Friday, April 14, 2006 :
I Miss Outward Bound School part 2
Joga 3 Tournament's coming up. Anyone think Amir, KJ and I stand a chance?
This is the not-so-long awaited continued sequel to part 1 of the OBS post.
So in the last entry, I mentioned about attending Outward Bound School from the 28th of November until the 8th of December in 2004.
From Day 1 til Day 4, OBS proved to have it's ups and downs, clearly.
So here is the continuation to the continuing adventures of Ben, Tong, Zi Yan, Yun Xin, Austin, Gary, Alesha, Kim, Paula, Jeremy, Tham, Desmond, Alvin, Kuhan and myself.
Damn that's a mouth full...
Tahan (I never get tired of this XD):
Standing: Zi Yan, Austin, Kim, me, Desmond, Kuhan, Alvin, Tong, Jeremy, Ben, Gary, Alesha, Paula, Yun Xin.
Sitting: Tham, Chai, OBS Boss, Kak Su
Day 5: Going Solo...
Day 4 was proving to be the toughest day of the course for me so far. At the end of the day, Kak Su then told us that the following day, we'd be going for our solo camp (an expidition, where everyone is seperated from the watch and placed in different areas of the jungle to camp for 24 hours).
Solo camp- nothing like the already considered convenient dormitories of OBS...
So like curfew demands, we woke up at 5 o clock to pack up and get ready for our solo camp. We were given a supply of food and water (extra water for me because of the sore throat) and gathered at the hall before walking to our camp site.
Walk? It can't be that far right?
OMG! It WAS that far!!! About a 20-30 minute walk with a heavy backpack and heavy water container (1.5 gallons, thank you very much). And where did we end up? At some park.
Where exactly were we going to camp exactly? I mean I wasn't complaining about camping at the park itself because that rest house at the entrance wouldn't be bad at all.
So Kak Su asked us to settle down in a circle at a designated spot in the park and gave us a pep talk.
She then told us that before we start our 'real test of endurance' (i just love the way she put it), we were to carry out this activity called the Hot Seat. See what the Hot Seat is, is where one by one, each Tahan member goes into the middle of the circle and the other 14 members will tell you and everyone else what they think about the person in the centre.
So when my turn came, I guess what people said was I was a funny, self centered, cheerful chap.
Hmmm, that wasn't so bad.
And the rest were simply sumarisied as Alvin being the big brother of the group, Gary and Zi Yan being the dedicated scouts,navigators and leaders of Tahan, Alesha the big sister of the watch, Tham the helpful dude of the group, Kim the social butterfly, Jeremy the consistent opinion of the watch, Desmond the quiet gamer of Tahan, Paula the 'little sister' who needs attention, Ben the cool guy, Tong the funny guy, Yun Xin the quiet opinion of Tahan (with the small feet too XD), Kuhan the weird and sporting dude and Austin, another funny guy XD.
Yeah practically, the Hot Seat's like 14 free Friendster testimonials.
And next up was the solo camp. We got up and took a detour through the parkin towards the hillside. A couple of turns and we reached the hill of our camp. I was given one of the smallest locations but it was convenient enought to have layers. The top layer for the campfire and the tent, the second for putting my collected firewood and the third for...well... business, conviniently with bushes, small trees and a slope (so that the pee will slide down to Zi Yan's campsite instead of staying around and stinking up mine).
So after lunch, a band of monkeys were coming downwards from the top of the hill devastating every camp in their path. When the monkey's reached mine, I quickly grabbed a log from my firewood collection and got ready to swipe any monkey that would try to touch my campsite.
Monkey's had already ruined part of my course, i would've wiped out the entire species if they were to wreck it AGAIN!
So when it seemed that the monkeys were going to stay on the treetops, watching me as I was in battlemode down below, Alesha, Ben and Kim came down from their campsites to help. Little did they know the terror I was to unleash upon the monkeys- I rapped.
I did my rendition of Eminem's Just Lose It and surprisingly the monkeys got annoyed and left. This is no shit! Ask any of them who were there and they'd tell you that.
