Pooh. I’m disgusted. I just found out from some old newspaper clippings, parents/guardians could only pick up trainees after signing release forms, and producing identity cards. I also found out that NS officers would wait with the trainees at the bus drop-off points if parents were late. And also that there would be buses on standby to take the leftover trainees home, if the parents didn’t come.
From my experience, as soon as we trainees and our bags had gotten off the bus, the bus and military escort sped off. And we hadn’t even been dropped off at the police station – we had been dropped off at the nearby petrol station. The police station was in sight, of course, but not a single policeman in sight. The station (police… and petrol, too) looked deserted. No buses on standby, either.
And so much for release forms. We were told to “koyakkan saja” our release forms, and get on the buses anyway. Same thing went for parents and ICs – to my knowledge, the trainees were allowed to just get into their respective cars and zoom off.
My handphone keeps getting SMS messages and missed calls from NS friends. Very nice! Am really pleased, because this means that they haven’t completely forgotten me.
I wonder if this whole “missed call” thing is unique to Sabah, or the whole of Malaysia? You know – call the person, let it ring once (or half of once), then hang up. And the phone keeps a record of the call, even though it was over too quickly for you to pick it up. And that’s a way of saying “thinking of you”, I guess. My cousin once gleefully said, “Inilah permainan yang amat menarik – missed call!”