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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My PLKN Life - A Once in a Life Time Experience, Now a Reminiscence (UPDATABLE)


As of March 17 2012, I have finally completed my National Service program and am now a WiraJaya. Gone through thick and thin, litres of sweat have perspired from my body, blood shed(a little) and endured various forms of verbal abuse(not really that bad) to be finally here writing my blog and enjoying my life.

This is a post dedicated as a personal record of my experience going through Program Latihan Khidmat Negara(PLKN) as well as an acting guide to all local Malaysians who are in the dark. I put as much detail as I recall in to this so any mistakes and irregularities are forgiven(please?). Non-Malaysians are welcome to read as well for own interest and knowledge.

FYI: This post is a revision of my old one with better overall content and more pics!

I'll start with listing out items you might need for PLKN.

List Of Items

What I Brought

Toiletries

  1. Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss - Self-explanatory. 1 toothbrush and 1 tube of toothpaste(160g)- had extra toothpaste to last another few weeks after PLKN.
  2. Towel - Only if you can't stand using the towels provided by PLKN. They are quite coarse and not very water absorbent. 
  3. Soap/Bathing lotion - I personally recommend using lotion due to difficulty in finding a place to put the soap for convenient use-and from being contaminated . Many of my dorm mates use lotion as well(about 80% of them). I used about 2.5L of it throughout my time there.
  4. Face wash - For a 'beautiful' face. Brought a 150ml bottle and still had quite a lot left after PLKN.
  5. Shaver - You'll need to shave your mustache and beard or face disciplinary action. You can borrow from friends at camp although not recommended and you don't really need any shaving cream or the like.
  6. Washing powder/soap + Plastic brush - For washing your OWN and I mean OWN clothes. (see laundry service/dobi for details) 
  7.  A small container with a hook to carry toiletries - Not a must but I consider it necessary. I bet we all don't want our stuff to be on the floor don't we? 
  8. Pail - Used to wash your clothes OOORR for splashing soap water on unsuspecting victims.

Clothing

  1. Pyjamas - Typical ones are not recommended. Long pants make it difficult to move around the dirty floor of the washroom and dorm without getting it dirty. I decided to wear a singlet with short pants due to hygienic and cooling reasons. That's not much of a pyjamas now...
  2. Several underwear - Have to wear them 24-hours a day. Yes, you read it right.
  3. Short pants - Besides these you'll have to wear PLKN-issued  long pants all the time.
  4. Long pants(sports trousers) - During Riadah time and other free time when you feel like running.
  5. Few pairs of socks - As backup in case your PLKN-issued socks are unusable.
  6. Handkerchief - For those 'sweaty' situations. Not sure if handkerchief goes under clothing but according to Here, it is.
  7. T-shirts - Just something to wear other than the PLKN-issued ones. Old ones, so that you don't cry when you lose them.
  8. Singlet - Depends on you. But I recommend using it for classes and when  in dorms.
  9. Clothing hangers(about 7) - To hang wet clothes(sweaty ones included) and miscellaneous uses.

NOTE: When outside of dormitories you are required to wear long pants no matter what. Short pants are only allowed in dormitories.

Miscellaneous/Others

  1. Padlock(small) - This is a must as they do NOT provide any sort of locks for your locker except the ubiquitous cam locks normally incorporated in drawers and wardrobes but they don't give you the key =.=  . I'm not even sure they have the keys for the lockers in the first place. The shackle(the moving part of the lock typically U-shaped) of the padlock must be about the size of a standard medium-sized straw's mouth. Any bigger and it won't fit for your locker
  2. Slippers - A total must. Something simple and water-proof will do.  You'll wear them in your dorms and to your religious institutions. Anywhere else is banned(except if you loss all of your other footwear which is VERY unlikely).
  3. Shoes(sports) - This is optional. If you're into sports and want to play, then you're allowed to use your own shoes. But for me I brought it back home during the holidays cause it's like an extra luggage. The PLKN-issued ones are 'good enough'.
  4. Nail- clipper - You'll have to cut your nails eventually or face disciplinary action. I didn't actually bring one to NS but certainly did use it(by borrowing from friends).
  5. Water bottle - If you don't want to suffer dehydration and possible sore throats then take it. A 1.5 litre should be enough. You'll have to refill it constantly everyday at the canteen.
  6. Cellphone - One of your only ways of reaching out to the outside world... Over there I saw an boy with his Apple iPhone while a few use 'very-old' phones(the ones without much colour and limited functions, like mine :P). Other than that, quite a few of them use touch screen ones now. The rest are ubiquitous although still better than mine...
  7. Charger for cellphone - No electrical energy  =  no calls, DUH!
  8. Sunblock - If you don't mind looking like an Indian when you come back then bring some. Although, I did manage to come back looking only slightly darker than before, I did encounter situations when I should have applied some on.
  9. Books, magazines,novels,etc.(recommended) - Entertainment purposes. A lot of people bring these at my camp. No problem with normal ones.
  10. Stationery - Pencil, pen, eraser, etc. Pencil is used for navigation class. Other stationery can be used for own purposes(drawing, sketching, writing a journal, etc.). One thing I nearly forgot, marker pens are not allowed just like in schools.
  11. Foooooddddss/Drinks - All depends on you. You eat a lot then bring a lot. Just make sure its halal. Biscuits, instant noodles and other snacks are recommended for when you're hungry or just for fun. I even brought my personal protein drink mix together with a small Tupperware bottle to make in.
  12. Medication - According what the trainers say, any medication have to be handed over to the camp medic. When you need to use it then go to the medic and ask for it. But you can ask for a letter so that you are allowed to use your medications elsewhere. I sneaked in antiseptic cream, some cotton and medical adhesive(it did came in handy).

