Sunday, 9 December 2012

Shooting Practice

Pistols are not considered as a primary weapon for soldiers on missions. The bigger, more powerful rifles are  very much preferred. Hence, since the foundation of The National Defense University aka UPNM, all the cadets are trained to shoot with the M16 and the Steyr AUG A1 only, shooting a pistol is literally unheard of, until now.

Assault Rifles

As a medical personal in the Army, we are not expected to carry an assault rifle running into battle and start shooting at anything that moves. Our role as a doctor is to, well, be a doctor and help the injured. So, the only firearm that we carry would be a pistol for self defense purposes only. Thus, the medical cadets of intake 2010 & 2011 had the privilege of being to first batch to be taught how to handle and shoot a pistol.

The pistol we used was the 9mm Vector Pistol made in South Africa.

The early Saturday morning rising sun saw us all working together getting the shooting ranch ready for our shooting exercise. We measured and set up the targets, erected tents and so on. By mid-morning, everything was done and we were ready to begin shooting.

The shooting ranch

Each of us had 3 rounds of shooting at different distance. We started at 10m then 15m and at last 20m. We had 10 bullets per round and our score was based on our accuracy. The target was divided in 4 parts, hitting the middle would earn you 5 marks and the marks would subsequently decrease as you hit farther and farther from the middle of the target, missing the target would obviously get you 0 marks.

Birds eye view of the medical cadets shooting

After finishing the 3 rounds of shooting, 4 people (2 from each intake) with the highest score from each battalion were chosen to form 2 teams to represent their respective battalion in a shooting competition. The goal of the competition was to see which team could shoot down the most number of plates (Maximum number of plates=10) with 20 bullets at a distance of 20m. 

The setup of the shooting competitiom

All together there was 20 teams consisting of 10 medical cadet teams, 2 officer teams, 2 instructor teams and so on. 2 teams would compete at each round of the competition and the team shooting the most plates would win and proceed to the next round.

I'm glad to be chosen to represent Battalion Tuah, together with Farah Diba, a girl small in stature but with very accurate shooting skills. 

Farah and me in action

My gun jammed a few times during the first round making me frantic as I thought there was a time limit. Thank God there was none and I managed to hit 2 plates while Farah hit 3. I thanked God even more when the opposing team hit less plates than us so we proceeded to the next round.

I managed to shoot better in round 2 leaving only 2 plates standing but we lost to the opposing team, Team Jebat A, who managed to shoot all the plates. What a bummer!

In summary, after many rounds of shooting, the finals was between Team Jebat B and Team Insructor.
The two on the left are the instructors and the other 2 are the Sharpshooters of the medical cadets: Kecik & Pidot 
After a good fight, the champion team was Team Instructor with Team Jebat in second place. I'd say  Team Jebat  B did very well considering that this was their first time shooting a pistol.

Team Jebat B in action
Encik Nel, champion of the day

And thus concluded the shooting exercise for the day. I seriously learnt a lot throughout this exercise and I'm glad to say I'm on the right path of learning to be the man I hope to be one day. The nice part of being in a military environment is that each mistake is pointed out and punishment is dealt out. It may seem harsh but actually it helps us learnt from our mistakes and prevent us from repeating them.

Here are some photos I'd like to share, a few of my better shots (camera shots I mean):

Small but VERY deadly

Askar kosai
Equipment of the day

Process of reloading

Encik Azahari,  the strictest Company Sargent Major  

Down the sight of a 9mm Vector Pistol
Pidot, one of the sharp shooter of the day

And last but not least, the nicest picture of the day:

The one and only Lim Shimri =P

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Kanching Waterfalls

Had a short expedition with my dad to Kanching Waterfalls last weekend. Kanching Waterfalls is not exactly a paradise but still a very nice to place to go to relax and spend time with loved ones. 

Was greeted by this sign board at the entrance. Good thing I did not plan to swim anyway.

Basically, Kanching Waterfalls is made up of 7 waterfalls, each at different levels of a small hill. The lower level waterfalls were packed with people but the crowd gradually thinned out as we ascended. Here are some shots of the waterfalls:

Second level waterfall

Third waterfall I think

7th and the nicest!

The one who made me who I am today

Yours truly

Here is a short riddle to end your day:

If Petaling Street is the heart of KL which is suffering from atherosclerosis;

And PDRM are the White Blood Cells of Malaysia during an Autoimmune Disease;

What in Malaysia is analogous to a Malignant Tumor in the body? Whereby the tumor steals the body's precious nutrients just to feed it self, starving the body in the process; is the cause of the presence of radioactive material; and will slowly but surely kill the body if not removed one way or another.

