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There’s a cough going around the dorm. I myself am coughing up green gunk, from my nose and my throat. No use asking for help from our SLF’s – Sambil Lewa Facis.

And the toilets. Bits of shit stuck to the toilet bowls. “Shit pits,” we joke. Kind of puzzled at why university toilets are of the squat variety, and without tissue paper. And not so clean. Sinks clogged, occasionally someone vomits and clogs it up more. Ugh. Mirrors dirty and blackened (for real), and you have to search for clear spots in order to see your reflection. Ceilings mouldy, from leaking pipes. Some ceiling panels missing, piping visible. Kind of puzzled at why this should happen in a university.

Ground floor toilets are smelly. Cigarette smoke. Our company leader and her friends smoke regularly in the toilets, during the daytime. And in the night, they head for the staircases. The smell of smoke is constantly there.

Boys get off the bus and start smoking during Khidmat Komuniti bus pit stops. Our facis yell at this, but they don’t stop anyway.

Havoc while picking up clothes from laundry service last night. Packages strewn all over shelf and ground, mixed up. Unwashed and washed got mixed up. No wonder some trainees complain of losing their clothes at the laundry, or getting exchanged. After about 40 minutes of sweating and waiting (rugi saja mandi), I gave up waiting politely and joined the hordes searching for their own stuff. Located it, signed book, dumped my receipt under the sign book. I wouldn’t send my clothes to the laundry, if not for the current evening rain. I need some kind of guarantee my clothes will be dry by the next morning.

Not allowed to jemur kain in our rooms, as our rule book explicitly tells us. But who cares? We all hang out clothes at our windows, in our rooms, everything. Even windows overlooking the road. The girls won’t hang their underwear at the windows, but the boys will.

Some friends complained to me of getting huge celoreng uniforms. Size 44 on a size 28 waist – one of my friends. She groaned to me, You could fit three of me in those pants. Fortunately, I managed to get my size 44 exchanged for a smaller size that night. I don’t know why so many girls are stuck with size 44 pants.

Last night at around midnight, a soldier and 2 facis kicked violently on my friends’ 4-person room until they woke up. “Diorang tendang tu pintu sampai macam mau roboh,” my friend remarked to me later. Lots of other trainees heard the racket, but I didn’t. I slept hard. Anyway – the soldier and 2 facis then proceeded to rummage through their cupboards, before concluding, “Tiada di sini – di bilik lain mungkin.”

Ani told me today they had been looking for a person (in a cupboard?) because “ada kes perempuan pukul perempuan”. And another friend, Clare, heard yelling at around 3:30 am. A soldier was yelling at a – female, presumably – trainee, “Muka saja elok, tapi perangai buruk!”

Vivi from Kolej A told me that they were told to gather in front of the dewan makan at 11 pm last night. Those sleeping had to wake up and line up anyway. They were all very annoyed at “being kacau-ed”. Turned out that someone’s handphone had been stolen, and the facis yelled at one at all: Menyerah diri, or it won’t be pretty when we do a spotcheck and catch you. Of course no one stepped forward, and of course there was no spotcheck.

Noor told me that once, her foot started swelling up at night during Program Kebudayaan. They went to the faci for help, but “tu faci buat sambil lewa saja, sambung bercerita dengan kawan dia.” Finally Noor’s friend yelled loudly, attracting attention, “Kau tidak nampak kah kaki dia sakit, mau bengkak sudah?!” Everyone stared, and the faci quickly scurried off for help.

I told Noor it reminded me of Clare getting sick. One full week. Her faci promised to get some medicine for her – “Nanti saya bawa” – but never showed. Clare, too, used the words “diorang buat sambil lewa saja”.

Noor continued to tell me about a story that happened at Kolej B. A girl got very sick, demam, couldn’t go for morning exercise. So a soldier barged into her locked room, opened it with a key. She was only dressed in her bra and underwear. “Nasib baik saya pakai bra tu hari, selalunya saya tidak pakai,” said the girl later. Of course, she was furious on the invasion, and reported it to the faci. Faci said of the soldier, “Kita tunggu dia buat 1 kali lagi, baru kita buat laporan. Maaf sajalah, dik.” Well, sorry sure as hell isn’t enough. And concerning the underwear – the door was locked, it’s her right to be fully dressed or half dressed or fully undressed behind the locked door.

Breakfast is now from 6:30 am to 7:15 am. Much better. More time.

As usual, we started lining up outside the dewan makan at 7:15 am. And after our compulsory 1 hour of waiting, got on the bus at 8:40 am. Fortunately, this time we got to wait under the shade for half an hour, before being frittered under the sun for the other half. This is actually an improvement. It used to be that we had to be frittered the entire hour. National Service ought to provide sunscreen to us trainees, with the highest SPF available to mankind. And preferably with a non-greasy base, please and thank you very much.

