I attended my first Original Bootcamp Malaysia (OBC) Graduation Party five months ago in October 2009 at the Borneo Rainforest Cafe (BRC), Sunway. I did not blog about that graduation party last year so I shall write a bit on my first experience attending the graduation party.
31 October 2009, we were doubtful if we should attend the OBC-OCTOBER 2009 Graduation party with the HALLOWEEN FANCY-DRESS theme. We felt we did not deserve to party, celebrate and Graduate having registered and joined the Bootcamp for only half a month in October 2009 (Click here) and attended only 4 sessions in the half month. However, after much convincing by Dr Malek Aziz & Farhanah Bamadhaj, we had all agree to attend. Abu Lais Walli Mohamed, Anita Ahmad, Nawal Aini and I arrived at the BRC and were lost in a crowded pool of strangers without any bearing which section at BRC was reserved for the Bootcampers. There were no banners or any poster of the OBC Graduation Party. The place was packed and there were no tables. We only knew a handful from KL Alpha and they were busy amongst themselves. The KL Alpha recruits then, were 'serious' and none came in any fancy-dress costume compared to the PJ recruits whom were the colour and life of the night dressed in fancy costume as per the night's theme. There were no proper host and nobody played host except for Dr Malek Aziz whom came to us and guided us to the un-marked 'Reserved for OBC' section. Dr Malek Aziz requested for a table from the waiter for us, waited for us to be seated, introduced us to a few other Bootcampers before leaving back to his table located at the opposite side. We then met Peggy Hoegh and a few other Bootcampers for the first time. Such were the hospitality for new-comers.
The food were lousy, we were still lost in probably 100s of strangers and did not know the scheduled agenda or what to expect, but we simply made the best out of it and hosted ourselves. I could not recall who were the instructors that attended then but a while later, Sarge Simran announced the Bootcamp monthly award for the Spirit of Bootcamp and the Best Improve recruit. The Spirit of Bootcamp is an award for the most inspiring recruits at the Bootcamp voted by every recruits via an online secret balloting whilst the Best Improved award is selected by the Instructors base on their judgement and discretion.
The October '09 Spirit of Bootcamp for KL Alpha was awarded to Dr Malek Aziz... a well-deserved candidate and the Best Improved Recruit was awarded to Shobha Bala. There was also an award given for the best 'fancy-dress costume' but I could not remember who won the award. Sadly, it was only an announcement without any 'real certificate' being issued. Until today the certificate remain a mystery and is still not issued.
The November '09 OBC Graduation Party was held on 13 December 2009 at the Mark's Place (See: November Graduation) without any theme but there was a big-bertha-size OBC Cake!! We were greeted by Corporal Jason Moriarty that awaits recruit arrivals at the restaurant entrance. Most of the instructors played host by attending to new and senior recruits. The party was attended by approximately 100 pax including the franchise holder Selva Kumar and most instructors, namely Faizal Ariff Abdullah, Jason Moriarty, Elin Klemetsen Fossum, Danial Chong, Dharmendra Mahalingam etc etc.... The Chief instructor Simran Latiff was absent. The November '09 Spirit of Bootcamp for KL Alpha award was announced during the last session in November to......... none other than Dr Malek Aziz (yes again and the most suitable candidate) and the Best Improved award went to Suriana Saiful.
There were no Graduation party organised specifically for December 2010 as it was combined with the November 2009 Graduation party on the 13 December 2009. I still wonder, how did we celebrate and graduate before even completing the month training. The December Spirit of Bootcamp too was announced during the the last session in December to................. Armin Baniaz Pahamin.. me and the best improved award was then permanently scrapped. Understandably, it is impossible to pick one of the many recruits that had best improved since everybody did improve.
The OBC-JANUARY 2010 Graduation Brunch was held at the Mark's Place again on 7 February 2010 (See: January Graduation). Instructors attended were Simran, Faizal Ariff Abdullah, Jason Moriarty, Hafiz Omar and Stephanie Chok (whom only made a brief appearance) with approximately 50 recruits and newbies. The January Spirit of Bootcamp was awarded to Zaiem Razak.
