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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Once a Scout, Always a Scout

Today is World Scout's Day.

I joined the Scout Movement and got my World Scout Badge back in 1985. Fond memories of being a cadet scout in Maris Stella include our very first meeting - it was a lesson on sewing. Yep, we had to sew our badges onto our temasek green uniform and it is one life skill (sewing in general, not just clothe badges! But I reckon there are iron-on ones nowadays) that has stuck with me all these years. Then there was the mess-tin cookouts we had in the back of the old MSHS canteen. I cannot forget our night 'confidence' walk at Bidadari during the scout camp - my first encounter with casual walks in the cemetery, stargazing, and listening to distraught wailing from families of the deceased at the nearby Mount Vernon funeral parlours! How about our scavenger hunt at Lucky Plaza in primary five (way before the existence of Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City), and the time we had the aussie exchange student/scout? Then there was the hiking bit at Macritchie Reservoir where we spent some time catching butterflies for our Naturalist badge. And of course the outing to the original Sands House at Clemenceau.

Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia!

Then I went on to join the 2516 Scout Troop. Flying Fish Patrol. Coincidentally, I was also in the Flying Fish Patrol in cadet scouts. This was where I learned about integrity, discipline, motivation and true nature of DEXUFTO (our version of torture camp).

I learned how not to give up in adverse situations (you can't really give up when under authority to do push-ups at the sludge processing facility outside our school compound - in full of sludge!, or standing up to a pack of wild dogs in Mandai).

I learned to appreciate my surroundings - nature and urban landscape, including being aware and observant of the things around me. How? Marching hikes from school to Punggol Jetty. Round-island topo, and even memorizing the islamic names of our dead neighbours and year of death at Bidadari.

We also had our fair bit of fun and laughter during the combined hikes with St Anthony's Guides and Hai Sing Guides. And we'll always have fun during campfires, where the boys impress the guides from St Nick's, IJ, KC, etc... with badge-laden shoulders and bravado abseiling stunts on the school parapet and walls (we were also known as the Dancing Lizards).

Nostalgia, Nostalgia, Nostalgia!

Here's to all the Marist Scouts..... Brothers always!

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