by Pte Brian Yip

(extracted from Wesley Tidings Jan 2017 edition)

My name is Private Brian Yip Teen Chee from the 1st Kuala Lumpur Boys’ Brigade (BB). I am twelve years old this year. I was six when I first joined the Boys’ Brigade in April 2010. I was introduced to BB on their Enrolment Day during one of the Sunday morning services. I witnessed young boys around my age and other older boys filing into the sanctuary in an orderly manner. I was amazed to see their smart uniforms and the way they filed into the church so systematically. This eye opening experience truly made an impact on me, henceforth, giving rise to my decision to join the BB.

I have learnt many cool new things ever since I joined. Among them are further in-depth Bible Studies (apart from my weekly Sunday school), Drill, Cooking, Arts and Crafts and Musical Education (Band). These have greatly helped me in my school co-curricular activities and daily life. Camps held by the BB Company gave me the opportunity to interact with my peers and officers. Games sessions and Drill are my two favourite programs. These two programs instil interaction and fellowship that has brought me closer to this big BB family. It has influenced and contributed to my continual stay with the Company.

I particularly enjoyed the Drill program as it thrills me to comply with all the drill commands given by my commander during each session. My friends and I would start by doing some warm up exercises such as running and push-ups, which strengthens our hands and legs muscles, and also improves our stamina and physical endurance. We would usually start-off with basic commands before moving into the more advanced instructions. This allows us to cope and familiarise ourselves with the drill sequence.

Recently, I had participated in the KL State Drill Competition on 17 September 2016. Initially I was nervous, as I had zero experience being a Drill Commander. Nevertheless, Staff Sergeant Leong and other officers have been very patient and supportive in guiding me to undertake this new task. Since then, my skills as a drill commander has improved gradually.

During the training sessions I have to be extra patient as I learn how to project my voice properly so that my comrades and the judges can hear me well on the parade ground. Besides that, I must also learn to project the drill commands using the correct techniques taught by Staff Sergeant Leong. He taught me how to give the commands by using my diaphragm rather than my throat. This is to ensure that my voice is loud and clear without hurting my throat. This alone entailed numerous practises.

Allow me to share that being a Drill Commander is not easy as there are many challenges that one has to face before, during and after the Drill Competition. First, the person must have a good set of leadership skills. These are not just a mere necessity but an important aspect since it forms the basis of commanding and leading a squad of boys from different age groups (some of whom could be a handful to manage).

Besides that, one must be responsible in carrying out this duty as part of the team. A drill commander must never fall behind in his duty and be equally competent in the drill sequence. In addition, one must always take the role of a drill commander seriously irrespective of whether it is during normal drill sessions or in practices in anticipation of any drill competitions.

It has never been an easy task to take the role of a Drill Commander, be it then or now. I had encountered much difficulty before I became what I am today. This is because I had no prior exposure of being a Drill Commander at all, what more being the leader of my Drill Team in a competition! Being a Drill Commander means I have to shout many commands to my comrades, while also ensuring that my voice projection is loud and clear. This really made my throat hurt badly (despite the fact that I had learnt the proper way to project my voice!) It was a very hard thing for me to do. I also had to remain disciplined at all times to show a good example to the comrades and the rest of the boys around me. This is difficult as we boys love to play and getting into mischief now and then. Oh! The temptation! How hard it is to resist the temptation of breaking loose and playing freely with my friends again……

People often ask me if I would like to participate in this sort of competitions again. Well, that would be a definite “yes”, as I truly enjoyed learning and taking up new challenges like this. At the same time, I also got to meet new friends from other BB companies and compete fairly on the same platform. We (including my Drill Team comrades) also gained new experiences in these Drill Competitions by watching other companies perform their drills while we too, tried our best to be on par with them. We also made new friends while we were at the competitions, especially while waiting our turn to perform our drill sequence. It was truly a wonderful experience.

I am really looking forward to the next major BB drill competition, which is the Pesta Competition. Why? Pesta is an excellent exposure platform where I can observe other companies from all over the country performing their drills in their own unique ways. It will allow me to gain new experiences and test my drill skills there.

If I was given the opportunity to create a new type of competition for BB, I would like to create an obstacle course in a jungle. This is to test the team spirit in every contestant and press their mental strength to the limits. In addition, this competition would ensure that every contestant is able to be independent while moving through the obstacle course such as crossing small rivers and walking on long trails. It is important that every contestant be strong physically and mentally to finish the course. The “I can do it” spirit must be in every contestant.

Besides that, if I also had the opportunity of creating a new type of camp for the BB, I would create a special type of boot camp in which the participants would not only have to overcome obstacles, but also get to instil discipline in them. They must also have the team spirit in working together to solve problems (namely the games organised in the camp). They must always perform physical activities every day to strengthen their physical and mental strength.

Here is some advice to all my Pre Juniors and Standard 3 friends who are still growing up in the BB – Never, ever give up. Yeah, there might be a few difficult things that you guys have to learn and do to progress further along the way, but, hey, relax! Enjoy what you have now in the BB and always have fun during the fun-filled learning sessions. In the meantime, work hard to achieve your dreams, as there is no free lunch in this world. Make as many friends as possible to enjoy the BB brotherhood.

I would personally like to thank my parents, for giving me the encouragement and moral support while I am doing this “project”. I would also like to thank Staff Sergeant Leong and all my BB officers for giving me this awesome opportunity and experience to take on the role of a drill commander, and patiently training me in the drill sequence and commands.

Lastly, I would like to thank all my friends for keeping me entertained whenever I am feeling lonely, as I am an only child. I had one very memorable experience from the BB that I would like to share here, namely the wonderful trip to Ulu Kanching. This is because I had a lot of fun there playing tug-of-war, jumping off the waterfall there and ambushing my friends with lots of water. It was truly amazing. I hope I can go there again.

I guess that is all for now. Bye!

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