Thursday, May 3, 2012

PLKN @ Benum Hill Resort, Raub

Little that we knew of the existence of Benum Hill Resort despite passing through the place every time we "balik kampung". It was only when Kakak was offered to attend the National Service there in January 2012. We were contemplating not to allow her to go and trying to make up all kind of reasons. Well, so many incidents that we heard in the news since PLKN started few years back but at the same time Abah wanted Kakak to get the experience of mixing with a different group of people. So, we finally decided that she should just go and see what PLKN has to offer.

We sent her off at Zetro in Wangsa Melawati. When we arrived there were already so many buses going to several PLKN camps and few buses were sending the students to LCCT for camps in Sabah and Sarawak. Luckily she was not selected to go there! For those that were not from boarding schools, parting with the families can be very hard and 3 months is a long time. There were lots of tears when the buses finally left the Zetro compound. We said goodbye to her and promised that we would visit her come Sunday. Families are allowed to visit their children on Sunday from 8am to 5pm sharp! That's the rule you have to abide by. There was once when we arrived 10 minutes before 5pm and true enough we were given only 10 minutes to meet her before we say goodbye.

That was the start of our routine every sundays for the next 2.5 months. We are quite fortunate that Raub is only 1.5 hours drive from KL. We usually leave home around 10am so we could reach Raub in time for lunch. We would stop to buy lunch at our favourite stall, "masakan kampung" in Raub and Ibu would bring her "mangkuk tingkat" to keep all the food. Well, the lady at the stall already recognized us and I guess she knew what our favourite "lauk" i.e Sambal Lodeh Pahang. When we reach the camp, we would look for the best place to have picnic and we were not the only one since all other parents do exactly the same. Finding the best spot can sometimes be challenging.

From the stories that Kakak has been telling us, we know that she enjoyed herself there. There were three of them from MTS Tanah Merah, three boys and she being the only girl. She was lucky to have stayed in a chalet with two bathrooms shared with 5 other girls, one of them is a chinese. They have to follow strict daily routine from training, praying, attending classes and sports. But I know that the food there is good, no complaint since they are given 6 meals a day! Just imagine how much the government spend on taxpayers money to pay for the National Service. Each trainer is paid RM50 a day for their meals, no wonder they put on weight at the end of the training rather than loose wait from all the hardcore routine exercises.

All in all, it could be a good thing for the kids to attend PLKN. They get to meet with people from other races and schools and learn to make friends and live together. They learnt and acquired knowledge from the lectures on character building, Integration (culture and races) and physical activities conducted there. Learn to be tough and discipline from the training. Learnt how to use M16 which not everyone will have that chance, not even Ibu who is a daughter to an army officer! At the camp, they called Dini as "Ustazah", probably because of the school she went to and her longer than usual hijab. We told her that she should share her knowledge in Islam with her friends there and be a role model. True enough one of the Wira from MTS was the "Imam" and everyone look forward to him being the imam in solat because of his excellent recitation.

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