5 Important Lessons Learned in Malaysia

By Lawrence Lai

So far on this trip, my experiences have been indescribable. From the cultural exchange with Malaysian Scouts in Kuala Lumpur and Kuching, to providing service to the House of Love Orphanage Foundation and planting Mangroves, I have gathered 5 important lessons from what I’ve learned so far:

1) Servicing exists on many levels
Service is literally in the name of our project. It is our goal to make the world a better place. Service exists on many levels, including on our team. It could be as small as looking out for each other since we are so far from home and limited on resources. We also provide more impactful services such as cleaning out the facilities at the House of Love orphanage. Service doesn’t have to be in a big scale to be impactful. You don’t need a huge team or need to donate millions of dollars to make a difference. Personally delivering food and an efficient modern gas stove to the less fortunate door-to-door can impact them immensely.

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2) Recognition within our team
Myself and 2 other contingent members, Charles Mak and Celine Hsin, have created a series of activities. We have hosted shout-outs because it is important that we publicly acknowledge our teammates for something they have recently done that was above and beyond what was expected of them. This surprising act of kindness, whether big or small, becomes a motivator for better team work and stronger friendships. Members are encouraged to explicitly recognize anyone as liberally as possible for maximum good feelings. When a Rover is recognized, he or she will receive a coloured bead that corresponds to a particular PERSIST value.
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3) Personal Development
One of our more significant acts of cultural exchange occurred during our workshop presentations for the Kuching Scouts, at which we spoke about 4 main topics: Canada and Scouts Canada, Leadership, Environmental Stewardship, and Personal Development; in which these topics are all we hold dear in our Rover Scout Group. These presenters worked for 5 months to share the best of our knowledge to the Malaysian Scouts within the 2 day session. While preparing, our entire contingent learned a lot about their topic and personally developed their soft skills to create the best content we want to present. Check out Sandra’s post on her presentation experience here, if you want to know more.
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4) Cultural exchange is fun
It’s not an International Service Project unless you have fun because Scouting should be fun!  Within our time in Malaysia, cultural exchange has been fun and important for us because we know that learning Scouting and other cultures would be a huge impact for our contingent members and the Malaysian Scouts. For instance, after a long day of chores and unbearable heat, it was nice to gather around a camp fire and be exhausted with other friendly Scout Groups who work for the same reason. Check out our Campfire Video that features the Klang Scouts and Girl Guides.
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5) Grit
To quote our Head Advisor, Scouter John, people’s true colours come out when they are under pressure. I’ve learnt that this service project is a “pressure-cooker”, and that the Rovers in the contingent had actually brought out the best in them because of our persistent culture. I’m very lucky to be in a contingent full of members who inspire one another to better themselves.
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This trip has not finished. Surely, Our next writer will have more to uncover in our next blog post: History in Malacca. Nonetheless, I am proud to serve with the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group because I believe they are the best team around.
Mostafa Nejati

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