Father Sez

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National Service Camps for Malaysian youngsters – my family’s experience

Friday April 10th, 2009 by fathersez

plkn-trainees-at-kindergarden.jpg

This is a picture I took from Az’s website from her collection of her PLKN photos. (Hope you don’t mind…Az.) I was not really into photos when my daughter attended the camp.

 The uniforms give them a sense of solidarity and purpose.

National Service or Program Latihan Khidmat Negara was started in 2003 with the objectives :- 

-         Of instilling and strengthening the spirit of patriotism,

-         Promoting racial integration and unity,

-         Instilling positive attitudes by the absorption of good moral values,

-         Nurturing the spirit of volunteerism,

-         Creating a generation of young who are active, clever and self confident. 

Quite noble aims, I am sure you will all agree. Since the program is over a period of only 3 months, I suppose they’ll just be able to lay some foundations. Still it’s much better than nothing. 

The children are selected via some computer program from a database of children born in a particular year. They are then allocated training camps where they have report on a particular date. Those who have been allocated camps far away, are directed to meet at a pick up point for transport. 

(This NS cannot really be compared to a draft, where the youngsters are treated as recruits for the armed forces. The Singapore Government, for example, has a program where all 18 year olds get conscripted for a 2 year program with the Singapore Police, Civil Defence or Armed Forces.)

My eldest girl was just about 17 when the NS was announced. My wife told me that she was so looking forward to being selected for the course. (I was working in India at that time.) Unfortunately for her the computers did not pick her name. 

Azah, my second girl was totally against the National Service. When the announcements were made, she was all about hoping not to be selected. As Murphy’s Law would have it, her name came up. Azah was so nervous and even tried to get her mother to try to get her name off the list. Well, this did not happen. 

Finally the day to report drew close. The whole family drove down to the camp area to scout out the place. Incidentally that was about the first time my family had ever been to Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, about 30 kilometres from where we lived. (I never would have guessed that this would be where we would end up buying a piece of land for our rubber smallholding.)

On the day the kids were supposed to report, I drove Azah (and a friend of hers) to the camp. It was like a carnival, anxious parents giving last minute instructions and advice, the camp administrators running hither and thither etc. Azah was very nervous and I must admit, so was I. Finally, I like the other parents had to leave our (little) children there and get back home.

along-and-azah-gambar-after-resize.jpg

This was the mental picture I had of my daughter as I left her at the camp. Yes, I realise the photo is about 18 years old, but then I am a parent!. Maybe that should explain everything…..hehe 

We brought her back twice during the program for the Chinese New Year and the Christmas / New Year holidays. By then she had adapted to the environment and was enjoying herself quite a bit. 

The experience for her was good. All the nervousness was gone and she came back a more confident and responsible young lady. She also made some good friends with whom she still keeps in touch. 

For our family, this first experience with PLKN was excellent. We have another 3 young children who are waiting in the wings. Our son should be in the database pool in 2011/12. This time, our family will be hoping that he gets chosen.  

Hopefully by then, a well tried and tested personal finance module would also be in place for the trainees.  

Read about the personal PLKN experiences of other young Malaysians here. 

- CandyGurl  

- John Diew  

- DJRay 

- Az (she has some great shots of her experiences.) 

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4 Comments for “National Service Camps for Malaysian youngsters – my family’s experience”

by djray
On April 13, 2009
At 4:36 am

hi fathersez.. tq for the link which u kindly insert for me here.. indeed i really enjoyed providing a few motivational sessions with the youngsters recently at Beringin Resort and Chandek Kura under Belia & Sukan.. and they were impressively energetic and positively minded youths.. these kids are our hope.. at times.. i wish parents could be given such similar training too.. (but this will be a dream which won’t come true.. most parents are already set in their ways)

On April 13, 2009
At 7:36 am

DJ,

You are welcome. Parents also end up wishing for their own training except that it usually when it is too late.

Regards

by djray
On April 14, 2009
At 12:43 am

yes.. that’s true. people like us try to shape the future for the kids.. unfortunately many parents are doing the opposite.. ooppss hope parents take my comment positively k.. but i’ve seen many instances where kids become the ‘boss’ and parents become the followers..

On April 14, 2009
At 9:08 am

I suppose many present day parents can’t give what the children really want, which is time. So they just try to make up for it by “buying” the kids’ affections. Hence the blurring of the who is shaping who boundaries.

Regards

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