Skip to main content

He's heavy, he's the camp commandant!

Mohamed, my 17-year-old nephew, came home for a few days from National Service camp during the Chinese New Year holidays. He had been at the camp (somewhere in Malaysia) for three weeks then and the boyish enthusiasm bubbling up inside him was apparent. He shared his experiences -- good and bad -- with relatives who were curious to see how he had got on at the camp with other "wira (heroes) and wirawati (heroines), as the participants are called.

Mohamed was positive about his time there expect for one thing: he could not understand why the camp commandant -- a Major in the Malaysian army -- is overweight and unfit.

Mohamed and his mates had expected to see a military man with the physique of an athlete ala "Will Smith". Instead, they saw a fatty who seemed a likely candidate for The Biggest Loser programme. And the two officers who came together with the commandant were similarly heavy and seriously in need of regular hard workouts. Mohamed and his friends exchanged glances when they were introduced to the commandant and his officers at the "meet and greet" session with camp personnel. They later discussed their disillusionment.

But their faith in the uniformed units was somewhat restored when an admiral came to the camp a few days later to talk to the participants about careers in the navy. "The admiral was in great shape and looked very sharp in his uniform; we were impressed," says Mohamed.

What were the camp organisers thinking? You can't fool the Net Generation, which has grown up with computer games and everything associated with communications and media technologies. My nephew is a serious gamer and he is really into war games.

He is in awe of warriors from the past and aspires to be like them. He thinks the flag bearer of an army was the most important person in ancient times because he would be the first to give his life up for his country during a war. His idea of a warrior is one who is healthy, strong, loyal and has high moral principles.To his great disappointment, the commandant at his national service camp did not live up to expectations. His sense of humour is his saving grace, says Mohamed.

It is difficult to watch my nephew's thwarted expectation. The only thing I could do was to offer him quiet support and to gently tell him that all teenagers experience disappointing situations every now and again. I remind myself that he has to go through adverse conditions such as failure, disappointment, loneliness and grief in order to discover unknown and interesting things about his character. He must acquire the ability to feel better quickly after something unpleasant. And I think he handled this particular tough moment very well.


Comments

Popular Posts

Koh Soo Ling: Letter perfect love

I will not be able to attend my friend's wedding because I will be in Kuching, Sarawak on the day of the reception. When duty calls, ...
That is so sad. I will make it up to you Koh Soo Ling, who is pictured here with husband Michael Howard.
Soo Ling has found happiness with a wonderful Irish man who loves her with an intensity that makes her heart flutter.
She will begin a new life in Ireland and the prospect of living in the countryside fills her with excitement.
She will love her man, take care of him, cook and bake for him, take part in community life and write, write and write. 
Yes, Soo Ling will continue to write for New Sunday Times and she promises to share her activities with readers in Malaysia.
Theirs is not a whirlwind romance. They started as pen pals, two teenagers who were eager to learn about foreign cultures.
Pen pal relationships are so mysterious. Some write to their friends abroad for only a short time; others continue to swap letters and gifts in their old age.
Yet o…

Don't Waste The Last 10 Nights of Ramadan - Mufti Menk | Deen 360

Earning your second chance

People rarely get second chances. When we make a serious mistake we seldom get an opportunity for a do-over. Those we have hurt will remember our transgressions for a long time. Maybe forever.

Published accounts remind us of the agony of former prisoners and rehabilitated drug addicts who are denied jobs, housing and other services on account of past convictions. They want desperately to clear their records of past crimes however minor these might seem. They want to take a path towards a new start that will help them improve their circumstances.

Quite simply, they need a second chance. They want to have a shot at a normal life.

But there are conditions attached to the privilege of being bestowed a second chance. Offenders must take full responsibility for their actions and honestly regret what they have done.

Islam's concept of taubat  (repentance)states that wrongdoers must demonstrate sincere remorse, sorrow and guilt, promise not to repeat their mistakes and do good deeds as Al…