The OBC-FEBRUARY 2010 Graduation Night was held again at the Borneo Rainforest Cafe (BRC), Persiaran Sunway on 6 February 2010 at 8:30am last weekend. We had a long day and contemplate if we should attend but after much deliberation, we went and arrived shortly before 9:00pm starving!!! There were barely 30 recruits having a quiet dinner. There were no instructors or any host. Infact, everybody was minding their own business. Faizal Ariff arrived at 9:40pm and informed us that he will be the only instructor around. 10 minutes upon arrival, Faizal Ariff announced the February 2010 Spirit of Bootcamp award for each of the FIVE Platoon but none of the recipients attended. However, there is no lost to them as there were no certificates (again) prepared for the award. KL Alpha Spirit of Bootcamp award went to Tomi Soetjipto.
When I first joined the Bootcamp and attended my first OBC-October 2009 Graduation Night, there were only 3 platoons, KL Alpha, PJ Alpha and PJ Bravo but the atmosphere, ambiance and attendance at the graduation party was very encouraging with more than 100 attendees. Simran played host alongside other instructors.
In December when we celebrate the combined November & December 2009 graduation, there were 5 platoons, KL Alpha, KL Bravo, PJ Alpha, PJ Bravo and PJ PM and Selva Kumar, the OBC Malaysia Franchise holder hosted the night alongside FIVE other instructors without Sarge Simran whom was absent but there were less than 80 people at the graduation night.
In February, when we celebrated the January 2010 graduation with similar 5 platoons, the number of attendance deteriorated further with only approximately 50 people hosted by Sarge Simran and FOUR other instructors.
In March as we celebrate the February 2010 graduation, there are 6 platoons, KL Alpha, KL Bravo, KL Charlie, PJ Alpha, PJ Bravo and PJ PM.... but the number of participants on Graduation Night was alarming and there was only ONE INSTRUCTOR cum Host.
A graduation night, as the name implies should be OBC-Driven event as a gratitude, customer appreciation and as a recognition of the hard work of both recruits and instructors and especially the recruits whom are also the customer & supporter to OBC. When business is good with an increase of platoons to now 6 platoons and an increasing number recruits, OBC should be appreciating the customers even more instead of neglecting them to one instructor cum host (for whatever reason).
Quoting Dr Malek Aziz whom is a pioneer member statement :
"Last nite's Graduation nite @ Borneo Rainforest Cafe was a DISAPPOINTMENT!! Not only the recruits' turnout was bad but there was only one trainer present! Everything starts at source; if the enthusiasm and excitement at the 'top' of the rank is missing, it will translate down to the lower rank.Yes,one can blame the rain or have other excuses for not attending but the fact remains that the 'context' of having a good,memorable Grad nite was not set at all from the 'top'.
I have been attending OBC Grad Nite since Day One and have always look forward to that evening to celebrate, mingle,especially with recruits from other platoons and with the trainers.If last nite's event was really an indication, then its not a good prognosis."
The February 2010 Graduation Day/Night is a major disappointment and a waste of time. Personally, I feel the Graduation day/night is a very important event and should be well planned, better organised and attended by all instructors as a gesture of unity, appreciation and motivation....!! As a business, the Graduation day/night is also a marketing platform. We had always look forward to meet, share experience and mingle with recruits from other platoons as well as interested parties.
But Kiasu being kiasu.... especially KL Alpha, we had dinner, the food at BRC has improved since the first function in October 2009, camwhore and made the best out of the lousy night.
Those from KL Alpha that was at the grad night were Dr Malek Aziz, Farhanah Bamadhaj, Nawal Aini Zulkifli, Chun Chia Kai, Aisan Lim, Rezal Seth, Azeema, Yash Qasim, Ana Aziz-Kasim, Danny Quest, Lizza Abdul Rahim, Nyna Mohsen, Ili Liyana Baharon, Ilyanna Ailin Ayob, Kay Hassan and Elona.
Jamila, Adibah, Suhaha, Zoe, Ariff....
Maybe the title "Graduation Night" should be rephrase with "Recruits Night Out".......