What I learned from the Singaporean Scouting Culture

By Sandra Lee

Why should you always consider the thoughts of someone despite that fact that they are much younger than you? Why should you never assume that being older means that your considerations are more important? I joined the Scouting Movement about a year ago, so I admit that I am still trying to discover who I am as a Scout. As well, I always thought that the Rover Scout Group I belonged to was unique because of its emphasis on leadership and personal development, and that we are the largest Rover Scout Group in Canada because of this. It might be true, but we certainly are not the experts. The contingent visited The Gan Eng Seng School with Scouter Teck Chong, which is one of the oldest schools in Singapore. We had the chance to see what scouting in the school system is like. This school blew my mind. This school was impressive both by its building and by its students and faculty members. The school was in the shape of a key, symbolizing that this school was the key to success. In the middle is a giant round courtyard with the words discipline, respect, resilience, and integrity in huge banners. They wore their values around their neck in two colours: red and green. These colours are displayed on their beautiful neckers as well as on the crest.

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The Red Dragon symbolizes courage, endeavour, and everlasting fire of leadership. The Green Chinese Junk (an ancient sailing Chinese ship) stands for seeking and making progress, and the ongoing quest for peace and success. Their mission is clear, and they ensure that their students are taught the right lessons to be Gessians of excellence, standing, and significance. In our Rover Scout Group, we believe in learning from the lessons of our past leaders, so we can continue onward. We can clearly see that the Gessians also believed in that because of the huge section of the building that is solely dedicated to the history and achievements of their school. Around the campus, there are posters and paintings of valuable lessons they want entrenched in the Gessian culture. This was where I found the most striking similarities. Every few months, Rovers are expected to attend a PDP (personal development plan) session with their mentors to lay out their goals and steps to achieving these goals. On one of their walls is a huge triangle of what Gessian students aim to achieve. To be honest, even my goals in my PDP’s are not this elaborate! I can’t even remember what my goals were at age 14!

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What I found most comforting was how accessible and praised scouting was at school. There were rooms dedicated to pioneering, camping gear, arts and crafts. There were also shrines for Sir Baden Powell, inspiring these scouts to be the best of who they are. My favourite discovery was that these students had the right to choose to be a scout. Throughout my time on this Asia trip, I thought that scouting was a mandatory part of school in general. Today, I learned that students in Singapore had the choice to be scouts, or to participate in 16 other core curricular activities. Learning this made me feel more connected to the students because similar to myself, they entered scouting with a fresh mind, eager to learn the unique sense of independence that only scouts can understand.

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I can continue to praise the Gan Eng Seng School for at least another page, but I think the most important thing I received was a renowned faith in scouting. It’s hard to describe scouting with words. It’s an experience that you accept and don’t necessarily talk about. It’s genuinely nice to know that a large population of youths are curious enough about scouting, and it makes me think that WOSM might actually reach their goal of100,000,000 scouts by 2023.

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Check out Cecilia’s vlog on the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM) if you haven’t yet or for more information on WOSM, you can also check Lawrence’s blog post as well!

MarkBurge

One Response to “What I learned from the Singaporean Scouting Culture

  • Thanks for the comment. It’s very graitfying to find out that someone who blogs on professional writing would find some value in our little effort.You’re to be commended for your work with the Scouts. If there were ever a time when we need Scout values, it’s now. Also, congratulations on the centennial of Scouting in Australia.

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