No trophy or prize if you get the correct answer, except maybe a chance to try Malaysia's famous prison curry rice.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


 My room now has a new little pet snake. One of the instructors caught this little bugger and did not know what to do with it so he gave it to us. Initially, we were a little apprehensive about handling it as we were not sure if it was venomous or not. But based on a few characteristics (rounded head and round pupil) and some research, we came to a conclusion that it is non-venomous/non-lethal. In fact, it is an Orange-necked Keelback found mostly in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. 

Allow me introduce one of my roommate: Selvan Mohan. He has been my roommate/housemate since I was doing my foundation in UPNM. He is the 'toughest', the 'strongest' and the 'baddest' soldier I have ever and will ever know.  But this macha here has one great weakness which is: snakes!

Well, with a snake present in the same room as Selvan, naturally we are obligated to have some fun with him. The following pictures took place in my room where we showed Selvan the snake for the first time:

Selvan: 'I wonder what is it they wanna show me??'

As we brought the snake towards him

Selvan: Yin de bo leng ye, ya de ya de!! (screaming in tamil)

Before anyone starts judging, let me assure you that the snake was not hurt or traumatized in any way. As for my roommate Selvan, this is in no way bullying or being cruel. In the army, it is all about facing your fears and conquering them. We are providing valuable training for him to overcome his fear of snakes as this may one day save our lives. Just imagine him blowing our position/cover during a mission just because an earth worm is spotted.

 Another interesting weakness of this macha would be: Cats. His reaction is priceless. 

Interrogating Selvan for information would be relatively easy. Just the presence of a cat and an earth worm would be sufficient to get him talking non-stop. =P   

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Our routine is filled with parades: Morning Parades, Games Parades, Pre-Outing Parades, Post-Outing Parades........... and the list goes on and on and on. Out of all the military activities, I despise parades from the very bottom of my left hypertrophied ventricle. 

Our parades are not those March Pass Parades that occur during Merdeka Celebration, ours is more like a assembly where we stand in formation according to specific Battalion and intake. The whole aim of the parades is to get the strength of cadets present for a certain activity or to make sure all the cadets are in the camp. 

Morning Parade

Allow me to explain what happens during a parade. We stand still throughout the whole parade staring into space, day dreaming away, occasionally stamping our feet and moving our heads when orders are given, then we resume standing still and staring into space again. We're not allowed to talk, to read or to do anything except to stand still and stare into space. 

Each parade will take 1 hour at the very least, anything faster would be a miracle. So with the number of parades we have, just imagine the amount of time wasted. Time which could have been used for studying or training so that we become smarter, fitter and stronger. In other words better soldiers or doctors or whatever we are supposed to be. But no, they'd rather have us standing still for hours becoming more and more stupid and unfit as time passes.

The process where we are made to become mentally retarded by wasting our time via very time consuming parades is called Stupidization. If we are not careful, we may produce officers in the future who are retarded.
I really thank God that as a medical cadet and a triathlete, I'm resistant to Stupidization as I'm exempted from most parades.   

I'm not saying that parades are useless and should be eliminated totally. Parades have their benefits too.  However, they should be kept short and sharp, taking as little time as possible to increase productivity. I don't see why it should take hours just to do simple math to calculate the amount of people present in a parade. Maybe the effects of Stupidization has already taken place? 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Mid Sem break :)

I actually had plans to go Sungai Lembing, Kuantan to visit the rainbow waterfall and see my dad's side of the family this holidays. Hotels were booked and transport were all arranged. But, just before the holidays, orders from above came saying that we had to report back to camp 5 days earlier as we had a Map Reading Exercise in Broga Hills for 4 days. Naturally, this order was greeted with lots of cheering and celebration and jubilation. You wish! Hotel bookings had to be canceled and so on. So there went my plans for the holidays.

Somehow or rather at the very last moment, a new set of orders were given where all training was canceled and we will actually have our holidays so yay for us. Thus, I'm back in the small busy town of Melaka where I spent most or rather my whole childhood in :)

Prior to the holidays we had a short field trip to Hospital Tunku Mizan.

We were there to see an exhibition on Field Hospitals. In other words, hospitals set up at war zones/disaster zones. Basically, the hospitals are made up of tents which looks something like this:

Got this off the internet

Could not get a birds eye view of the exhibition but it is similar. The only difference is the color. Ours is bright orange.

