38 Days of Finding The Meaning of a Decision


It has been more than a month I didn't properly write something, either in this blog or anywhere else where I am supposed to get a pocket money. If you found a post in this page published after April 22nd, that's because I've already prepared it a week before my 'military enlistment'. Yes, I was just discharged from a military base named Pusat Pendidikan Perhubungan (PUSDIKHUB), Cimahi. I was there in order to fill a responsibility as a new recruit of a state-owned company. To put it simply, I joined an orientation that they usually call it as 'character building' programme.

Last time, I've stated in this blog as well that I accepted an offer but things in Indonesia, especially when you're working for a state-owned company, requires you to pass several more stages before you officially appointed as an officer. In my case, I need to pass 'military enlistment', corporate introduction, on the job training, and probation period approximately until October this year. Such a long journey, contradicts to private company hiring that only requires few months probation period and then they will just offer you contract that will expires in couple years.

Before '38 days character building', I actually was asked whether I am not going to regret my decision by Mbayodd (again). Then I answer that I am 100% sure with the decision I made. And there it is, I joined the 'army'.

I never imagined that the character building in military base will take 38 days. Normally, state-owned company will hold the event only in 10 days or maximum 2 weeks for the orientation. As you can expect from me who always think positive, I guessed that would be it. Well, I've never been so wrong in my whole life.

The character building programme lasted for 38 days, beyond my expectation. Moreover, it was also held during Ramadan which I never calculated before. I would never imagine that I will spend Ramadan with couple of strangers in a military camp or even doing physical activity (running, sports, etc) whilst fasting. Both possibility I didn't even count before. That's how surprising my life could be. And as usual, I started to regret my decision: "Why did I always choose the unusual way? Why did I always challenge my self?"

***


The military training started on April 22nd, 2019. We departed from Gegerkalong and stopped by PUSDIKHUB Cimahi after registration. We left our luggage and couple things in Gegerkalong, we only required to bring the essentials such as: toiletries, few clothes, phone, and wallet. Alas! I didn't bring my wallet with me, I left it in Gegerkalong as well as couple important things. The first day was just the beginning. However, since day one they didn't make it easy for us. We have to do everything quickly. Thanks for my former experience as a scout member, I have used to it. Speed is my middle name, I am able to finish the tasks in the mean time.

The first day arrival to PUSDIKHUB, I was assigned to platoon 4B (the last group ever). There were only 4 person gathered at first, the rest had something to deal with before we finally complete as a whole platoon. At that day, not much going on. We were only required to change our black and white uniform into military uniform. Another military inventory and equipment was also given that day. Then the first day passed by.

Second day was the hardest yet the most unforgettable. I can't forget that I was physically exhausted because I had crawled, rolled, creeping up during the rain across Lapangan Chigra. That was the moment where I wanted to give up and just go home. However, it's not Agista if she's giving up easily. Even without tears but mental breakdown, I said: "Don't give up. Show them that you're strong enough to survive even though you don't. You've been here, go for it." If I couldn't make it for the second day, I wouldn't be here today. Later on the night, I feel my body was aching, hurt from head to toe. The next day, I forced myself to keep up with the activities without letting myself go to the nearest clinic.


Surprisingly, there was no more physical suffering as difficult as the second day. There were creeping, crawling, and rolling but the tense is far more bearable. I was pushed to run almost everyday (sometimes I run, most of the time I didn't). Everything I did in Pusdikhub involved physical activities that I hate the most, I hate sports really. We need to wake up at 4 (before fasting) then pray for Subuh, after that we were doing gymnastics until 6 AM, we took shower, then we attended the morning apel, then there were classes, lunch, prayer until 9 PM when we close the activities with night apel. The activities practically finishes at 9 PM but we sleep later than that. Given the time, we only sleep 2-4 hours a day for 38 days.

During the first week, I still cannot accept the fact why would we need to do character building that lasted more than a month. Somehow I thought that was irrelevant in every aspect, especially when I just work as an officer not field-officer. As time goes by, the answer gave me chills. What if actually I worked like there's no tomorrow? What if I actually don't have time for my self later? There, I re-consider my decision again. To just give up and not to continue what I have chosen is the most foolish act I've ever done. So I decided to just move on and see what can I do later. I believe in my capability to finish my job properly in such short period. I also trust my time-management ability or at least I fully understand how I plan something (the history recorded that I was quite reckless but manageable). Everything just seemed to be scary and out of what I originally expected at the first place.

