KUALA LUMPUR: Bangsar resident Hambali Parjan (pic) is not too bothered about the exercise camp held at a neighbouring school field. In fact, he has expressed interest in taking part in the programme.
“I don't really care about the activities in the school field. It doesn't disturb me,” the manager with Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad's (KTMB) museum told Yahoo! Malaysia when asked if he was offended by the attire of the camp's participants or if its noise levels bothered him.
Hambali even asked, “Am I allowed to join the camp? Exercise will be good for me.”
Yahoo! Malaysia met with a few residents living next to the Bangsar secondary school that banned Daily Muscle Body Transformation Camp – the camp organizer - from using its school field for late evening sessions. Alternative timings were offered to the camp, but organisers said it did not suit their arrangements with working professionals.
Hambali lives in the KTMB quarters situated right next to the school and overlooks its field. “I have been living here for more than 20 years, and have not once felt disturbed by the activities held at the school,” added the 57-year-old.
The school barred the camp because the sessions had involved men and women exercising in the dark, which raised the concerns of 'unwanted incidents' taking place. A school staff also told Yahoo! Malaysia that female camp members were wearing figure hugging exercise pants that might be unsuitable and insensitive to residents living nearby.
Hambali said that if the school had received complaints about the camp, it should share the complainants' details for Yahoo! Malaysia to investigate. (To date, Yahoo! Malaysia has not received any proof of complaints from the school).
Another resident, Abu Hassan admitted that the surrounding area was noisy. “We live next to a school, what do you expect, it will be noisy anyway. So we don't really have a choice.” He is aware of the camp's activities as he had heard music and shouts by participants but said that it does not disturb him.
The businessman pointed out that a morning session might be more suitable for the workouts as some residents might be offended by the camp's timings which clashes with Maghrib prayers. “It's a subjective matter and it's up to each individual's preferences. Personally, I'm not bothered by their activities,” he said.
A housewife who only wants to be known as Faridah, said, “I don't care much about the activities at the school or what people wear during those workout sessions.” She has been living in the quarters for more than 10 years.
Yahoo! Malaysia also contacted the former principal of the Bangsar school, who explained that there were no problems with the camp when she was running the school's administration. “When I was heading the school, I did not receive any complaints from the nearby residents or anyone else,” Nazifah Abdul Latiff said. She added that she was always open to working with the community, whether it involved the local council or private corporations. “But any decision made by the new administration should be respected,” remarked Nazifah, who is now the principal for Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Cochrane.
Original Bootcamp Malaysia programme coordinator and lead instructor Faizal Ariff Abdullah told Yahoo! Malaysia that they preferred to work with local councils and use public fields as there might be security or traffic restrictions imposed by schools.
“Some schools are concerned about the number of cars entering the school compound and require members to register their details,” he said, adding that it was understandable that schools impose these conditions as it was within their jurisdiction. Faizal added that some bootcamp organisers have the ability to gain the trust of the school or find a professional relationship that works for them, making the school field a convenient option.
Responding to the issues faced by Daily Muscle Body Transformation Camp, Faizal said he does not think tight exercise clothing was sexy as participants would wear such attire which was comfortable for exercising.
He added that some people have different mindsets or perceptions of sexy clothing.
Another bootcamp organiser who declined to be named mentioned that the school has the right to decide which company it works with or if it allowed its facilities to be rented. “We have been refused before and that is up to the school,” he said, adding that the camp discusses the arrangements with the school, which usually involves a donation or contribution to the Parent Teacher's Association or towards projects that benefit schoolchildren.