Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back to Basics

In a few days time, about 30 of us will be headed as far away from civilisation as we know it for a few days only to be kept together doing assignments, deprived of sleep, given food which we don't necessarily want to eat and be forced to work in teams to see how everything turns out. All of these is under a training scheme known as Performance driven team. As if all of these are not enough, we will also be sent into the jungle where giant insects linger (and maybe a few ghosts as well) to walk on treacherous terrain as well as to wade in water, build a tent which we will sleep in for maybe an hour or so if permitted and to walk the dreaded night walk all alone without any guiding light.

The last time I went into the jungle (for real camping) was back in 1997, and even then, it was a camping site, and we had a proper bathroom so it wasn't that bad! Other than that I went to FRIM in 2006 for fun. Although FRIM is a reserved forest, it had a convenient track cut out for you so you wouldn't get lost. This one on the other hand is a true jungle, totally cut off from any civilisation. Now, they believe that training like this prepares us to be better people, especially in terms of working together. But will it really? Can 3 days of training change you for life?

Despite enjoying nature most of the time and trying my best to preserve nature (recycling paper, etc) I don't think I'm quite able to live in the forest suddenly like that (but seeing that it's only for one night, it should be alright, right?). Besides, members of previous teams that went said things about making your own bathrooms, and how terrible the night walk is (I heard a story of one girl who went and grabbed this guy's hand and started crying on him, and I can't help thinking about that story each time I see either one of them and laugh to myself. I know that's just plain evil, but I can't help it). And to think that you're not given enough of time to sleep (working under scary deadlines and stuff), and all this just as I've gotten over my own bouts of insomnia.

Other than that, people have said that it is a pretty good experience. You learn a lot of stuff, get to know your colleagues better, and can even overcome certain fears. Many women are excited because apparently you get thinner after the 3 days. I just went to the store this morning and got all the stuff I need for the camp from mosquito repellent to a few long sleeved t-shirts for the trek. I'm a bit nervous, but I think it should be alright. I'm not very fit (upper body strength is practically non-existent, and hopefully not needed), but I think I have enough stamina to walk for hours (I hope!!!)

(Crossing my fingers and hoping that everything's gonna be alright)

Note: the picture above was taken during a visit to FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia) in 2006.


  1. It's interesting how companies feel that torturing their employees makes them better employees. Why not pamper them instead?

  2. There would be no way I would do it. I just attempted to camp last night, in an actual campsite, and it still all went horribly wrong! Although not to the level of sleeping in the jungle horribly wrong, but still. I'm sure you'd do better at it than me... this is a safe bet because you certainly couldn't be worse at it than me.

    Good luck... and if the worst comes to the worst you could always kill and eat the rest of your group and then your company would never make anybody do it again!

  3. And they are going to make you do this? Require you to do it?

  4. You just make sure they get you back home to us!

    I've done something similar a few times and I did indeed grow as an individual everytime. It was a love-hate thing. You and I share the problem with insomnia. May I suggest you take a sedative or two with you? The one thing I hate about being in the middle of nowhere is not sleeping enough to restore my energy for later.

  5. ian: I agree 100%.

    aunty: I wouldn't mind doing it, the only thing that bothers me at this point is the fact that they have plans of depriving us of sleep. Thanks for the wishes :)

    travis: yeah, if not now, then the next session or the following one.

    orhan: Well, it's good to know that activities like these benefitted you. Hopefully I'll get something out of it as well. Why the need for sedatives?

  6. Stumbled upon your blog. Interesting stuff! Would definitely check back for more.

  7. Thanks for dropping by my blog :)

  8. The one thing I hate about being in the middle of nowhere is not sleeping enough to restore my energy for later.

    From one insomniac to another. I don't mean sleeping pills, just something to keep you calm :)


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