So later that night, I had dinner with Zi Yan, Alvin and Tong. Hey, it's solo camp but if our camp sites are only about 75 meters away from each other, then you know we're bound to get restless and go hang out in the jungle as if it were some shopping mall.
Day 6: Rock Climbing...
I woke up at 6 the next morning feeling much better. It was the most peaceful sleep of the course yet- sleeping at 10 and waking up at 6. That's twice the number of hours which I slept on the third and fourth night alone.
After packing up and reciting a rap about Tahan which I wrote the previous day (yes, my fellow Tahan-ites loved my rapping skills and asked me to write one for the watch) and everyone gathered at the foot of the hill (Alvin's campsite).
From there, we walked back to the park where the Mulu watch was also gathered. So i guess it was back to the Outward Bound School for us.
But no, we weren't going back there. We were going to a site for belaying aka ROCK CLIMBING!
We reached the spot and we were each given our equipment for climbing the tough-looking rock to climb which looked more like a bloody brick wall.
Desmond in front of the rock-climbing practice in OBS... The thing itself of course, was tougher.
The wall had three difficulties- the beginner, the advanced and the 'mofo pro' section. The hardest looking section definitely seemed like the worst. So after watching Chee Han (the big guy from the Mulu watch) ease past the beginner section, I chose to try out second.
I finished 80% of the advanced section in less than 10 seconds. After that though, the thing got really hard and I had to do a 'Mission Impossible' (cling with my back to the wall) to reach the grips and make my way up. My time taken? 5 minutes and 10 seconds XD. Haha, i took 5 minutes to complete the last 20%.
Yeah, after my turn, I returned back to the foot of the wall where everyone was happily singing. Then I turned up
and ruined the mood to get the party started with my rapping.
Needless to say, this was a very relaxing period where I got to rap and watch everyone struggle their way to the top.
The worst case was, of course, Paula.
She took the easiest section and it still took her more than 45 minutes, that is with the help of Rudy from Mulu who just kept pushing her up.
After the rock climbing, it was back to the Outward Bound School.
But the tiring activities didn't stop there. We already knew about our next expidition the next day where we had to trekk through a dense jungle on a hill to get to our camping location, so Kak Su told us that we had to train ourselves up for the jungle trekking.
So we devided our watch into two groups and trekked through a small jungle behind the Outward Bound compound.
We were given a piece of paper with a couple of numbers and the coordinates to those numbers.
What we were supposed to do was use the coordinates to locate the numbers in the jungle, which were tied to trees. Under those numbers would be alphabets which, when rearanged, would spell a word. At the end of it all, the letters we found spelled 'TOGETHERNESS'.
Later that night, it was dinner and curfew as usual.
Day 7: Land Expedition...
We set off at 9 o'clock in the morning (remember this time) and passed the nearby hotel before making our way to a hill with lots and lots of trees. Actually, that place looked rather more like a construction site than a place to go jungle trekking. But we climbed up anyway.
To tell the truth, some of us were kinda skeptical about following the construction site route but the rest were confident in our guides, Zi Yan and Gary. So to prove their point, Gary and Zi Yan went to the nearby restaurant to
order some ikan bakar ask for directions.
We weren't going to get any help from Kak Su or Chai so I guess that meant that we had to trust our instincts. Since this day commemorated the 7th day that we've gone without eating any outside, we were starting to wonder if Ziyan and Gary had any ulterior motives by going to that restaurant.
So what did we do while waiting for them? We took a group photo. =D
Eventually Zi Yan and Gary did return and pointed us in the right direction of our course. And that direction was our initial direction. So much for doubting the bloody scouts XD.
So we trekked for about 2 hours until we came to a dead end in the jungle. Where we were about 50 meters away from an apartment bulding.
Like wtf? Wrong directions....
That was when Kak Su pointed out that when we came to a huge clearing, we should have chopped the branches to go up the hill instead of just blindly following the path. So we back tracked for another half hour to that clearing for a break.