While lining up, a soldier suddenly swatted a girl over the head with his beret, then grinned broadly at her furious face. For no reason. And while going to the buses, another soldier hit a girl on the shoulder with his diary. “Aduh, sakit bah tu!” she yelled. I cannot believe this, but it happened right in front of me. If someone told me so, I probably wouldn’t believe them. But I saw it. Right in front of me.

My group was one of the last to board the buses, headed for the yet-to-be-opened Sabah Botanical and Zoological Park. On the bus, like all other buses, our jurulatih passed around photocopied sheets of A5 paper. And we had to sing “Berjaya” and “Keranamu Malaysia”, lyrics on the sheets. “Nyanyi dulu, baru boleh makan kuih!” said our jurulatih cheerfully, while we groaned. The boys then proceeded to twist the line “Pakar IT, pakar ekonomi” into “Pakar IT, pakar pornografi”.

Got lost for the third day in a row. Dozed off while listening to the jurulatih asking a local trainee, “Kiri, kanan?” regarding which direction to take. Other trainees gleefully yelled, “Kiri!” to make it sound like marching Kiri, Kanan, Kiri. The jurulatih pleaded, Serious lah sikit! And the trainee scratched his head and mumbled, “Um, kiri mungkin, bang.”

The bus driver yelled, “Apa ni, gila kah, naik bukit curam tu!” They then got off the bus to ask for instructions from the local villagers. “Bukan kiri, bukan kanan – jalan lurus,” said the villagers. Oh.

“Hari-hari sesat, alang-alang tak payah Khidmat Komuniti,” griped a trainee. Nobody said anything.

A fairly new place, I think. We could still smell the paint on the main building. We also used the toilets, interestingly marked “Man” and “Woman” instead of “Male” and “Female”.

Started work at 10:30 am, shovelling dead leaves and caked dirt on the road. Found a baby snake, red head and black everything else, with white rings. The boys were all for killing it, but the girls insisted on letting it go. (They let it go.) We also cleared drains that were at first unrecognisable from the rest of the landscape. Had no idea a drain was there, it was THAT clogged.

Some boys also used grasscutters to cut grass, and were soaked in sweat after finishing their work. They requested that the bus bring them back to UMS for Friday prayers, so that they could go back to the dorms for a fresh change of clothes. “Tengok lah dulu,” the jurulatih told them.

Ended work at 11:15 am, to make time for the Muslim trainees to go to the mosque. But before that – lunch in 1 plastic container. Rice, half a duck’s egg, half a fried fish, and pickled cucumbers. I don’t mean to complain, but I still felt hungry after eating.

After lunch, we rested until 2 pm, watching a documentary and eating Super Ice Cream Potong. Lovely, this ice cream, especially the red bean variety. It’s the only form of red bean I’ll eat. Red bean and durian available at the park.

And then, a tour of the place! We went to a small building with plenty of animals inside – tigers, bears, sloths, pythons, eagles, peacocks, the works. The tigers fur didn’t look bright and clean. Their fur looked kind of … dirty blackened orange.

There was a cage of chickens next to the snakes, and a few girls squealed, “Eee, kesian oh tu, tu ayam kena makan tu ular lah tu nanti?” The boys retorted, “Kesian apa, sendiri juga makan ayam.”

One cage had three men inside, fixing it and putting together logs for the animals – a future cage for the tigers, I guess. We giggled and whispered to each other, “Spesis apa yang di dalam tu?” Our jurulatih overheard us, grinned, and said, “Manusia terbiar.”

Also a huge netted area with birds and deer inside. And we were told there were giraffes and zebras at one area too, but it started raining and we couldn’t go. Instead, we stayed at the orangutan cage, playing with Otto, Pupi, and Girl. The boys copied the sounds the orangutans made, and the girls laughed at them, saying, “Samalah! Sama! Saudara kah?”

There were also elephants. Huge enclosure, but their right feet were chained. Couldn’t help but pity them about the chains around their feet. The chains didn’t look very comfortable.

As I left for the cybercafe, the boys at Blok H were whooping with glee at the downpour of rain. They had disconnected the two fire hoses, managed to start them up, and were spraying each other, dancing in the rain, running up and down the stairs, and around the clotheslines. Some even brought out soap and shampoo, and started washing up under the rain. We girls watched on jealously. We would’ve started our own main hujan session, but were too prudish. Instead, we sat on the railings outside our block, basking in the downpour. Other trainees passed by, gave us the thumbs up and “Yeaaaaahhh~~!!”

I don’t think I’ll be posting over the weekend. Nothing happens over the weekend. We have regular Khidmat Komuniti scheduled for Saturday morning, and also a “Malam Mesra Dengan Komandan” on Saturday night. Then the karaoke and football finals on Sunday morning.

And yes, feel free to link to this blog. I get happy when people link to me.

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