Jungle survival courses in Malaysia are aplenty but one that is taught by someone knowledgeable and experienced is really hard to come by. I have personally attended jungle survival courses and have come to the conclusion that some are just a waste of time. There are only a handful of individuals whom I have met that (to my honest opinion) are good enough to actually deliver a useful course. Many are interested to attend a jungle survival course but finding a good one is really hard.
Jungle survival is more than just fancy skills, expensive gear or how well you deliver the content of your course. Above all, jungle survival (or any survival for that matter) is about mental strength. Without mental strength, no amount of gear or skill practice will help. Want proof? Go watch reality shows like Naked & Afraid and Marooned. Even the toughest and most trained blokes throw in the towel when the situation tips their mental scale.
Having said that, having the right knowledge and skill do influence the outcome of your predicament in dire times. It helps you understand your situation, state of mind and it gives ‘knowledge tools’ to help see you through the situation. You will know your priorities, available resources and what you need to do to stay alive and get out safely.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert nor do I claim to be an authority on the subject matter of jungle survival. I am merely sharing my thoughts on the matter as I observe in the Malaysian scene.
Jungle survival courses in Malaysia are often offered by individuals who (as a friend would put it) are… monkey see monkey do. Unlike the more well known recreational activities like rock climbing, abseil & roping techniques, sailing and diving, there just isn’t a set standard available for ‘jungle survival’. Even if there is, the general feeling towards anything that is called a ‘standard’ is always frowned upon, especially if it is bred locally. Local standards are always viewed as sub-standard. If you live long enough in Malaysia, you will understand why this is so.
All hope is not lost. There have been some really good jungle survival courses in Malaysia. I remember back in the 90s, there is a group of people who call themselves UBAT (Utan Bara Adventure Team). UBAT was the people to go to back then. They had locals and foreigners who would sign up for their programs. Mind you, their programs are not easy. Suffice to say that the course involve putting you in a survival situation…literally. The man behind UBAT was a friendly (but elusive) chap and he came from a military/ security background.
Fast forward today, there is no shortage of ‘survival experts’ in the local scene. Everyone with some camping experience and shelter building practice is claiming to be a survival expert. Thanks to the internet, we now have modern day ‘learn from Youtube’ jungle survival ‘instructors’. The sort that will make you cringe just by watching how they swing the parang.
On the flip side, the internet and social media is also helping to uncover many highly potential individuals who seem promising in delivering quality jungle survival courses. I have met three individuals in the past and recently another whom I would label as ‘the person to watch’. Before I share more on these individuals, let me first explain how I measure these individuals and their skill sets.