I Want to Live a Thousand Years More!

After several months of planning and work, the Perak state Boys’ Brigade NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) Training School is over! Hats off to the team, coaches and Capt. CK Wong (whose birthday is today!). This is my first NTS as an officer, and I am convinced further that being an officer is not a matter of just wearing that white uniform, badges and glengary.

I once asked, “Can an officer dye his/her hair?”

“Preferably not,” was the answer. “It’s setting an example for the Boys to follow.”

Epiphany. The weight of an officer’s duty is immense. It encompasses every aspect of his life. It is not about commanding respect, but about reflecting Jesus’ example for them to follow. Bearing this in mind, the job suddenly seems extremely tough. In a way, I feel it keeps check on my own life too. How can an officer coach the Boys to become people of good character, when they themselves justify lying or are unreliable? Though the Boys may be still young to know hypocrisy like the back of their hand, when they do, it makes everything they ‘learnt’ in BB trash to them. I cannot stomach preaching what I don’t practise either.

In service, losing heart halfway is common and easy. Especially when you labour but see no fruit. Admittedly, I do. This NTS wasn’t perfect in every sense, but in its good and imperfection, it spoke volumes to me.

This NTS was a distraction from my (sigh) dismal first year LLB results released two days before. I passed everything (thank God), but it wasn’t up to my expectations. I didn’t bawl my eyes out. Tear duct malfunction. Sad, yes, though. Taking Chairil Anwar’s Aku a tad too literally, I put on my sneakers and ran 2 km. (Go read this famous poem if you haven’t!)

Luka dan bisa kubawa berlari
Hingga hilang pedih peri

Dan aku akan lebih tidak peduli

Aku mau hidup seribu tahun lagi!

After ridding the bodily toxins, shedding natural EyeMo and talking with my darling course mate in the field, the resolve to do work harder in Part 1 is greater. God has a purpose for keeping me here. Two years. In two years, Perak will be hosting 2000 people for the national BB Pesta. And we desperately need manpower. Our Company faces a dire need for local officers too. The timing is right. After two years, a different story. I shall get to UK by merit, not by money.

At the same time, to ease financial burden, scrimping and saving like a stingy poker is necessary. I think twice buying a can of Nescafe. I only hung out with my college mate after exams twice. I need to cut on shopping trips though. It’s a sick disease. As much as I hate the idea of loans, a partial loan is what I have. And trust the government for being punctual with the money.

“Oh, you’re parents are civil servants? Then it should be easy to get loans or scholarships what…”

I’ve gotten this countless times. I will shove a dictionary down the throat of the next person who says it. Because it’s not true. Teachers’ children can’t lie and fake pay slips. And we won’t. Being in the middle income group is a fat inconvenience too, because you’re not poor enough for a needy scholarship or rich enough to pay for education.

My college won’t read my scholarship application e-mail. The front desk scoffed at my results because it wasn’t an A*. A nosy coursemate sat close by trying to get my results out of me. I told them they were ridiculous. Hello, UOL, not A-levels! And Tris brought me for pork noodles to cheer me up.

Apologies for ranting and digressing. But the point is that they say the journey is more important than reaching the destination, or some rubbish to that meaning. Realistically, only the end matters to others, not the means.


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