Camp’s ‘open day’ allays fears

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 17 Feb 2004

KUALA KUBU BARU: The national service camp here had the atmosphere of a family day yesterday when its doors were opened to admit not only trainees but their parents and siblings as well. 

The camp’s director, Michael Yei, said the “open day” concept was aimed at allying the fears and worries of parents. 

“Today is a free and easy day. When the trainees arrived, we asked them to help themselves to food and drinks before registration.  

“Parents with any queries are free to approach us,” he said. 

The National Service Programme participants collecting their training gear upon registration at the Wawasan Ovai Camp in Papar.

Yei said the camp has 948 trainees under the supervision of 60 staff members.  

A parent, bank officer Chee Hock Chew, 47, from Klang, was pleased with the arrangement.  

“I’m glad I made the trip here to see for myself. The staff here is very friendly and forthcoming,” he said.  

Other parents like M. Sunderam and his wife S. Raj Kumari, from Subang Jaya, said they were satisfied with the facilities at the camp.  

Their eldest daughter, S. Thanalaxmi, 25, said she wished she could swap places with her 18-year-old sister to attend the training. 

“This is great. Just imagine the fun you can have, like canoeing for free,” she said. 

The first group of 20 trainees from Sabah and Sarawak reported to the camp at 2am yesterday, after a 19-hour journey. 

Alvin Thien How Vui from Beaufort, Sabah, said the waiting time at the two airports took up the most time. 

“The good thing is that I made many new friends,” he said.  

Asked about his first impression of spending a night at the camp, he replied: “I was so tired I was knocked out the moment my head touched the pillow. I had a good night’s sleep. I think I will fit in here very well.” 

By lunch, some 200 trainees had arrived at the camp and were having their meals at the dining hall, which has two television sets.  

Another trainee, Siti Mastura Abdul Rahim, found out that she was at the wrong camp upon arriving here. 

“My name is not on the camp’s list. Instead, I belong to a camp in my home state (Perak) in Lumut,” she said. 

Siti Mastura said she was initially assigned to a camp in Ulu Klang but she was informed a few weeks ago that the camp had been scrapped from the list of NS training sites.  

She was then told via telephone to report to the Kuala Kubu Baru camp but there was no black and white notification.  

She was not the only one caught in such a situation as there were at least two other “misplaced” cases here. 

Yei said he had alerted the NS Training Department for further directives.  

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