Tag Archives: Oahu

DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange Day 9

Today is Day 9 of Dragon Scout Group (DSG) Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program 2012. The past 8 days had been very fun, eventful and exciting. I had a great great time here in Hawaii with my DSG family and as our adventure in Hawaii was drawing to a close, I confessed that there were a bit of sadness in leaving Hawaii. After our breakfast at Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel, we gathered at the hotel lobby for our morning trek through parts of the city towards Mount Le’ahi (Diamond Head), Hawaii’s most famous and most recognised landmark, for her historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history.

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We were led by Wayson from our hotel through the sub-urban neighbourhoods, walking through a tunnel under the mountain and reaching the entrance whereby we started our trek up the mountain towards the summit of Mount Le’ahi (Diamond Head). Hawaii State Parks has information on the Diamond Head Summit Trail, do check out their site for more details! The trek up wasn’t too difficult for us, the route was winding along the contour lines. As we trekked further up the trail route, the view got even more beautiful along the way. Close to the summit of Mount Le’ahi, there was a steep looking staircase (like a stairway to heaven), this was a bit of huff and puff given the inclination and gradient of the staircase. Once we huffed and puffed our way reaching the top of the staircase, we were greeted by a small lighted-up 225 ft tunnel inside the mountain. Slowly walking through, we reached an old spiral staircase and continued our trekking upwards. The spiral staircase was a short journey and when we saw light and the ocean! We arrived at a observation post built inside the mountain, climbed out of the small opening between the rocks and I tumbled my way out because the exit was too small for my frame. In another short trek up, we finally reached the summit of Mount Le’ahi and we now know why this is Hawaii’s most famous and most recognised landmark, for her historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history. The coastal views were stunning and we were able to see the bunkers on the crater rim, besides that, there were many people there crowding around the small summit area, all taking panoramic photographs of the Southeastern Oahu coastline.

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After a good rest, enjoying the cool ocean breeze, breathe-taking sceneries and taking many photographs, we trekked down and back to our hotel, stopping by for lunch along the way back. The afternoon was a free and easy rest time for the DSG boys and girls, preparing for the farewell dinner later in the evening. I went back to my hotel room, showered and rested for a while before continuing with the photo video montage to be shown during the farewell dinner later in the evening. The photo montage video clip was done by Janice and Guan Ying, who were our DSG Ventures. I just provide my Macbook Pro, iMovie and photographs from Wayson and myself. It was a production by the DSG boys and girls for the Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program 2012, I just pop in a few pointers and allow them to have control of the production. My room was joined by more people later in the afternoon, we were all doing some last minute gifts, the key chain boy scout figurine and doing the photo video montage and photographs slideshow.

In the evening, the DSG boys and girls gathered at the hotel lobby. Our various Hawaiian hosts drove us in their individual cars to pick us from our hotel lobby to Maple Gardens, a restaurant nearby our hotel. This farewell dinner was kindly hosted by Wayson and Edwina, thank you very much for the warmest hospitality and kindness! Before dinner commenced, there were short speeches by Sterling and Wayson. After that, Eugene took over the proceedings, like what he always do during the meal times at DAV campsite dinning hall, the DSG boys and girls collected their buffet food and waited for all to come back and tuck into their meals together as one DSG family. While they were eating, they were shown parts of the photo slideshow from our 8 days of adventure, we had a good laugh there during the dinner!

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During the dinner, DSG presented gifts and appreciation to our kind Hawaiian hosts that took great care of us during the time we were here. We would like to say a Big Big Thank You to Sterling, Wayson, Edwina, Betsy, Nancy and Thomas. The boys and girls from each patrol also showed their own appreciation to our Hawaiian hosts, with their own gifts and appreciation for them. During the appreciation time towards our Hawaiian hosts, the scene and atmosphere was very heartwarming, epitomising the spirit and bonding of Scouting movement worldwide. Suddenly, we were interrupted by Wayson coming with a big birthday cake! DSG and our Hawaiian hosts were celebrating my DSG senior, Hongliang’s birthday in advance! This was a surprise for Hongliang and I am sure he’s very happy deep inside him that DSG and our Hawaiian hosts were celebrating it for him!

