· Introduction of Instructor and team.
· Introduction to the course, it’s major purpose.
1. Changing mindset: perception from different points of view.
2. Appreciating friends, job, and possessions
3. Improving communications; speak with clarity and sincerity.
4. Playing part in a team to make it strong.
5. Replacing negative mindsets with positive attitudes.
Like an old and decaying house, the old and stale mindset must be torn down completely, unwanted petty, self-centered, biased and prejudiced thinking eliminated and cleaned out and then only the rebuilding process begins.
Participants are allocated their rooms and told to get their baggage to go to their rooms to relax. So the jokes, chattering, cigarette smoking starts and everbody grab their bags without any sense of hurry, care nor responsibility. The lessons have to start suddenly taking all by surprise. This is the moment the military styled Commandos come in and start their action. Nobody fools around with military officers. They respond and obey instructions instinctively.
The trainee is put through a humiliating verbal barrage of insults, mockery of his/her pride in his job, position, and power; to bring down his self importance to the lowest level. There is no more rank. All must suffer if one of the team makes a mistake. Those who show signs of pride, aloofness or uncooperative are singled out for special ‘treatment’. The heat of the midday sun, rain (if any), crawling, kneeling, press-ups and other punishments are meted out to turn the soft, pampered and cosy lifestyle of routine work in an organisation into a living nightmare. The objective of this drill is to create a sense of loss of one’s personal pride, source of income, life-style, and all connections with the rest of the world. (Care is taken that nobody is physically threatened or injured)
All watches, wallets, money, credit cards, phone-cards and I.C.s are surrendered. These are placed into plastic bags by the participants themselves, labelled with their names and taped up. These are then put into a huge black plastic bag and then taped up completely.
In place of their identity cards, each person is given a ‘golden egg’ to keep throughout the course. Each must ensure that is not broken. Paticipants are then made to run to a higher ground a short distance away (about 50 meters), swear at the top of their voices to relinquish their jobs and to obey all instructions given by the instructor without question.
This is followed by another round of tongue-lashing to admonish those guilty of being lazy in their jobs, shirking responsibilities, blaming others for their own mistakes, quarrelsome, petty, back-stabbing others, while bringing attention to their clumsiness and inability in following simple instructions previously given.
Apologies and pep-talk
Instructor and assistants say sorry for their rough treatment of participants and explain the neccesity for the procedure. There is a pep-up talk and the participants are taught a self improvement recitation (example): “I believe in what I’m doing and because I believe in it, I can achieve it.”
After this, all proceed to canteen for lunch. After lunch, participants are given some time to wash and clean up before proceeding to the lecture room for another round of lecture.
Out on a Treasure Hunt.
Objective is to get the participants into groups, listen to a set of instructions, plan, choose a leader, and proceed to the objective. Participants are told what is the objective, the time limit for them to reach it and return with the results, but not told how to go about it. They have to figure it out for themselves.
The Hot Chair
After dinner, participants are required to gather again for an all night session called the “Hot Chair” when the volunteer tells the group about himself and requests the group to tell him his faults, then sits quietly on a chair in the middle of the group and listen without interruption or defending himself by arguing against any criticism of his weaknesses, (which most people tend to do, thus failing in their effort to correct themselves) while his friends tell him his bad points so that he can improve himself by correcting his faults. There must be enough time for every person to get a chance to sit on the chair. There should be a break in the session after every few participants have their ‘hearing’ to enable their minds to relax, clear, and reset themselves.
There is break for light meal and refreshments.
In the deep of the night, music is played and the instructor speaks to the audience about correcting personal feelings towards work, friends, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, neighbours and family. Trying to change from Negative to Positive Attitudes. Appreciating the friendship, love and care shown by others. Appreciating personal possession of job, income, home, and other material wealth, health and a sound mind. Count the blessings and not the woes.
Breakfast is served, buffet style.
Morning exercise is led by someone appointed from among the participants. A mini-compo is made available for music so that aerobics exercise is also used. The instructors then show up and some military training songs, self-improvement songs are taught. A rallying shout is also introduced: “2,3,4, We Can -- We Must -- We Will -- Yeeeaaahh ... _(Company)_ BOLEH!”
