Tuesday, July 3, 2007

NS Schmenes!!

I grew up in a time when it was alright to cane children when they are naughty.

Squeals and screams of a kid being caned by the parents next door was something that was normal. Children gets naughty, parents get frustrated, children don’t listen, so, caning was feared upon and was the only thing that could deter us kids from repeating the same mistake.

I was once chased all over the house by my Mum who came at me with a cane, one of those ‘rotan buluh’ for talking back. After that, I kept everything to myself, at least until I reached the age of 18.

Parents back then believed in hard core discipline. They allow teachers to do whatever that was deemed necessary in the name of education. I remembered being caned by my history teacher for not achieving the desired minimum of A-. I got a B, and it was unacceptable in that class of mine.

When I showed the mark to my Mum, all she said was, ‘Padan Muka’.

Talk about tough love.

The thing is, all the kids of my generation, turned out alright.

I also noticed that back then, kids don’t complaint much about school to their parents. Even if they do, it seemed that the parents had full confidence in the education system and that all of these experiences will enrich their children.

So when I read a reader’s letter on The Star last week about changes that was implemented in the NS module upon receiving complaints from parents, I started to laugh.


The reader strongly believes that the government was doing the right thing. I thought it was a move to produce wimps rather than strong individuals. They wanted NS to be more, quote; ‘safe and comfortable’ for trainees; unquote.

Honestly, I don’t remember any of the camps I went to as ‘comfortable’. We were exposed to all kinds of hardships and whatnots. Our activities were standard military training. We broke down sometimes but most of the time we suck it in. Safety wise, all of us were educated on the proper codes and procedures to cope with crises, should it happen.

Of course, we always had a higher commanding officer during our hike and camp outs in the jungle, which NS seemed to be oblivious to. Plus, trainees that were down with any sickness or allergies were immediately sent to the clinic / home, depending on the seriousness of their situation at the time. There were some trainees who insisted on staying even though their condition didn’t allow it, and were forced to go home!

The food was not 5 star but it got us through the day just fine. In short, we have no issues and we push ourselves to excel.

We came out of it a brand new person, with renewed opinions and respect not only for ourselves but for others as well. Even if we do complaint, our parents would only shake their head and tell us that these people know what they are doing and that it’s only for our own good.

It really did us good. It toughen us up and it taught us how to be mature in handling different situations. In life, that is priceless. We didn’t mind the shouting at our face part, dropping down to twenty pushups everytime one member of the team screwed up and we didn’t mind eating stripped down version of your local Nasi Padang stall except on Fridays where the dishes would be much more colorful and appetizing than any other day.

NS sounds like a joke now. And since when the flying fox, under full supervision became a ‘dangerous’ activity, since when strenuous activity should be cut down for book worms and those who are not used to these kinds of activities and since when do proper medical checks rely on the parents’ honesty when filling up the form?

Check out NS in Singapore, now THAT’S NS for god sakes. If we want to rule out hiking in our NS modules, then I suggest for the Malaysian NS to be carried out in kindergartens practicing on monkey bars, works?

Great, the youths of Malaysia are now Wusses. Pffbtthh!


  1. My siblings and I too were told to talk to the cane or leather belt whenever we messed up. Those two items were made sure visibly hung like talismans of fear.

    The only communication we easterners have with our parents were either 'yes' or 'no'. Parents have no problem being 'hands on' with children, rather than letting them do the same, facing life head on. Apparently stern reminders and sound advice aren't enough.

    Darn, I've strayed off topic! Arriving nowhere!

    "What we have here is failure to communicate" - Metalica lyrics, or something like that.

  2. malaysian NS is just a 500 million ringgit summer camp lah. it's just an excuse for some people to make money supplying food, clothes and training camps.


    failure to communicate.. that's GNR la..

  3. agree wit des.

    NS project is a way for certain individuals to get kickbacks.

    btw, i was shaking my head when certain quarters argued about the rationale of having NS trainees undergo weapons training.

    me? i wud hv jumped at the chance.

  4. S'pore is a better country when it comes to NS thingie ni lah. senang citer.

  5. I was spared the rod, pinches, slaps and punches etc but I don't think I'm spoilt ;) [I had to endure scoldings instead] and turn out OK. Despite that, I do believe in strict disciplining. I was horrified to read yr history teacher caned you though as I didn't know they still did that when I was schooling. Anyway, NS scheme looks like it will fail to achieve what it was set up to attain.

