"Gao Lau's" – 交流's

By: Adrian Chow

I remember taking a history course at the Vancouver’s University of British Columbia and one thing that stuck out to me was the definition of culture. Culture is not only the norms and traditions of a group of people, but it is also a way of life and a way of thinking that is always changing. I honestly had no idea what the Shilong Youth Federation’s program was like, from how they planned meetings to how they worked with youth to what guiding ideologies they had. So, I kept that lesson with me before embarking on this trip because I wanted to respect Chinese Culture to ensure that there would be a positive relationship between the Shilong Youth Federation and the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group.

Brandon Ma presenting the appreciation certificates to the members of the Shilong Wellness Youth Association (YWA)

However, I was in for a surprise for the next two days: despite coming from two different cultures, both groups had many commonalities. We faced the same challenges such as engaging youth and long term planning. Equally, we shared the same principles for overcoming these issues: learning by doing, SMART objective setting and having a Personal Development Plan (PDP) to name a few.

With both sides being able to find common ground, this two day exchange was mutually beneficial and, most importantly, respectful of both groups. With a myriad of information swaps, one rover jokingly called it “Gau Lau’s”. Gau Lau (交流) means cultural exchange which was one of our goals during this trip. By adding an “s” the word becomes a mix of Chinese and English with the Chinese word “Gao Lau” being pluralized with the English “S”.

On our final night together we had farewell dinner. Boy, it was emotional. We shared videos and photos from the two days we spent together. The Shilong Leaders took time to give us testimonials on our training and their impression of us. One leader told me she would like to try a PDP session with her daughter (who is also in the program) right away. One thing I noticed was that the organizer of the event began to thank each and every one of us personally and wished us a safe travel. We even signed a twinning agreement to ensure future visits. It was definitely not the average dinner.

Member of Shilong YWA accompanies Rover Kenald in Karaoke

The one thing that stood out to me was a speech by one of the Shilong Youth Federation Leaders. He thanked us for our contribution in the “Gow Lau’s”. At that point I had a moment of reflection. I came here expecting to learn the Shilong Youth Federation’s way of life and way of thinking. However, we, both the federation and our Scout Group blended both our culture’s together that made an impact in both our organizations. I won’t forget that moment.

Nick Pearson

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *