Photos courtesy of Sergeant Jack Lim Kuan Wei
PENANG - On the 1-4th June 2015, the 12th Kuala Lumpur Boys’ Brigade Company and 3rd Kuala Lumpur Company Girls’ Brigade of Wesley Methodist School Kuala Lumpur organised an excursion to the state of Penang for 4 days 3 nights. The trip was participated by 59 students; 36 boys and 23 girls, accompanied by 6 Officers from both Brigades.
On the first day of the trip, the participants gathered in WMSKL for registration for the trip. Each and every one of the boys and girls as well as the officers present was given one bag each which came in three colours: green, red and blue to be used during the trip. As they were waiting for the bus to arrive, the eagerness of the members was clearly shown on everyone's faces and chatters of excitement can heard from the gathering point. The boys especially were bouncing off the walls. When everyone boarded the bus, the long awaited journey finally begun.
Journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Indeed the long distance of 360 km from KL to Penang was lengthy. However, members used the free and easy time on the bus to chat and to know each other especially the members from other squads. I guess we killed two birds with one stone because we killed our boredom on the bus at the same time too. We stopped in between the journey so that the members could stretch themselves comfortably and did not get too restricted in the narrow spaces of a bus. After breathing in some fresh air, our journey continued.
We finally arrived at Penang around 1.30pm. To prove that Penang is the heaven for food lovers, we gave ourselves a treat at a food court. As we stepped into the food court, the mouthwatering aroma of ‘char kuey tiow’, a famous Hokkien delicacy that can be found almost anywhere in Penang immediately filled our nostrils and made our hungry stomach grumbled more. After having lunch, we continued the journey to where we will be staying for the next three nights, Stella Maris Retreat Centre. The boys and girls were assigned to their accommodation before moving on to the next activity.
While the members were arranging their luggage, the games leaders were preparing a game for them. They sneaked out of their dorms like a mouse when everyone was busy with their bags. Everyone else gathered at the field at about 3.30pm and was briefed by Mr. Andrew and Mdm. Irene about the ground rules in Stella Maris Retreat Centre.
As the members were still wondering where the game leaders were, Cpl. Brian answered the question marks in their mind. The game leaders had hidden themselves somewhere around the compound - 'hide and seek' was their ice breaking game. As none of the groups were given a number, they have to locate the game leaders and accomplish their assignments or tasks before they were assigned the squad numbers. If they succeeded in finishing the task, the entire group will be awarded with the number that the game leader holds. Afterwards, everyone went back to their dorms and quads to freshen up.
At 6.00pm, everyone gathered back and took off to the prominent Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. The Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is like a food heaven with all sorts of delicacies, ranging from main dishes such as 'Char key Teow' and 'Asam Laksa' to dessert such as 'Cendol'. After dinner, everyone boarded their bus and was sent to Wesley Methodist Church Penang (WMCP). Wesley Methodist Church Penang is the current home base of 2nd Penang Company. We arrived at Wesley Methodist Church Penang around 8.00pm. The purpose we came here was to have a time of fellowship with the other squads. At WMCP, everyone presented their squad cheer to the rest of the squads. Gales of laughter can be heard coming from the field of WMCP because some squad cheers were really humorous. Although everyone was exhausted from the long day, we all felt better after constant bursting into laughter, just like they say laughter is the best medicine. After the presentation of squad cheer, the games leaders planned a warm-up game called Sergeant Says. The purpose of this game is to train up the members to listen to instructions carefully and always be alert. I found myself amused with the "OH", "No" and "Yes" when some of them did an action which they were not supposed to.
Another game called Space Jump was played afterwards. In this game, the NCOs would prepare a scenario for the squads. The NCOs then acted out the scene for the rest of the squads. After a period of time, one of the NCOs will shout “Space Jump”, and then the NCOs who were acting would stop at the time, place and position where they were previously acting. Then, one squad will be randomly called out to continue where the NCOs had left. The rule of thumb was the storyline did not have to be the same with the previous squad but the position of the ‘actors’ must be the same from where the last squad had left. The creativity of the members was simply amusing and hilarious; even we NCOs ourselves could not stop laughing.
After having breakfast at a food court, 2nd Penang Company collaborated with us to have a Treasure Hunt around the heritage sites of Penang. We were given a booklet and a puzzle at the beginning to solve. Each member was distributed with a job before the event started. Based on the clues and some broken pieces of a picture, we were required to find out what it was and to solve the questions as soon as possible. It was a good thing that all of us got to walk around the heritage sites in Georgetown together such as the famous street arts and the clan jetties. There were times when we had to come together and squeeze our brain juice just to solve the next mystery. Although we did not win the competition, but I told my squad members that the most important thing is that everyone had fun, and certainly we talked and bonded with each other throughout the hunt. Upon reaching our final destination, we saw a food court located near Esplanade Field which was home to one of the most famous coconuts shake in Penang. That marked the end of the treasure hunt. My squad did not win the prize for the treasure hunt, but we realized that teamwork enabled us to finish the game safe and sound because:
After lunch, at about 3.00 p.m., we went to visit Methodist Boys’ School Penang. The principal there took us to see their current ongoing project, the school museum. The four areas of the museum were all completed, except for the outside wall, which had been reserved for pictures of visitors. While we browsed through the museum, we were shocked to find out that many famous people had been students of MBS Penang, including our country’s fifth prime minister, Tun Abdullah. We also found out that the executive director of the Methodist Council of Education, Mr. Khor was the Principal of the school a few years back. After that, we made our way back to heritage walk to visit the Khoo Kongsi. There, we learnt more about the deep-rooted Chinese heritage in Penang. We also learnt more about the traditional Chinese habits and etiquettes, like how they used to cook and how they used to dine. The tour also taught us the hardships our ancestors went through when they first stepped foot in this country.
