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(Entries from February 15 to April 01 are typed out from quick notes I made each night before sleeping. Well, almost each night.)

I’m here! Kem Wawasan Kampung Ovai, Papar!

Arrived at police station, 7.30 am. Left at 9 am, arrived at the main terminal – KK Gaya Centre – at who knows what time. 11? 12? Arrived at Papar around 1 pm.

The military personnel guy on the bus was very – friendly. Read out names, such as Rachelandy, and was shocked when saw a guy respond. “Bahaya nama tu,” he joked.

He egged the driver to zoom past red traffic lights. Smoked like a chimney, one cigarette disappeared in less than five minutes (we timed him). When a trainee jokingly pointed out the ‘Dilarang Merokok’, No Smoking sign on the bus, he only retorted, Ahhh, siapalah peduli tu.

Split up with my three friends (headed for Shansui, Tawau, and Tanaki, Tambunan). Horrified to see buses to Ovai were the crummiest of the lot! Buses to Tanaki and Shansui were air-conditioned, but buses to Ovai were creaking 22-seat mini buses with no air conditioning, and macam mau roboh sudah.

But it was all good, because no air conditioning meant lots of air blowing in, and that means no car sickness. Whee!

I was fifth to step into camp (yeah, I counted) from the very unstable metal bridge. First of the batch to register. Got to know Onell, really nice.

Picked up issued clothes and stuff, set off for Group D, Camp L11. There was another girl, first to register among us all- Liza.

Clothes: 2 sets of fatigues, 2 long sleeved sports shirts, 2 track pants (huge! size M goes up to my armpits, and I’m 5′ 3″!), 1 towel, 1 beret, 1 belt, 1 baseball cap, 1 water container with fatigue cover, mosquito net, blanket, pillow and sarong pillowcase.

10 beds in the tent. 10 girls. All are supernice. Seriously!

My tent – okay, OUR tent- faces the mess hall. There are four TVs and speakers (at the mess hall, not in the tent!), loads of cafeteria-style seats and tables.

We sleep on cots, covered by green mosquito nets. And to think I actually hated the idea of coming here!

Construction still going on here, road is still gravel road. We’ve been told to go to the bathrooms in groups, 10 if necessary, because of the Filipino construction workers still on-site.

I was just about to drop off to sleep when screams of “Sazali! Sazali!” jolt me awake. The 4 televisions at the mess hall are on, showing – of course – Anakku Sazali. Thank you, P. Ramlee, for robbing me of my sleep.

Again I drop off to sleep and wake up a few times when tentmates Adibah and Kalsom snore.

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