Doa selamat for Muslims next. "Muslim ke, tak Muslim, semua angkat tangan!" they barked at us. As a Christian, i chose not to. As a result, three askars spotted me, and advanced towards me. One yelled at me, "Hoi, angkat tangan! Muslim ke, tak Muslim, semua mesti angkat tangan!"
From Operating Instruction's blog
Musings on the Malaysian National ServiceI'm sure most of you would have heard of the Malaysian National Service by now. For those who haven't, let me just begin by saying that the NS we have in Malaysia is distinct from the ones run by other countries. They (whomever 'they' may be) have National Service as a way of beefing up national defence with temporary conscripts. We have National Service as a way of promoting harmony and unity between the races.
To quote their website, the objectives of NS are to (1) Imbibe a patriotic spirit; (2) Foster racial harmony and national sentiment; and (3) Build character through moral values. Clearly, civil defence isn't part of the whole deal (unless you count defending civil society from ourselves). So why the heck is it under the ambit of the Ministry of Defence?
Perhaps it's just a happy accident that a wide-ranging program such as this falls under the second largest ministry in the government. You need adequate resources to run it, you need the facilities, you need the trainers and having it under the MoD solves part of the problem.
But it shouldn't make it a military operation, yes? Even with all the military uniforms. And the use of the army camps. And the soldiers now helping keep security. It's not a military operation.
However, I fear that some people feel that it should be run like one. "These kids are too soft," some are probably saying. Let's make them into real men.
You should read what the NS trainees write on their blogs. Most of the stuff are things that you would expect from boarding-school type situations. Hijinks, mucking around, boy-girl hormonal overload. We shouldn't be surprised. But are the adults in charge qualified for this? You wouldn't just want anybody taking care of your kid, would ya?
Falling behind on my blogs...Wow. So much to write. So little written. I guess I should just summarise everything:
- Elections have come and gone, and I managed to actually exercise my right to vote. Wasn't much of a work-out, more an attempt to show that differences can be made by cumalative raindrops of effort. Or something to that effect. One thing I'm sure, elections aren't about people trying to keep a toehold onto their tattered vestiges of power by making persuasive, but ultimately impossible, promises. (GET THEE AWAY, CYNICAL GODS OF DEMOCRACY! LEAVE ME WITH MY FANTASIES!)
- Mount Kinabalu is a stranger to me no more. The peak isn't a stranger to me. Clunking up the side of a big piece of rock at three in the morning with nothing but the darkness, limited oxygen and about a hundred other climbers zooming past me is no longer a new experience to me. I came, I saw, I said, "Gawd, this is much harder than I thought!".
- I was allowed to sit in at the filming of part of an episode of Table for Two. My claim for being there? I wrote that particular episodes. Or at least some of the words. It was fun, even if the lead heroine shot me some really nasty glares during the shoot. Ah, the power of the pen.