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My DSG senior, Hongliang, gave a thank you speech to all at the farewell dinner. He shared a lot about the history behind how DSG and Hawaiian Scouting established their friendship and relationship, dating back to 1992 when both sides first met, the first exchange was in 1994 whereby the Hawaiian Scouts first came down and in 1995, DSG went over to Hawaii. This was followed by December 2006 when DSG went over to Hawaii and in July 2007, the Hawaiian Scouts came over. This time in 2012, it’s our third exchange and we would be looking forward to more exchanges in the future! I can totally relate to the speech that my DSG senior, Hongliang, when he was talking about this because I was there when Sterling first came down to Gan Eng Seng School and visited Dragon Scout Group, the first exchange in 1994 and how the friendship and relationship between DSG and Hawaiian scouting blossomed over the years. The Dragon Scouting blood inside Hongliang and myself, we probably had a stronger and deeper understanding of what this meant, the Scouting friendship and relationship between Dragon Scout Group and Hawaii Scouting since 1990s and growing stronger into the future. I also wrote some more in-depth personal thoughts here from my DSG Hawaii Exchange Program and my photographs for the Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program can be found here on Flickr!

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During the dinner, there was a short video clip presentation for Mr Kevin Kung, one of the teachers-in-charge of DSG and the overall coordinator for the Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program 2012. This was to show appreciation to Mr Kevin Kung for all his hard work and time, over the years with DSG and this particular 2012 Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program. To end it off on a high and joyous note, Hongliang led a traditional 3 cheers of Yum Sheng and a group family photo taking! The time has come, for us to return back to our hotel, for a rest and packing up for our return back to Singapore the next day, our adventure in Hawaii was coming to an end soon.


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DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange Day 6

Day 6 of Dragon Scout Group Hawaii Overseas Exchange, it’s a day of packing up and preparation for the upcoming domestic flight to Big Island on Day 7. First thing in the morning, the boys and girls strike tents, dismantle and place it on the basketball court to clean, dry it from the morning dew and packing it into the bags for storage. The tents would be given to us as gifts that DSG would be bringing it back to Singapore and share with fellow DSG scouts.

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During the morning flag break ceremony, Troop 147 took charge and shared with us how they do their morning ceremony. It’s a Flag Raising ceremony and they taught our boys and girls how it was to be conducted.  During the Flag Raising ceremony, we all learned something new about Scouting in other parts of the world and how they conducted their morning ceremony.

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This was the final few hours that Troop 147 would be spending time with us. During breakfast, there were more interaction, chattering, gifts/badges exchange and photo taking. It was great to see the Scouting spirit and exchange from both sides of Dragon Scouts and Hawaii Scouts. After breakfast, dismantling continued with the big dining tents being taken down by both DSG and Troop 147. With such teamwork together, the job was completed with efficiency and lesser time. The spirit of DSG and Hawaiian Scouts helping each other epitomize our Scout Promise and Law

THE SCOUT PROMISE

On my Honour I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and the Republic of Singapore
To help other people and
To keep the Scout Law

THE SCOUT LAW

A Scout is to be trusted
A Scout is loyal
A Scout makes friends, establishes and maintains harmonious relations
A Scout is disciplined and considerate
A Scout has courage in all difficulties

 The dinning tents were dismantled and stored away. DSG and Troop 147 shake hands and bid goodbye to our Troop 147 friends. They would be packing up and depart from the DAV campsite later in the afternoon while we would be going for a visit to the other side of Oahu, on the windward coast where the Valley of the Temples is located. Mahalo! Till we meet again, Hawaiian Scout Troop 147!

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We had a very scenic drive towards the Valley of the Temples, cutting through the lush green mountains, through a few tunnels too. At the Valley of the Temples lies a cemetery and the main attraction is a Japanese Temple called Byodo-In, which translates to Temple of Equality. Located at the base of the lush valley, Byodo-In was very beautiful and tranquil. There was a big sacred bell bon-sho when visitors crossed the bridge from the car park towards the temple. It was customary for visitors to ring the bell before entering the temple for happiness and longevity. With many DSG boys and girls ringing the bon-sho, we would bring many happiness and longevity to themselves and the DSG family/heritage/history too! Do check out this website for more information on the Valley of the Temples! We stayed there for a while, relaxing, enjoying the peace and tranquility that the Valley of the Temples gave to all of us.

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Next up, we traveled to a nice beach (I would try to find out the name of the beach from my Hawaiian hosts soon), relaxed, took photographs and DSG was leaving their footprints on the sandy beaches, with some interesting captions too! We proceeded to shopping in Honolul, at Hilo Hattie and it was a time for us to grab some gifts for our family and friends back home in Singapore.

