Outward Bound Experiences

Today is Sunday; a deserted evening spent in my dormitory at university. This morning, I was still having the last breakfast with my fellow teammate at Outward Bound School (OBS), and now, everything back to the way as it was.

For the past 7 days, I had my great time in OBS. Seriously speaking, the feeling is neither fun nor enjoying. In honest, the whole course is tough and challenging, tons of obstacle along the ways. There is too much time we were drained up and feel like giving up. Eventually, we still made it all the way to the end. Long story, I will try to make it short.

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First day, 58 PETRONAS scholars consists of my batch and juniors were sent to the Outward Bound located at Lumut, Perak for this renowned training. I am pretty sure that every single one of us heard of how tough OBS is from seniors, but we just never expect that it will turned out to be extremely tough. Arriving at the site, we walked a short distance to enter the school compound. We waited at the Gym Hall till someone started to facilitate us. Divided into 4 groups, I was put into “Irau”. Fortunately, Ah Jie was in the same group with me. Met a lot of new friends in my group, an awesome bunch of people, Aaron, Nabila, Khadijah, Joe Shien, Sheau Huey, Iris, Jor Yi, Psi, Melvin, Akmal, Zuhdi, Aiman and James. Our instructor is Mr. Ali, first impression he gave on us about himself is an easy going person, just nice. Later, we were overwhelmed with all kind of opening ceremony, school tour, introduction to duty roster, dining hall rules, group photos, dorms, and critically, confiscation of all electronic devices except camera. The first day went on smoothly.

“Ok, pasukan yang kalah ni, sila buat satu line, lepas tu buat macam ini, siput, siput(dengan kepala sentuh sebelah bahu).” 

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Then it come to second day, everybody staying in Ledang Dorm (males from my team and Korbu team) is energetic to pull themselves out from the comfortable bed and stepped down the thousand staircase to Gym Hall. It was raining all over the last night and the field is so wet. We did stretching and had breakfast, disastrously being informed that we need to carry on despite of raining cat and dog outside. That’s explain how we get all our body soaking in rain water and learning how to control the kayaking paddle. We learnt some basic on how to roll, turn, sharp turn and backward. It was cool to be in control. The afternoon, the weather turned better and we set off to Pangkor Island from school’s beach. Kayaking in sea is crazily tough, the current is so strong to push our kayak. Two person in each kayak, my partner, Sheau Huey and me had so many hard time, and the storm that come in the middle of sea just make it worst. We are falling behind the Diamond Formation of everybody else and it took 2 hours for every team to arrive at Sekadeh Beach of Pangkor, our camping site. The night, we set up tent and cooked our food in the campsite that is all wet due to rain earlier. The night, I woke up at 3am for my sentry shift and, met Jenny, JL, Eevon and Khai Zhen having the same obligation for their team, a chilling night beside the camp fire XD

“Yang ada bawa tu pakai lah, yang takda, cuma lihat pada mereka, dan senyum je.”

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Third day is the day when OBS tear us into pieces. We need to kayak from the camping site at Sekadeh Beach, round the Pangkor Island and back to the school beaches. By speculation and instructors’ previous experiences, it will take 8 hours. BLOODY LONG 8 HOURS! Just like the day before, me and Sheau Huey still falling behind and try so hard to follow the rest on the wavy sea. The sea is just crazily cruel to us by pushing us up and down, left and right, some big waves even splash water into our small boat. In precise, the instances we just feel helpless and despair, it was so hard that I even feel like want to say I can’t do it. But you know you can’t stop and need to keep going, the inner motivation just push you off your limit in this kind of extreme situation. Eventually, it took time, and we manage to arrive at the destination. Seeing others faces on the beaches is way too encouraging, everybody just lay on the beach like a starfish due to ultimate exhaustion. We happily shared the sugar cracker and water together, congratulating each other on the accomplishment. It was never a fun experiences to be flashed back, but we know, this is definitely a life-time memories we made together.

“Hold the cockpit of your friends kayak. Siapa mahu orange? Angkat tangan.”

