Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Posts Tagged ‘PLKN’

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

Friday, April 10th, 2009

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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