By Mr. Ken Zi-Jian, Instructor, at 3rd Kuala Lumpur Company
July 17-19, 2015
TANJUNG SEPAT, SELANGOR - Retreat. The word means different things to different people, but for those of us in the BB, I’m sure only one thing comes to mind when we hear it. It’s that time of the year again when the company is closed for a week while the leaders of the company go off into a faraway land (though in this case, not-so a faraway land) and isolate themselves from the outside world (not really either) for a few days to set the direction of the company for the coming year. That’s what it means to me at least.
The leader’s Retreat this year was quite different. But it wasn’t the programmes as you could pretty much guess what were we going to do there - the generic meetings after meetings after meetings, and some team building games would be thrown in to keep us awake and alive. At night, we would go out for a nice dinner.
It was the amount of people. Unlike previous years, where the numbers generally hovered around the 20 participants, but this year, we had a whopping 40+ people attending, enough to fill an entire bus. I was clueless as to the amount of people that were going and was genuinely shocked when I arrived in YMCA (our place of departure) that Friday morning. Some of us joked that this was starting to become more of a company camp than a Leader’s retreat. We prayed for journey mercy, assigned to our respective cars and started our journey to Ganofarm, Tanjung Sepat, where we would eat and sleep for the next 3 days.
The car ride was relatively quick as Tanjung Sepat isn’t very far from KL, arriving just in time for lunch. I should note that we had 4 rooms that consisted of approximately 8 single beds each, 2 of the rooms were on the 3rd floor while the other two officer rooms were on the 2nd floor. The “hall” we used was located in between the two rooms on the 3rd floor - just look at the pictures if you can’t picture this. After we settled down in our respective rooms, we gathered and sat down in the hall for our first session. Our captain Mr. Terence Tay, kicked off the retreat with an opening speech that went along the lines of; (1) thanking us for coming, (2) what we hope to achieve during this camp and (3) hoping that we will enjoy this camp as much as other camps.
The first day of the camp was pretty much spent talking about the future of the company, what would it be 1,5,10 years from now, and reviewed the targets set by ourselves from the past, most of the time it was the person in charge of the session talking, and in a perfect world, everyone else listened. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and the limit of human attention is much shorter than we’d like it to be, you can only listen so long before your mind starts to wander off to other galaxies, but I think the people presenting, namely Mr. Terence and Mr. Voon, did a pretty good job at trying to re-capture our attention periodically, by suddenly speaking louder or making a joke or asking us questions to engage us more. With that being said, it’s impossible for a room of 40 to pay attention at all times, daydreaming is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that we did not understand the issue at hand and I have no doubt each one of us got the gist of what they were saying.
After the first meeting, we were divided into our own age groups and were told to do a SWOT analysis of the company. We were to present our discussions after dinner, which we did. I was part of the 19 years old group, and the younger ones presented before my group did, and as I examined the faces of the younger ones who were there in front, talking and being enthusiastic, I realised that I don’t know a lot of their names, and some of the faces don’t even seem familiar to me, I’ve been serving in the Junior Section as an instructor after I graduated from secondary school and have not been paying much attention to the Senior Section, because Juniors are, well, a handful. But it was great to see the younger ones so fired up and energetic, it gives you a sort of hope.
After vesper, we (obviously) didn’t sleep, but instead ended up talking to each other, having fun, and playing board games. It has been ages since I went to a BB camp, and in this one I got reminded just how fun it was.
On the second day, we went out to a local kopitiam for breakfast, and I guess a lot of us were surprised at how cheap the food was around that area, so we ate like monsters. After breakfast was singspiration (worship) and for morning devotion Mr. Kan Huey Ding, who shared about teamwork. Right after that, we had a team building session prepared by Mr. Chow Kok Kee, as with all teambuilding games, the task we were given was pretty unusual and required a lot of coordination between our team members, we were split into two groups and asked to move a container filled with “acid” from location A to B without touching it using nothing but rubber bands and raffia strings, it was pretty fun.
After the games we had our lunch and we discussed the future of the 3rd KL band, our current situation and where we were heading, and also some talk about the upcoming band concert in August. As soon as we were finished we went on to sectional meetings, those in charge of the juniors had a separate meeting, those in charge of the Seniors had a separate meeting, the officers as well.
The last session of the 2nd day was the one we had after dinner, and it was called “speaking from your heart”, and to me, and I’m sure to everyone who went, was the session that hit us the hardest. Basically what happened was we were split to different age groups again, 14-16, 17-18, 19-20 and the officers were to supervise each group. It was a session for us to open up to one another, talk about the problems we were facing, our role in the company and so on. My group decided to do our session in our room, so everyone got comfortable, my batch (the 19 year olds) and our senior batch (the 20 year olds) were very close with each other, we weren’t BB-exclusive friends, meaning we still go for movies, have dinner and hang out outside of BB, so it wasn’t awkward or anything for us to open up to each other, but we ended chatting and reminiscing the old days, we talked about so many things that night, Pesta 2010, Pesta 2012, the band camps, our recruit camps, drill camps, competitions, it was crazy to think how much time we’ve spent together, there were so many inside jokes that other people would never get, so many stupid things that happened throughout the years, so many memories that we could never forget, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, it was crazy, it really was.
We ended up laughing a lot that night, and then we found out that while we were busy laughing till our abs hurt, the other groups actually got pretty emotional during this session. I don’t really want to go into the details here because this will probably be read by people from other companies and it’s pretty personal to 3rd KL, but let’s just say a lot of “man tears” were shed that night.
“And on the third day, God said..”, just kidding. On the third day we woke up to dark skies, it was raining heavily, but we still managed to have breakfast nevertheless. We wrapped up our last session, again, talking about the future of the company and that we should apply what we’ve planned over the course of these few days and not let it go to waste, and after that Mr Terence gave the closing speech, we had lunch, and went back
In the car on my way home I finally had time to comprehend all that has happened during the past 3 days, and I thought about the company and how it was back then, and I thought about how it was now, and I thought about the future of not just my company, not just the BB, but all uniform groups as a whole. I’ve been told that while the number of members in uniform bodies have increased throughout the years because a lot of schools were making it compulsory, the amount of “active members’ have decreased drastically, young people are simply not interested in it any more, and I think this is an issue all of us have to think about.
I thought about our session on the 2nd night, I thought maybe my group led the discussion in the wrong direction, maybe we should’ve been more like other groups, but then I realised that there were many ways to do this, and one way isn’t necessarily better than the other. It wasn’t a competition, and the most important thing is that it meant something to all of us, and it did, and that’s what matters.
Page Created: 25th August 2015
Last Updated: 25th August 2015