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Last night was awful. After coming back from Khidmat Komuniti, I was taking a shower as a facilitator announced over the loudspeakers, semua wirawati from my block had to line up in front of the urusetia building. Cursing, I quickly scrubbed off and washed up, dried myself, and threw on my clothes. Other girls were running in the corridors, cursing worse and louder than myself.

So we lined up. The facilitators were chatting away with each other in front of us, while we rolled our eyes in disgust and impatience. The tea van that had delivered cakes and tea to the 2nd Intake trainees earlier still had cakes left over, and gave some to us. Small puffy green cakes with a bit of shredded coconut. Very nice. I ate four.

After lining up for an hour and a quarter, the facilitators finally turned to us, and asked, Everyone here? (No, some still hadn’t returned from Khidmat Komuniti.) A soldier named Nizam started his usual rubbish – telling us to stand up, squat, stand up in sync, and fast. If we weren’t quick enough for him, we had to do it all over again. And he kept on his spiel, while we kept yelling, Why? Why are we here? And finally he said, Uhm, yeah, anyway, what we wanted to tell you was, all of you have to line up here again in 2 hours time, at 8:15 pm.

At 8:15 pm, we gathered again. All girls this time, from Blocks B, C, and D. But only my block got held back, while they tried to interview girls, searching for a handphone thief. A girl’s handphone had gotten stolen on Sunday morning. Either she kicked up a huge fuss, or the facis finally decided that too many handphones had been stolen – and so we’ve been lining up since Sunday night.

We were told to line up, standing up, while the victim went into the urusetia office. Suspects were called out of line, one by one. I think there were close to 20 suspects altogether. From ‘known thieves’ to those who were unlucky enough to have rooms no the same floor as the victim.

A soldier named Rinus a/k Anen, and Nizam walked back and forth in front and among us. Rinus started gabbling nonstop – honestly, it gets unbelievable when you hear someone talking for two hours straight. “Perempuan sangat leceh – itu sebabnya saya tak suka ambil perempuan time senaman pagi” and all that stuff. And lots of other MCP (male chauvinist pig) comments, about how girls are stupid and thieving girls stupider. But then again, he kept having sentences with “Bini saya…” “Bini saya..” “Bini saya kata…” “Saya dan bini saya…” and “Anak bini saya…” and “Anak buah saya…” Eventually we got sick of listening about his family, and muttered to each other, If he hates females so much, why did he get married anyway?

A friend joked to me, Queen control. His wife’s got him twisted around her, but he doesn’t know it. And we shared tactics on how to pass time when being yelled at – imagine the person in his underwear, with red polka dots. And acting prissy and like a nancy boy. It worked, and we shook in gales of silent laughter.

By 11:00 pm, we were getting tired of it, and someone yelled, Bodoh! Nizam turned vile and started shouting at the top of his voice at us, joined by Rinus. They let us sit down instead of stand up, then they yelled that they were just carrying out orders, and we were wrong to call them bodoh. (They might have a point there.)

A squat, fat Chinese guy, probably a university resident, stopped by and asked, “Kenapa kamu masih di sini?” at all of us. We told him that they were looking for a thief, and he started preaching to us, See, that’s what happens, one of you does wrong and everyone gets involved. Yang pencuri itu ingat mungkin tiada olang (orang) tahu, tapi Tuhan tahu!! Tengok sekalang (sekarang), kamu telpaksa belbalis sampai tengah malam.

We, the trainees, just glanced at each other and muttered, Who’s he, anyway? My friend scrabbled for something to insult, and chose his white T-shirt with the drawing of an elephant and the words “Thailand” under it – she muttered to me, “He went to Thailand, bought that shirt, and only wears it around on campus at night, when he thinks nobody’s looking? Bodohnya.”

One of the soldiers started walking back and forth in front of us, staring freely at our breasts. I pulled my jacket tighter towards myself, to hint, I know what you’re doing. Instead, he said, “Bagus, tahu pun sejuk, sudah sedia pakai jaket.” (Uhm, duh.)

A girl took out a bag of keropok, and Rinus snatched it, took a handful, and gave it back to her. “Saya tidak tahu malu,” he announced proudly to us.

A suspect left the urusetia office, yelling, “Siapa bah ni pencuri, tidak tahu malu!?” Walked straight into a nearby Kolej C dorm, into the toilets, and started banging around. We saw her wipe away a tear just before going in. (Kolej A friends told us via sms – we had our handphones while sitting in the parking lot – that from their experience, all suspects were immediately treated as if they were the thieves – Cakap! Kau yang curi, kan?! Kurang ajar! In such a harsh way, that ‘besi pun boleh lebur’).