What Other People Brought

  1. Shampoo - I didn't use one at the camp cause my hair's short throughout National Service. (see haircut for details)
  2. Music player, PSP, netbook and other small gaming devices - Entertainment purposes. As for the netbook user, he brought it to help organise performances by playing songs/music. I did heard one Alpha fella brought a PSP but didn't actually saw it. Music players are the most common electronic among the trainees. It's like 1 in 20 trainees have them and that's just music player alone(not including phones). I saw at least 3 people with an iPod Shuffle.
  3. Flashlight - For those late night activities or for blinding people XP.
  4. Alarm clock - For waking up at 5.30a.m. (see waking up for more details)
  5. Chargers for any electronic devices - Do I still need to say, I mean, 'type' why?
  6. Guitars - Ya...at least 1 for each male company at my camp. 
  7. Sweaters/Jackets - Good idea to bring one when you're ill. 
  8. Form 6 study notes - Yup. I mean it. One nice fella really brought it - I mean nice as in he's a real friendly guy.
  9. Crocs - Yes they did. But its the umm... ungenuine variety. The design's exactly like the one below. The trainers recommended us to use these for water recreational activities since their the best water-proof alternative to shoes and slippers.
CROCS COBBLER
Crocs shoes from Crocs
NOTE: Only cellphones will be kept by the trainers at the camp. They never mentioned that other electronics are not allowed. Remember this: ONLY officially kept items are insured. Other items that are lost will be under the responsibility of their respective owners.

Banned Items
  • Jewellery - Especially the fancy kind. I did see a few trainees with decorative rings though.
  • Any sharp objects with lethal potential - Examples: Nail-clipper(mentioned above) and cutlery
  • Cigarettes - Obviously
  • Clothing that 'poke-eye' XD -  Malaysians should know why.
  • Non-halal items - I don't know all of them but alcohol and pork are included

PLKN-Issued Items
  • Pillow case, Bed sheet and blanket.
  • Sport outfit, Class outfit and Celoreng outfit. - The outfits consists of 2 sets of shirts, pants and socks. Celoreng has another item called inner Celoreng.
  • Belt for class outfit, belt Medan for Celoreng outfit.
  • Cap and beret.
  • Sports shoes, class shoes and spike boots.
  • Shoe brush and black shoe polish.
  • A pair of big rubber bands. Goes with Celoreng.
  • Canteen with its accessories
  • Backpack, mess tins, and puchong (camping equipment)
Pictures of PLKN-issued:
From L to R: Sports, spike boots and Class
Another type of spike boots. Looks nicer doesn't it?

Class belt
Belt Medan for Celoreng
Rubber bands
Top to bottom: Class, Celoreng and Sports.


Canteen with metal cup and cover.




 From top: Towel, Sports outfit set, Class outfit set and Celoreng outfit set


Left: Beret, baseball cap. Right: Kiwi/shoe polish and shoe brush/


 Camping equipments: Backpack, mess tins, and puchong.


Note: The RM 1 note acts as a size comparison.

MY JOURNAL Ver: 2.0
I'll just explain what to expect mostly so as not to ruin the surprise(and also not to bore you to death)

On The First Day
Gotten ready for the first day(2 Jan) and waited at a bus station where PLKN-rented buses were ready to send the trainees to their camps. Had to queue and register at a counter. There were 3 counters; one for different camps. After a grueling 20 min wait, I finally boarded the bus. Before we left, a trainer gave us RM10. I'm not sure if its part of the RM150 allowance they promised but I guess it's not. I finally reached my designated camp(Kem PLKN Sentosa) which is located very deep in the jungle surrounded by mountains and hills located somewhere in Perak(just Google you'll find it). Once there, we were ordered to put our belongings on the floor in a huge hall then take lunch(because it was already lunch time. We registered and handed in required documents. Here we were given our designated dorms. There are 8 dorms for boys and girls each; F1 to F8 for girls and G1 to G8 for boys. A spot-check was done later. Then, they directed us to pickup our PLKN-issued items (they weigh a ton; except Celoreng outfit cause they haven't arrived yet ) before finally settling at our dorms. We boys have to walk up a slope to reach our dormitories 200-300m away. There we chose our beds and lockers.

In The First Month
First week: we just get briefed from the activities we do to the rules and regulations of the camp. On the second day, we boys have to have our hairs shaved to about level 2 hair minimum.We all became abang botak (translation: bald brothers) . The girls remained 'unshaved' of course. There were a few girls with dyed hairs but they just let them be.


 Look at that hair O.O. Someone could make a carpet out of it XD. That's hair from about 100+ boys just so you know.


CB(Character Building as they call it, not c****) classes began on the fourth day. On with the fifth day, here on it gets interesting, we were divided into 4 'companies' namely Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. Girls from F1 and F2 and boys from G1 and G2 are in Alpha whereas girls from F3 and F4 and boys from G3 and G4 are in Bravo and so on until Charlie and Delta respectively. We were assigned to do KKJ(Kontrak Kita Janji; translation: We Promise Contract) which is to form a team/company with our own flag design,theme,war cry and the like. It took about 5 days to complete with total time expenditure of about 12 hours. The flag took the longest to complete. Prayer times are fixed close to weekends(Muslims and Hindus - Fridays ; Buddhist - Saturdays ; Christians - Sundays ; Others - Unknown). On weekends, there's Almost no activities - mostly meals times and nap times besides prayer times of course. Now here is important: On Sundays, family visits are held. (more details at Weekends)

CB classes in the morning. Next comes the on of the most important part of the camp activities:  performance by Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. Just to make it brief, Delta won first followed by Charlie, Bravo and Alpha. Supposedly Bravo won first but due to time limitations(which is 25 mins, Bravo did 32 mins) quite a deal of marks were deducted as they were not counted as it was passed the time limit. Alpha was last because of its name on the flag. If you were there and read the flag, most likely you would say it read 'Lapha' as well. Here's Bravo's flag:
It is A-W-E-S-O-M-E
It was incomparable to any other flag there even the past flags too. Our trainer also said Bravo should have won even some other trainers said as well.. Just look at the flag, it gotten us a full 50 marks. All in all, we really showed them although we lost to 3rd position. Somewhere in this week we got our Celoreng outfits. Unfortunately, one of my inner Celoreng is a long-sleeved one, which is supposedly meant for girls... No choice had to wear it cause the other one was at Dobi. It was quite comfortable though.

