Tag Archives: Scouting

OBS @ Coney by 2020

Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) recently announced that they will be embarking on an expansion plan to increase their current capacity, facilities and students intake with the building of the new OBS campus at Coney Island, just across the waterway from Pulau Ubin where the existing OBS Camp 1 and 2 are located.

It is great news to hear that the government is going to expand the capacity of OBS, encouraging more students and young adults to join the OBS outdoor activities whereby they can learn life skills, such as leadership, teamwork, friendship, independence etc through outdoor experiential learning activities. Coming from me with a love for outdoors and outdoor experiential activities from my Scouting days with the Dragon Scout Group, outdoor recreation and experiential activities need to have greater significance and importance because our current generation (and future generation) is more into technology/gadgets than going to the outdoors. While I love my technology and gadgets, I do try to strike a balance by going to the outdoors as much as I could!

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Source: OBS/NYC

With the expansion of OBS @ Coney by 2020, this will allow OBS to handle 45,000 youths every year from the current 14,000 students. Having more youths learning at OBS outdoor adventure education is greatly beneficial for them and their future personal development.

Outdoor adventure education (OAE) can help our youths become future-ready by:

  1. a) Building their confidence and resilience;
  2. b) Enabling them to value diversity through in-depth interaction opportunities;
  3. c) Forging camaraderie through common challenging experiences; and
  4. d) Laying a foundation for active and healthy living.

Source: OBS/NYC Factsheet

The OBS @ Coney campus will occupy a 12ha or about 10% of Coney Island, located in the Southeastern part. It is going to be rustic and blend in as much as possible to the natural surroundings. Even though OBS is going to build a campus at Coney Island, this beautiful island is still open to the public!

Check out the pictures below for more details –

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Enlarged aerial view of OBS @ Coney Island

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Artist impression of OBS @ Coney Island

Source: OBS / NYC

Not too long ago, I went along for two OBS activities, OBS Nature Appreciation Programme – Ubin Trail and SGFuture at Coney Island. OBS programmes don’t just do confidence courses, rope courses, they are also teaching the youths on the importance of the environment, to take care of the environment, to be responsible for the environment and the future.

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I sincerely hope that more youths can attend OBS with the expansion of OBS @ Coney by 2020, especially for those students/youths that do not join uniformed groups in their schools. The beautiful outdoors and outdoor adventure experiential education can help a person grow, mature and develop their personal development, leadership, friendship, resilience and independence.

Happy Founder’s Day 2016!

On the 22nd February of every year, this particular day every year is a very significant day for many of us around the world, especially for those in the Scouting movement. During my Boy Scout days with my alma mater, Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group, I learned so much from my Scouting days with the Dragon Scout Group family, life skills, outdoor skills, life skills, leadership, mentoring and priceless friendships for life. With a rich history and heritage dating back to 1922 when Dragon Scout Group was founded, Dragon Scout Group have come a long long way in Singapore’s Scouting history.

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Although I am not as active nowadays compared to ten years ago, I can always find my fellow brother scouts and seniors from the Dragon Scout family in our Dragon Chapter a.k.a old boys club of the Dragon Scout Group family, to catch up and chat. Here are some of my collection of the Dragon Scout Group family activities and fun that I was part of with my juniors and alma mater from the year 2007 till today. While I do have some of my Scouting photographs in the 90s period, I have yet to scan and share them online yet!

I hope to continue contributing back in some ways or another, through my photography and mentoring, to Pass-It-On and Pay-It-Forward.

Happy Founder’s Day to all fellow Scouts! Onward Dragon Scouts!

The Art and Profession of Knife Sharpening

Knife sharpening as an art form, a form of professional service provision. Have you heard of them before in Singapore ? Do you know of their presence here in Singapore ? Personally, I didn’t know about knife sharpening professional service although I can relate to the art of knife sharpening because of my Boy Scout and Venture Scouting days.

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It was with great honour that I was invited by National Heritage Board (NHB) to follow along with them in their Heritage in Episodes projects. My exploration, documentation and photographing of Old Places in Singapore led me to discover, learn and share more about heritage, history, conservation and preservation topics in Singapore. The art and culture of traditional trades and businesses soon became part of my interest with the knife sharpening profession that I went along to photograph and documented, a part of a dying professional trade in Singapore.

