Singapore Brunei Adventure Camp 2009 : A Chief Chaperon Report

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Singapore Brunei Adventure Camp 2009 : A Chief Chaperon Report

  1. 1. 1. INTRODUCTION1.1. Background and Objectives The 2009 Singapore Brunei Student Leaders Adventure Camp was the third of arecent series of annual camps performed alternately between Brunei and Singapore. Thecamping programme in Singapore started from the 13th to the 18th September, albeit pre-campactivities occurred prior. The objectives of this programme include, among others, the desire to foster a deepunderstanding and camaraderie between the participants from Brunei and Singapore; to shareknowledge on the similarities and contrasts in culture between the two nations; and, for theBrunei team, to gain in-depth experience on the learning and living culture of Singapore.1.2. The Chaperons Similar to the 2007 Adventure Camp, this adventure camp utilised the service of fourchaperons through a selection process. I was elected Chief Chaperon and was responsible inoverseeing the preparation processes from start to end as well as being the focal point inliaising with the International Unit, other chaperons, students and their parents. Three otherchaperons completed the team and they are: • Cikgu Norasusanti binti Hj. Mohd Latif from SOASC • Cikgu Rosimah binti Mohd. Tahir from SM Sultan Sharif Ali • Cikgu Omar Arif bin Abdullah Latif from Maktab Anthony Abell 1 of 40
  2. 2. Apart from the 2009 team, chaperons from the 2007 team also assisted in thepreparations based on past information. Cikgu Danny, in particular, liaised with theSingapore officers in updating information. Their contributions will be mentioned in greaterdetail in Section 2.1.3. The Participants 20 PMB Level students from various schools were selected as participants for theprogramme (see Appendix A). Although none of the chaperons were involved in the selectionprocess, it was revealed that the selection was done in a thorough manner with only studentswho excel in several areas of skills were shortlisted. It was learnt that aptitude and academiclevels as well as the ability to carry oneself in a conversation were prioritised. A balancedteam of 10 boys and 10 girls was the eventual result.2. PREPARATIONS BEFORE THE CAMP2.1. Logistics Several agenda fell under logistics, including the preparations of a pre-camp itinerary,logbooks, student files, programme logo, nametags, financing, insurance, and the search forsponsors, among others. Although the chaperon team worked together, I found it also fittingto delegate tasks among chaperons so as to achieve a more efficient workflow. These will beelaborated further as the report proceeds.Pre-camp ItineraryThe itinerary was drafted during the first chaperon meeting held on the 13th floor of theInternational Unit, Ong Sum Ping. The draft was constructed with the final tweaking andprinting of the schedule performed by Cikgu Omar Arif. 2 of 40
  3. 3. LogbookThe draft of the logbook was constructed by all the chaperons with the final improvements onadditional pages and theme performed by me. Printing and binding was by CikguNurasusanti. The purpose of the logbook was literally for students to log in their activitiesduring the camping trip. It also provided information in forms of prayer schedules, itemchecklists and maps of Singapore.Programme Logo and NametagsI created and printed both the programme logo and the official nametags of the Brunei team(see Appendix B). The logo was used as the front cover of the logbook and the nametag. Thenametag itself is a compression of important information as explained in Appendix B).FinanceFinance was solely handled by Cikgu Rosimah Tahir, being responsible for both transactions,records and the safekeeping of students‟ and chaperons‟ money.Sponsorship LiaisonCikgu Nurasusanti was solely responsible in handling the issues of sponsor as she had goodrapport with potential sponsors. Successful sponsorship included those from DST Com,Alimen Enterprise and The Narcotics Control Bureau Brunei.2.2. Venues After contemplating on each of the chaperon‟s school as a probable venue, it waseventually decided that SOAS College would be the most conducive because it has a decent-sized gymnasium and was an easy to reach location for the majority of the team members. 3 of 40
  4. 4. Apart from the gymnasium, the SOAS running track was also utilised for the fitness test, andSeri Kenangan beach for a hint of outdoor experience.2.3. Activities A plethora of activities occurred throughout the pre-camp sessions in parallel with theprepared itinerary (see Appendix C). These will be briefly elaborated in their respectivesections.2.3.1 Signing Ceremony The pre-camp activity was initiated with the signing of agreement by the participantsand their parents, which took place in SOAS College Auditorium on the 17th of November.The ceremony witnessed the first gathering of the team and the introduction of the chaperons.The ceremony also included a visual presentation prepared by the 2007 chaperons, followedby a briefing from respective International Unit officers and the 2009 chaperons. Theceremony was concluded with a very informative question and answer session which broughtup issues the chaperon found to need attention. 4 of 40
  5. 5. 2.3.2. Team Building Since participants came into the team without knowing one another, a majority of theinitial activities involved team building. Team building sessions were carried out on the 22ndNovember and 2nd December. On the 2nd December in particular, representatives from theBrunei Darussalam AIDS Council were invited to execute a myriad of team buildingactivities. Within 2 sessions, participants were already at ease with one another. Their rapportculminated in a final team building sessions which took place in Seri Kenangan Beach on the11th December. Students learnt how to work together in starting up a barbeque flame, a skillthat was expected to be equipped with come Singapore. 5 of 40
  6. 6. 2.3.3. Performing Arts The 29th of November and the 2nd and 5th of December, the students spent most of thesessions on practicing their cultural and singing performance. As these were to be expected ofthe team come Singapore, experts were called in to help train the students. Renowned danceinstructor for student exchange programmes, Cikgu Didi, was invited to groom the studentsinto able dancers, while I trained the students in singing as choir singing is one of my forte. Since the dance routine was itself demanding with a lot of motions and runninginvolved, it indirectly contributed to the fitness of students. It also helped them in performingas a cohesive unit, a characteristic that is required of them in Singapore. 6 of 40