Continuing on in the first month are mostly Character Building Classes. In one class session, they asked us to arm-wrestle against an opponent to win his/her candy(10 of them in total). I won once but I was totally no match for the guy although his around my height.As time ran out, the teacher then said whoever wants to can give away their earned candy to sumbangan(donation,sort of). Some did so, the rest either didn't win any or keep the prize candies for themselves. Everyone was then instructed to go in groups according to what they did with the candies. Here's where I got lucky, the teacher said those who give to sumbangan which I did, are eligible to TAKE 30 CANDIES from a container filled with it. A bit of chaos ensured when about 8 people rushed to grab them. I had to wait a while for the commotion to cool off before I took my fair share of candy. I even gave a few to the guy who I beaten in the arm-wrestling match as a Thank You gift :)
So take this from me if you want to get some ;)


In The Second Month
Kembara Halangan(Obstacle Course Training)










Start from top left to right down to the bottom. This is for boys. Girls' down here:






I don't know the names of every obstacle. You get the idea is good enough.

Post training results:


Dirt from the Commando Crawl(the second last obstacle) caused this problem. It drizzled a while before we started so the dirt became 'sticky'.


The Military Police visited my camp and let us check-out their rides.










If you're wondering what's the bike called, it's Honda ST 1300. Cool, yes?

Flying Fox
A simple fun recreational activity propelled by gravity. Not all managed to try it though due to weather and time constraints.

Day of Marching
The day started off with all trainee participating in the competition line up the marching field to greet the VIPs.




After weeks of practice(well not exactly anyway), my Bravo company became overall victors with both boys and girls achieving 2nd place spots.
video 
Bravo Marching

 UUuu, shiiny :)

Spectators. Some still lack of sleep.
Colt M16 Tryouts :D
Held it on a weekend. First Alpha and Bravo do first followed by Charlie and Delta the next day. We were taken to small military training facility somewhere in Tapah. The shooting range is a secluded valley surrounded by hills and forest. First off is the demo:

video
Colt M16 firing Demo.

M16a1m16a2m4m16a45wi.jpg
 Source:Wikipedia From top to bottom: M16A1, M16A2, M4A1, M16A4. We used the top one.

Those are life ammo they are using and for that reason we are only allowed to aim and shoot - nothing else. Reloading, unloading and safety release for the firearms are done by the soldiers themselves. Total shots: 30 - 10 practice, 20 point shots. The targets are located 100m from the shooting positions. 

Not this close to the target of course. I throw stone also can hit la. 

Targets at the shooting range.
A close-up.
Highest point per shot is 5 at the smallest circle in the middle(not necessary must be at the bulls eye) followed by 4 and 3. The max. point is 100 and the best shooter with the highest point gets a trophy.

Before it was my turn, I had to wait behind for the earlier ones to finish. Earplugs in check, I take my steps and went into prone positions in the shooting line. The soldier passed me the gun, arms comfortably on the sandbag and was ready to shoot. The first shot was the most memorable one. When I fired, I couldn't really hear the gun shot itself, only the spring mechanism in the rifle. The backfire wasn't as strong as anticipated either. The tip they given us is to align the foresight(looks light a crown) with the hindsight(circle) and the target. Sure did work. But my tip is to aim at the target lower than its bulls eye - from what the soldier told me, I shot too high when I aimed directly at the bulls eye. I managed to get 86/100 at the end - 8 5's, 10 4's and 2 3's. It is considered a first class score.

There were actually a few trainees who got more than 100 in score. The highest one I saw was 128. The reason? Some idiot shot their target that's why. Because of that the unlucky fellas was disqualified. Ironically, some even gotten 0 marks.

In the Third Month

Blood Donation Day
It was held on a Saturday. About 90% of the trainees volunteered. The whole thing took about 5 hours to complete everyone's blood donation. It did get gory halfway through - apparently a girl was bleeding profusely after removing the needle until her blood dripped on the ground. A friend of mine was watching the incident and felt even more scared than before. Another one said 'errr yerr' as I pointed to her the bleeding girl XD.

 The needle cover I 'smuggled' :D. The needle is that long(compared to 20 sen coin) and it went into my arm.

Sports Day
Competitions for soccer, volleyball, netball and sepak takraw. It's a competition so there are prizes.

We made mascots too:
From L to R: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta. It's obvious who won.
Camera Problem



As you can see the problem, the picture are...distorted. I've no idea what's wrong with my Samsung ES15. Last thing I remembered was changing the camera Function from Program to Auto then it became like this. Plus, when I try to take a picture in broad daylight, the camera becomes sort of 'blinded' like being hit by a flash bang producing the picture on the bottom far right. If I use Auto with flash, the picture looks fine but with artificial horizontal lines all over it as shown below.

So if you notice other photos here which look odd then you know why. I'm still figuring out the problem to date. The only advantage is I can now take unique, colour-distorted pictures like the ones above. They do look kinda cool.

Camping WiraJaya
Held on the last week. Started our way in the morning at 8.00a.m.

 Then once there, we set up camp.


We were  given tasks such as find live bugs, dig a rubbish hole, make a camp fire and create a parameter dividing the company camp from others. Later on we did a mock rescue operation.
Us carrying the 'victim'.
 Due to safety concerns the camping only lasted until evening although it was suppose to last overnight. All the trainees were happy about the news. It was lucky for all of us. If we did stay overnight, we can't take baths, brush our teeth,etc.
After-camping boots. Not mine.
Last Day

Prize and certificate giving ceremony. The trophies are for C.O., O.I.C., Best Colt M16 Shooter and best Trainees(boy and girl). The big trophy in the middle was won by my company, Bravo! - for being overall best company.