The 'ward' area

A fully equipped operating theater 

A mobile kitchen

I find the mobile kitchen redundant. The reason being that the inside of the tents is damn hot. Meals can be easily prepared by just throwing everything inside a pot and leaving it inside the tent to cook. Therefore eliminating the need of the mobile kitchen. Yes, it is that hot inside :P

On a totally unrelated subject, I lost my iPhone in exchange for my sister's DSLR camera. Since I don't utilize the iPhone to it's fullest, using it only for an alarm; and my sis does not release the full potential of the DSLR, taking super HD duck-face photos of herself, thus we decided on this exchange.

As the saying goes: 'A thousand miles begins with the first step', at least now I have my 'shoes' on. Hence, begins the journey of photography. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Rainy Rainy Day

Rainy Fridays are the best! Usually on normal Fridays we have Tempur Tanpa Senjata (TTS) or in other words hand to hand combat training for 3 hours in the field under the blistering sun. Not that I'm complaining but a break once in a while is very welcomed. Just imagine chillin in our dorms with the rain pouring outside, the cold wind blowing, the air filled with rain smell.... With that heavenly short stolen moment of respite, rainy Fridays are very much prayed for, wished for and even danced for. But it seldom ever rains on a Friday. It's as if the sky is playing a game with us. It may rain every single day of the week but come Friday, the sun would be shining happily away. It may even rain on Friday but it'll stop just in time for TTS and the sun will shine with a vengeance leaving us to do TTS in a flooded muddy field with the scorching sun on our backs. 

Well, yesterday was a rainy Friday. A very rainy one, I have not seen such a big storm in years. It was as if all Friday rain stored up throughout the years was released at one go. It rained throughout the whole afternoon. The irony was that TTS was already canceled due to my university's convocation. So it seems that it'll only rain on Fridays without TTS. Damn rain. 

I decided to go for a run when the rain let up. There is this small hill in my camp called Bukit Besi and it is one of the steepest hill in my camp. Not many people can run up that hill, let alone cycle up Bukit Besi. It is  challenging and provides a very good work out. Usually after a downpour, the hills would be covered in mist and if I'm lucky I can have a perfect view of KL city from the peak. So, I brought my phone with me on the run meaning to get some nice pictures.

The distant tall radio tower marks the peak

View from the peak

No really beautifully breathtaking photos were taken. Either I suck at photography or my camera sucks. I prefer to think it is the latter =P

Friday, 28 September 2012

Year 2 of Medical School

A wise man once told me: 'Secondary school is the best time of your life, enjoy it to the max!' And boy, am I glad I heeded those words. A few years ago, I lived a carefree, stress free life. Constantly getting into mischief and some minor trouble in school. What was homework and exams to me? The only reason I went to school was because of friends, recess and dismissal and PJ. I was no model student, not the top student, not even in the first class. I was far behind in the second class burning people's butt with bunsen burners and teasing the teachers. 

Suddenly, in a blink of an eye, I've completed one year of Medical school and am on the path to be a doctor. Who would have thought that this bloody high school rebel who burned butts will be doing medical procedure in the future. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I was going to be studying medicine. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a soldier. I remember once, when asked in front of the whole class what my ambition was by my teacher, I proudly announced that I one day will be a soldier. Even though the teacher advised me otherwise due to my shortsightedness, I never wavered from my ambition. Some say it is God's calling, some call it destiny, well I say it is Patriotism. I have always wanted to serve my country and make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race =P   Seriously though, I have no idea why this compulsion.

It was the time near SPM when I got thinking: 'Am I going to be a just another regular soldier who is going to die on the battlefield and be forgotten?' I wanted to be of some significance and not just some fellow with a gun, so I then decided I was going to be a combat medic. Trained in the art of medicine and war. And thus my current occupation. Not many people get to chase the dream they always wanted, I am lucky, very lucky to be doing so. I'm really thankful and I hope I'll never take it for granted : ) 

Well, year 2 stared 3 weeks ago. Hence, the routine of studying and training begins once again. In the study of Microbiology, we study the growth of bacteria. There is something called the bacteria growth curve which is divided into lag phase, exponential phase, stationary phase and decline phase. 

I'm currently at my lag phase where I'm adapting from holiday mood to study mood =P I hope I transit quickly! 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Military Life Trauma Support

Two weeks ago, I had my Military Life Trauma Support (MLTS) course right after my Pro Exams. Basically, MLTS is Basic Life Trauma Support combine with some military element and thus the name. Our instructors came all the way from Institut Latihan Kesihatan (INSAN), part of the Royal Medical Corps.