  7. 7. 2.3.4. Fitness Preparations Due to the mentally and physically demanding nature of the programme, it wasexpected of students to be sufficiently fit in „mind over matter‟ situations. Cikgu Omar Arif,as a PE teacher, was most apt in organising a fitness test which comprised of jumps, runs andstretches, as well as analyses of everyone‟s Body Mass Index. Although only one session wasspared for fitness on the 9th of December, the fact that students spent 3 other sessions inpracticing their rigorous cultural dance routine was enough to test students‟ mettle. The majority of students were found to be sufficiently fit for the programme, with onestudent in particular, Faiz, excelling in the fitness test and was graded A overall in parallelwith the guidelines of a general fitness test. It was revealed that he was actively preparing forthe programme during his own time with jogs and runs. 7 of 40
  8. 8. 3. CAMPING IN SINGAPORE3.1. Departure Flight to Singapore The Brunei contingent had two departure schedules, with the first departure involvingCikgu Rosimah Tahir and the student Nadiah bte Hj. Hassan. The second departure whichwas scheduled at 6.55pm involved the remaining 22 members of the contingent (19 studentsand 3 teachers). The chaperons and students gathered in Brunei International Airport startingat 3.00pm, and throughout the process, handled the checking-in of baggage and theadministration and distribution of boarding passes. Prior to these, the students wereinformally briefed on what needed to be done with their hand carry luggage and the labellingof baggage. I was responsible for the distribution of the chaperons and students‟ passes, and thereand then marked the first time that the contingent wore the passes officially. After everyagendum was settled, students were given the opportunity to spend time with their families. Imyself was interviewed by a representative of the Brunei Times (see Appendix D) regardingthe programme itself. Around less than two hours before boarding, I gestured the contingent to gather forthe recitation of the Doa Selamat and a group photo for the press release (see Appendix E). Ialso took the liberty to brief the parents of the participants of our roles and responsibilities aschaperons and ensured them that we would safeguard their children. As we arrived at the passport checking counters, it was apparent that first time flyersneeded to be ushered. The system that we employed involved the sandwiching of participantsbased on the buddy system list. As chief chaperon and leader of Group A, I was first in line,followed by 10 male students, and then Cikgu Omar Arif, then followed by 10 femalestudents and the final two female chaperons. This system was used throughout theprogramme in situations where orderly manners of motion were demanded of us. 8 of 40
  9. 9. Once in the waiting hall, students were again briefed by each chaperon on thediscipline and etiquette that students had to portray and abide to. Before entering our flight,the males managed to squeeze in enough time for Maghrib prayers, while the females, seeingthat they were short of time, decided to Qada their prayers. There was a slight delay on our flight but it didn‟t ruin the smooth running of theflight experience itself. The flight took approximately 2 hours, landing in Changi Airport halfan hour behind schedule. Nonetheless, the contingent arrived safely, and went throughimmigration smoothly. We were astounded by the welcoming reception we received from theSingaporeans as all the Camelot trainers and officers from MOE Singapore were present togreet us the moment we stepped out of the airport. We rode a bus and made our way toLabrador Camp. It was a 30 minutes journey but the students were at awe with the night viewof Singapore. We were given a briefing on the lodging and the activities planned. The officers from MOE Singapore and Camelot Trainers also took the opportunity to introduce themselves. The night ended with a late snack of pizza provided by our hosts.3.2. Programme Information3.2.1. Lodging Labrador Camp, which is situated in the Pasir Panjang area, was a collection ofbuildings exclusively for camping activities. It was formerly a school, but was converted in2005 into one of Singapore‟s few camping centres. Although it had the structure of a school, 9 of 40
  10. 10. the amenities that it provided hinted its grandeur as a well cared camping site. Upon enteringthe compound, we were ushered into our rooms; what were previously classrooms were nowfitted with bunk beds enough to accommodate around 20 per room. With regards to the Brunei contingent, 2 ground floor rooms were provided for theboys while 2 1st floor rooms were prepared for the girls. The chaperons were also allocatedseparate rooms for males and females, each just a few doors away from their respectivegender groups. Other facilities that could be found in the compound included four shower rooms,each with at least 10 shower cubicles; a laundry machine; a cafeteria and camping activityareas.We negotiated in having one spacious room to perform prayers in, which theSingaporean officers generously provided in alacrity.3.2.2. Officers, Staff and Students from Singapore The number of officers and staff from the Singapore contingent was impressive. Itappeared that there were two parties of officers, with one being the officers from MOE andthe other being the Camelot trainers. A brief introduction during our arrival greatly helped inlearning their names. The MOE officers that were involved included Mr. Seng, Mr. Hasnan,Ms. Carmen and Ms. Michelle, while the Camelot trainers included their head trainer Alan,and his merry lot of trainers Alvin, Aqasha, Wayne, Fiona and Jay. The roles that theseindividuals undertook will be elaborated as the report progresses. Students from Singapore did not arrive until the day after our arrival. They comprisedof 6 students from Jun Yuan School and 20 students from Pei Hwa School. Initially, theyplanned for a 40 membered student contingent but a few were unable to attend due to othercommitments. The teachers of each school were Cikgu Khairul and Mrs. Jennifer. CikguKhairul opted to stay with us male chaperons in the same room, which gave us a chance to 10 of 40
