Tahan Mountain Trekking Team
Tahan Mountain Trekking Team is a Co-Curricular Activity offered by Hwa Chong Institution. It aims to train and prepare a select group of students for a lifetime of adventure. It was founded in 1975 by Dr Quek Jin Jong, then a teacher at the former Hwa Chong Junior College. The club prides itself on professional training and strong links with the club alumni. The members of the team are fondly known as the Tahanners.
The Beginning (1975 - 1985)
Tahan was founded in 1975 by Dr Quek Jin Jong to promote outdoor education in the college, as well as to help build an identity for the newly established college. It started as the trekking wing of the HCJC Outdoor Activities Club (OAC), the umbrella organisation which provides its elite members for training and selection to climb Gunung Tahan, the highest peak in peninsular Malaysia. It succeeded in sending its first expedition up Gunung Tahan in 1976 and thus the 1st Tahanners were born.
Over the years, the club known as 'Gunung Tahan Trekking Team' then began to attract more and more interest from the school population and broke away from the OAC and was established as a CCA on its own and started recruiting and training its own members for the annual expedition up Gunung Tahan.
The Second Decade (1986 - 1995)
The club grew from strength to strength in its second decade and many exciting changes took place. The Tahan alumni was set up in 1992 to provide a platform for its graduated members to return and pass down their technical knowledge to the current batch of Tahanners, as well as to enable graduated members to continue identifying themselves with the club. The club was given an official name 'Tahan Mountain Trekking Team' and the current logo was adopted.
The team also sent its first expedition out of Malaysia in 1993, venturing to Gunung Kerinci in Indonesia. Following that first expedition out of Malaysia, subsequent trips saw its members venturing into many different parts of the globe, from the Indian Himalayas to Vietnam, Nepal and Tasmania.
The Third Decade (1996 - 2005)
Training was re-structured and improvements to the trekking equipment were made. Overseas expeditions continued.
In 2006, to mark the 30th anniversary of the first Tahan expedition in 1976, a comemorative book will be published.
New members into the club will be put under the carefully devised training regime for 6 months and put under at least 2 training expeditions before graduating as full-fledged 'Tahanners'. Training sessions are tailored to fit the ability and needs of the team. They are conducted on weekday afternoons and saturdays.
The first phase of training for all aspiring Tahanners would be to build up their overall physique and endurance, as well as to allow the members time to gel as a team. Physical training would include strength training like static exercises, sprinting and slope running. Most slope runs are conducted in a nearby slope, known fondly to Tahanners as 'Namly Hill'. Endurance training would inevitably be long jogs around the track or the neighbourhood of Bukit Timah.
The second phase of training would involve training with gradually increasing amounts of load to simulate expedition conditions. Haversack training aims to strengthen the trainees' body specifically for the demands of weight-bearing for long durations during an expedition. Haversack trainings are generally conducted at the nearby Bukit Timah Hill, the highest hill in Singapore, or the nearby flats in Farrer Road or Toh Yi Drive.
The trainees would be assigned tasks within the team in preparation for the expedition. Each member will be trained in their specific roles to ensure the whole team operates smoothly in an expedition. Traditionally, the posts are tentmen, watermen, cooks and medics, though there is often considerably overlap in responsibilities as team members would often help one another with their tasks. Nowadays, all members of the team are aided in their jobs by sophisticated outdoor equipment purchased by the club over the years.
Tahanners have the tradition of adpoting songs and changing their lyrics to suit the context of their individual batches or expedition. Below are a few songs that have stood the test of time.
Training train到八九点 还要苦等待
现在心情怀 教官对我说 你给我一步一步来