The whole group then goes off jogging while singing the training song. A car is on stand-by for those who cannot continue with the jogging.
Getting to REALLY Know Your Friends
The groups formed from the previous day is gathered. Each member of the group gets a few minutes to tell the others about themselves, their likes and dislikes, feelings about life, their families, or past mistakes and future plans. The rest of the group are told to listen carefully and remember their friends’ ‘stories’.
To Be Blind and Helpless
In this ‘race’, only the leader is not blind-folded. The other members are not able to see, not allowed to talk, nor touch any of the others. They are only to hear and follow the instructions of the leader to move towards a specified destination. The competition is to get the whole group to reach the destination in the shortest time possible. The lesson here is also to get a taste of what it is like to lose your sight and speech.
After this stage, the groups are informed that they have to prepare a sketch to be acted out, a group song and an individual song to be performed at the night gathering.
The whole group then heads back to the venue for lunch.
Appreciation, Responsibility and Teamwork
The participants, by now are relaxed about their behavior after eating just leave the table as it is. The lesson continues with group singing lessons right after lunch, next to the lunch table. Everybody enjoys this session thoroughly, singing along. This is followed by the cheer-leading cries of ‘We can, we must, we will.... jokes and tricks and funny stories. The instructor then tells everybody to go back to their rooms and clean up and relax.....
This next episode has to be a surprise. A sudden change from relaxed mood to total tension. Everybody is told to STOP right in their tracks.
Thus begins the lesson of appreciation for the food one is served. All are repremanded for being without any care for the messy condition of the dining table, the dirty dishes, forks and spoons just left strewn around after they have eaten. After the tongue-lashing, everybody quickly proceeds to pick up dishes, forks and spoons, only to be told to STOP!...because they’re making too much noise, which means to sound like they’re doing it rather unwillingly, and only because they’ve been scolded. They’re supposed to do things quietly. NOT A SINGLE NOISE... They start again, hap-hazardly, only to hear the STOP! command again.
They are to complete the job in 2 minutes. They are to organise themselves properly and work as a team, not each person on his own, and to arrange the items properly in the kitchen area. If they think there’s not enough time, how about negotiating for more time? Management is always willing to negotiate if the request is reasonable. Five minutes? No, only 4 minutes is given. (Someone is supposed to ask for a watch to tell the time). How to tell time without a watch? They are told to go back to basics, to tell time by counting the seconds. Obviously someone has to be the time-keeper. Thus, as in all tasks, a meeting or discussion is required to plan the action.
When the job is completed the instructor comes in and congratulates everyone. This follows with a lecture on the importance of working as a team, organising time, people, using whatever available resources and most importantly that each person in the team counts.
All go back to their rooms to refresh themselves and then return to the lecture room to watch a motivation movie. The groups are to watch and note the important aspects, who are the real heroes, the motives, the meaning and the moral of the story.
The next project for the groups is to create a group logo, a name, a theme, a group song and finally to present it. They are to discuss and are allowed to move freely to find their own private place to carrry out their assignment. This is doubled as tea-break.
After the group theme, logo and song presentations, the participants proceed to another location for game of pretense and acting with a pillow. The group form a huge circle and each person is to take turns to act out with the pillow whatever he perceives it to be. On the next round, the pillow is replaced by the next person in the circle and he has to act out the similar action he did with the pillow!
The Dinner Torture
Dubbed as ‘Pudu Jail 1945’, it is ultimate lesson of the whole course and is considered the toughest test. Dinner is served. All plates are filled with rice by the commandos. The food looks delicious. Participants are invited to sit down at the table. The Instructor comes in when all is ready, dressed in army jungle camouflage, head covered by a black scarf and tied up at the back, looking mean and tough. He instructs all to eat only with a fork. There should not be a single sound. All the food must be finished. Nothing is to be left on the plates.
There are always 2 commandos close by the instructor. The 3rd man stays at a distance and watch the overall situation. The ‘harassment’ begins almost immediately. Nobody owns up to making the first noise. Everybody gets punished. No fork is allowed. Eat off the plate with the mouth. If anybody’s plate is empty, he must ask for more rice. Keeping quiet means another tongue-lashing. The 1st round over, they go back to using the fork. The Instructor goes away.