  11. 11. share knowledge on how each country differs in the provision of education, among otherinteresting topics.3.3. Programme Activities The programme was officially started with a flag-raising ceremony on the 14th ofDecember 2009. The 5 day programme will be elaborated according to their respective daysand further divided into morning, afternoon and night activities.3.3.1. Day 1 ActivitiesMorning (Getting to Know Our Singapore Friends) Day 1 started very early. The teachers woke up around 5.10a.m but already thestudents were fully awake and rearing to take their showers, and perform their prayers. After prayers, we waited for 7.30 a.m when we were feted with nasi lemak from uncleBen‟s catering service, Ben Hassan Caterers. The atmosphere during breakfast was good assome of the trainers took interest of the students and engaged in warm chats. Then by 8.30a.m the contingents from two schools arrived. 6 students from Jun Yuan school and 26fromPei Hwa joined us in the cafeteria. Even though they all had their breakfast in theirschools, they were sat with the Bruneians who initiated small conversations. 11 of 40
  12. 12. By 9.00 a.m the students were all gathered in the basketball court where they werebriefed by the trainers and eventually transitioned into a lot of icebreaking activities.Evidently, the Bruneian students were the more extroverted members as the Singaporeanswere still adapting to the situation with only being there for a mere hour. In some instances,our students actually performed - in the middle of group circles - their singing talents (e.gAerien Ahmad Azizi) and even their joget skills (Dk. Nurul Zawanah). Around this time it was apparent that they were really up for it and did not want todisappoint their teachers and their country. They were pushing their confidence level beyondtheir comfort zone. There were a few who were still introverted but so were several of theSingaporeans. Eventually, they all began to cool down and contributed to the grander schemeof things. 12 of 40
  13. 13. We had a flag-raising ceremony. A special mention goes to Cikgu Hasnan, whobrought the flag from the Brunei Embassy to be raised alongside the Singapore flag. After theceremony, they all went to the canteen and, in groups worked on mahjong paper to come upwith a special motto for their respective team. 13 of 40
  14. 14. While the students were engaged in what was fast becoming an active session, theteachers were invited by Miss Carmen to quickly grab a taste of the best „bandung‟ drinkinSingapore, which was a just few minutes‟ walk from the camp. We came back in time tojoin the kids in their lunch of „nasi ayam‟. Soon after, the students were given 10 minutestime to pack their backpacks and everyone left for the Camelot Center near Changi. We tooktwo buses, with two teachers in each bus as the students had been mixed and divided into 4teams. The journey along the coastal expressway took around 40 minutes. In the bus thestudents mingled abit and so did the teachers.Afternoon (Camelot Training Centre) Upon arriving in Camelot we were very impressed with the facilities, and Cikgu Santicommented that everything was basic yet useful. Since we had 30minutes to spare, we hadthe students performed their „Jamak Qasr Takdim‟ prayers. The boys all did theirs while only2 girls, who brought their telekong, were able to perform theirs. The team building activities started and the students worked in mixed groupsperforming a lot of teamwork activities. Around the same time, the teachers were invited byMichelle to roam around the compound as they briefed us on the facilities available in thesite. We walked to the East coast for 10 minutes and passed by a sailing club centre and alsothe SAFRA resort for National Service members, and then moved to the west towards theChangi village but fell short of arriving there due to its distance. We came back to witness students still performing their activities. As Cikgu Simahsupervised them, us other three chaperons were invited to discuss about future plans of thecamp over a cup of tea and enjoyed the best view of the compound which overlooked the seato Batam. 14 of 40
  15. 15. We then made our move to join the students in their telematch competition. Thestudents competed in four teams in a knockout based tournament.It was during this time thatall of the Bruneian students showed great sense of competitiveness. Special mention goes to Aerien Ahmad Azizi who was by far the fastest sprinter inthe whole camp, Najrien and Eddy who were good sports, Faiz who was very focussed on histask and showed some good leadership skills, and the girls who surprised us with their suddenwanting to be involved, including Ummi, Nuraina (who was not feeling well but persisted),and Zawanah who was very competitive and had her game face on. Nonetheless, everyone was exceptional, especially when a Singaporean memberslipped and fell on the concrete pavement; a group of our boys (Nabil, Faiz, Aziz, Hazim, anda few others) ran to provide help. They carried him to. It was a very proud moment for usteachers seeing 6 of our own boys helping their Singaporean mate. It was a sight to beremembered. 15 of 40
  16. 16. Evening (Night Barbeque) Soon after nightfall, we started our barbeque themed dinner by starting simple barbeque pits from 2 bricks, an aluminium foil tray, sand and some charcoal. It was around this time thatthe students started mingling. But as the Camelot trainers commented, there were still pockets of cliques left that they need to disband. The students and the teachers enjoyed the barbeque session. We were dined with satay, squid dipped in cincalok, „otak-otak‟, prawns dipped in Carmens wonderful marinade, mushrooms, stingrays, corn,and „meehoon‟. We ended at 9.00 a.m and went back to Labrador Camp to be debriefed ontomorrow‟s expectantly strenuous activity. 16 of 40