Returning back to DAV campsite, it was community service time, for DSG to give back something to society, helping out at the caretaker’s compound while some of them were cleaning the 2 rental vans and cars. With dinner and Flag Lowering, this signaled the end of our stay at DAV campsite for the last night before we fly over to Big Island the next morning. Our backpacks were packed and loaded into a small pick-up truck, helped by our kind Hawaiian hosts who took care our backpacks while we just brought our daypacks over to Big Island. The adventure at Big Island promised to be an eye-opener for all of us and we enjoyed the travel experience far and beyond our imagination.

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DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange 2012 Day 4 – A Scouting Exchange

Day 4 of Dragon Scout Group (DSG) Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program. This day was packed with many things from the morning till the night, a long day of fun interesting visits and the start of the Hawaiian exchange program between Dragon Scouts and Hawaiian Scouts. After the normal daily routine of PT, Flag Break and Breakfast, the boys and girls of DSG changed into their uniforms for an official visit to the Aloha Council in the morning.

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

However before heading to the Aloha Scout Council, our Hawaiian hosts brought us up to a very beautiful place, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (known as Punchbowl among the locals). It’s not just a cemetery, it was a garden and there was a lookout at the top of Punchbowl. We trekked up towards the lookout point, along the pathway up, it’s actually a Memorial Walk lined with a variety of memorial markers from various organizations and governments that honor America’s veterans. The view at the top of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was a bird’s eye view of Honolulu, the weather was great with clear blue skies and beautiful clouds.

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After photo taking around the lookout, we walked down towards the memorial ground Court of Honour. We took a group photo in front of the Statue of Lady Columbia and had a quick tour of the chapel and maps of the various battles that were fought in the Pacific. After a quick tour, we boarded our vehicles for our next destination, Aloha Council.

Official Visit to Aloha Council

Our first formal Hawaii Scouting exchange program started with a visit to the Aloha Council. First and foremost, we took a group photo with our Hawaii Overseas Exchange banner in front of Aloha Council compound where the signage was located, whereby DSG can share with family, loved ones, friends and Scouting community that we were here in Hawaii! We went to the Aloha Council, took another group photo with a representative from Aloha Council and our Senior Patrol Leader, Eugene presented a plaque from Dragon Scout Group to Aloha Council, for our Hawaii Overseas Exchange Visit 2012. When the formalities were done, it was shopping time at the Aloha Council shop and the boys and girls bought quite a number of Scouting stuff from there!

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Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

When the official visit to Aloha Council was over, we made our way to a location known as Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, it’s a section of the windward cliff (pali in Hawaiian) of the Koʻolau mountain located at the head of Nuʻuanu Valley. It was not too far away from Aloha Council and a nice drive up the mountains, passing through the lush greenery through the mountain range towards Pali Lookout. This is another very beautiful lookout point with a panoramic view of the windward (northeast) coast of Oʻahu. Our Hawaiian hosts told us that powerful winds would blow towards Pali Lookout, however, during our visit, we didn’t get to have a feel of the powerful winds blowing towards us while we were up there! The panoramic lookout view was some of the best that I had seen and I loved it a lot up there!

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Downtown Honolulu

We had a stopover nearby the coast, whereby we enjoyed the sea breeze and had a beautiful view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach before heading to Costco Wholesale Warehouse for lunch and shopping. After that, we were back into Downtown Honolulu and it’s a historical and heritage tour of the following locations

– State Capital Building

– King Kamehameha Statute

– Iolani Palace

– Mission Houses Museum

– Hawaii Supreme Court

– Kawaiaha’o Church

Our Hawaiian hosts were knowledgable and shared a lot about the history and heritage of Hawaii from the few locations we visited above, we had all learned something from this exchange visit of Downtown Honolulu.

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The Start of Hawaiian Scouting Exchange and Friendship

We all returned to camp early around late afternoon, preparing to receive Hawaiian Scout Troop 147 at the campsite around evening time. During the rest time, the boys and girls were preparing to welcome them for the Scouting Exchange, ice breaker and making new Scouting friends while duty patrol was preparing dinner for a much larger group of people assisted by our Hawaiian hosts. The contingent from Troop 147 soon arrived in their cars/pick-ups along with their camping gear/equipment and  this signaled the start of DSG Hawaiian Scouting Exchange and Friendship. With many warm handshakes and introduction by Sterling between Scoutmasters of Troop 147 and the teachers of Dragon Scout Group, the boys and girls soon started mixing, shaking hands and making new friends. Our friends from Troop 147 were mixed and divided into different patrols whereby they built their friendship and interaction further.

