Six weeks ago, I received a call from Ministry Youth and Sports Malaysia saying that I was selected from the interview to be a Malaysian delegates at the Singapore-Malaysia youth leadership exchange programme a.k.a SMYLEP 2014. And I was supposed to give my answer the next day whether I want to go or not. I was hesitant to choose to go or not to go since the timing is so not right. Assignments, final year project, tests. Somehow, I calmed myself down, refered to several people and finally prayed that I made the right choice, and alhamdulillah I made a choice to go and EXPERIENCE.
Basically I was informed two weeks before the programme begins. Thus, I was quite in a rush to buy my flight ticket back to Subang and all. Making sure everything was settled first before I went to Singapore. Time flies and suddenly it was 5th of December already. Malaysian delegates were quarantined for two days at Paralympic complex in KL to prepare for the worst. Honestly, the pre-departure training (PDT) was awful. I had it so much that I've an intention to just not go. Well, probably I was just hormonal. The topic was really heavy. talking about Malaysian and Singapore policies all the way through. It shows how lack of knowledge I am in these field. I thought it will never end.
But, 7th december came finally!! Had our 40 minutes flight to Singapore and as we reached there, the great hospitality from the Singaporean could be felt instantly. It was raining by the way as we reached there. And the Singaporeans were so worried we'll get wet and all. They were cautious to not get us wet at all and ensured us safely entered the hotel warmly.
Our hotel - Furama city centre (nearby China town)
Summing up the programme there, I'd have to say that Singapore was amazing with the architecture and design. Despite the Singaporeans do look almost the same like Malaysians but one thing different about them is that not everyone speak Malay since their main language there. I feel so timid with my English since I've been using Manglish all the time. The programme tentative were amazing and fruitful. I was overwhelmed with the knowledge gained. I can't forget several programmes like the cook off challenge, talk by Dr. Tan and also Dinner by the dark.
The cook off challenge was a great breaking ice session. All 39 delegates were divided into four main groups - French, Spanish, Japanese and Vietnamese cooking style. It was really amazing how on the first day, everyone collaborated together and made fabulous dishes. I can really say, the Singaporean delegates were very good in strategizing while we Malaysia delegates were ensuring the unity of us in groups were flawless. Following the programme, I enjoyed another part where a talk was given by Dr. Tan. Dr. Tan is a medical doctor who served in a rural area of Chine for more than 15 years. His persistence to help the needy was tremendously out of the box. Who would ever want to go a rural area with no electricity and barely any communication line. but this guy did it to give out as much medical help as he could. He empowered people instead of making people rely on him. I respect him dearly.
One final slot that opened my eyes was the Dinner in the dark programme. To be brief, we were told to enter a dark room to have dinner. When I say dark, it's pitch dark. Pure darkness. No light at all. And just enjoy dinner. I was once again overwhelmed that I was supposed to do things beyond my imagination. I was crying throughout dinner though. Reflecting back on how much I have and all. This slot was basically to allow us to experience how the visually impaired people felt moving on with their life. I was impressed that the waiter and waitress that served us was the visually impaired people. Amazing, right? They were very kind and polite in giving us three courses of food. Somehow, my senses of smelling and hearing get very accurate since I can't really see anything. I were able to identify what food I'm getting and hear people chit chatting clearly. This applies to the visually impaired people. In the end, the are the same like us. Thus, we should treat them normally and not look down upon them. After the slot ended, I remembered the short conversation I had with the visually impaired waiter..
"Hope to SEE you soon guys" said me
He replied "Indeed, hope to HEAR you again"
I felt like I was struck by lightning. Indeed, be grateful with what we have and gained up to today. Alhamdulillah. May allah bless them a wonderful life ahead.
Overall, this programme has really impacted me in many ways.. I was grateful that I decided to go there. I will do my best to implement things I gained to bring Malaysia to an international fame. And hopefully I can spread the love of loving your country as you should so that Malaysia could rise and be a better country.
Thank you Allah for this opportunity. Thank you Ministry Youth and Sports for allowing and selecting me to join this programme. Thank you mak for all the expenses given for me to spend there. Thank you daddy for supporting me to join this programme. Thank you Singaporean delegates for the amazing and kind hospitality, for bringing us around to see Singapore. And not to forget the friendship made between us, malaysian delegates. You people were awesome and I love everyone dearly. We complement each other greatly. I wish to see you in another programme perhaps. My heart is content. Alhamdulillah, all praises to Allah.