Official University Orientation Week (Ragging?)

Official University Orientation Week (Ragging?)

Orientation for all local public university in Malaysia has ended. At least the formal one organised by the university is. *Smirking* All the first year undergraduate should have started their lectures too. So, how did it go actually? I mean the orientation week. Was it fun? Was it tiring? Was it exciting? Did you get pushed around? Did you have to stay up late and wake up early? Did you get shouted at a lot? Does the word 'ragging' come into mind anytime during the orientation?

On the first day of registration, first year undergraduate students (hereafter, referred to as freshies; that's how the 2nd/3rd/4th year students like to call them) from all over Malaysia would arrive in the respective university struggling to walk to the registration counters with their luggages in both hands. They come by cars, taxis, busses, trains or even planes. Some escorted by their parents, some came exploring the world of the university by themselves.

After registration, they are directed to the designated hostels (known as Colleges in Malaysia; overseas would normally call them Hall of Residence). Parents who are with the freshies follows their baby child (obviously already 19 or 20 year old but then, no matter how old you are, you are always a baby in the eyes of your parents) to their allocated rooms and help clean the rooms, hoping to provide not a perfect but at least a comfortable room for their children to return to after long tiring lectures. Rooms for the freshies are normally shared room with 1 or 2 other guys.

Normally in the early afternoon, parents are informed by the facilitators (hereafter, referred to as facis; comprised by 2nd/3rd/4th year students who are in the Student Welfare Committee of the colleges) that the orientation programmes are starting and they need to leave. Now, you see parents hugging their children, telling them to take care, expressing their love and care, some have tears knowing this is the first time their child is going to be away from home, worrying whether they are able to care for themselves. Do you all recall this sight?

After the parents have left, what happens? Nightmare? Does the friendly and full of smile facis who attend to you earlier turn fierce and grumpy? Maybe not that soon for some. Basically, they start of the orientation programme by first introducing to everyone the main characters of the College (hostel), which includes the Principal (Head of Hostel, which is normally a lecturer too), office personnel and the facis themselves. They break a few jokes, we smile and laugh. Everything goes well, programme ends around 10pm and everyone retires to their own dorms after the facis instruct the freshies to gather at 7am in the next morning.

Next morning, everyone gathers after having breakfast in the college canteen, normally nasi lemak. First programme would be the gotong-royong which requires everyone to help clean the vicinity of the college. Then they may start informing you about the necessary regulations which you must abide to throughout the orientation week. Most of the time, the rules are about you submitting to the authorities of these facis who are mostly arrogant students who think they are all mighty and great.

You will be briefed about the history of your college, taught to sing the college songs, university songs, and also be brainwashed about their ideology. Oh yes, their silly ideologies! LOL~~ Since each universities has a number of colleges, obviously the facis will tell you which is your main rival, the ones you must beat during inter-college contest throughout the orientation week and also your university years.

The freshies may need to sleep late at night because all of you are too busy being drilled by the facis to sing the college songs AS LOUD AS possible!! Remember that?! LOUD as in they want the other colleges to know that you are strong and mighty. Then you may get a rude knock on the door as early as 3am in the morning to gather everyone again just to sing the college songs again until 7am which the orientation continues. Talk about sleepless nights!! If your tempo is out, or your voices aren't up to expectations, then be ready for some screaming from the facis!!!

You basically get screamed at for every possible reasons!!! For being slow when gathering, for not singing loud enough, for not being enthusiatic, etc. Some children are gems of their parents' heart, hence, their parents would drop by the college to pay them a visit asking "How are you?", "Getting used to it?", "Is everything ok?", "Did you get to sleep?", "Is the food ok?", "Is your roommate nice?". And YES!!! YOU GET SHOUTED FOR PARENTS VISITING YOU TOO!!!! I've seen facis shouting at the freshies when their parents have left. Some may think the facis want the freshies to learn to be independent, but some may think that the facis just don't want to get caught by the parents of how they are treating their children. I recalled an incident where two freshies decided to go to a nearby town as there were a few hours gap between the programmes. Unfortunately they didn't manage to get back in time. While we were all gathered at the common area, the facis dragged those two into a storeroom nearby, slammed the door!! And started screaming at those two! The screaming is terrible, I've never seen people scream in such ways!! The facis took turn to go in and shouted, screamed, scolded, verbal assaulted the two which took almost an hour. The rest of us also got a lecture on "Who you think you are? You must listen to our instructions. You are not supposed to do what you like without our approval! Blah Blah Blah!!"

Everyone is provided with one college t-shirt, and you are not allowed to wear any other t-shirts throughout the orientation week. Since your programme starts early and ends late, you won't have the time to wash the shirt and even if you have, you don't have time to let it dry. So, basically, everyone just wear the same shirt througout the week, being stinky and emitting the sour type of smell!!! Hahaha... That should be unforgetable right!

Then there are the inter-college contest: sports, debates, etc. You get the facis screaming at you about the need to win!!! Apart from this usual contest, the facis can also come up with all the other unorthodox type of contest to intimidate the other colleges. Example, any students in UKM should know about Perang Dectar. During the orientation week, there will be programmes that are held in the main university hall called DECTAR (Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Razak) where all the colleges have to gather at. After the programmes (usually motivational talks) end, freshies are supposed to leave DECTAR to their individual colleges for the other orientation programmes organised by the respective colleges. But the facis of the some colleges would instruct the freshies not to move. YES, JUST SIT PUT!!! Whichever colleges that leaves DECTAR last is considered the winning college. TALK ABOUT NONSENSE!!!! During my orientation, my facis and the facis of KTSN (Kolej Tun Syed Nasir; another college) had a verbal argument and almost beat each other up after both colleges did not want to leave the hall. In previous years, there were also incidents where the university security turned the lights off in the hall as the colleges did not want to leave, and the busses which shuttles the freshies of certain colleges which are far from the hall just drove off after being tired of waiting.

Seriously, sometimes I just feel that these facis can be rather brainless, I wonder what is in their minds, how did they end up in universities which are for the people who have certain level of intelligence, since we don't have enough places in local public universities for all the pre-university students, theoretically, only those who are clever can get in right?!

Obviously, you do make friends during the orientation week since you need to gather with each other so much, sit together for activities etc. That was the nice thing about orientation week. Making friends.

On a personal view, I don't like the way how the orientation week was handled. I believe the orientation week is about getting the students used to the new environment, providing useful information regarding the university. Unfortunately, the orientation week was misused by certain senior students as a channel for them to show off their authorities. Everyone who entered university are already 19 or 20 years old, technically adults. They should be treated as adults, respected as one, not to be shouted at crazily, pushed around. Any students in local universities would know that the universities no longer use "Orientation Week" anymore. I think it is due to the reason that there were previously a lot of ragging/bullying which occured during the orientation week due to some irresponsible senior students. The worst I've heard was the seniors tied the penis of a freshie to the fan and let him run with the fan while it spins. I wonder why some people just love to bully others. Does that make them manly? Powerful? Nowadays, university come up with very nice names for these Orientation Week such as Minggu Mesra Mahasiswa for UKM, other similar names for the rest of the public universities.

What do you guys think? How was your orientation week? Would love to hear some of your experience too.

PS: As the title goes "Official University Orientation Week (Ragging)", this post is regarding the Official Orientation Week organised by the universities. For the Chinese students, all of us have the so called FacNite, an Unofficial Orientation Week by our Chinese seniors. My next post will be on that. See you...

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