  17. 17. 3.3.2. Day 2 ActivitiesMorning (High Elements) Day 2 marked the first time the students slept through the night alongsideSingaporeans. They woke up early for Subuh prayer and had their breakfast a la Singapore. Itwas a complete set of the „lontong‟ cuisine. Once the students ate they were divided into twomain groups, each having an equal mix of Brunei and Singapore students with the other.Group 1 went to gather in the basketball court to be briefed by invited nature experts, one ofthem being Mr. Sunny, a certified „plant plucker‟ from MOE (because plucking flora isillegal). Meanwhile, Group 2 went to gather on the gathering point to be briefed by membersof the Camelot Trainers. According to the programme, Group 1 would go for a nature walkwhile Group 2 went to do high elements. As I was the chaperon for Group 2, I will explain the itinerary of the day based on myinvolvements. Group 2 was in line to perform high element activities. Each group was further 17 of 40
  18. 18. divided into 2 subgroups with the intention being to cover more ground per hour. I supervisedthe trapeze jump activity while Omar supervised the absailing actvity. With me were 5students, Faiz, Nabil, Aziz, Nazurah and Afiqah, who showed tremendous courage inclimbing a 20 foot pole, standing on a platform and jumped into the air to grab a hangingtrapeze pole. Special mention goes to Nazurah and Afiqah who clearly braved themselves outof their fear of heights as they did it with all smiles. It was great to see all five being able tocomplete the tasks. I also jumped the trapeze twice, and then supervised the absailing andzipline activities then after. After completing the activities, we then joined group 1 who just came back from theirnature walk to have our lunch. Our lunch was mutton „rendang‟ with „nasi briyani‟, „acar‟,chicken and its condiments. 18 of 40
  19. 19. Afternoon (Nature Walk) After lunch, it was then Omar and my turn to go for the nature walk. Again we weredivided into 2 subgroups and my group followed Mr. Sunny the nature guide. We walked agood 1 km from the Labrador Camp to the Hortpark located around Bukit Candu, wherealong the way, Sunny introduced to us roadside plants and their benefits. We went toHortpark and walked up a winding trail, occasionally stopping to talk about flowers and trees.When Mr. Sunny introduced to us the „Simpur‟ plant, Aziz stepped up to explain what the„simpur‟ plant meant to Bruneians. We moved from one plant to the other, talking about theirbenefits. At times the students were taught on edible plants and prompted to taste them, suchas eating hibiscus and sea almonds,and the sweet tasting hairy berries, which became big hitwith the students that they collected alot to bring back to camp. We moved up 4 to 5 tiers of long winding trail, climbed concrete stairs and thenwalked along an overhead wooden canopy. From there we could see the views around BukitCandu. Further up, near the apex of the hill, we arrived at a looking point where we could seethe islands nearby. And finally we ended in a heritage museum in memory of Leftenan 19 of 40
  20. 20. Adnan, his soldiers and the stories of how they withstood the Japanese army, as told by Mr.Sunny.Evening (Midnight Rendezvous) After dinner we were set to travel for the Midnight Rendezvous. Divided into twobuses, our groups guide was Mr. Victor who described to us the many buildings aroundSingapore and the history of Singapore throughout our bus ride. We alighted across CityHallbuilding and walked the stretch of the underground tunnels from Singapores tallest hotel(The Swiss Hotel) to the Esplanade Theater. Our bus took a slow tour past the Orchard Roadarea and ended up in Clarke Quay where we embarked on a boat cruise along the Singaporeriver in an old wooden boat. We went to view the Esplanade from the picturesque sight offthe bay, the many governmental buildings such as the parliament, the bridges and sculpturesfound along the river. The Merlion fountain statue was the highlight of the cruise. We left Clarke Quay area and made our move to Jalan Kayu, where ThaseviRestaurant was located. Thasevi Restaurant is an Indian restaurant famous for its unique „rotiprata‟ dish. It was definitely a savoury dish unlike those found in Brunei. After satiating ourhunger, we then moved on to what the trainers regard as „retail therapy‟. Mustaffa Centrebecame our next stop and was highly anticipated by the Bruneian students. Upon arriving, itwas heartwarming to witness Singaporean students helping out their Bruneian friends inpicking out souvenirs for family back home. Students came out of the shopping center withbags of souvenirs. Our penultimate stop brought us to Jurong Hill, and climbed up three levels ofspiralling incline to reach the top of its lookout tour that overlooked Jurong. The serenity ofthe night was quite atypical of Singapore and was somehow quite familiar to Brunei‟s. 20 of 40
  21. 21. The midnight rendezvous finally and literally carried us to the Jurong FisheriesCentre. Being one of Singapore‟s main source of food supply, it had extra tight security thatprohibited any cameras. Nonetheless, the short tour into the centre‟s belly alone was aprivilege. The centre put the contingents directly into the heart of fish mongering, and themany fresh saltwater creatures on display were tantalising. Even the Singaporeans boughtseveral boxes of shrimps for their consumption. Ultimately, the midnight rendezvous was a remarkably interesting experience both forthe Bruneians and Singaporeans. The programme made possible access to sights andsituations where a typical trip to Singapore would never provide. Our tour ended around 4.00a.m in the early hours of morning. Fittingly, the officers gave the students and teachers agood amount of rest as Day 3 activity was scheduled close to midday.3.3.3. Day 3 ActivitiesMorning – Afternoon (Dragon boat) Unlike the previous days, Day 3 started relatively late into the morning as there wasonly to be one main activity. The weather further casted doubt on whether it was feasible tobe performed. Nonetheless, we tried our luck and travelled to Kallang River because ourlunch was to be served there. Upon arriving at the Kallang Water Sports Centre, we were served fish fillet and rice for lunch. While resting, we attentively listened to a briefing by a representative of the Singapore Dragon Boat Association. It was determined that 21 of 40