Prizes won by Bravo. Just so you know the trophies are for aesthetic purposes only. We have to return them to the camp :P.

After all of that we go on to the sentimental part of the day. Trainers and trainees have a bonding good time. Some said sorry for this and that. Others cried - one cried til HIS eyes were bloody red. The music wasn't helping to stop the sadness either - it was a saxophone piece, if I'm not mistaken.


 Trainers and trainees hugging,etc.



Last Night
It's like a party night. Performances carried out by various trainees while the rest enjoy a sumptuous dinner.





video
Wedding Dress - Performance by Gary,CK and CS.Video courtesy of Gary.
The dancers.
Opened our hampers afterwards.
 

On the Day to Go Home
Amazingly I managed to wake up at 5 in the morning on this very day. Brushed my teeth, washed my face and packed up and ready to go. Just before stepping out of the dorm, I took a final look at my personal space in the camp leaving behind a broken pair of sports shoes and very smelly socks. I walked down the slopes down to the hall as the teachers have already started preparing the students' leave.
 (left)Trainees' luggage. Queue to verify camp leave documents. Looks kind of like a scene at an airport.

As I,board the bus I shared a double seat with a friend and a seaweed sheet with him. He was kind of sad having  to leave - missing friends and all. But it's at the end now and it's time for us to go home. Luckily I was in the first bus to leave. Arrived back home, handed in my camp leave documents and headed home.

THE END

Environment
I'll just describe the most often visited areas of the camp. You'll have to go there yourself to know more.
Pictures/Videos of Camp Surroundings

 
 Dorm area.



 Hall area.

Scenery
One of my favourite shots. Sunset with a ring of light in the mountainous horizon.



video

Surroundings in the morning.

video


Surroundings on a rainy evening.

video

Surroundings on a cloudy day.





Night with a full moon. Can't get the full clear picture but it was magnificent. The moon shined with a beautiful corona right above the mountains.

Other parts of camp






Centre of camp and park.
Logistics




 Pathway to the boys' dorms. Girls' dorms are on the left starting from the first pic. This makes boys' dorms further than the girls'.


Dormitories(Dorms)
Its a very long hall with dimensions about 80m X 8m X 4m consisting of beds and lockers lined up side-by-side. My dorm managed to fit exactly 34 dorm mates with room to spare for an iron table. There's one window for each person occupying the dorm.


Bed and locker
The bed is a standard-sized single bed with dimensions of  1.9m by 1.3m. The locker is about nearly 2m tall with a square base of length 0.5m. The locker is separated in to 4 compartments. Starting from bottom is a empty slot about 20cm tall. Next is a drawer also 20m tall then to the main compartment with a metal bar as a hangar approx 1.3m. Finally the top compartment is like the bottom one but about 10cm taller.



 The locker on the left is mine(I know its a mess...). As you can see lockers have this metal bar to hang stuff although some lockers don't.(right) Padlock your locker if you value your stuff. I bought this one at the camp.
Where you iron your clothes.



 Note(again): The RM1 note acts as size comparison.



  Typical scenes in the dorm.


Lavatories(Shower rooms and Toilets)
From my point of view, when you enter the lavatory, you'll see a on your left 4 showers and 5 toilets. 1 of the toilets is a seat toilet while the rest are squat toilets. In the middle of the rooms are 2 'bath tubs' which we are suppose to hold water for everyone's use. Just beside it are several sinks touching a wall with a mirror covering half of it. Lastly there are 6 sink-like outlets also beside the 'bath-tubs' used for washing clothes. Issues encountered include rubber pipes that 'broke', toilets that flush itself and faucets that can turn their 'heads'. Due to our camp being near mountain and forest area, our water supply is taken directly from a river nearby. When it rains, the water becomes dirty with sediments until it becomes brown.


The kolam as they called it. Suppose to be a water retention pond for us to use when there's no water supply

 The water when its umm... 'healthily green clean'.
The water when its 'super icky brown dirty'. (right)After the water has drained.


And finally, the water when its 'darn clear clean'.
For some reason, only once did I found the water 'darn clear clean'.

This happens...but most of my dorm mates improvise and use it to shower.

Gathering/Dining/Auditorium Hall
The hall is about the half the size of a soccer field with a giant metal roof covering the place. Here is where we gather on for roll-calls and other activities. Riadah is also held here for indoor activities. It also acts as a dining area. There's also a stage in the middle(not exactly) where they let us watch videos and held lectures.

Sports Field(Riadah)

 Its pretty big; with 1 netball court, 2 volleyball courts, 1 sepak takraw court and the rest of the green field is the soccer field.



Weather
When it rains, it pours; when its hot, its.. just hot but blazing sometimes. The weather can be your best friend or your worst enemy especially for your laundry. If you're unlucky then the sun will bake you alive when your doing activities outdoors. Sometimes it gets extremely cloudy and I mean extreme

Other: Amazingly, I have no problem with mosquitoes and flies so far at camp. Other insects are still a bother though. Bees keep 'ramming' into me and grasshoppers jumping about and sticking to my body. Overall the camp's pretty cooling except when its sunny.


Daily Schedule
 5.30a.m. - Wake up
 6.30a.m. -  Morning roll-call and Assembly
 7.00a.m. - Morning exercise
 7.30a.m. - Breakfast
 8.30a.m. - Classes/Other
10.30a.m. - Morning Teatime
11.00a.m. - Continue CB class/Other
12.30p.m. - Lunch
 2.30p.m. - Classes/Physical activity/Other
 4.30p.m. - Afternoon Teatime
 5.00p.m. - Riadah/Other
 6.30p.m. - Dinner
 8.30p.m. - Pentadbiran/Kerohanian Class/Other
10.30p.m. - Supper
11.30p.m. - Lights off and Sleep

NOTE: Activities and meal times may be delayed or brought forward by up to 30 mins. Activities may also be cancelled due to 'unsure' circumstances.