Round 2: ‘Somebody’ makes a noise. This time, the whole group stands up, hold the nearest person on both sides of him by the ears, and the whole group eats off the plates. Then they have to do press-ups until the instructor after keeping up with his barrage of scoldings, is satisfied. He gives instructions to resume eating ‘normally’ and goes away.
Round 3: This time some kind-hearted soul ‘owns up’ to making the noise. He takes the punishment of standing up on 2 decks of high chairs. The 3rd man always on guard beside his chairs. The rest of the group move back their chairs, take their plates and place them on the chairs and continue eating, without forks while holding on to their neighbours ears. Again, after the instructor is satisfied, he gives the order to resume ‘normal’ eating. The guy on the high chair gets a pardon as the rest of the group have taken the ‘punishment’ for him. He has to say sorry and thanks to everyone before going back to his seat.
Round 4: This round is the final. Someone (a good natured guy whom everybody loves) is picked to take the ‘blame’ for the noise. He has to stand on the high chairs. The rest of the group puts the plates on the floor, hold each others’ ears, and continues eating off the floor. Finally, all are allowed to stand up and listen to more scoldings and insults. They are to hold the fork close to their eyes and look at the fork and think what they could do with it other than eating.
They are then told that to follow such instructions as eating with fork on porcelain plates and not making any noise is impossible, yet being intelligent people, why do they still follow? Some of them are supposed to remember the oath they had taken on the first day, and to give that as the answer.
The guy from the high chair who has ‘caused’ the rest of the group to be punished with such humiliation, now has to get down on all fours and crawl to each and every member, look up into his eyes and beg for forgiveness. He should have, by now, a deep sense of remorse for causing everyone to suffer for his ‘clumsiness’.
When that is over, the Instructor explains to everyone that this part of the course is the toughest for him and his men, because it is not easy being cruel to people. He certainly finds it very distasteful to go through this session, but because it has its major purpose, it must be done. He hopes that nobody will harbour any grudges against him after this. Then all members of his team proceed to shake hands with all the participants, apologise, hug them (except for the women) and ask for forgiveness.
The wallets, handphones and watches are then returned to their respective owners. They are allowed time to make phone calls home, return to their rooms to wash up, then to get ready for the evening group songs, sketches, etc.
An Evening of Entertainment
The groups are allowed enough time to rehearse their sketches and songs. And the home made entertainment starts and continues into the night, with a pause for snacks and refreshments. This followed by disco dancing, just to allow some free expression.
As on the previous night, the deep of the night is again set aside for thought provoking lectures. With pauses for sentimental music in between. This time the focus is on Mother. The listener is led to think as far back as he can remember, to the time he was aware of the mother’s care and love...etc... to remember every little thing that mother did for him. The idea is to remind the person that without Mother, he is nothing....
After breakfast and morning exercise, the whole group walks to a lake where kayaking facilities are available. Here, another team event takes place before the kayak event. A net with a large hole in the centre (for a person to go through without touching the strings) is strung between two trees. This represents a high power electrically charged fence. Each group, one on each side has to pass its members from one side of the fence to the other without touching the ‘fence’. The game finishes when all members of one side are safely passed to the other side and the same goes for the group from the other side.
The Combined Kayaks
The objective is to get as many as five persons on each kayak. This is not possible if each kayak is on its own. Therefore, some organising work is required. The people are allowed some time to row around with the kayaks for a while to experience with manouvering, turning, and reversing. Care has to be taken to pair off those who can’t swim with those who can. Safety rules like wearing lifevests must be followed.
The Closing Ceremony and Certificate Presentation
After the kayak outing all participants proceed to lunch and then to their rooms to clean up and get dressed for the closing ceremony. All are advised to prepare a speech, but due to time constraints, not all will be given a chance to speak. Therefore speakers will be picked at random.
The chief instructor will give a summing up lecture, again outlining the importance of change in each person. Change for the better, from negative to positive mental attitude.
Passing out certificates are then presented to all participants. The whole group are gathered outside for a group photograph. All members of the instructors team come forward and shake hands with the participants on the way out to the waiting transport.