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Assalamu'alaikum readers.

If you read my previous entry, I said something about just joining a club called Steadfast. And I just got back from a 4 days motivational camp called Steadfast Enhancement Training organized by the committees from the club. It was held at a camp deep in a jungle in Sungkai, Perak. The camp was awesome!

All of the participants were divided into 7 groups of around 8 people each. I got into Group 1. My group mates are nice, fun and interesting people!

Group 1! From left, izwani, shifa, fauziah, asilah, syazwani, hafizuddin, me, zainul, iliyas

The thing in this camp is that all food were not catered, there are no caterers for this program. That means we have to cook all the food that we will eat during the whole camp by ourselves! The committees have given each of the group some cash before leaving for the camp. So we went shopping for raw ingredients at Carrefour, Wangsa Maju before going to the camp. It was a fun and memorable experience shopping for food ingredients with friends of my own age. I usually only do this with my mum.

Some of the ingredients that we bought at Carrefour

At the camp, we have to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for ourselves. A portable gas stove is provided by I also brought my own mess tin. If some of you don't know, mess tin is the most basic cooking equipment for a soldier, especially when he's in the jungle. It is really simple to cook using mess tin. And it has been proven that my mess tin has provided some benefits to my team. Cooked some 'lempeng' or pancakes in the mess tin. I never thought I could make pancakes in the mess tin. Most of the cooking is done by my female group mates of course! The guys (us) sometimes just stare helplessly at them, wondering if they could do anything to help. And sometimes we do help like cutting the onions and other simple stuffs like that, trying to be as helpful as possible. Cooking with my groupmates is also something to be cherished.

Even us guys can cook!

Most of the activities during the camp were group activities. One of the earliest activities was the ice breaking session. It is not just an ordinary ice breaking session whereby everyone in the group make a circle and just introduce themselves one by one and bla bla bla. But there are a few twists in the module. We do not just have to introduce ourselves with the people in our group but also with people in the other groups. The circle of people in the groups keep changing and they ask us to somehow form groups with people we still don't know so that we can get to know all of the other Steadfastians better. It was a fun activity and I got to know more or less a bit about everyone in the club.

One of the activities is we should come up with a contraption to pop a balloon using the given materials,
and the contraption above is based on my idea but the contraption failed :(

And then there were 2 outdoor activities during the whole camp which is nightwalk and jungle trekking. Both of the activities are similar but one happens during the night and the other one on the next day. In nightwalk, all of the groups form one standard line beginning with group 1 all the way to group 7. I was in group 1 so I was at the front of the pack. We slowly walk through the jungle with very low flashlight support (purposely, so to feel the darkness) led by a few trainers who happens to be a army military dudes. The paths wasn't that jungle thick, like full with bushes and what not. It's just a path that rubber tappers go through when they are doing their work. The area there can be also called a rubber tree orchard if you ask me. Many rubber trees. So we walked around the forest for around an hour and suddenly we returned back to camp. As if we were just walking in circles.

The jungle trekking is similar to the nightwalk except that it happens in day time and the distance covered is longer. This time the route covered includes thick bushes and thorny plants. I was at the front of the pack again so I was helping Pak Long to clear the path by cutting some trees and bushes so that my friends can go through the paths easier. Pak Long is the lead trainer there and also an ex-commando in the Malaysian army. Me as an army boy was so excited to the max to see a real life commando in front of my eyes. FYI, it is a dream of every young army dudes to become a commando. The training and pain that one has go through to become a commando is unimaginable. So we trekked for around 2 hours (I think) and ended up going at a stream of a very wide river! We were allowed to go play around in the river but also have to take care of safety because the river was really rapid. Mandi sungai with friends is always a fun and memorable experience. The two outdoor activities were fun but not that challenging (for me at least). Well I guess I shouldn't put my expectation too high because I'm a part-time soldier and the participants in this club are just ordinary people. I bet Pak Long has something better in store if soldiers were to become the participants of his training!
Group 1 photo while jungle trekking.