    Btw, this if off topic but try checking out Bonjour Cosmetics, 304 Orchard Road [I think it's in Lucky Plaza]. My friend got me a Bulgari perfume there at a real bargain.

  6. our NS is like my kindergarten days! the only thing these kids got going for them is the fact they get to don a different uniform to that of their normal school attire.

  7. I'm just wondering, do they have TTS (Tempur tanpa senjata) in NS? I hope no parent would complain on that. Otherwise, during lessons the kids aren't allowed to touch their opponents. Boleh acah-acah aje... tumbuk sipi-sipi... lepastu kena buat sound effect sendiri ... gedebusy(ala-ala adegan gaduh dalam filem Tamil tu).
    But I have to agree the NS program has created many opportunities to Bumi enterpreneurs. Dapatlah jugak tolong-tolong orang yang jadik peniaga berjaya.

  8. when i was a kid, my parents talk to us using rod if whenever we were too stubborn but we turn out alright i guess.

    now, my dad is like my best friend, the one that i could talk about almost anything, biz, money, and sometimes i do complain to him about guys. ehh lari topik plak :P

    anyway, bestnyer gi singapore. i patutnyer pegi last 3 weeks, tp tak jadi, huhuh

  9. Oh, GNR! My bad. Thanks a bunch Des.

  10. Agus,

    i am not sure if i would resort to that kind of disciline. i am kind of torn apart on which method is better. i turned out alright (Okehlaa... just a bit emotionally disfunctional because i am the eldest and i have that 'i dont do crying' macho front). i am wondering had my parents didnt raise me with threats of being spanked whenever i do something wrong, would i turn out differently?



    i will yawn my head off la in this stupid NS camp....

  11. 9,

    when i went on my cadets training (Once upon a time ago, prehistorically speaking) we were actually trained with M-16 using bluff bullets.

    cool eh??


    yah, one of those few things i like abouy SG, their MRT, their branded stuff, and their NS.

  12. Adek,

    owh, the history teacher tuh takde la belasah us like teruk like that.

    it was actually a 90 degrees swing with forceful magnitude on our palm with a very thick (and long) cane...

    berbirat tangan k?

    i think we lalu depan that kedai... but we didnt go in. akak pi sana tengok designer labels dek, mughah...

  13. LX,

    exactly, why build those camps when you can just use anyone of the kindergartens right?? dekat dengan rumah, have biscuits for tea, and got nap time some more... :P


    business wise, maybe it opened up a lot of opportunities jugakla.. but another thing about Bumis is that they kena tunggu for opportunities dulu ke to succeed? thats another story entirely.

  14. Lilith,

    takpe next time you want to go over to SG, ajakla sekali.. but but have to warn you though, i know nuts about SG hehehe

  15. You've been TAGGED by me! Go to my blog now i say!

  16. it is pretty obvious that kids nowadays are being pampered so much by the parents. they were dependent. and the value of resilience is not there. they turn to their parents whenever they are in trouble especially if the parents are quipped with power.

  17. Farahz,

    yes i can see that very clearly. have a living speciment in the house... my brother who is already 20 years old, wants to use a car, but still ask money from my Mum, because he doesnt dare to ask from me.

    always told him, 'takde duit, jangan pakai kete.'


    erk.. ur welcome???

  18. Good post! I think those in boarding schools go through tougher times than the NSers. *roll eyes*

  19. Lils,

    tu la pasal... semua tuh latihan to melembikkan bebudak tu jee.

  20. nak salahkan teachers... hmmm?
    teachers nowadays are hands tied..
    pukul students.. parents marah..
    tak pukul.. tak de disiplin.. mua

    nak salahkan mak-bapak... hmm?
    parents pandai-cerdik dan kaya-raya..
    main saman or nampak salah org lain je..

    but, come to think of it..
    nowadays parents jadi pandai pun
    because of 'system' tu jugak..
    sistem guru yang garang or firm..
    then, bila parents tu dah pandai..
    belajar pasal accounting, managemnet,
    human rights la apa la..
    then, they do not wish their children
    to undergo the same system..
    but then, anak-anak?.. apa jadi?
    kena pukul orang or dia yang pukul orang..

    dilemma kan?..