Week 8 has ended and I am so disappointed that we are not going to have our closing ceremony until we break the COVID-19 chain. We have put in tremendous effort throughout the induction programme. From working out before sunrise to testing our resilience during Outward Bound Brunei Darussalam (OBBD), I felt that it was a let-down that we are unable to display to the board of members our experience and who we really are during our adventure.
Since the beginning of the program, my expectations for this week were to get to know many of the previous scholars during the Scholars' Annual Reflection and meeting the VIP/ VVIPs during the Closing Ceremony. Furthermore, I also pictured a beautiful mini farewell party at our apartment before officially checking out… Unfortunately, reality was we stayed most of our time at home this week and even checked out without proper closure! This second wave of pandemic was surely something I did not expect in the schedule when we started off this 2-months program.
The first half of week 7 was significantly hot. At times my air conditioner could not even neutralise the heat. But I feel like our experiences at OBBD really helped open my mind up, because in fact, the first week I returned home, my air conditioner was not working at all and I slept through the night with a fan. I remember telling myself, "I have been through worse, and for a longer period of time, this is nothing compared to that", and I was right. Towards the end of the week it started to rain more so it has been a lot cooler.
The week started off with 'Workout of the Day' (WOD) but this time, we put together our own exercises that work on different components of the muscle. As for my workout, I included 30 jumping jacks, 10 standing toe touches, 10 pushups, 10 squats and 8 burpees which majorly work on full body.
For the first day of the week, I woke up to my turn of leading the Work-Out of the Day (WOD). I had intended for the workout to focus on our full body. I am grateful that I was able to conduct my session the way I had planned to. I even got compliments from Ms Susie and my fellow scholars. Hanan said it was a good workout to start the week, it made me really glad.
It has been about a week since we all went home from our apartment due to the unexpected covid situation that had arisen last Saturday due to community spread. Although our Military Orientation was postponed to a later date, this did not stop us from moving forward and carrying on with our Freshman Induction Programme at home through online platforms.
Having sent home, the next day was Awal Tahun Hijrah Holiday. I believe each of us spent it as a rest day and catching up with family type of day. At nighttime, we received multiple messages from Ms Susie regarding the activities we would do throughout the week and one of them was Work Out of the Day (WOD). This meant we had to wake up at 0600h daily to do the given WOD. The following day, everyone woke up early and did the sent WOD individually.
Saturday, 7th August 2021, during our Life Skills programme at The Shared Kitchen while we were enjoying the food we made, Hanan received a message from her mother about the new local Covid-19 case. When I heard this, I thought to myself that it might have been a false rumor since the previous weeks also had a false news regarding Covid-19 cases. At that time, we were not really bothered about it because there has been no certified information released by Ministry of Health (MOH) yet.
Week 5 was much less action-packed compared to the previous weeks, especially after returning from the Outward Bound Brunei Darussalam (OBBD) trip where every second of everyday was ever-moving.
We went to the Directorate of Intelligence to meet Lt. Kol. Hj Fadzli, Maj (U) Hj Ilhamdi and Maj (U) Pg Izzul. They were very informative and gave us interesting knowledge on their roles and responsibilities, which we were initially so curious about as normally, when we hear the word 'intelligence' we would think James Bond.
Before we went for our OBBD trip to Temburong, we had first had a briefing done by Puan Amni back in our apartment. She pointed out all the activities, places and even emotions that we will go through within the seven days of our trip. To be honest, I felt both excited but at the same time, I was worried before the trip. I was just concerned about whether or not I could endure such long hikes or even go through one night of solo camping.
As expected from previous week where we had OBBD briefing, the first day of the week, we departed to Temburong by 0700h with excitement as well as nervousness. From what we have been briefed, we would be mentally and physically challenged throughout the activity. We were also warned that there have been many participants which went through mental breakdowns because of the tasks given.
On Sunday night, we made sure that we had packed every single item that was mentioned in the checklist. I can see that every one of us had heavy, big bags that were filled to the brim. We even had items that were not required individually but instead one per group such as detergent blocks, insect repellent spray and nylon string. Those items were evenly distributed between us group members (boys' group and girls' group).