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Our boys and girls from DSG helped fellow Scouts of Troop 147 in unloading their camping equipment and gear, helping them to pitch the tents. It was a mini Scouting Jamboree here at the DAV campsite, upholding the Scouting spirit and movement, helping fellow Scouts and learning from each other. While working through the evening and nightfall, it was through combined teamwork between DSG and Troop 147 that their tents were setup pretty quickly.

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With the tents pitched and ready, dinner was served to a whole new bigger group of DSG and Troop 147 eating together. By this time, DSG and Troop 147 had a great start working together pitching the tents, carrying equipment and they carried on their lively interaction during dinner time. After dinner, we all went for a night gathering at the campfire pit, using the gas lamps as a campfire light, we had our campfire singing and dancing, hosted by a Hawaiian Scoutmaster.  The atmosphere was great, singing songs, dancing, great performances by our host’s son and grandson. Although there wasn’t a campfire burning, the feel, crowds and singing made it just like a campfire that I participated when I was a Boy Scout, it brought me back many beautiful Scouting memories of my time.

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The Grand Finale was everybody standing up and forming a circle together, singing and clapping along, with a gas lamp in the middle (as a campfire). With the beautiful memories from the night upon us, we all rested for the night to prepare for another interesting day of Scouting Exchange activities with our Hawaiian Scouts.


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DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange 2012 – SG to Incheon (transit)

In her 90th Anniversary celebrations, Dragon Scout Group (DSG) was planning to visit Hawaii for an overseas exchange program with the Hawaiian scouts and being an old boy of DSG, I jumped upon the chance to follow along with the boys and girls for an fun and exciting  travel 12 days of adventure and scouting exchange program across the world to the sunny island of Oahu, Hawaii. The Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group (DSG) in Singapore, is one of the oldest and most established Scout groups, founded in the year 1922.

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Our adventure started on the 27th November 2012 in Singapore, arriving in Hawaii on the 27th November 2012 for a wonderful and fun time, camping, trekking, sightseeing, scouting exchange with the Hawaiian Scouts, reaffirming heartwarming Scouting brotherhood ties with the Hawaiian Scoutmasters, our lovely caring hosts. Armed with my trusty Canon DSLR 1D Mk III and my EF 17-40mm f4 lens, I took upon the mission of photographing many photographs of the boys and girls,  the adventure, fun and enjoyment over the next 11 days. With over 2400 photographs captured in many many different memories over the 11 days, I would begin and start to share my daily stories of DSG’s Hawaii Overseas Exchange 2012 program with the Dragon Scout Group family and Dragon Chapter family, friends, Hawaiian Scoutmasters, Hawaiian Scouts and scouting movement friends from all round the world.

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The DSG Hawaiian overseas exchange program 2012 group consisted of 25 boys and girls, 4 teachers and 1 old boy (that’s me). We all gathered at Changi International Airport in Singapore, final administrative preparations and briefing by the teachers before proceeding to check-in the backpacks for our Korean Air flight from Singapore to Incheon International Airport, Seoul in South Korea whereby we had a 12 hour transit before boarding our connecting Korean Air flight from Seoul to Honolulu, Hawaii. The 25 boys and girls parents were also there with us to send us off at Changi International Airport and it was a bit of a celebrity star treatment when I took the group  photograph and the parents were eagerly snapping away with their cameras. Clearing immigrations and waving goodbye to their loved ones, the whole group went inside and waited for the Korean Air flight at 0130hrs Singapore local time.

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After a flight of about 6hours 20mins, we reached Incheon International Airport at around 0835hrs Korean local time. Since we had a 12hours transit, the group decided to take it easy, explored Incheon International Airport from one end to the other end for about 2hours. Thereafter, the boys and girls settled down in the  transit segment area, preparing their items for the upcoming exchange program between the Dragon Scouts and Hawaiian Scouts. There were 4 patrols (groups) and each of them has a specific task to complete, something that they will share, demonstrate and give to the Hawaiian Scouts.

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It’s not all just preparation and preparation! We had lunch, dinner, rest breaks and wash up at Incheon International Airport. It was quite a challenge for all of us with a 12hours transit inside the airport, nevertheless, we managed to get ourselves busy and active. At around 2110hrs Korean local time, we boarded our Korean Air flight to Honolulu for the start of our Hawaiian Overseas Exchange Program 2012. Our overseas exchange program adventure in Hawaii was about to start!


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