The Basic Life Trauma Support consist of a CPR course where we learnt to do CPR (obviously) and the Heimlich Maneuver. We were trained to perform those stuff on adults, children and babies. I won't be going into the details as this blog is not a cure for insomnia. In summary, after 3 days packed with theory and practicals and examination, we finally got our CPR License, at least those that passed.  

The cert and the license

For the rest of the week we learnt other immobilizing emergency procedures like how to fasten a cervical collar, how to use a backboard and so on.

Colonel Dr Umar demonstrating how to use a cervical collar

On top of learning MLTS during that one week, we also had our first exposure to the Malaysian Royal Medical Corps where we will be serving after we graduate. So far I'm impressed with what I've seen, very professional and knowledgeable personnel. I hope I'll be able to just as competent and professional later on if not more. 

UPNM Medical Students intake 2010

Friday, 20 July 2012


Today marks the first day after my Professional Examination. Before you comprehend the extend of my bliss right now, you'll have to understand how studying medicine in a military environment is. Medicine is a very tough subject, no doubt about that. Consistent studying is needed whereby the months prior the Pro Exam is filled with daily studying and studying and studying and more studying! This may sound easy, but now, in that Equation of amount of studying needed, add in the element of military. Daily parades, 3 hour long hand to hand combat classes, marching, cross countries, shooting practices, military classes, fitness test and so many more. On top of all that, add in triathlon training into that Equation: morning swim sessions before classes begin, evening run or bike training.

It's amazing how we Medical cadets actually manage to find time and the energy to study. I used to wake up at 5 every morning and give up my weekends just to slot in some extra time for revision. I was constantly juggling these 3 elements, studies, sports and military, trying to have a perfect balance where I can excel in all 3 aspects. So my daily routine went something like that: Wake up at 5 with a jump feeling very guilty I slept so early, study till 0615 then go for a swim till 0730, classes from 0800 to 1600, followed by a 10k run and cycling at 1700H, then it'll be prep time from 1900H to 2359H then sleep and the cycles starts again. And not to forget the ever present anxious and guilty feeling when I could be at my books but am not "spices" things up. I'll train a little shorter, eat a tad faster, walk a bit brisker just so I could have more time for revision.

But now, it is all over!! It has been some time since I actually woke up not with a guilty jump but with a slow relax smile when I remember that today I don't have to do anything, nothing at all : ) At least nothing about the studying part. To celebrate this special day, I'll be giving my body a long awaited workout by going for a triathlon training session in Putra Jaya and tomorrow I'll be cycling up to Frazer's Hill. At last, training with some peace of the mind.

From the way I just describe studying, it seemed like a tiresome chore. But no, honestly speaking, I actually quite enjoy studying. The only part tiresome part is the stress with arises due to examinations.

Since exams are over, one would expect long holidays. I wish it was so for us too, but we are confined to barracks with a one month military program planned for us. We'll be having a one week Basic Life Trauma Support course and another week doing our elective posting in Taiping. I hope we get the details soon.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

First Post

I bet you are all surprise when you click the link of my blog. You may be going: huh? He write blog one ah? Since when? So to answer the sophisticated and complicated question on your mind, yeah I do now : P

The reason I'm doing so is that I hope this may act as a window to my life. Some people can just maintain friendships or relationships even if they are half way around the world. Well, I'm not that type, sad to say. I'm the type of person who sucks at sharing experiences and even worse at keeping friends and family up to date of my life. To the extend of people staying in the same room seldom would know what is happening in my life, let alone friends and family outside my direct circle of acquaintances. I believed in the "need-to-know basis". I intent to make some changes and so thus this blog

I spent some time trying to figure out a name for this blog. I wanted something which reflected the purpose of this blog and I came up with: A Walk Of A Soldier. Meaningful and classy, a blog of my walk as a soldier. But then I realized soldiers don't walk, they either march or crawl or roll or run or die. And, I'm not going to be just a soldier, I'm going to be a military doctor. Plus this blog would not just be a record of what happens in my life but also my thoughts and feelings. So at long last I came up with the title: A Walk of A Man To Be. A record through out the years where I'll be learning and maturing to be a man I hope to be one day. Or rather I hope I'll be hardworking enough to continue writing and not make this post my last : )

To make sure this isn't my last post, I intent to write briefly what has happen to me for this past one year, places I gone, events that happen and so on in my next post. So yeah, till then 

Good times : )