YK has gone camping with the rest of the boys in his cohort. They will endure a 12-hour bus journey followed by a boat-ride to Taman Negara (The National Park). Located in the state of Pahang, Malaysia, it is one of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world, dating as far back as 130 million years. The boys will spend the next four days in the lush tropical jungle, trekking, white-water rafting, climbing hills, exploring caves and visiting the natives (Orang Asli).
As I dropped him off in school yesterday evening, I felt a sense of pride. At 14, he is becoming independent. The night before, he had packed his own haversack. I couldn’t help but sneak a quick peek. Pretty impressive! Everything was nicely sorted out and neatly packed.
On the way to school, I reminded him to look out for leeches and be careful about what he eats. He said in jest “Yah, yah, you’re starting to get naggy you know. Is it because you’re getting old?”
No, I haven’t changed much. In fact, I used to say a lot more. When you were little, you couldn’t get enough of my stories. I had to invent a new one every night before you went to bed. You loved listening and were always asking “Why this, why that?”
It is you who have changed. As a teenager, you’re learning to stand on your own two feet. You need to explore your own needs and voice your opinions and become yourself. This is part and parcel of growing up.
Happy camping, my dear son.