Program Jalinan Kasih (with SMK Kapit)

Going gong ho in the jungle. These were the people who made it happen.
During the weekend right after the school holidays, a group of adventurous top students & a teacher from SMK Kapit paid a visit to my school.
I wanted to give my students quality role models. They wanted a jungle adventure to remember. I think we've got ourselves a fair exchange, don't we? And after wading through a whole bunch of bureaucracy, we made it happen.

The biggest challenge in materialising this program was not bureaucracy. It was overcoming people's preconceived perceptions of my ulu school & the benefits of travelling to such a secluded place.
Let's not talk about inviting Guru Cemerlangs or students from Sibu or Kuching or anywhere else further away. Even the people in nearby Kapit were reluctant to allow their children to travel to Katibas. They were afraid of deadly boat rides where non-existent crocodiles infest the waters. They did not think that travelling to such an ulu place would benefit their children.

One participant told me the story of how she had to be stubbornly persistent with her parents to be allowed to take part. Eventually, her parents consented with her father telling her mother, "let her come back crying & she'll understand why we did not agree."
So, after a few withdrawals & replacements in the group, 15 students & 1 teacher came. They were certainly a group of people to cherish & that was exactly what we did.

So, did they run home to mommy in tears? Take a look at the pictures & judge for yourself.

On their first night, we did an introduction & ice breaking for them.
My students also gave them a romantic midnight tour of the school after the event.
Early the next morning, the whole school took to the field & we did aerobics together with our guests.
Later, the top Form 5 students from SMK Kapit did a workshop with our Form 3 students who were going to sit for PMR.
I think that they were the ideal role models for my students.
Role models are something that we are of short supply in this region. Better students usually leave for better schools. So do local residents who do better in their lives.
After that, it was the Form 6 students' turn to conduct a workshop for my Form 5 students.
They may not have been the top students at their school, but their experiences will be able to help my students prepare.
I also pulled in the Form 5 students from SMK Kapit to work with my science stream Form 5 students.
That afternoon, we took them jungle trekking.
We spent 3 hours in the jungle trekking through thick foliage & wading through rivers to arrive at a magical waterfall where students & visitors alike had a lot of splashy fun.
That night, our school put up a Cultural Night show for them.
My students did cultural dances, sang songs & so did our teachers. Everybody had a great time!
The next morning, they joined our Youth Service.
We joined together in prayer & studied the bible together.
Before they left, we took group photographs, autographed shirts & also autographed the banner. They wanted to bring the banner back to SMK Kapit with them as a memento to this momentous event. They wanted to bring back a piece of SMK Katibas back with them. How sweet.
Rightfully so. They've gained so much during the weekend & made so many meaningful connections.
Don't you think that it was a trip worthy of making? I'm sure there will be more insights & benefits to be gained from travelling all the way to my ulu jungle school instead of staying confined in their comfort zones at home.
Don't you think children & adults alike will benefit from helping others? My students gained a lot from this small group from SMK Kapit & I am pretty sure they gained a lot from us too. This exchange was mutually beneficial.

For the brave few who took the road not taken, I salute you. You have taken the first step towards discovering what it takes to be truly successful in life. Something that, unfortunately, is not taught in school but is discovered through obtaining unusual experiences such as these.
I wish you well & I pray that God will bless you abundantly for the priceless blessings you have brought to my rural school students.

View all the pictures here on my FB page.


  1. I. Grabbed. It.


    and what's left are the wonderful memories & experience :)

    1. I don't recall a Silverin. Were part of the group?
      Well, I'm glad you grabbed the opportunity. People like you are very rare. I hope that you have gained a lot from this experience because we have gained a lot from you.
      I wish you well & I hope that you will continue to keep in touch with my students.

  2. The mentorship connections are really beautiful. I like how you paired up students who are 2 years senior to mentor your kids. And the cream on top was the exposure your science students had as well. This is definitely a project that is going in the right direction and can only benefit your kids to greater heights. :)

    Kudos to the SMK Kapit teacher that really pushed for this to happen as well and CONGRATULATIONS Jik Kam (and your team)on a job well done! The event looked really fun! :D

    1. Thanks for your compliments!
      Indeed, I've got a great team here in SMK Katibas. Without them, it would have been impossible to do things like this.
      I think I will highlight my team in one of my next posts.
      3 posts away from writing about you! =D

    2. :) Yes, you should definitely highlight your team. They deserve the recognition. Everyone of them are AMAZING individuals and the dynamics (as well as chemistry) you have as a team is nothing short of INCREDIBLE.

      3 posts away.. uuuu.... excitedness.. #missionKatibas

  3. So much fun, such invaluable experience. Kids/young people these days would not be interested in anything beyond their ipads and smartphones...unfortunately. Really miserable, the kind of lives they lead...and the kind of generation the parents are raising.

    1. They want their kids drunk on technology so that they are easier to control but these parents forget that they should be teaching their children to be independent, resilient & leaders instead of being obedient, pampered & safe.
      Parents like these won't like teachers like me teaching their kids. Too many radical ideas.

  4. Anonymous7/8/13 20:29

    Sir, I'm sorry but I think the saying about The parents were reluctant to allow their children to pay a visit to your school. It sounds like as if the parents of these students are not open-minded enough to let their children take up this challenge. This is how I interpreted your message but, one thing to mention, I think those parents were apprehensive of their children's safety as there was only ONE teacher guiding the group. Anything can happen at anytime and you can't deny the probability by using non-existent crocodile as an example. It would be quite offensive to certain people as if they were described as not knowledgeable and somehow it showed no respect to those parents. Every coin has two sides, I suppose that's why every parent has different judgments and decisions to this program. No offense. Just an opinion.

    1. I guess you're a parent. One reason I allow Anonymous comments is for differing opinions to be heard.
      Thank you for the courage to share yours.

      Originally, there were THREE teachers chaperoning. There were also MORE students in the group.
      One by one, they withdrew because of their parents. Reasons ranged from, like you said, safety concerns & also, like I'm highlighting, doubts as to the value of this trip.
      A few of them persisted & resisted their parents's decisions.

      I am not a parent so I will not understand how a parent feels. Also, these are their children & not mine so it's totally up to them what they decide.
      I brought this up in so that people will think.
      I am offering a different point of view so that people will question their motives & arrive at a conclusion like you did.

      I admit anything could go wrong.
      Did we do our best to make sure that everyone was safe? YES.
      Is this programme worth the risk? YES.
      Did the students return with deeper insights & a broader perspective in life? YES.
      Did some students miss out on a golden opportunity which may never come again? YES.

      Do parents have the right to say no to this programme? YES.
      They might have said no because they did not understand the program before. Events like this is not a norm. Nobody wants to come to an ulu school. Now that I've shared this on my blog, there is something to show parents. Some of them might change their minds. Some may not & it is totally their prerogative. At least, now, they will give it deeper consideration.

      Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts! Hope to hear from you again!
      Selamat Hari Raya! =)


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