More details on schedule:
Wake up
Most of us wouldn't normally wake up at this time. If you have difficulty waking up, you can depend of your dorm-mates to help you. Everyone has to go down to the gathering hall together except for Muslims who have to do morning prayers earlier.

Morning roll-call and Assembly
Everyone would be down at the tapak kawad or marching area by the time. The kekuatan or member numbers will be counted to ensure full attendance and no missing members. Then a typical assembly like at schools will commence will the national anthem and the Khidmat Negara song.

Morning Exercise
As stated but not every trainee does the same exercise. For example, Alpha and Bravo will do senamrobik while Charlie and Delta do cardiovascular exercises. Senamrobik is basically exercise accompanied by music and trainers.

Classes(Character-Building[CB], Budaya Kerja, Kenegaraan, Program Penghayatan Sastera dan Budaya[PPSB], Pendidikan Kesihatan Reproduktif dan Sosial [PKRS], Agensi AntiDadah Kerajaan[AADK]
The classes are like what its called. Activities mainly include working together to complete tasks, expressing oneself(mainly to speak in public) and learning to be polite and well-mannered.  More than half the time during the class was a bore. More info Here.

The Classes are a real damn bore. They want teach us to have 'better characters'. That's fine but how old are we then? 17-18 years right? And they still think we need more CB. Are we Malaysian teens really that lousy. PPSB = Komsas =.= surely a no no. PKRS = sex education zzzzz. Honestly, these classes should be for teenagers around the age of 13-when most teens are still immature and naive. Instead they wasted about a months time with these Classes. I'd rather do physical activities instead(although not in the simmering sun) than the Classes.

Meal Times
The meal times are not that long. It last about 30-40 mins at most. The extra time before the corresponding activities start are for us to get our *** to our dorms and change and then back down to the gathering hall just before the activity.

A list of whats served at the canteen(food only):

Breakfast: Mee hoon, nasi lemak, char kway teow, friend rice, chapati with curry

Tea Times: Bread with jam/tuna, fried popiah, various kuih including Indian ones, bread with red bean filling,  sugar-coated bread, chocolate cream bread, margarine bread, sugar donut , pau with red bean curd/curry potato filling

Lunch     : Plain white rice/Briyani rice, chicken, fish, prawn, cuttlefish(previously was squid but it wasn't, assorted vegetables(sometimes raw)

Dinner    : Similar to Lunch

Supper   : Biscuits(assorted variety from plain saltines to cream crackers), bread like during Tea Times, plain bread with curry

Fruits - Apple, pear, orange, star fruit, watermelon, honey dew, banana, papaya, guava and possible others. Fruits are served at all meal times except supper. Apple, pear, orange and banana are served most frequently.

Drinks - There are 7 different drinks served - Barley, Horlicks , Milo , Tea, Coffee, Tea with creamer and lastly soya milk. They do serve plain water but only sometimes because there are several water dispensers ready with hot and cold options. Milo and Horlicks are mostly served for supper and sometimes Breakfast. The rest is random among Tea Times, Lunch and Dinner. The cold water dispensers fills a 1.5l bottle full in about 80 seconds(I do this almost daily).

Its like a buffet style during meal times. Everyone, of course, have to line up for food(though its chaotics sometimes especially during Tea Times). 8 separate counters altogether, 2 for each gender for each company. When its time, trainees have to go to their respective shelves and pick up their cutlery and metal plates(its recommended to rinse them first; a lot of the trainees do this) then head to the counters. One thing to note, not EVERYONE moves at once. The trainers will call out which company goes first. Once finish eating, all dishes are done YOURSELF. Don't leave it around or everyone gets into trouble. Still there's queue cutters - nothing else to say.

One last thing, they do serve ice cream in small plastic containers. Flavours: Strawberry, chocolate, honeydew and a few others.

Picture of the foods served(pretty much covers everything XP):
My personal fruit stash XD
Breakfast





 Lunch/ Dinner






 Breads are served during tea times or supper. The others only during tea times.


The last meal on the Last Night. It's very delicious(compared to the others) and made specially for us on our last day. Orange meat gravy in the middle is mutton curry. They even served French Fries although they are stale.

As you can see, the food there is not bad. In fact, some of them are actually good, even better than outside food. YES, I did finish everything.


Physical activity
4 activities - Marching, Navigation class, jungle trekking class and exercise. Each company, both boys and girls, does either one a day.

Riadah
During time time we play either outdoor or indoor recreational activities. Outdoor activities include soccer, volleyball, sepak takraw, handball and basketball(girls only). Indoor activities include Ping-Pong, Chess and Monopoly. Oh, and don't forget juggling.

Pentadbiran
Is just basically free time for us to do anything we want in our dorms.

Kerohanian
Religious classes. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians have separate classes of course.

Lights off and Sleep
Not much to explain here. Its just by this time every dorms' lights must be off and every trainee should be sleeping.

Other
View a video on Character Building, briefing on various stuff, lecture on emergency treatment, malaria and other topics. This time could also be another Pentadbiran time.