  22. 22. we would be separated into four dragon boats. Since all of the students would be involved inrowing, I took the initiative to record the whole experience. All the students and chaperonswere fitted with life-vests and were equipped with paddles. Everyone stepped into theirrespective boats and slowly embarked from the pier. The dragon boat pilot took the helm and briefed us on the theoretical approach of dragon boat motion. Consequently we were all taught to paddle and not long after were paddling tremendously well along the river. In the distance, the other boats were also excelling in their training. We rowed a goodfew kilometres and almost reached the Singapore Flyer Carousel, only to be hindered by alooming thunderstorm. We decided to double back but the storm already caught us. In themidst of heavy rain, we raced one another on the way back to the pier. It was an exhilaratingexperience yet we had to scramble out of the open water due to the creeping lightning strikes. 22 of 40
  23. 23. As a precautionary measure, the trainers all ushered us to dry ourselves under theshelter of the Kallang Water Sports Centre. Eventually the lightning strikes subsided but therain still did not abate. We then decided to head back to our buses, some still quite drenchedfrom the rain. On the way back, our buses were entertained by the Camelot trainers and theircomedic sing-alongs – a skill which I personally thought was quite effective in nurturingstudents‟ interest in teamwork.Evening (Downtown Rendezvous Amazing Race Briefing) After dinner, we intently listened to a very detailed briefing on Day 4‟s activity,which was an Amazing Race-esque rendezvous in downtown Singapore. In the briefing, wewere given maps and guides of Singapore, and were informed that we would be navigatingour way through Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam, albeit groups are only requiredto go to at least two destinations. The destinations were very fitting seeing that each representa culture that entwines with multinational Singapore. Due to the demanding tribulations for the past 2 days and the upcoming downtownrendezvous which was expected to span beyond 8 hours, we were given an early rest. Lightswere out by 10.30 p.m, which was 2 hours earlier than usual. However, the Brunei andSingapore teachers were offered a trip to Mount Faber. Leading the night excursion wasCikgu Hasnan of MOE and Mr. Alan of Camelot. We drove up Mount Faber which wasseveral minutes drive from camp. We were in awe of the 360 degrees panoramic view thatthe peak of Mount Faber offered. Its peak was also adorned with decorated flooring whichpoints towards significant locations throughout the world, and finding „Brunei‟ engraved onone side of its floor was an added bonus to what was a very moving night, as the chaperonsbecame quite acquainted with the Singapore officers. 23 of 40
  24. 24. 3.3.4. Day 4 ActivitiesMorning and Afternoon (Downtown Rendezvous) Day 4 started with the division of students and chaperons into four groups. Eachgroup was assisted by one Camelot trainer and one chaperon. My group was guided byCamelot trainer Mr. Alvin. His techniques were based on discovery and experiential learning,whereby he asks questions of the participants in order to elicit options for them to peruse.That was the highest form of assistance that Mr. Alvin provided, which allowed the students,especially our Bruneian students, to learn to navigate through a very unfamiliar environmentand transportation culture. Nonetheless, my group performed extremely well, and specialmention goes to Md. Hazim, who automatically took the helm and made analytical decisions. We started off in Chinatown where we went in search for one of the tour guides forthe day. It didn‟t take long to find her, and she promptly brought us into the Buddha ToothRelic Temple, and gave us a brief tour of the elements found in the temple. After the temple 24 of 40
  25. 25. tour, we moved by foot towards the direction of the Urban Development Authority Building.Prior to reaching there, we passed by several shop-houses reminiscent of those in Brunei, andtook a quick stop in a calligraphy shop where each student was given a custom-made fan withone‟s name written on it in calligraphy. In the Urban Development Authority Building, wewere welcomed by visually informative exhibitions as well as the central exhibit of thebuilding, a small-scale 3-D map of Singapore. It didn‟t take long before the students were tested on their composure. The group gotlost whilst searching for the Pearl Center building, but it took merely 10 minutes of mapreading to find the building itself, a feat that was commended by Mr. Alvin, who keptinformation that would reveal these landmarks to him alone. It was an effective method ofmaturing students‟ capacity in working under pressure. 25 of 40
  26. 26. Our next stop was at Kampong Glam, where we were greeted by Mr. Victor, oursecond tour guide. The students were introduced to the historical background of the area andwere taken for a tour in the most prominent mosque in Kampong Glam. The tour continuedwith Mr. Victor presenting students with an array of traditional Malay children games,including „gasing‟ (top) and „simban‟. Several of the students bought these traditional gamesfor souvenirs. Due to the light drizzle and the lack of shade, the tour was hastened to escape thecreeping rainclouds. The students made their way to the nearest MRT station, a mean oftransportation that they began to familiarise with during the start of the amazing race. Wealighted from the MRT and continued our journey by bus and eventually by foot back toLabrador Camp. 26 of 40
  27. 27. Evening (Campire Night) The evening would bear witness to one of the most emotional sessions of theprogramme. After dinner, the Brunei students quickly gathered in the lounge room andpracticed for one final time their dance routine, while the Singapore officers prepared theLabrador Camp hall for the campfire night. We chaperons were then ushered to attend the ceremony. We were cordially greetedby the officers and their amazing attempt in creating a very warm atmosphere. Tea candles litthe subdued lighting and the stage was set for a night to remember. As the chief chaperon, I was invited to „co-ignite‟ the campfire with the Mr. TanHeng Yang, whom I spoke informally with earlier. We kindled the flame and thus marked theinitiation of the campfire night. Mr. Tan then proceeded to presenting a speech regarding thecamp and continued with presenting the Brunei contingent with a token of appreciation. Torepay their gratitude, I took the liberty to present an impromptu speech myself, highlightingthe integral bonds that have been made, the cultures that had been shared and, mostparamount, the hospitality that had been presented towards the Brunei contingent. I alsopresented a token of appreciation, on behalf of the International Unit, MOE, to Mr. Tan. Before dinner, the attendees were first entertained by what I personally thought wasan impeccable cultural dance performance by the Brunei team, followed by a very movingsinging performance by the Singapore team. Already emotions were rampant, as studentsboth Bruneians and Singaporeans enjoyed their dinner under the nuance that it would be theirlast night together. After dinner, the Camelot trainers organised quite comical activities, which included adancing competition. Special mention goes to our male student Najrien who danced his wasto being the winner of the contest. As an observer of these students, we the chaperons 27 of 40
