31 July 2008

My First Day At PLMGS Series - Part 3 of 3

...Continuing from Part 2 of 3. (The concluding part of this series takes on a slightly more sombre mood.)

I would be lying if I said we didn't enjoyed basking in all the attention. However, I am proud to report that we stuck steadfastly to our no-fraternising rule. We stayed on our side of the line for the calling of setting up a worthy project such as this, was just too important to be fooling around. It would be unthinkable if any one of us were to be sent back in shame for desecrating the instructor-cadet bond. Not only would that undermine the integrity of the instructors but also tarnishes the good name of our own school.

We did have our individual favourite but only in the sense that she was my "goto girl" if I need anything done during midweek prior to the subsequent Saturday's parade but that was as far as I went. Nothing more.

To take a leaf from the Leadership Training Course (LTC) manual, we adopted the "4 Fs" as our mantra.
  • Firm
  • Fair
  • Friendly
  • but never Familiar
Ah yes, the LTC also affectionately known as the Leadership Torture Cource. Undoubtedly the highlight of every St John cadet's 4 (or 5) year-stint during secondary school. This was a 6-month course (back then), where we groomed 2nd-year cadets to take over key appointments from their seniors as the latter moved on after their GCE O-levels. In this particular period at PLMGS where the cadets were the pioneer batch, the instructors were the ones running the administration in the interim until they were able to take it over from us.

We started the LTC programme from the second year of PLMGS SJAB's existence in January 1987. By then, we had 3 years' worth of cadets (we recruited cadets from the Sec 1 and 2 cohort during our first year) and we kicked off our very first LTC with the 2nd and 3rd year cadets lumped together. The whole programme ended with a grueling week-long boot camp where the cadets were to undergo their final assessment through a series of tasks, assignments, projects, interviews as well as written examination.

After the course-concluding camp, there would be a 2-month period of deliberation and ranking and the results of the LTC would be announced during the Annual Inspection. Successful graduates will be promoted to NCO rank of Lance-Corporal and a post in the school division's administration.

The Annual Inspection also marks the "retirement day" of the seniors as they retreat to prepare for their coming GCE O-Level's examinations. Hence, the timing of announcing the various appointments as the graduates move into the junior appointment, left behind by the 3rd years who take up the senior appointments, vacated by the "retiring" seniors.

In running an organisation such as this, continuity is a very important issue. This is a place where people come, and ultimately people go. There is no way to stay in there forever. This is after all an Uniformed Youth Organisation of a school i.e. you have to leave when you graduate. Sure, you may return thereafter as instructors but ultimately, there still is that inevitable Last Day.

As such, the LTC as well as the subsequent Advance-LTC (for 3rd years) are all about continuity. Letting the new take over the incumbent as the latter departs.

Continuity also applies to the instructors as we handed over our reins to the next batch as we neared our own GCE O-Levels examinations.

I did return to PLMGS, after my GCE O-Level examinations when I moved on to ACJC but only briefly as I was tied up with the running of our own ACS SJAB division and ACS SJAB Band. My limited time resource was further stretched to help out schools like East Payoh Secondary and First Toa Payoh Secondary, whom their respective St John divisions were still in their infancy.

- Voxeros

1. THB left...
Thursday, 31 July 2008 3:55 pm ::
THIS ONE NOT PART 3 ALREADY MEH?? Why still to be continued???

2. JayWalk left...
Friday, 1 August 2008 9:31 pm :: 
THB: Read on to find out.

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