International Cadet Exchange Programme for NCC
During the December holidays, I went to Brunei under the International Cadet Exchange Programme for NCC. When I first received news that I was going to Brunei, I was ecstatic. The thought of going into the jungle with minimal equipment along with NCC cadets from other schools excited me, and true enough, the experience was one of a kind.
On the first day when we all assembled at the airport, the atmosphere was tense as we were all nervous, and we didn’t know one another. However, as the days went by, we all grew closer, and I made some friends whom I still keep in contact with today! Throughout the 8 days spent in Brunei, there was never a dull moment with the company there, and though I did go to Brunei feeling rather nervous and uneasy, I left the place with smiles and no regrets.
The jungle training itself was something that I would never forget. The memories made are still very clear. Not only were the tasks assigned to us difficult, the weather was also against us. During the day, the weather was excruciatingly hot. There was an orienteering exercise, which required us to run around and look for checkpoints around the jungle. Furthermore, we had to build a shelter to last the night. This was surprisingly fun. For the first time, I used a ‘parang’, which we usually won’t even get our hands on in Singapore. The shelter we made was completely made of materials we found in the jungle. The foundation was made with strong branches, the roofing was made with leaves, and they were all bound with vines. This would not have been possible without the help of the Bruneian cadets. They have had plenty more experience in the jungle compared to the Singaporean cadets, and without their guidance and assistance, we wouldn’t have been able to pitch our tent even when the sun had set!
After we finished building our shelter, it started to pour, and some of our shelters were destroyed. Thankfully, my shelter was strong enough and withstood the downpour. The downpour didn’t stop till the next morning, and this affected our sleep quite a bit. The shelter was not perfect, and drops of water would continually fall on our faces. Moreover, the rain brought out bugs in hiding, and occasionally, bugs would also land on us. Despite the wet freezing weather, bugs, and incessant rain, I slept rather soundly, simply because I was completely exhausted with fatigue.
The stay in the jungle has taught me about resilience, and to cherish everything I have in everyday life. Building the shelter has taught me about the importance of teamwork, and communication with peers. Lastly, the overall environment of the jungle and being in another country has taught me about adaptability. All of these lessons I’ve learnt in Brunei will definitely aid me in my future endeavours, and the trip was definitely a great learning experience.
Overall, the Bruneian cadets have shown amazing hospitality and care for us. The jungle experience was something that I wouldn’t be able to encounter anywhere else, and this trip was also a great opportunity for me to bond with other cadets. Adapting to the new environment in Brunei was definitely a challenge, but that was what made the trip so unique and memorable.
Amos Toh 4E1’17
Assistant Unit Sergeant Major of NCC