  28. 28. definitely saw a remarkable change in persona in all the students that we trained. It wasaround this moment that we felt pride in what the students had achieved. The night continued with a surprise call for the Brunei chaperons to perform. Weconceded and made our way to the stage, and belted out a song requested by the crowd.Moments after, we called the students on stage to present the Singaporeans with the officialcamp song. One last song which left a permanent impression was sung by our students,entitled „Tentang Kita‟, which were aptly worded in tandem to the 5 days experience thestudents had. It was there and then that students, and the Camelot trainers who somehowbecame attached, shed tears. I was privileged to have been given the chance to talk with Mr. Alan and Mr. Hasnanfor one final night. They themselves were taken by surprise as to how attached the Camelottrainers had become with the students. As Mr. Alan said, and I quote, “In all my years, I havenever seen my trainers and students cry this much. It is good indicator that the programmehas successfully built relations among them”. I duly agreed with his statement and it was amost apposite summary of what had transpired.3.4. Return Flight to Brunei The last day was a day of mixed emotions. Everyone gathered in the cafeteria to haveour breakfast. The trainers looked quite dishevelled with what was imminent. The Bruneistudents were engaged in jokes and small chats to make use of the quickly fleeting time. TheSingaporean students decided to send off the Brunei contingent in the airport. Prior to loadingour luggage, the students distributed their souvenirs to one another. The bus trip to Changi airport was one of the most emotionally excruciating rides anyof the students would have been on. 28 of 40
  29. 29. Upon our arrival in Changi Airport, we chaperons quickly checked-in our baggageand claim our boarding passes. Our final hour was spent in bidding our last farewell. Istepped forward to initiate the passing of school pennants to both the Camelot trainer leaderand the MOE Singapore representative. When it was time to leave, virtually everyone shedtears of sadness. The Brunei students took one final glance before entering the terminal. Itwas a fond farewell. A proper farewell. Ultimately, it was a farewell that none wanted tohave, but circumstances prevailed. The students bade their farewell to the land that isSingapore, and touched down 2 hours later embraced by their loved ones in Brunei. We weregreeted by Cikgu Hjh Ainah from the International Unit, who constantly kept in touch with usthroughout the programme.4. WHAT THE TEAM HAS ATTAINED FROM THE PROGRAMME The benefits and advantages attained from this programme would be a long list tomention. In spirit of a concise report, I will elaborate on five elements that the Bruneicontingent gained from the trip.4.1 Acquaintances Collectively, the Brunei contingent made meaningful bonds with our Singaporecounterparts. The chaperons were able to create liaising channels with Singapore MOE andthe Camelot trainers for future cooperating prospects, whilst the students themselves attainedeverlasting friendship that to this day has transitioned into the internet realm. From within theBrunei contingent, acquaintances were also formed among the students and chaperons, as isthe case with the officers from the International Unit, MOE. 29 of 40
  30. 30. 4.2 Experience It is inarguably true that the experience attained during the programme was one thatcannot be replicated in one‟s lifetime if given the opportunity. Therefore, it is fitting toconclude that the programme gave a once in a lifetime experience for all that was involved inthe Brunei contingent. The memories that the contingent shared from a very condenseditinerary are vivid colours of what the slang term „emotional rollercoaster‟ would portray. Itwas indeed emotional memories that were painted throughout the time spent among theSingaporeans. Furthermore, an experience of sight, sounds and scents bombard the senses constantlyduring our stay. The picturesque views of Singapore‟s skyline, night lights and pockets ofgreenery were mere specks of what the island has to offer. In addition, the experience ofdoing things, such as high elements and dragon boat racing, is quite difficult to replicate backhome.4.3 Knowledge Evidently, cultures of each country were shared in passing, while Singapore offered ahands-on discovery of their culture due to them playing host for 2009. However, if one looksbefore the camping programme, knowledge has been delivered to students the moment theytook into being involved in the pre-camp activities. During the early days of pre-camp activities, students were quite introverted andlacked motivation in striking up a conversation. A few days into the pre-camp sessions,students gradually gained confidence in their teamwork and a few developed leadership traits. 30 of 40
