Friday, June 29, 2007


a. 'Kem Sintok' took root in 1992 within the jungle fringing the campus of Universiti Utara Malaysia in Sintok Changlun Kedah. In 1993 it saw the first group of students participating in a Summer Camp program. Djasriza, the sister ( third from right front row ) participated.

b. At 4 yrs old Abu Bakar Sidqi (ABS) enjoyed the spartan atmosphere of the camp when he went visiting the sister.

c. ABS in a school co-curricular uniform.


d. A program keenly looked forward to by many school leavers. ABS in the PLKN uniform with Mama. It was a happy return to the camp site. I guess.


When you reach eighteen, many things seemed to happen. I remember many decades ago right after completing the School Certificate Examination ( that would be the SPM now) how we groped for information and attempted to appear at whatever interviews available either to continue our education to a higher level or to earn some money meaning of course to secure a position in the public service. The public sector was a closed door. We knew almost nothing about it.

I was fortunate to have records of happenings during those earlier years since I was a camera buff and the old photos continue to remind me of circumstances or nostalgia. Now that our son has come to that point in time, I have pointed to him the value of keeping records and memoirs. I guess our youth are fortunate that almost everyone of them have something of value which they hug along all the time. I mean of course the inevitable hand phones. They are doubly awarded if they possess cameras too. The portable phone also takes photos. So do not confine to conversation or SMS only. Use it. Keeping the record is of course another adventure or assignment. It is worthwhile believe me.

Less Abu ( 'Burn' another familiar nickname friends called him) forget this transition period I am recording the story as I see it. He has of course his own version.

Our son Abu Bakar Sidqi participated as a member of PLKN (National Service Training Program) at KEM SINTOK Universiti Utara Malaysia Kedah from 1 January to 11 March 2007, launching the new year with a dramatic start.

Having completed his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination in November 2006 and touching the threshold of his 18th birthday he becomes eligible for the National Service program that had begun in 2004. Like most youth we believed he was happy to receive the call-up letter and made preparation without qualms.

PLKN being an acronym for "Program Latihan Khidmat Negara" began its Group 1 Series 4/2007 session on the first day of the New Year 2007 at the campus of a university in Kedah. The army type training camp grew out of an earlier camp site started in 1992 by the late Tan Sri Othman Yeop the Vice Chancellor of the university who envisaged a campsite in the forested part of the university campus which would bring youth closer to the environment while absorbing related programs organised towards leadership and survival knowledge. That it became a full training centre under the PLKN network is an honor to his memory. That I had a hand at its earlier development remained a sentimental thought. The first program organized at the campsite already known as "Kem Sintok" saw our daughter as participant. It had no advanced training program as PLKN did. The participants at the original course found the campsite experience exciting and challenging. It was a comeback to Abu Bakar when he entered KEM SINTOK under PLKN. He was there fifteen years ago.
Collecting Centre

It was a memorable day indeed for the trainees and their parents not only at this camp but all over the country. Their New Year break was interrupted by having to send their sons and daughters to the various stations where buses would collect the trainees for journeys to the allocated camps. It meant an early wake up call for those distance from the collecting centres. Still it was taken with good strides. Parents or guardians were happy to see their children embarked on a challenging program good for character building and socialization. The cool morning atmosphere invigorated the sensation while the happy friendly jostling of trainees in their casual attires added to the happy mood. But as the morning temperature raised so too the atmosphere. While the registration of one thousand plus trainees for the various camps in Kedah, Perlis and Penang at the open courtyard near Stadium Darul Aman Alor Star called for better arrangement and planning, the worst was to come. Scheduled to depart promptly at 9.00 am to campsites at Kuala Nerang, Sik etc the trainees waited for their transportation which never came at the arranged time. In their excitement many of the trainees would have missed their breakfast believing that they would be at their campsites early. By half past ten there was a rush to visit whatever stalls opened at the stadium . Not much was available as it was a public holiday. Much so it was an irony that while the trainees faced the circumstances, their families at home were enjoying the delights and merriment's of Aidil Adha celebration which was in its second day only. It was hard to understand why the program had to begin on New Year a public holiday all over the world. Maybe it was a question of 'yours is to obey and not to ask why'.

The next day newspaper splashes told the story. Transportation arrangement had failed not only at Stadium Darul Aman in Alor Star but at other centres in the country too. In Kelantan trainees had to return home until arrangement could be made the following day. It was obvious there were dissatisfied and angry faces in the PLKN headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. It was not a cliche. Neither was it a minor matter. For most parents and the public it was certainly not a good start for the 2007 PLKN activities and neither was it a right step for a new year


Medical Check Up and M 16 Practice

However the activities at the centre later proceeded satisfactorily. We received good reviews of the organization and activities at the camp. We saw too that the participants interacted well with one another irrespective of sex or race. That there was a case of a trainee falling ill and died at another camp in the country during the current session, it became necessary that all participants for future programs should undergo medical check up. Trainees found excitement visiting the shooting range and had their hands on the M 16 rifles. They had an introductory to survival training should they got lost in the jungle. I believed the trainees acquired camaraderie, confidence and national integration during their stay at the camp. We based our marks on what we saw and surely when Abu Bakar Sidqi came home a more confident person, it must have been a right mix. The allowance given to the trainees must be a start to future earnings. They should realize that it comes with hard work and commitment.

Time Marches On

No respite for a rest. That was what awaited him as he was rushed to Taylor University College at Subang to register as a student for a diploma program which had started a week earlier. We weighed the choice of a UPU registration or a private sector direct entry. Thus the decision and at the time of writing he has completed his first semester. Abu has meantime acquired a provisional driving licence. He has successfully completed a driving course program and passed the relevant tests.

He may remember too that his 18th birthday also offers him to open his own account at the bank. Otherwise to our surprise we found obstacles for a youngster to manage money at the bank on his own since he would need a guarantor and impinge by other rules and regulation.

He must realize the best has been given to him and opportunities are at his disposal to grasp with full vigor and accomplishment. His earlier education, training, guidance and perceptions plus stings at Outward Bound School, PLKN , school prefect ship board and not to mention family internship should be strength and grips for future success. As parents we wish and pray for the best. He has a future ahead. Good Luck and May Allah Bless...

Remember we have a life and a story to tell.

Welcome to Taylor University College for your professional program

With daddy at the Camp Site 2007


Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

All the best to Burn. From all the training and family support that he gets, a bright future awaits.

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