We left our apartment at 7:00 am and reached the Batang Duri Outward Bound Brunei Darussalam (OBBD) base camp at 8:30am. It was scorching hot and we were carrying uncomfortably heavy bags. The base camp was what Raziq described as 'a wooden bunker', but we have both spent nights camping in the jungle so the scene was nothing new. The weather, however, was overwhelming.
The night before we headed to Outward Bound Brunei Darussalam (OBBD) in Temburong, we had our final check and gathered our personal belongings in one place. On the actual day, we were readily equipped with our jungle attire and checked out very early in the morning. As we reached the OBBD campsite, we were first welcomed by Coach Raffi, Puan Amni and Puan Sorfinaz with an opening speech. To our surprise, our phones and snacks got confiscated by Coach Raffi.
It has been over a year since my last visit to Brunei. I am filled with excitement and joy, being able to see my family and friends again. I was rather worried the past few days, as I found out that it will be raining all week in Hong Kong with the ongoing typhoon (Typhoon Cempaka) that started yesterday.
Our week started off with a relaxing session of recovery swimming. Swimming days are some of our favorite days as we get to have a few extra minutes of sleep since the pool is just outside our apartment. Ms. Susie had allowed me to lead the warmup stretches prior to the session.
Before the second week started, we were all together assigned to create and finalize our video and slides for school roadshows coming up in the following week. I was assigned to be a group leader for this video project as my other group members would take turns being a leader in the other following weeks of the Freshman Induction Programme.
For the first day of the first week, we were only asked to meet up at the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (SHHBIDSS) at 7.30am.
Due to limited flights scheduled by Royal Brunei Airlines and the mandatory 14-day hotel isolation, I opted to travel using Singapore Airlines, transit via Singapore, to maximise my time in Brunei with my family as my Foundation Year programme will start on 26th July 2021. Unfortunately, my journey was not a smooth process - Filzah Nadiah Dato Mohd Hamid, SCRBAF Scholarship Recipient 2016, Fifth Year Medical Student in Cardiff University.
Few days after the Sembah Kenal and Award Ceremony, we were informed to be vaccinated before the Freshman Induction Programme. At first, we were told to get the vaccinations at the local vaccination centres. - Syasya Athirah binti Baharulnizam, SCRBAF 2021 Recipient
Few days after the FIB, we received a text message from Miss Susie informing that five of us; me, Hanan, Alya, Richmon and Raziq, made the cut to become potential MinDef Scholars. - Syasya Athirah binti Baharulnizam, SCRBAF 2021 Recipient
Our final interview fell on a Wednesday and was venued at the Officer's Mess at Bolkiah Garrison. As all the previous affairs we have had with MinDef, the interview was precisely scheduled to the minutes. - Dk Fathiyah Amanina @Dk Hanan Syafiqah binti Pg Roslan, SCRBAF 2021 Recipient
After almost a week into Ramadhan, all of us were called to do both the oral test and interview. Both the oral test and interview were meant to be done within a span of two days, however there were some minor changes with the schedule causing it to be stretched out throughout the week, for some of us at least. - Abdurraziq bin Abdul Aziz, SCRBAF 2021 Recipient
The Individual Fitness Assessment (IFA) as well as Military Swimming Test (MST) were conducted in the first week of the selection process. We arrived at the Mini Stadium, Bolkiah Garrison very early with our sports attire when the skies were still dark - Richmon Lee Edward, SCRBAF 2021 Recipient
'Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Scholarship', you can already feel the prestigiousness of the scholarship from the title itself. When I first learnt of the existence of this scholarship back in 2019, I had my opinion fixed on never being able to get to apply to this scholarship scheme, mainly because of the minimum grade requirement of 3As which sounded far out of my reach - Nur Alya Irdina binti Awang Harun, SCRBAF 2021 Recipient
Two years ago, I never imagined myself attending the world's preeminent leadership institute, the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. - 53794 OCDT Muhammad Syahmi bin Haji Kamaluddin
Attending courses, karate, departmental visits, roadshows, swimming, cooking, baking… One word to describe what week seventh is all about-- productivity!
This week was all about familiarization; both on MinDef as an organization and ourselves as an individual and potential leader in the future. The days were filled with departmental visits, attending personal discovery and leadership courses, and the usual fitness training session every evening.
Roadshow! A week that was filled with trips around the high schools in Brunei, while promoting the scholarships to students...