One point that really triggered me was the younger generations are treated as if they couldn't become what they supposed to be. Meaning: during the character building, it feels like the company wanted us to fully obey older generations as if they do not want to accept dynamic change in the world. We were forced to be submissive, we were forced to close our mindset from the rapid transformation of the world. At the same time, contradict to what they expect us to be, they want us to be the milestone of change inside the company. Something that I don't really understand. I just feel the method was too conventional contrary to the freedom and creativity of millennials. Hence, I re-consider my choice again. Is this really something that I deeply wanted?

***

Beside physical activities that took place the whole day, we were isolated from outside world. Our phone was confiscated, we barely met other people excluding our mentor and group friends. We never got in touch with our family (unless allowed in special occasions). Living without social media in almost 38 days was pretty okay. Furthermore, I should be grateful because I gradually able to control the fear of missing out trait. I didn't get anxious even though I don't check my phone and that's a good thing.


Another unforgettable moment during the military training was SURVIVAL event. By the end of the second week, I was assigned with a new group of people from another platoon and we camped in Burangrang Mountain. It was quite intriguing experience. In some ways, I liked being in nature, enjoyed living in limitations (we only eat salted fish, cassava, grilled fish) but I also have to admit that I was pissed off a lot.

During survival, I learned how to build a tent from scratch, literally. Well, I was just helping not really build it my self. We need to calculate the pole heights then count the raincoat to be used. We need to calculate the space, the water stream, and the wind direction. Then the most challenging act was creating a fire. At first, it seems easy since we have lighters. In fact, we barely made a proper fire until our mentor helped us. The key of a good fire is the dry wood and the structure. Once a fire is successfully created, the next difficult part is to maintain it. And I've never been able to create a fire.

Survival was the best thing to show individual's true colour, like me. I showed my weakness, my bad behaviour when I was starving and exhausted, my resistance to order or cooperation. During the survival, I was on the worst state of me. Contrary, the people from my own platoon were finally able to get closer to each other. Survival turned our platoon from strangers into a family, which is nice. Compared to other platoon, I must say that my platoon become the most solid and united. I'm proud to be the part of them even though I actually wasn't the part of their bonding during survival.


The last part of survival was late night walking (Caraka Malam). In this part, I was able to confront my fear especially to darkness and ghost. Turned out, exploring the forest at midnight without light was incredible. My eyes were able to adopt the dark, nothing appeared to scare me (unless the artificial Pocong that made me shout: ANJING!). Not even once supernatural creature haunted me that time, so proud!

Since they assume that when an individual is both physically and mentally exhausted will be easier to be indoctrinated, I think I was the only one who still resistance to the assumptions. I didn't easily give up my character and perspective. I am still me: accepting different ideas, walking in neutral path (there's no such things called black or white for me), and assertive. However, by keeping up live for 38 days in military camp, I learned couple new knowledge. Though I have to substitute lots of useful conversations that I would have with too much doctrines.

***


After the physically exhausting weeks, we finally reached Ramadan and our physical activities were gradually decreased. I must say that the 3rd and 4th week were the most relieving week, especially when we had a lot of time to get closer in a platoon. There were competition that triggered us to be the best and here everyone showed that they are quite ambitious. We learned our weakness, we accepted criticisms, we learned to perform our best. My platoon was at 2nd place of parade competition. Something that we didn't expect but we later expect better on the next competition. Alas, in next competition my platoon was ranked 4th.

In this competition I could feel the peer-pressure of winning. I started from doubting my self whether I could lead a group or not. I always believe in my leadership ability but that was when I doubt my self and felt that I won't be able to lead such great people. Again, for the hundredth times in my life I could overcome my worry. I might not gave the first place to my platoon, but I was able to confront the pressure and performed the best version of my self. We had so much fun, we started to feel empty if we're not together, and I made a lot of friends until one of my platoon member told me that I'm sociable. In fact, I am a sociopath.


I've done few things that I've never done before during this 38 days. Pushing my limit. I tried to run every morning and night, turned out I was able to run! I jumped from the tower (17 m heights) and did snapling without fear! I held weapon! I did senam balok and senam senjata. I also survived during the camp. I woke up in the morning, I ate vegetables, I prayed regularly, I made friends, I didn't sleep during the class. And I experienced fever for three days straight!

It was great but I don't want to do that again. To conclude, for this 38 days I've been thinking a lot regarding my decision and I didn't regret it.

Comments

  1. Wtf i read it at this hour, that caraka malam artificial ghost part shocks me xD

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  2. How did you survive 38 days, half of that during Ramadan? My batch had 10 days, and I don't exaggerate when I say it felt like 10 freaking months! Yes, you're right saying this whole military stuff is highly irrelevant to our job, let alone the company's success. I heard it was there in the first place (like, in the 1970s) because: (1) this company used to be a division under local government, hence the strong bond with the military, (2) most of the employees at that time were high school grads, with untamed temperament. None of those fit today's employment landscape.

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