The next morning, after devotion, we had our breakfast at an Indian restaurant. The food in the restaurant was not bad, but the speed of their service was way too slow. It took us around 2 hours to have our breakfast. After the journey that seemed to take forever, we finally reached the highlight of this trip, Escape Park. We queued up in front of the entrance and were given a short briefing by one of the staff. After that, our squad leader gave us a wristband that was used as the entrance ticket and our medium for money transaction in the park. We were allowed to go through the games not by squads but with our friends. There was a wide variety of games prepared and we were free to choose the ones we wanted to play. The most popular choice was the main attraction of Escape Park – Monkey Business (a combination of high and low ropes challenges with obstacles). There were three stages with different difficulty levels and distance. With every increase of level, one’s stamina and mental agility were required to be stronger in order for passing the next challenge. The first two parts of the path chosen was quite difficult.
Personally, I would like to comment on my experience while climbing the coconut tree. I have been to Escape Park before but I failed to climb up the tree the last time I came. This time, however, I managed to climb until almost the top. Still fresh in my mind, I was only a full arm distance away from reaching the top. However, my arms and legs were aching and they were complaining to stop. I told myself to just take the last step and I will succeed. I gave in all my strength and pushed myself to the limit, and I did it! I rang the bell at the top of the coconut tree. Sometimes, our mind tells us to give up whenever we encounter a problem. However, from this experience, I learnt that our mind is usually the one responsible for the failures, because our mind will create an illusion that we will never make it. In fact, we were just perhaps one step away from reaching our glory or success. After all, as some said fear is actually ‘false expectations appear real’.
After having fun at Escape Park, we went to buy some souvenirs at Chow Rasa, a market nearby. There were a few shops at the market that sells local delicacies, finger food and even some toys. Quite a number of people bought a famous biscuit there called “Tambun Biscuit”. The biscuit is round in shape and tasty. The biscuits were packed ready in boxes. After some souvenir shopping, we went to the Penang Famous Road to try Penang’s most famous cendol, “char kuey tiao” and “asam laksa”. As it was very famous, there was a long queue for the food because of its attraction to tourists. Before we could realize it, the famous “asam laksa” and“char kuey tiao” sold out really fast! A lot of people grabbed the chance to taste the famous “Teochew Cendol”. The sweetness of the cendol is just right and the ice immediately melts once put into mouth. The cooling sensation and the sweetness of the cendol immediately refreshed us after a long day of tiring and exhausting physical activities.
After dinner and showering, everyone met at the hall at 7.40p.m. sharp. The Word session started after everyone was seated and had silenced their phones. As usual, the session started with praise and worship time. We sang a few songs to praise God and it ended with a prayer. Miss Wai Wai shared her thoughts same as like the previous night. The topic was “HOPE”. Before she started sharing, she gave us an unexpected task. The task was volunteering to say the opening prayer but the volunteer cannot be a leader. Everyone did not dare to try but a girl called Jaimie volunteered. Everyone clapped for her. Even though the prayer she uttered was short, Miss Wai Wai said that the length and the words in the prayer were not that important. What mattered was God chose her to speak to Him in front of everyone. And she overcame her stage fright.
As the topic was “HOPE”, Miss Wai Wai said that if we believe in God, we will not only want Him to bless ourselves but to bless everyone else around us because we want the world to be filled with hope, instead of despair. She also requested us to think beyond ourselves. She also said that God can use anybody and as evidence, there are a lot of examples in the bible. Miss Wai Wai also shared that obedience means faith in action. Faith in action means when we hope for something, we have to do it. She also reminded us to always obey God and do what pleases Him. The session ended about 10.20p.m. and everyone gathered around in squads for short reflection before returning to our dorms.
As the clock ticked at 7.00a.m the following morning, our squads gathered at the same place as yesterday. The rising sun greeted us to a fine morning. The main focus of the last day's devotion was mainly about telling us not to give up. Even if we fail, we should try again until we succeed because maybe we are just a few steps away to success. After that, we all shared our thoughts. The devotion ended with a prayer at 7.30a.m. right on the dot.
After our last meal in Penang, we went to the last but not least attraction of Penang, the 3D Interactive Museum. The museum is one of the latest attractions in Penang. A worker of the museum told us that the ticket is used for 3 main functions, and that is for entrance, to interact with the interactive kiosk and it can be used as a bookmark after leaving the museum! We were amazed when we got in. There was a miniature exhibition showcasing Penang. Every miniature work was done with hard work and full of passion. Then, we went to the first floor to enter the trick art gallery. The gallery is the main attraction of the museum. The trick art can be produced by putting the camera in the right angle and doing the right pose. The creativity of the artist was really astonishing to us. When the interactive art combined with our funny faces, a legendary combo mask was formed. As it was the last day of our 4D3N trip, all of us took many pictures at the museum. We left the museum with great joy and began our journey back home.