Dobi/Laundy Service
This problem happens.
Yes, there's a laundry service provided. They definitely can't expect us to wash everything cause there's no time for it. Here are things to note. Dobi only accepts PLKN-issued items including towels, bed sheets, pillow cases and blankets. The last three mentioned items are cleaned monthly. The rest are cleaned every 2-3days(I'm still a blur with their schedule). Everyone who wants their stuff cleaned have to go to their respective Dobi AJKs represented by 3 members of your dorms. They will note down the stuff you sent to Dobi before putting them in a huge bag. You will have to either put your name or your locker number on your stuff for the process. You will get it back in a day or two. You just have to remember and make sure what stuff is in the Dobi. Based on my experience, socks are not recommended to be sent to Dobi cause there's a very high chance of a mix up of socks. I sent a pair on one day but only got it back about a week later and its not exactly the same pair(one has my initials whereas the other is... unknown. One other problem encountered is they as in the Dobi officials might send wrong-gender clothing. My dorm once received 2 GIRLS class shirts and an entire bag of GIRLS cloths on two separate occasions. I was like O_O and WTF so as well as a few other dorm mates. You'll have to send your cloths to Dobi often cause you'll be sweating A LOT. In my case, my white socks ended up smelling better than my sports shirt...

Weekends
Sure all of  you would love weekends! Well weekends at PLKN camps are good too. The schedule is not the same as the Daily Schedule. Only the meal times are retained. All other activities except roll-calls are removed. As for Sundays, there will be a time period for Family Visits from 8.00a.m. to 5.00p.m. Parents must wear proper outfits and are not allowed to bring non-halal stuff. They are also not allowed to go to their child's dorms for whatever reasons. One more thing, sometimes at night times they held 'Other' activities.


 These photos were taken on the Sunday AFTER the Colt M16 Tryout.

Duties/Postions/Ranks
There a few of them at camp. The top one is called Chief Officer(C.O.) followed by 2 2nd in commands called Operations Invigilator Chief(O.I.C.). I'm not about the name of these 2 ranks; I'm only sure of their acronyms. Next are the Company Leaders(CL) and Platoon Leaders(PL). 1 CL and 2 PL for each company - not including boys and girls together; 1 set for boys and another for girls. CL is higher ranked than PL. They all do the leading and commanding but only C.O. and O.I.C. command all trainees at once.

Last are the minor positions/duties(sort of):
  1. AJK Makanan
  2. AJK Dobi
  3. Flag-bearer
AJK Makanan and AJK Dobi are recognised especially the latter. They handle the clothes just about everyday - collecting to sorting the clothing to distributing them. AJK Makanan
just help serve food to their company trainees. As for the last one, it's not an official post but I was chosen as one - I had to make sure the company flag wasn't 'missing'. If it was left somewhere without its company trainees. The flag will be confiscated and its respective company punished.

The first 2 aforementioned ranks above(C.O. and O.I.C.) are official.  They are involved in official ceremonies and are given badges as well as rewards. The rewards are better for the higher-ranked of course. Mostly its unique trophies and certificates.


Other entertainment provided by at the camp - Newspapers and Television
This part I should tell you, newspapers are provided everyday although there were a few times it did not arrive/arrived late. There were The STAR, Berita Harian , an Indian newspaper and a Chinese one(don't know the two names). Sometimes there's even 2 copies of a newspaper, mostly The STAR as I've noticed. Television practically belongs to the trainees, there's one for each side of the hall(1 for boys and 1 for girls). The televisions have ASTRO service and we can watch even movies and cartoons especially MR. Bean(animated), Tom and Jerry and Dragonball.

Other Experiences
I've also experienced boys trying to impress girls, mostly Chinese. There's one friend I know, I call him KS, he was willing to make a thousand paper stars for the girl he likes. Seeing diligence in his eyes, I gave my full support to him as he continuously made them. At the end although he didn't made an actually thousand paper stars, he gave them to her(I think, didn't really see him in action). Another situation involved a friend named Chew. One night down at the main  hall, it was a free night and Chew spotted a chance to 'tackle' this girl he likes near the Tesco. Me and a few of my friends were seating down at Bravo table as we watch him stand out of his chair and walk up to the girl. We laughed and smiled as we saw him talking to the girl. Later he came back and got the girl's number.
I recall seeing a girl holding a teddy bear, a big one, to the camp. It was silver/white in colour. It was on the day after CNY holidays. I guess the bear helps.

Some friends of nature that I met:

 Unfortunately, this one died the next day after I picked it since it got bashed by a ceiling fan during Christian class.

 This err.. moth is about the size of my hand which is approximately 17cm.

Poor thing got stuck in a drain. If I'm not mistaken, it rained soon after I took this shot.

 I was about to sleep at the time before this little guy came by. Lucky shots.
This one's dead too but looks amazingly alive.
Shoe-polishing is nice activity to try. Just about every time, I feel a sense of satisfaction with my polished shoes. So did a few other trainees I asked.
Polished boots. Did it for the Marching Competition cause marks for outfits are taken.

The teacher who showed us how to polish said you have to rub the boots until its shiny enough to see the reflection of your teeth in it. It's possible but not with my old boots. The newer one that I showed in the PLKN Items section is much nicer to look at.

Steps to doing a good polish on your shoe(learned from friends/teacher):
  1. Put a generous amount of shoe polish on the surface of the shoe to be polished.
  2. Use a lighted wax candle to 'melt' the shoe polish until it becomes a layer of reflective oily liquid. Make sure there's no contact between the shoe and any part of the candle including its flame. CAUTION : Be careful when doing this. There's a very high risk of setting the shoe polish on fire. I know because it happened to one of my friends who did it.
  3. Use a moist non-absorbent cloth and repeatedly rub the shoe until the liquid like surface is removed. Best to use your index finger and middle finger when doing this. This steps takes the longest time so be patient.
  4. Leave shoe to dry for a few hours
  5. Repeat if surface is not shiny enough :P .