There were also some sentimental/emotional modules in the camp. It reminds us of who we are, who are we on this earth, and what is our obligation to Allah. It also made us to remember and repent for all the sins we made as a human being. Many of the participants tear up (cry) during this moments. This module is good because it is a reminder to us of who we are on this earth. We are the Khalifah of Allah and we are here to worship Him. Human always forgets. One other sentimental activity is when we are asked to sit face-to-face with a friend, hug him, and whisper to him honestly what bad qualities that he has and what qood qualities that he has. This surprisingly is quite a powerful module. It brings tears to a lot of us. Not just knowing that we have been doing something wrong, but also being told by a friend, in private, just for the sake of helping each other to become a better person. Maybe it's hard for me to explain why is this such a powerful emotional moment. It is something that must be experienced.

Overall, this camp is awesome. And it has shown me that Steadfast is not an ordinary facilitating club. The ukhuwwah or brotherhood between the members of this club is incredibly strong. Kinda similar to what I have with my ROTU squad, but from a different perspective. I'm glad that I have joined this club because I have made a lot of cool new friends. I hope that I can join the other upcoming programs organized by Steadfast especially primary and secondary school facilitating programs. That's basically what the main purpose of Steadfast. It is a school students facilitating club but behind the club are awesome nice people who are trying to make themselves better, make da'wah to people and at the same time make them closer to Allah. The motto of Steadfast is 'Aslih Nafsak Wad'u Ghairak' which means 'Purify Yourself and Preach Others'. Hopefully I can give full commitment to this club because I totally agree with what they are doing.

Group photo with all of Steadfastians who attend this program, at the kebun getah

Thanks for reading readers!

Credits for pics: Me, Fauziah, Abang Jimmy, Kak Faz, Zainul

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Semester break? Not quite.

Assalamu'alaikum readers.

So I've just finished my final examination papers for semester 1, 2012/2013 and I'm currently home.. for a short while. Usually there are holiday-breaks for students between every semester, sort of like a transition time between one semester to the other. And don't get this post wrong, my university do give semester holidays to the students, 3 weeks to be exact. It's just that I won't be experiencing much holiday because I have a lot of activities to be involved with during the holiday (actually just two).

So my final paper ended on last Monday (7th Jan) and on 8th I went back home to rest myself from all the stressful studies. I have to get back to UIA on the 13th because on 14th till 17th Jan I will be joining a program called Steadfast Enhancement Training (SET). It is an event organized by a club in UIA called student facilitator club (Steadfast) and I just joined the club this semester so I have to get involved with their events. I don't know much what SET is going to be all about but basically my guess is it's like a motivational camp. The participants will be all from the club members so I think this is a good time for me to get knowing and close to the club members because I'm still new in the society. Hopefully good memories will be in store for me! The camp will be held at Sungkai, Perak.

And on the 19th Jan till 9th Feb I will be having the ROTU annual camp. Yes 22 days of training. During the whole 3 years of ROTU course. there will be a total of 3 annual camps, each during the break between semester 1 and semester 2 of my academic year. So this will be the second annual camp for us intermediates (2nd year cadet officers). So yeah we will be having 3 weeks straight of training. The first 2 weeks of training will be held at Markas Palapes, University of Malaya. That's where we usually have most of our trainings at. The final week will be held in one of the reserve forests in Malaysia. Still not sure which forest/jungle this time. Last year while we're still juniors, we went to Sg. Tengi at Ulu Selangor. Part of the annual camp training during juniors is we learned about Counter Insurgency Warfare (CIW). We had to set up a base in the jungle and learn basic tactical movements and all that. What we're going to do this year as intermediates are we will be doing the advance phase of Conventional Warfare (CW). We have to move (literally walk) with our >10kg backpacks for more or less 20km. Yep. And not just that, that are few other things we have to do along the way like clearing bounds.

Ok enough of the military talk. Not like most of you are going to understand all the military terms anyway. So basically what I'm trying to say is I won't be having much free time this holiday.. as usual. For 3 years my semester holidays is going to be like this. Part of the sacrifice that cadets have to go through. But Insha Allah there will be a lot of hikmah and blessings from Allah for all of this that is happening. Being busy ain't that bad. Being idle is worse. I hate the fact that I admit to myself that I have nothing to do at certain times. A bit of time for yourself is ok but too much is not helpful. We have to get involved with people around us. So I guess that's the reason why I like to keep myself busy most of the times.

