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.