When I received Project Penyu’s infopack via email in March, this one particular sentence on the second last page caught my eye. “P.P.S: Have we mentioned that most parts in Redang Island can be reached by mobile phone, except at Chagar Hutang?” I frowned. There are still places with no network coverage at all? I shuddered at the thought of not having internet connection for a week, and then I had flashbacks of how bad it was when my old phone malfunctioned because being phoneless for two whole days almost had me going haywire.
And then the day came. We were on a speedboat heading to Chagar Hutang and I kept glancing at my lock screen and watched the network coverage getting weaker and weaker as we were nearing. I saw it go from full bars and 4G, to one bar and 3G, to ‘No Service’ on the top left corner of my phone screen. To be honest, I would have never imagined myself being able to survive for a whole week without access to the Internet.
There are times where I felt like I needed to take a break from social media but I could never bring myself to actually do it. Being in Chagar Hutang for a whole week without access to the outside world made me realise how therapeutic it actually is to not feel the need to check your phone every now and then. The only time I whipped out my phone was either to open the front camera to see if i looked okay, to take pictures, to use the flashlight and to set an alarm to wake me up in the morning.
Surprisingly, one week without access to the Internet and the outside world felt good. If there was excellent internet coverage there, maybe we would not be interacting and mingling with each other that much. I can already imagine each of us sitting in one corner with our phones during our free time instead of interacting with each other.
Our hammock naps would probably not be that memorable since everyone would be busy with their phones during the day. I would then also be constantly reminded by the amount of work I have(since I skipped one week of class) because my friends would bombard my phone reminding me of all the work I have to do, hence why it was actually a good thing to be disconnected from everyone else for a whole week.
We only had each other to keep ourselves company and we bonded a lot over a week; I do not think I have ever gotten along so well with other people in such a short period of time before. I was a facilitator for a camp under Projek Ihsan three years ago(which is also a week long operation in Terengganu) and although all of them are such wonderful friends to me, I feel like I clicked more with the ones I met during Projek Penyu. Hence the title of my personal reflection, Dis(connected), because I was disconnected from the outside world for a whole week, but I felt like I connected with each and every one of you guys throughout the camp.
Here’s to you guys. I’m so glad our paths crossed.