Finally at 12:30 am, we got out of line. All of us were hating the soldiers by then. “Ego,” said one of my friends, “Ego. Bukan tinggi sangat pangkat dia tu, korporal saja pun.”

They yelled at us, Thief, give it up. Either hand in the phone by 7:00 am tomorrow, or the entire block goes to the special camp for delinquents. This, I think, is an empty threat. They can’t send 100+ girls to the special camp, just because they don’t have enough evidence to pinpoint one thief. And who knows, maybe the thief is staying in a different block.

Only had to wait 10 minutes before boarding the bus this morning. On to Majlis Daerah Kota Belud, to paint the sides of the road black and white. At first we groaned, Oh no. But soon we changed our minds. It was actually loads of fun, and by the time we were done, the place looked so nice. The datuk in charge of us was the oddest leader we ever had – he actually shouted at us, and his other colleagues. You’d think that he’d be thankful we were doing this for the town – but no?

We got lunch early today, at around 11:45 am. Rice, vegetables, half a fried fish, and two-thirds of a chicken sausage. And an apple. Not as good as yesterday’s chicken rice, but enough to keep us sustained, I guess.

A Semenanjung girl (Selangor) searched for a good view of Mount Kinabalu and found it – asked us to take her picture, with her gesturing towards it “Ta-da! This is Kinabalu!” A boy grinned and said to us, “Faham-fahamlah, orang jauh…”

We asked the boy, Don’t you want to take a picture?

No, he said, I’m from Kota Marudu. I can see the mountain from there. (You can see Kinabalu from pretty much anywhere in Sabah, weather permitting.)

Then he handed me his camera and asked me to take his picture.

Spotted a restaurant called Chicken King, with the following catchphrase: Tastes Kingly! Laughed and laughed. It made my day.

Took pictures in front of the local tokong. There were three of us in the picture – Beatrice hesitated, “Tapi, inda bagus kalau 3 orang dalam gambar,” referring to the superstition that one would die, or a ghost would appear in the picture – but we, the other 2, yanked her arm and said, “Never mind about that, say cheeeese!”

One of us bought a newspaper, and all of us were all over it. We haven’t read a newspaper – any newspaper – in weeks. Saw pictures of NS trainees doing community service, in the Sabah/Sarawak section of the paper. We were just getting excited, wondering if it was us – then read the caption of it being in Sarawak. Oh, well.

Got home early today, straight back after lunch. Third day in a row, a bus with bad air conditioning. It’s a sauna in there. I had to take a shower as soon as I got back.

A friend – we were campmates during the physical module – went into my room and started chatting, while rifling through my desk drawer. Suddenly she started giggling, and I looked up and was horrified to see her reading my journal – which contains all the material I refer to when I blog. Started throwing ‘safe’ objects such as my dirty socks at her while yelling, “Jangan baca! Jangan baca!” But all she did was smile and keep on reading. I would’ve snatched it away, but was too polite to.

“I want a photocopy of this,” she said, and told me she’d give me some money for it later. I’m not sure whether I should accept the money later, or tell her to forget it, now run along.

Anyway. Lovely, being able to come back early from Khidmat Komuniti. Lots of time at the cybercafe. (They hiked up their prices from RM 2.50 to RM 3.00 recently.) 2 hours!!

I miss eating bosou and tuhau – two Sabahan dishes which you’ll either love or hate. Also pisang goreng, and doughnuts. I’ve stopped eating breakfast and dinner here – I only eat the Khidmat Komuniti lunch.

Ah, yes. The boy hovering over my shoulder. Let’s just call him The Boy for now. Last night I got annoyed at him because he got annoyed at me (don’t ask me how that’s supposed to work, because I don’t know.). He got annoyed at me because I told him to go away, don’t watch what I’m doing on the computer. You understand, of course, that I try to keep my blogging secret. He thought I was avoiding him, or whatever it is that a boy thinks. Anyway. Anyway. Anyway. Moving on …

Our ‘terima sijil’ day is on 30 April, which means our last day of Khidmat Komuniti is Thursday. And our rehearsal is on Wednesday. We’ll be going home on Saturday, 1 May. Rumour is that the Semenanjung trainees will only be going back on 2 May … but then again, it’s a rumour. We’ll probably all be going off on the same day.

Suddenly realise that I should be responding to the comments I get, instead of just reading them, feeling happy, then doing nothing. I’ll start responding now, in the comments box. Seriously, I should’ve done so from earlier on, I have no idea why I didn’t think of it. ^_^

Love your comments, and love the fact that people are actually reading this blog.

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