Next comes the kelambu a.k.a. mosquito net. At one point somewhere halfway through PLKN. The medic at camp was instructed to hand each of us a kelambu and we were ordered to set it up. All riggghhht, mosquito net, first time setting it up, never needed it before, a whole mess afterwards. The problem was there was no appropriate place to actually hang the darn net - no hook or attaching point whatsoever. I ended up using one my cloths hanger as an alternative and boy were it hard. Had to stick it between in the ceiling covers while creating some white dust debris. Then, I followed by hanging the nets to the cloths hanger and to the window behind my bed. I managed to suspend it at the end but... the thing couldn't touch my bad... @.@ Most of the others followed this method - sort of(one of them actually used the net as a blanket). Some of them complained of itchiness from contact with kelambu. A few of them managed to set up this so called 'protection'. The scene was MAGNIFICENT - it looked like a FAILED HOSPITAL WARD. Cloths hangers were sticking out of the ceilings and the nets was so badly hung it couldn't even cover a baby(no kidding). Too bad no picture to illustrate cause it would be MAGNIFICENT. End result = kelambu removed and went to bed zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

MY Rating and Comments for PLKN
Issues faced(starting from the worst):
  1. The trainees. The trainees you meet will determine how you will enjoy your time at the camp. Quite a lot of them are,from my perspective, hooligans/gangsters/jerks/morons/d#mb***s, you name it. Even during my time there, I had to endure almost daily 'human chimneys' especially in the toilets - Go piss also no peace =.=;. Besides, occasionally when lining-up and going back up to my dorm, I get poked/pulled/hit quite hard in the butt. They do it mostly after the night roll-call where they can hide in the darkness like the cowards there are. There was this one fella who confronted very like a real gangsta. I was walking back up to my dorm with my flag in hand folded up and kept neatly in a plastic bag and the flag stick in the other. Suddenly this moron came up to me and kept poking me hard. I capitulated to his attention-grabbing move only to be answered by a chin-up from him. It continued like this for about 2 times before I got fed up hit the stick on his chest then he became angry and grabbed it. A scuffle ensured with him refusing to let go. My company leader had to break him away from me before I continued my way up. And he is only one of them with another one having no respect for people property. For the finisher, after I started introducing the 'bed-fall' wake-up method, the fella kept pranking me with the same method in THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT like 2-3a.m.; not once not twice but SEVEN times. I can take the first 2 times as a prank but it gets seriously disturbing afterwards since we already get less than 6 hours of sleep a day. There was one time I nearly caught the pranker in the act as the time I was partly awake - unfortunately I missed cause it was real dark and his face is a blur to me. He was real lucky; if I had gotten my hands on him I would have have rammed his face into a locker(no mercy) - to make sure I know who it really is. Luckily I managed to be well rested. Heck, I'm a big guy there and still get treated as so; not sure how those nerdy and timid ones fare(may God bless them). My slippers goes missing sometimes as well. Even the incident on the last day still is haunting. During my time, a few boys were caught for trespassing into the girls' dorms - they were caught. This is still GROUP 1. Imagine how bad it would be in the next groups. Just to sum it up, the trainees there will either make or break your PLKN experience. My advice: Be nice, for the better. I also did have a minor problem with trainees who kept asking me for some water. Usually it's only a mouth full but some do take more as they liked. Its fine as most of the time I have extra in hand and it's not hard to go to the canteen and get a refill but it gets really irritating when you get like on average FIVE requests a day - sometimes more. I noticed they want it more if you have cold water. These 'water beggars' as I called them of course don't have a water container themselves. An estimated 3 litres have been given out by me alone.
  2. Lack of sleep. It's 2nd cause it reeeaaaaally affects the rest of the day and occurs almost everyday. It makes the other boring activities seem even more boring than normal. Once a teacher threw a marker pen at me for sleeping in class =.='. Luckily headaches didn't become a major issue for me.
  3. Water supply. Water supply disruptions happened quite often at the camp. There was one time after I used the toilet, there was no water - predicament similar to not having any tissue paper... It even affected the showers and had wait an extra 20mins at times until the water came back. Unfortunately, there was 1 time even the canteen was affected. It caused a tower of undone dishes to be left behind and water dispensers down.
  4. Activities at camp. Specifically the Classes. They are sooooooooooooooo boring(and not really educational). As mentioned, the Classes waste nearly half the time at camp. I'd rather do community service than being there. Other than that, the only other problem is not everyone managed to do everything. From what I found out, about half the trainees did not try out the Flying Fox including myself whereas during the Obstacle Course Training, the sky wasn't in our favour. It rained right after my company's done causing again, half of the trainees to miss out.
  5. Miscellaneous. Pay phones at camp are 'money-eaters'. One time I put in 50 sens and all of it got used up in less than 1 min - I didn't manage to finish my call too. The rate was like 1sen/1sec. Besides that the rest are very minor. Pathway up to my dorm is rocky, uneven and without a barrier. Bugs just about everywhere. Muddy fields occasionally.
Basically, you'll only have to worry about the people you meet there. THEY were the worst problem I expected to encounter through PLKN but not to the extent like what I've imagined and what some of my friends said. Unfortunately, a good friend of mine faced a lot worst. Quite a lot of his stuff got stolen but he didn't report it cause he said if he did, the trainer will force the accused and the victim to 'sun-bath' for 4 hours. That's just part of his troubles, I don't want to bother him anymore with what he has gone through. I'm just quite shocked by what he has faced. I guess its very fortunate of me to be at this camp and not there with him, although I thought of following him at first.

Ratings:
Activities = 60/100 - Classes are boring and not all activities managed to be carried out.
Facilities = 85/100 - Shop items are expensive and I had some issues with the logistics.
Trainers & Camp workers = 90/100 -Very good.They're friendly and reasonably strict and responsible.
Environment = 93/100 - Beautiful nature and reasonably comfortable climate.
Conducive-ness = 70/100 - It's definitely never as good as home sweet home.
PLKN Items = 83/100 - Foot ware pretty faulty - mostly the soles came off. Some cloths leak its dye when washed.
Fooood = 86/100 - Filling enough almost all the time.Quite healthy too just not VERY tasty.
Entertainment = 75/100 - Television and newspaper are pretty good but must share.
Freedom = 88/100 - Reasonable curfews. You just can't stay in your dorms 24/7.
Experience 99/100 - PLKN is a unique once in a life time experience. Just not one to be repeated.

