / Any antibacterial BAR SOAP. Do NOT at any rate op for shower gel because you will finish it in no time; depending on the number of times you choose to shower in a day. I took up to 5 and sometimes 6 in a day due to the heat...so there you go for example.
  • Home clothes. Yes, you WILL be needing these because you seriously don't want to be clad in those NS clothes all the time right? You MAY wear shorts when you are in the dormitory but a pair of long pants for night roll calls are required. Strictly no jeans allowed. Your PJ pants should be great so don't throw them away after your high school days!
  • A towel. While you will be provided with a towel from camp, it is of absolutely no use and does NOT absorb water at all. So trust me, you will need a towel. Try something easily recognizable yet not embarrassing. You don't want an Elmo towel hanging in your locker.
  • A watch or a clock. I would suggest a watch just so you can keep track of time anywhere you go. One with an alarm would be preferable but if you're a heavy sleeper, make sure you get a clock that really wakes you up in the morning!
  • A tiny calendar. Just a reminder to your remaining days of torture training would be nice.That feeling as you cross out every single day as it goes is priceless.
  • A box of plasters. If you're a klutz, you will thank me for this later on. I had one of those that comes in 20s and it saved my life. Literally.
  • Something for your hobby. I'm not talking PSPs or poker cards. Seriously? This could be a good time to pick up reading. You will have some free time in your hands eventually and if you REALLY think sleeping is a good way to kill time, be my guest. But while you're at it, why not be productive? I've heard that instruments such as guitars and ukeleles are allowed but that may vary from camp to camp.
  • Water bottle. This is a great survival thing, trust me. You don't want to be walking out in the freezing cold at 3 AM when you wake up thirsty so just have a water bottle handy to take water in from the machine outside your dormitory!
  • Your own toothbrush and toothpaste. Do I really have to explain why? Oh but if you're one with sensitive gums like myself, I suggest Listerine! The water quality leaves a lot to be questioned so having bacteria killing liquid helps.
If you have a problem with hygiene or you question the cleanliness of camps, I would suggest:
  • Your own bedsheets. These are VERY helpful especially if you're not a fan of sleeping on an old bed sheet complete with weird stains of unidentified matters. I really don't want to know.
  • Your own pillow cover. Again, I will NOT speak of what has been provided. It's just disgusting to see what is believed to be drool. Or whatever.
  • A thin blanket or blanket cover. Just as above, you should know the drill. I have seen what I shall not speak of. Urgh.
  • Mosquito repellent patches. Aerosol spray has been completely banned so mosquito repellent patches are a great help especially if you're highly attractive to mosquitoes even in the city. Like me. Mopiko has been banned for it's "poison" factor, so maybe you could try looking into lemongrass oil or so.
If you're not a clean freak like myself, you can go ahead and ignore the bed sheet idea. That seems like quite a list there. Did I actually prepare all that for camp? Oh yes, I did. Of course, that really isn't the complete list. Again, depending on the camp you have been sent to, this should be great help!