  31. 31. In Singapore, these traits were apparent enough not to push back the Singaporeansfrom mingling with the Brunei contingent, as the Brunei students initiated a lot of self-introduction. As the programme progressed, the students got out of their comfort zone andnever looked back. They were able to perform impromptu and were quite obedient anddiligent in the processes of acquiring new knowledge. With regards to the chaperons, we have learnt a rich amount of knowledge on therunning of a camp programme in Singapore. We learnt of the infrastructure of their educationsystem and the learning culture that embodies a successful education approach. In particular,the emphasis on outward bound activities inspired us to test these theories, as we witnessedstudents who went through these routines and came out with a sense of positive bravado andpizzazz atypical of Bruneian students. From primary levels, students were already required to be proficient swimmers, atleast have lived through an outward bound camping experience, and have performed all thehigh elements activities. Such was the strength of implementing rigorous outdoor activities.The chaperons eventually developed a deep understanding of how Singapore students were,using an analogy, thrown into the sharks to fend for themselves – which is a microcosm oftoday‟s global society. We were greatly inspired.5. RECOMMENDATIONSAs a proviso, it would be capricious on our part to recommend changes on the 2009 campingprogramme as it was wholly prepared by the Singapore MOE. Furthermore, considering thatit was a well organised and richly condensed programme, the benefits that it gave faroutweighed any shortcomings that it might have had.However, we were deeply inspired by the activities that transpired during the programme andwould suggest several of these components be integrated into our nation-based camp. Below 31 of 40
  32. 32. are several recommendations that we believe would contribute immensely to the bettermentof students.5.1 An Outward Bound UnitThe programme itself utilised the aid of officers from the Singapore Outward Bound Unit, inaddition to outsourcing channels by bringing in a certified and highly regarded TrainingTeam, the Camelot Trainers.Brunei is currently missing a stand-alone training team that are certified in a diverse array oflife skills, from high ropes to first aid, from water sports mastery to nature guides. If weperchance have these individuals in our disposal, it is high time that they are incorporatedinto the many camping schemes that we have, in addition to deploying them in appropriatestudent exchange programmes.The discussions with the trainers also brought to light how it would be possible to have localBruneians trained and certified in organising high elements and water elements. A suggestionis to have 10 local Bruneians sent for training, so they in turn can train others in Brunei oncethey have achieved mastery of these crafts.5.2 A Camping Centre Although we have sporadic areas that can be considered camping sites, there is yetone in Brunei that is a fully fledged camp centres; a school that is exclusively for camping.Singapore has at least 5 centres. Labrador itself was transformed from an unused school,while the Changi Camp Centre was built for the sole purpose of camping. 32 of 40
  33. 33. The amenities were provided exclusively for a great camping experience and teambuilding training. The Changi Camp Centre, for example, provides hundreds of canoes anddozens of dragonboats, at least 3 rock climbing walls built onto the building walls, acollection of low ropes and high ropes elements, and several open air chalets for a supervisedcamping atmosphere. As mentioned earlier, Singapore students start their camping experiencefrom primary level.5.3 A Dossier of Interesting Activities From the conversation that we had with the Singapore officers who came to Brunei in2008, they were quite pleased with several activities that were scheduled for them, whichincluded the boat trip around Kampong Ayer and the paddy plating in Wasan. Both activitiesshould become main attractions of next year‟s programme as well as any campingprogramme that would indulge such interest. Likewise, as one of the chaperons for 2009, I was quite pleased to be in the midnighttour. Personally, visiting the many variants of the island, visiting Jurong Fisheries and touringthrough the crowds of shoppers were highlights of my trip. It therefore put us in an excitingproject of creating an equally interesting tour route throughout Brunei. Unlike normal touristattraction routes, the route proposed for 2010 would include the other side of Brunei that israrely accessible to tourists. To date, the 2009 chaperons are planning to draft an itinerary forthis year, including drafting a tour route that would represent Brunei in its many facets ofsplendour. 33 of 40
  34. 34. 6. CONCLUSION The 2009 Singapore Brunei Student Leaders Adventure Camp was indeed asuccessful programme. Success can be measured by the lack of any flaws or shortcomings,the smooth sailing of the activities and the amount of confidence, knowledge and leadershiptraits that the students have gained. The hospitality given by our Singaporean counterparts were beyond expectations. Theactivities that were provided for us are worthy to be coined as once-in-a-lifetime experience.The bonds that were made have entwined both countries closer. All this could not be possiblewithout the presence of everyone involved. I, on behalf of the Brunei contingent, would like to take this opportunity in expressingour gratitude to officers of the International Unit, MOE, in particular Cikgu Hjh. Ainah,wholiaised with us and others who were involved in the background processes, who remained incontact throughout the our stay in Singapore, and to have granted this opportunity for all theparticipants. Our heartfelt thanks go to our sponsors from DST Sdn. Bhd., Alimen Enterprise andNarcotics Control Bureau for the travelling items that they contributed. Last but not least, we would like to commend on the intricate preparations andprocesses that were undertaken by MOE Singapore and Camelot Trainers. In essence of theprogramme, may the bonds that have been created strengthen for many years to come. 34 of 40
  35. 35. APPENDIX AStudents Name List1 Mohd Faiz Hidayat bin Suhaini (AAC)2 Muhd Aziz Azizan bin Mat Dayang (SMSUA)3 Fadyl Bahrin @Adyl bin Ellmi (MS)4 Ak Muhd Eddy Muqri bin Pg Mazalan (SMJA)5 Aerien Ahmad Azizi bin Sahri (SM Sharif Ali)6 Muhd Hazim bin Awg Haji Zakaria (SMSAB)7 Khairul Izzul bin Zaini (SMSA)8 Najrien bin Juani (SM RIPAS)9 Mohd Nabil Baihaqy bin Mohd Suwarso (SMPW)10 Wan Raifuddin bin Wan Sabli (SMPAPHRSB)11 Ismah Nur Afifah binti Idris (MS)12 Siti Nur Hamizah Al Ghazi Saufi binti Hj Md Bakar (SMSUA)13 Nazurah binti Haji Mahli (SMPAPHM)14 Nur’ Amalina bte Yunos (SMPDSM)15 Ummi Wahb binti Rayali (AAC)16 Dyg Siti Nur Afiqah Izzati binti Awg Idris (SMPAPHM)17 Naqiyyah Hana Quratu’ain binti Abd Ghani (SMJA)18 Dk Nurul Zawanah binti Pg Haji Omar (SM Sharif Ali)19 Nuraina Aafiqah binti Mohd Zain (STPRI)20 Nadiah binti Haji Hassan (SMPAPHRSB) 35 of 40
