Posted on 15-Sep-2014
I’m sure many of us would reach a point in our lives where we would have to bid goodbye to friends and family. Last year, a good friend of mine, Jonathan Yap, quietly left both my school (Wesley Methodist School KL) and the Company without even saying goodbye. I was a rather surprised lad when I could not catch glimpse of him at all on the day of school, as well as during our Company’s first parade of the year 2014. However I thank God, for giving us, the older Boys in my company and I a chance to catch up with him when he came back for WMSKL’s Honours’ Day in June. There was a part of us which really missed having him among our midst. We had some time to have a long chat with him after the ceremony had ended. As soon as we met up, he was immediately bombarded with questions from us.
I managed to get some information from him about how the culture and the military lifestyle were like over there. I’m happy to say that he is willing to allow me to disclose this information for others to read as an eye-opening experience.
“Studying at the Royal Military College (RMC) is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity for me” said Jonathan. “It is an amazing experience as not only do I get to learn about what it means to be a part of the military, but also experience of a true 1Malaysia feels within the boarding school.”
Back when he was first applying to join the boarding school, he kept wondering about what kind of an experience RMC would have in store for him. “Having watched the movie Commando several times, I expected that the military training would be very, very physical-focused” he said. Soon, he was accepted into the school. Deep down, he was concerned about not being able to compete with the larger-sized Malay boys in terms of strength. Instead of allowing the thought to be a discouragement to himself, it compelled him to work out every day to match up to the fitness level of the other boys (even before he got into the school).
He was amazed to find out that compound of the college was easily ten times larger than what we have here in WMSKL. Within his first few months, he was drafted as a New Boy (NB). “As an NB, life was really, really challenging.” He told us that every day; each NB would have to uphold the daily mission, while pushing themselves morally, mentally as well as physically, in order to become the military officers of the next day. Being an ex-member of The Boys’ Brigade, he liked where this was going. His indoctrination started with a task of carrying 20 kilograms of issued items to my new 7-man dormitory, which he described being 3 quarters the size of an average classroom.
Days and days of intense morning workouts soon followed. It was “spring” for the New Boys at RMC, where civilian blood transforms into pure military blood. “Well except for me, it wasn’t civilian blood flowing with my veins.” I was deeply encouraged when I heard that he still had “blue blood” flowing within him. For a moment, we thought about the times when he was still with us, back in our company. We went for Pesta 2012 together, we went to BNTS together, we went for the KL State Drill Camp we had two years back(excluding me) together, and then there was all those camps in which we used to polish our uniform during unearthly hours far into the night. He told us that those were indeed times worth remembering.
He went on sharing with us about the various kinds of military training he had to persevere through. During the physical training, the physical training instructor (PTI) would issue his orders, and they (the New Boys) would have to go through a series of push-ups, squat jumps, hoppings, side rolls, forward rolls, and sometimes even the Commando rest. Their PT sessions were held in the afternoon, in the slippery mud or on the scorching-hot tar road. It was done in such a way so that their endurance would be tested and trained. Military trainings on the other hand were held on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Their drill sessions were conducted by the Warrant Officers (PW I / II) or sometimes the Flight Sergeants. Of course, they do have their shooting sessions and yes, Jonathan loved them. The NBs would have to walk 10 kilometres to the shooting range for their shooting courses, under the instruction of their Gunning Officers (GI). Being his first year, he was only allowed to fire the M-4 and the M-16 rifle. Ever since their first shooting session, every one of them was given the license to possess weapons within the campsite, with permission.
Besides having to go through the rigorous military training in RMC, the NBs were required to study and work hard in order to manage their academics as well as their co-curricular activities. Time management was of utmost importance as even the NBs would have little time for sleep each day. “It was a tough time for me. However, I know that I would have to brave through these tough times. Good times will eventually come sooner or later.” Jonathan managed to overcome these hardships and has been doing fairly well in his checkpoint examinations. He mentioned that there were some of them who were unable to manage their time properly. “They are still struggling to get things back on track, but a couple of them weren’t strong enough mentally and have withdrawn themselves from the college.”
Just recently, he has decided to pursue the field of actuarial science (a discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries and professions) and has been transferred by his parents to another school in Japan, the International School of Asia, Karuizawa. Our blessings and goodbyes went out with him when he left the country just two weeks ago. “More than anything, I will push myself to the limit. In doing so, I wish to make BB (especially my company, 12th KL BB) and RMC, as well as my country, Malaysia, proud. I hope that I’ll be able to grow academically savvy, physically smart, and morally sound. Finally, I hope more boys especially the Chinese would consider joining the team of RMC, inspiring the youths, as well as the younger generation to serve our country. Serve to Lead, Sure and Steadfast”
Over here in 12th KL, the Officers and the Boys sure miss having you in our midst and we would like to wish you all the best and may the Lord bless and watch over you there! We are sure you will do the Company and the country proud. Keep in touch.