| Khalsa Land, KKB, Malaysia | 19 Dec 2015 | Asia Samachar |
Khalsa Land, a 20-acres camp site bought by a Malaysian Sikh youth organisation in 2002, is set to host its largest camp yet.
Tomorrow, 20 Dec 2015, will mark a major milestone for the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) as its signature camp rolls out on its own camp site in Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB), about 65km from Kuala Lumpur.
“The wash room facilities are amazing. We’ve never had 52 toilets for boys, and another 52 for the girls. Individual toilets, individual showers…havoc. I’m so impressed with the prep team,” Paramjeet Singh tells Asia Samachar after visiting the camp site yesterday.
Popularly known as Pemi, Paramjeet has been involved in the SNSM Sikh camp scene for more than three decades. His father, the late Jai Singh, was a jathedar of the SNSM in the 1980s.
“They have those huge marquee-like tents, bolted firmly into the ground,” he said.
Some quarters had expressed concerns with the idea of organising the Annual Gurmat Parchaar Samelan – probably one of the largest and longest running annual Sikh youth camp outside of Punjab – at the camp site fondly known as the Khalsa Land. It became a major topic of discussion at the SNSM’s last annual general meeting.
SNSM jathedar Pavandeep Singh had then briefed the house on the plans for the camp at Khalsa Land, managing to win over some of the sceptics.
The SNSM annual camp, first held in Port Dickson in 1963, is the organisation’s longest-running event. The one-week camp usually attracts some 1,000 participants and 200 stay-in volunteers (called sevadars), and a huge number of visitors. It is usually held in Government schools, usually those with boarding facilities.The number, though, have been dwindling over the years.
SNSM secretary Jasbir Singh said at the close of the online registration a few days ago, they have 520 participants and 150 sevadars.
“We expect another at least another 200 participants who will register on the day itself,” he tells Asia Samachar in a telephone conversation. “It’s looking good.”
SNSM purchased the land in 2002 for RM1.7 million, with the bulk of the donations coming from Sikhs in Malaysia and Singapore. In June 2011, the SNSM AGM approved a budget of RM150,000 to build a camp site with cabins to kick start the usage of the land, according to the May 2012 issue of The Sikh, a magazine produced by the SNSM.
A group of 25 participants had set foot at Khalsa Land on 23 June 2012 for the maiden camp at the site, according to another report (The Sikh, July 2012).
When asked to comment on the annual camp going to the KKB site, Amarjit Singh, a former SNSM jathedar who is now serving as a deputy jathedar, says: “We have long yearned for permanent Samelan premises — perhaps we are finally there. A week from now, we’ll have clearer answers.
“The life of a Sikh in Malaysia has been one of those who dare to dream. Here is another step – by those who dare to dream.”
Boghar Singh, a former SNSM deputy jathedar who is assisting with the ground work at the camp site, said the preparatory work was almost completed.
“For the first time, participants will be sleeping in air-conditioned tents,” he tells Asia Samachar.
The Gurmat samelan will run from Dec 20-27, 2015.
Malaysian Sikhs power Gurmat camps abroad (Asia Samachar, 28 June 2015)
Singapore Sikh camp with foreign talent (Asia Samachar, 1 June 2015)
800 converge at SNSM’s annual Sikh youth camp (Asia Samachar, 15 Dec 2014)