A concerned Malaysian writes about Malaysian affairs. "You are the Change you Seek" Barack Obama

Monday, September 3, 2007

How Safe are the NS Camps?

With so many thousands attending the camps for National Service it is inevitable that sometime during those three months, there will be some deaths during the program.

So we should study the causes of the deaths and compare it with similar programs and even the more vigorous schemes such as training in military camps.

I think this death seems to be a case of negligence as the boy died about a week after a fall during training and the camp authorities did not send the boy to hospital untill it was too late.

Since the NS program started, the death toll seems to be creeping steadily upwards even if more protective measures have been introduced.

Allow me a share an experience during my OBS course more than 40 years ago.
We were on a whaling expedition with an overnight camp in one of the islands off Lumut, maybe it was Pangkor.

As we were bringing in the boat, I stepped on something in the water and there was a flash of movement and I felt a sharp pain on my right ankle. I quickly got into the boat and looked in the water to see what it was.

The first thought was "sea snake" and that really scared me as we were miles away from anyone and of course in those days there were no mobile phones. The throbbing pain subsided after some hours but during the next few hours I was really scared and just waiting for the poison to take effect.

The instructor told me to rest quietly and not do any rowing and he told me later that I was really pale and scared.

Anyway after I reached camp I was quite happy as after so many hours I was still alive and even though I had a wound I carried out normal duties and even took part in the 5mile road race where I finished about the top 6 trainees.

Two days later however my ankle had become swollen and tender and I reported in sick or the Instructor asked to to go to the Lumut hospital with a few other wounded. They gave me an injection and I was excused from the last 2 days program that included the 30-mile hike.

I still have a small scar from that incident. It is about 10mm long right on the bone of the outer ankle. I think the wound was caused by a small sting-ray that was buried in the sand.

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