Food & Beverages
  • Maggi mee. I cannot stress on this enough. MAGGI FREAKING MEE. You will find yourself FOREVER thankful for the existence of instant noodles when you are served with stale and disgusting food. Easy on the quantity though. There is a limit as to how many you're allowed to bring.
  • Cereal bars. This should be a great alternative to healthy people and it's quite filling to a point. Plus it isn't as banned as Maggi so there you go.
  • Biscuits. Be it Tiger, Chipsmore or whatever biscuits. Just HAVE biscuits! These are great munching snacks on random hunger strikes so if you're a person who is always seeking food, this could be a great help. Those huge "tong" ones are great but you don't want to look like a complete mummy's child so again, go easy on the quantity.
  • Cereal drinks. I loved having these as a companion on rainy nights. You WILL be provided with a water filtration machine OUTSIDE your dormitory so you WILL have hot water. And it's a plus factor when you're hungry.
  • Prunes. Sunsweet ones are awesome! If you've got problems with passing motion in dirty places, you will thank God for the creation of prunes. Plus they are a healthy source of vitamins and makes you feel full. I loved having prunes in camp.
Now, bearing that I've left camp for a good 2 years now I can't quite remember what else should be taken in. Oh but just go ahead and forget vitamin pills, calcium pills and whatever pills. Forget your Panadols, forget your traditional Chinese pills. There will be NO pills allowed EVER because everything is "apparently" provided in the medic. (In which in my opinion has been a complete lie. I never got vitamins from the medic regardless how sick I was. Instead they quarantined me and took my blood.) Forget illegal things such as knives, medicine, pain ointment, Mopiko or any means of medicine. You'll never pass screening. If you would like to however, just get a SMALL nail clipper to keep yourself neat. Its an absolute grace when you realize you have no dirty stuck in your nails as you eat.

Great helpers before you get into camp would just be:
  • Practice sleeping early and waking up early. I used to have lights off at 11 PM and woke up at 5.30 AM so if you've always been sleeping at 4 AM and waking up at 3 PM, I wish you best of luck. Practice it a month before! It's good help!
  • Get yourself fit. Try running laps around your neighborhood before you get into camp. It helps to be fit and ready!
  • Practice speaking Bahasa Malaysia. For some odd reason, trainers will op never to speak to you in English regardless how horrible you are in Bahasa Malaysia. They wouldn't quite bother if you understand what they have said or not, they will assume you do.
  • Be used to getting sweat and sticky. This shouldn't be something new to those who are expecting to get into camp. This was the main reason I was taking 5 to 6 showers a day anyway!
  • Be used to the scorching sun. Depending on the time of your training, you may be required to march under the scorching sun so be prepared to train hard and think smart. Have your water bottle handy because you will be needing a LOT of water on days like these.
Yeah, that should be about what's good for those who are getting into National Service. Just to finish up, I wish all of you best of luck and no worries, you'll get through this shit training in a breeze. Three months and you'll be rid of this rubbish memory so just go for it so it doesn't haunt you later on. Oh and if you still don't quite believe I have been in camp, here's some pictures for you to laugh at.

That's me, taking time off during my duty in a semi complete uniform.

Here's my mum and I while I snaked off during duty in my complete uniform.

And...my uncle and I doing "haram" things like having opposite gender contact in camp.

I was in camp and I live to tell the tale. Dear God I'm so glad that part of my life is over. I lost 5kgs and 3 inches off my waist along as I got out from camp...so I suppose that wasn't all that bad. At least I look good now.

Yay to Kem Jugra Banting, Kumpulan 3 Siri 7/2010. Here's a holla to all of you once more. Especially all you Delta kids. We rock.

[Epic edit] I just noticed how I didn't talk about the need for your own underwear and lingerie. Yes, you need those. Just nothing flashy please because the only place you can dry them is OUTSIDE your dorm which conveniently is linked to every other dorm so technically you have to place them OUTSIDE for everyone to see. Go ahead if you want to be known as Miss Red Leopard Prints. I'm not stopping you.

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    3 comments

    1. It isnt that BAD of a camp right? And is the toilet clean? :S

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      1. Hi there. What I'm talking about is the camp I was in; namely the Jugra Banting camp over in Banting.

        To be honest it isn't too bad a camp. The fact that we had a covered food hall was a plus benefit as opposed to some camps that had an open air hall. However, you should expect a lot of heat from the food hall because it is of a closed area ESPECIALLY during night roll calls whereby fans are not turned on because it apparently saves electricity. Otherwise, it's just an NS camp by itself.

        Toilet wise, I would rather just say walk in, settle your business as fast as you can then run back out. Maybe that's just me because I have a HUGE phobia over dirty toilets...but you could just try it out.

        Oh...remember to bring your own toilet rolls! :P

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