So yeah till 9 Feb is the ROTU annual camp and actually my second semester has already started by then. It begins on 4th Feb. So I have to burn the first week of the semester. Again, sacrifice. That's all I wanna say. Not much holiday. Till next time, thanks for reading readers.

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Assalamu'alaikum readers. It has been a while.

There are 2 main reasons why one does not update his blog:

1) He has no idea what to write.

2) He has a lot of ideas on what to write but he doesn't have time to do so.

And the reason I haven't been updating is because of the second reason. I just got myself involved with so much activities in my University that I really don't have the time to update my blog. And now I have the urge to write down a post since I have time. If you don't believe that I am actually busy, allow me to tell you the things that I have been done since... *checking the date of my latest post* 5th July 2012. Oh wow that's a really long time ago. Scratch that I don't think I can remember what I did since that date. the beginning of this semester, that is somewhere in middle of September.

Convest Logo

Every first semester in IIUM, there is a big annual event called Convocation Fiesta or Convest for short. The duration of this event is spread out for 2 weeks from the final week of September till the first week of October. The objective of Convest is like a symbol of appreciation and farewell to students who will be graduating from the university, but that doesn't mean that they are the only ones involved, all students (even outsiders) can participate in Convest. So what actually happen during Convest? There will be a lot of other events, performances, shows, etc (13 or 14 events i think) to make IIUM very lively during these 2 weeks.

And for each of these events to run, there must be an organizing committee for each event to organize and handle the event. Organizing committees consist of a programme manager, secretary, financial controller, head bureaus and subcommittees of each bureau. The number of bureaus in an event depends on the nature of the event itself. Can be 5, can be 7. The number of subcommittees in each bureau also depend on the nature of the bureau. Some time at the end of the second semester previous academic year I think, they were asking for volunteers for Convest. So I filled up the online form. And during short semester, they called me in for the interview. The interview was just a laid-back interview, not a stressfule one. Just asking to introduce myself and asking about event organizing experience and etc.

Event poster

After a few more days, I was at first chosen to become a subcommittee of Preparation and Technical Bureau (PrepTech) for an event called called Explorace. So the PrepTech bureau involves in the booking of venues for the event, and preparing the items needed for the event. This Explorace event that we're in charge of is basically like "The Amazing Race" reality TV show. Each team of participants will have to go to checkpoints and do tasks and proceed to other checkpoints and do other tasks and etc.. you get the picture.

Our Explorace this time has a little twist, the tasks are not really physique-based (i.e. running, jumping, cycling, lifting heavy objects), but we mix it up with some community service. One of our checkpoints is at an orphanage House called Raudhatul Faeez at Batu 11, Gombak. Some of the tasks there are painting the house, playing games with the children, cleaning, cooking and etc. Another checkpoint is at a local fire station in Gombak as well. Participants have to do tasks such as repelling, extinguishing fire and etc. The rest of the checkpoints are in UIA itself. Some of the tasks inside UIA are kayaking, papaya carving, cycling and many more. So we PrepTech have to acquire all the items needed in every checkpoints, either by buying, borrowing, producing or search for sponsors. We need to be creative because our budget is limited.

2 participants doing the cooking task at the orphanage house, Raudhatul Faeez

The day of the event was on 6th October. I was in charged of handling the kayaking checkpoint at Maryam Lake inside UIA. The participants have to ride a kayak to the centre of the lake whereby there are a lot of bottles floating there. They have to find a bottle which has a piece of paper with their team number printed on it (each team has their own distinctive number). My job was to give instructions to the participants who arrive and I also have to make sure that the bottles don't drift too far from the centre of the lake, and I do that by getting on the kayak and paddle myself to get the bottles that drift too far. It was a sunny day and I spent almost the whole morning till around 2pm in the lake, on the kayak, under the sun. I got sunburnt so bad. But it was a good experience. The closing ceremony was at around 3pm, whereby they would announce the winners and prizes will be given. Congratulations to the winning teams. Alhamdulillah overall the event went well and the committees have given their all to make this event a successful one.

Me kayaking in the lake to get the bottles that drifted too far away

I was also involved as a committee in a Convest event called ZoMAF '12, but I'm gonna talk about it in a later post. Meanwhile you can read about ZoMAF '11. Thanks for reading readers!

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