Total = 829/1000


Other info that you should know:
PLKN smart card

  1. A PLKN officer came and gave us a lecture on kad pintar PLKN or PLKN smart card. Its basically a debit card with functions of a Malaysian I.C. but with added perks and benefits such as insurance coverage to discounts when buying electronics and books through Upay and KoUPay. More info Here
  2. Another thing is the PLKN-issued items you received can be brought home after PLKN except for Celoreng set(including boots) where you can only bring back inner Celoreng
  3. Letters have to be written when carpooling with friends and taking a bus back home during CNY holidays.
  4. Colt M16 tryout is ONLY available to Group 1 of each series. It's unavailable to the other groups cause of obvious disciplinary issues.
  5. My camp is allegedly ranked best camp in Perak, 5th best in whole Malaysia. From what I heard from a senior of mine, 1 camp in Penang is ranked the best in Malaysia(no name acquired).
  6. Payphone pay card. Not mine.
  7. The camp has its very own mini shop run by a 3rd party(other than camp officials). Stuff you can buy include toiletries(shampoo, soap, hangar for toiletry, pail,tooth paste, tooth brush),batteries,various candy and junk food, box drinks(Milo,orange,lychee),yogurt drinks,soft drinks(in small and large varieties),assorted breads and pay cards for payphones.
  8. They even have their own clinic with basic amenities including a ward. Been to the ward once and was and it was super comfortable with air-conditioning ^^.
  9. If you haven't done a medical check-up or made a Bank Simpanan Nasional(BSN) account prior to PLKN, you can do it while you're at camp. BSN officers will come and help sign you up. As for the medical check-up, they will send you all to a clinic. So don't worry if you haven't done any of these. I'd say it's good too cause you can have some time out of camp and save time doing it while you're at home.
  10.  They do sell PLKN souveniers. Details are all in the pics:


Beg 
loreng





















The first T-shirt in the list is the one with the Celoreng pattern. Posh bag is the one in the centre of everything else. Side bag is the one on the bottom left - it's worn on the thigh.
Only items on the list are for sale, water bottles are not included.

     10. The camp officials do hire a outside party to take photographs.








    11. There's such a thing called Program Alumni where old trainees can attend group activities held by PLKN officers. The one I saw was a trip to Genting Highlands.
     12.  RELA did come to my camp to recruit members(us trainees).
     13.  About holidays. They do lets us have holidays. For me it was Chinese New Year in February and Thaipusam later. CNY holidays was about a week long whereas Thaipusam is about 3 days. But there's a catch, ONLY Indians who celebrate Thaipusam can go back home so the rest just stay at camp and enjoy a WEEKEND holiday like how I mentioned before. This is for Group 1, I'm not sure about the others.
     14. (LATEST) Intel obtained while at camp: RM 8500 was spent on each trainee :D

Benefits of Going Through PLKN
  1. Meet plenty of new people(young, old, good and bad) - great for introverts.
  2. Get to try out military-like activities(jungle-trekking, Colt M16 shooting(BEST) camping, etc.).
  3. Get (A LOT) more outdoor time - best for recluses.
  4. Up your social skills(if you have any).
  5. Builds character(in a good way).
  6. Admire natural beauty of Earth's surroundings.
  7. Get neat PLKN memorabilia(mostly its the inner Celoreng)
  8. Get to eat free meals  XD
  9. Try out PLKN which is only ONCE in a lifetime opportunity.
  10. Earn 10%(FULL) in CGPA Kokurikulum when applying for IPTA - or so I heard.


Ending Remarks
My experience there was really a memorable one although not one to be repeated. Now as I sit in my black cushioned office chair, memories and reminiscence start to return and give me a sense of lost. Although comfortable and well-rested at home, I do kind of miss my friends, activities and the beauty of nature presented to me during my time there. I do appreciate the opportunity to participate unlike a few who couldn't. Now I've become a more independent, task-smart, brave, outspoken, extroverted and most important of all, responsible individual. Now I can indulge in my favourite foods and enjoy game time(with proper restraints) as I prepare for my next stepping-stone to university life and beyond...



Other (reasonably) GOOD Sources:
The Extroverted Otaku - Part 2


Took me quite some time to put everything together since I've got to go 'picture-hunting' online, slowly think of what to add(if not, you think there's this much content?) and dealing with uploading issues(major issues). Do comment on anything relating to this post. I'll gladly add in more stuff if you need to know.About 90% of this pics and videos are taken by yours truly. You're lucky, I went through PLKN without all this info. It's pretty hectic to prepare for the inevitable since I don't know how it is.

I don't think I need to add anymore links. Mine would be the most complete article on PLKN EVER  ^o^. This is article is already kind of concise - just to let you in on what you really need to know and what to expect. If I'd continued on writing, it would be excruciatingly boring, superfluous and maybe even ridiculous. So enjoy reading and if you're chosen, well, best of luck to you and don't die cry XP.

(UPDATE 1 - 15/9/2012)The UPDATABLE status as shown in the title is for you to know that I could add in more details if there are any. Just like this one for example. I have gathered some details since this post was put up and I do plan to put it in. If you're following the development, watch out for UPDATE or NEW words. This is a great idea that I would like to materialize: having YOUR stories of PLKN posted on my blog. If you're interested comment and I'll set up a way for you to tell your story. Of course, anonymity is guaranteed except you want it otherwise.
(UPDATE 2 - 26/9/2012)I should have mentioned this sooner. Question and answer session are open; just comment and I'll get to it. But don't expect to get everything answered though.