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The forth day, we woke up in the Ledang Dorm for the second time, It was a peaceful day(comparing to the upside down third-space experiences we endured during third day). We had our time in the captain ball during the early morning, followed up by Whaling class given by instructor later. In short, whaler is a kind of small boat which can fit around 20 people, with sails and paddle which keep it moving. That afternoon, we jumped unto the whaler and have a light sailing around the school’s beach. It was tougher than what we thought because all it takes is synchronized paddling and continuous rolling, It was important to utilize the wind direction and decide how to arrange the three sails. We had an earlier sleep that night due to the whaling expedition coming up next day. Once again we packed up our stuff in dry bag and get ourselves prepared for tomorrow.

“Ready to shift rollout, Aye Aye Sir!”

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Day five began straight with the final preparation along the coastline to get all the whaling stuff and camping equipment ready. We arranged everything nicely and with good mood built up to set on sail. Without any hesitation, our whaler was quickly seated by every member of Irau and next thing, Von Voyage! Everybody took turn to paddle and I was so glad that Mr. Ali followed us on boat to guide us, and give so much jokes and funs to relieve our tiredness. In my perspective, whaling is much more enjoyable than kayaking, because during kayaking there is just two people talking in a desperate manner. But in whaling, sixteen people created a harmonic situation and we can share so much thing along the 8 hours boring, repetitive whaling. We parked our whaler halfway under a concrete bridge, having romantic packed lunch on the boat in the middle of a scenery river. After more than 8 hours of rolling on the river, we arrived at Syawal Beach, and did the same stuff for our overnight camping. One huge difference is that this beach totally don’t have people live on it, and not even toilet is on the campsite. We have our water source from a “freaking scary well” behind and the toilet is simply anywhere you can poo, so called “360° Scenery Toilet”. Mr. Ali taught us how to dig “Lala”(kind of delicious seashell) at the beach, the girls on our team found a lot, adding fresh seafood to our dinner in the camp that night.

“Hehe, we are PETRONAS scholar,and we are eating up the ‘Shell’! XD “

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The sixth morning in OBS screwed up when some of the team member having the diarrhea, in which the “lala” seafood we dug last night at the beach was the suspected culprit. Me and Ah Jie took a walk along the seaside during the breaking dawn, funnily realized that there is so much buried “bomb” on the beach, which indicated somebody had poo on that spot, put a wood stick to mark it and please don’t step on it. Quickly broke the camp and once again set on sail, we helped the member with diarrhea by taking over their task to paddling, to let them have a good rest on the shaky boat. Aiman having some stomachache during the journey, with no option, jumped into the sea to do his big business at the sea of Pangkor. With so much efforts, our whaler was the first team to arrived back at the school, it took us one and half hours, superb experiences! The afternoon, we have a sharing session with Mr. Ali and a final wrap up. That night went cool because it was “our night”. Irau team in-charged of helping others to do the barbeque chores, we cooperate and make the BBQ on chicken and sausage fast. Miss Alia from STS came to join us that night. All the participants and instructors had a blast during the group performances, with stomach contented with tasty foods prepared by cathedral. The last night in OBS, Irau members had a chillax session outside the bench of Gym Hall to talk anything. We played silly game, told jokes, fun questions and share the scholarship experiences of each other. For me , that night is sure memorable and heartwarming. We hanged out until 12am, the due time we need to get back to the dorm. I backed to the dorm and start packing for going back, finally.

“Learning never take part, until you change your attitude.”

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Here we come, the last day in OBS was kind of cloudy. Everyone ensure that nothing is left and nobody is left behind, we locked the dorm and brought our luggage to the Gym Hall. We finally got back our personal belongings during the breakfast, and got the chance to purchase some souvenirs at the shop in the hall. Lot of us had buy OBS shirt with different and attractive designs. Closing ceremony is a short one and we were each awarded with a cert and A4 size group photo. The last moment before we back is tons of photo taking with the dear one. It don’t exactly is the sad kind of feeling to end the course, but it portrayed the same sense of belongings among these group of people after undergone these much of pressure. We bid adieu to the instructors, and walked toward the bus. It ended well.

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After all, this seven day tough training at Outward Bound School indeed makes me learn a lot, especially when the circumstances push the participants so much that make each of us go beyond the limits. When you finally complete something that out of your expectation, the satisfaction just come within and you will be so confident and fearless to accept more challenges. At the end of the day, the memories is never a piece of A4 size group photo, but the bitter, cool and life-time experiences that these group of people share, and most of the them won’t have another opportunities to did it again.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne! 

Seel

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