That was when the most entertaining thing of the day so far happened. Paula started screaming and dancing and shrieking as if she had just seen a ghost, or as if Kuhan had just jumped out of the bushes buttnaked.
So every single one of us rushed over to her to find out that she had been screaming because some caterpillar of some sort had dropped on her shirt. HER SHIRT! WTF?! NOT EVEN HER FACE OR HER SKIN BUT HER SHIRT!!!
It was entertaining to see the faces of everybody looking though.
So we trekked up the hill, then down, then up again, then down again. It was ironic how God had created this mountain at such a perfect location that OBS could use it as a torcher device.
Later on at about 3 o clock, we stopped for lunch at our first checkpoint (that means hor, that if we fall of the mountain and die, we come back to this location... checkpoint wat!). So Alvin was asking Kak Su if there were any haunted camp spots during the solo camp. Surprisingly, Kak Su said yes- Tham's campsite, the one next to the waterfall. Like OMFG WTF KNN CCB!
Of course, Tham and Desmond immediately dismissed it as 'mitos', but you'll never know will you? Unless you were there...
Anyway, back to the trekking. We trekked for a further 2 hours and all I can remember during that entire 2 hours was people complaining about leg pains and complaining about Paula complaining.
We eventually reached the most dense jungle spot. And I mean dense as in not padat, but scary. If you got lost here at night, you'd scare the shit out of yourself looking at the scary looking oak trees.
But at last, we made it out at 6.45 pm (but as a consolation, Mulu made it out at the same time we did although they were given an easier path to take)!!!! But at least we reached our camping location- an open area next to a Hindu Temple and a river. Across the river was an electricity power plant... That's.... ideal....
So we immediately got to work on our campsite, camp fire and dinner.
Day 8: Orphans' Visit...
It was raining that night, on the one night where everyone decided they wanted to sleep outdoors. So everyone got wet that night.
So once again we loaded up for the trip back to OBS, but at least we had the option of loading some unwanted burden onto the van to be taken back to the compound. Such as empty water canisters, empty food containers, wet clothes and Kim.
Oklah, maybe Kim wasn't exactly unwanted but she did get overcooked on the sea expedition (as in her sunburns were so bad, they were termed by Kak Su as third degree burns. Ouch. Double ouch. Triple ouch. Gila ouch!) so that meant that she wasn't fit for travelling long distances. Yes, she was also MIA during the long winded 10 hour hike.
Anyway, the 14 of us took a shorter way back to the school.
When we did arrive back at the school though, there was an unexpected surprise waiting for us. The occupants of the local orphanage (also known as orphants, but it would be weird calling them 'Orphans of the Orphanage'...like duh) were to come and visit the OBS and we were to entertain them.
Some of the kids getting entertained by another watch... don't ask me who're the orphans and who're the watch members or guarentee somebody gonna get a hurt real bad...
Like wow, maybe I could rap to entertain them... but I doubt they would've heard of Run DMC, let alone Eminem.
So when they came, we let them try everything in OBS. From belaying (the warm up practice for Rock Climbing) to playing Ice Breakers to sitting in a boat while Alvin pulled them on the beach.
Anyway, Alvin, Alesha, Chee Han (the big guy of Mulu), Sarah C (the hottie of Mulu) and I volunteered to help with the ice breakers. Sad to say though that my 'original game' didn't get many happy reviews from some Outwardbounders but at least we had a fun time with the kids.
So towards the end of that day, we played football (finally). Tahan vs Others. (Not against the orphans LAH!)
Tham showing what he can do as goalie, Alvin showing that even a basketballer can play football, the Singaporeans showing that Singapore is better than Malaysia at the sport and me showing that 8 days rusted my skills. So the end result was 1-0. Austin scoring the lone goal.
Austin: Tahan's man-of-the-match
At the end of the day, the kids went back happy.
I know this posts isn't as exciting as the last, but the middle's like that. I'll end the OBS entry next week with part 3, and I know you're gonna love it.