  36. 36. APPENDIX B A re-designed logo for the programme, as utilised in logbooks and nametags A sample of the official nametag for the male participants. The nametag was worn throughout the programme in Singapore and encased in a waterproof tag holder. The nametag contains a lot of data, which include among others, the Buddy Group for this student (A), the students’ number in the group (03), his nickname and fullname, his school and his group chaperon’s phone number (881523). The tag colour is bordered blue for males, red for females and black for chaperons. 36 of 40
  37. 37. APPENDIX CPrepared Pre-Camp ItineraryDATE/DAY TIME ACTIVITY VENUE17th Nov 2009 2:30-4:30 pm The Signing of Agreement SOASC Auditorium22nd Nov 2009 9:00-11:30am Introductory Briefing SOASC Gymnasium29thNov 2009 9:00-11:30 am Cultural Dance and Singing SOASC Practice Gymnasium2nd Dec 2009 9:00am-12:30pm Cultural Dance and Singing SOASC Practice Gymnasium5th Dec 2009 9:00am-12:30pm Cultural Dance and Singing SOASC Practice Gymnasium7th Dec 2009 9:00am-12:30pm Youth Leadership Programme SOASC organised by the Brunei Gymnasium Darussalam AIDS Council9th Dec 2009 8:00am-11:30am Fitness Test SOASC Gymnasium and Outdoor Track10th Dec 2009 8:00am-12:30pm Jama Prayer Talk SOASC Auditorium11th Dec 2009 8:00am-4:00pm Day Camp Seri Kenangan Beach 37 of 40
  38. 38. APPENDIX DStudents off to Spore for leadership campAk Hj Shaiffadzillah Pg Hj Omarali (R), head of the contingent, talking to the students prior to their departure toattend the 3rd Singapore-Brunei Leaders Adventure Camp. Picture: BT/Hana RoslanHANA ROSLANBANDAR SERI BEGAWANMonday, December 14, 2009A DELEGATION of students and teachers set off to the Republic of Singapore for a four-day adventureyesterday afternoon.Some 20 students and four teachers who dressed in similar blue-collared shirts were ready to attend theThird Singapore-Brunei Leaders Adventure Camp 2009.Head of the contingent, Ak Hj Shaiffadzillah Pg Hj Omarali, 28, a teacher from Pengiran Anak Puteri HjhMasna Secondary School (PAP Hjh Masna), when met at the Brunei International Airport said that thedelegation was looking forward to the activities as well as the sharing sessions to come.An active member of the adventure club in the school, he said that exposing the students to the adventureclub trained them to become leaders and nurtured other characteristics that they might not find in academicpursuits."They will be more confident in public speaking, independent and courageous when performing on stage,and most importantly develop a concern for nature," he said.Hj Shaiffadzillah added: "The trend now has more to do with climate change, nature and ecology, and fromwhat I can see, the youth are very involved in it."Getting the students to meet with their Singaporean counterparts would also be beneficial as they can shareeach others culture. "Singapore is a very conservative country when it comes to littering and cleanliness.So this would be a good chance to expose the students to a country that prioritises cleanliness and see howthey do it," he said. 38 of 40
  39. 39. APPENDIX D (continued)Hj Shaiffadzillah explained that meeting with their peers from Singapore would give a positive impact ontheir self-development as Brunies future leaders.He added that Singaporeans students were more open-minded to new ideas which would have positiveimpact on the students."Mingling with the open-minded and approachable Singaporean students would help them to practice theirsocial skills because Bruneian students can be a bit reserved," he said.Hj Shaiffadzillah said: "Im not saying that all Bruneians are like that, its just that some can be quite shyand are not aware of maximising their potential and, the whole purpose of going there was to groom themto be leaders."Meanwhile, he said that collaborations among neighbouring countries, when it comes to current issues,such as the environment, is also to be expected. "If we were to get a few more heads in there, we wouldhave multiple cooperation and the culmination of everything will surely produce outcomes," he said.Hj Shaiffadzillah went on to say that the knowledge obtained from Singapore will definitely be localisedalthough there should be awareness of applying the best practices in a more Bruneian context."We have to be aware of our context because Brunei is quite unique in such a way that we have a mixtureof influences that stem from religion and culture along with other variables," Hj Shaiffadzillah asserted.He added: "It might not be necessary toadopt all the practices, but hopefully with the knowledge gained,the students would be able to produce their own versions of the practices learnt overseas."The students and teachers will be coming back on December 18.The Brunei TimesSource:http://www.bt.com.bn/en/news-national/2009/12/14/students-spore-leadership-camp 39 of 40
  40. 40. APPENDIX EBinding Ties Through Adventure Camp In Singapore Written by Azzy Monday, 14 December 2009 08:01 Bandar Seri Begawan - Enchanching standing through the exchange of cultures and traditions, has forged a lasting friendship between the youths of Brunei and Singapore. This has been the tradition of the annual Singapore-Brunei Leaders Adventure Camp. The event is in its third series this year. Twenty students from Brunei will continue the journey that promotes understanding, collaboration and friendship amongst their Singaporean counterparts in the 3rd Singapore-Brunei Adventure Camp 2009. Accompanying the visiting entourage are four selected teachers. The group departed for Singapore yesterday to begin their remarkable journey from December 14 to 18. Their pre-scheduled activities include dragon boating, amazing race, log climbing, zip line, visits, telepath, abseiling, challenge pole, nature walk and performances, among others. These activities are lined-up with the objectives to promote understanding and bonding between the youths through various activities involving cross cultural learning, outdoor adventure, team-building games and live-in experiences whilst educating the students on the need to conserve the natural environment to preserve its biodiversity. It also serves to educate them on the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of ones country and building leadership skills while learning to work as a team and improve their problem solving skills. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Source: http://www.brudirect.com/index.php/2009121412311/Local-News/binding-ties-through- adventure-camp-in-singapore.html 40 of 40

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