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Along with the staff from National Heritage Board, reporters from Straits Times and Lianhe ZaoBao. We visited People’s Park Complex, tucked away at a corner on the second floor, there was a unit where we learnt the art, history and profession of knife sharpening. We were greeted by Mdm Lee, who was very kind, humble and friendly, whom was more than happy to share with us her stories, how she got started in knife sharpening, her experiences and memories over her knife sharpening business. Mdm Lee’s knife sharpening caters to hairstylists, seamstress, hawkers and homemakers, with her business trade spanning over 40 years. Mdm Lee was very well liked by her customers whom many were loyal return customers. When customers went to her shop and picked up their goods, they shared their wonderful and thoughts about Mdm Lee’s knife sharpening business. The testimonials by her customers are a testament of her professionalism and enthusiasm in her knife sharpening profession.

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The dilemma and challenges facing Mdm Lee today is succession and passing on of the knife sharpening trade/skills/business. The art and profession of knife sharpening may not be able to carried on into the future generations of Singapore. With the coverage and publicity by National Heritage Board, local press stories and history enthusiasts like myself, we hoped that Mdm Lee would be able to Pass-It-On her art and skill of knife sharpening. Do check out both our local newspapers Straits Times and Lianhe ZaoBao wrote excellent in-depth detailed reports of Mdm Lee and her knife sharpening business.

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There were a few things that I was able to struck a chord deeply with Mdm Lee’s knife sharpening, that is the art and skill of knife sharpening. I would not be able to know the operations and business management of a knife sharpening trade/business, however, I knew how Mdm Lee felt when she was sharpening the knifes on the grinder and honing stone. This was because I was once a Boy Scout and Venture Scout, I had to learn the skills of sharpening my small swiss army knifes, dagger, parang (machette) and axe. Mdm Lee’s grinder was machine/motor operated while the grinder that I learned was manual turning with one hand while the other hand held my knife/parang/axe. When I saw how Mdm Lee sharpening the knifes on the sharpening/honing stone slab, splashing water on the stone slab and knife while sharpening, these actions brought me back many memories to my Scouting days, it’s exactly the same skill and actions!

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I had a great chat with Mdm Lee, sharing with her how I used/sharpened my knife, parang and axe (Those were the rugged outdoor adventure days) during my Scouting days. It was fated that I was able to meet a professional knife sharpener and able to share together why we sharpen our knifes for our various purposes, for Mdm Lee, a professional service provision, for me, my Scouting outdoor adventure! If you ever need a skillful professional to sharpen your knifes, scissors etc etc, you can find Mdm Lee at People’s Park Food Complex, #02-1040! Let’s help to spread the awareness of a knife sharpening art and profession in Singapore and we might find this traditional knife sharpening trade and business can be Pass-It-On!

I would like to say a Big Thank You to National Heritage Board and Madam Lee for giving me this opportunity to photograph, document and share the story of knife sharpening.

This blog entry is written in support of the “Heritage in Episodes” project under the Heritage Institutions Division of NHB which seeks to document traditional trades and businesses, and to promote public awareness of these trades and businesses through NHB’s social media platforms. The knife sharpener will be featured in an upcoming episode of the “Heritage in Episodes” project and video clips of traditional trades such as rattan weaving and Chinese lantern painting have been uploaded on NHB’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/yesterdaysg.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange 2012 Day 2

It’s Day 2 of DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange program 2012, after a resting and relaxing Day 1, the boys and girls were ready to start their adventure with a sightseeing and educational tour to Pearl Harbour. Before the visit, the boys and girls had a morning physical training (PT) regime while one patrol would be away in the kitchen/dinning hall and taking charge of the breakfast for the rest of their friends. Our Hawaiian hosts/friends, Nancy, Wayson, Edwina, Betsy and Sterling would be there in the early morning to be with them when they were in the kitchen preparing breakfast, guiding  and helping them with preparation, cooking and serving. As for me, I was shuttling between the PT regime, breakfast preparation in the kitchen, Flag Break Ceremony and breakfast time, capturing the moments and memories.

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While the duty patrol was busy preparing in the kitchen, the other 3 patrols would be back from their PT regime. They would proceed with the morning Flag Break ceremony just like their usual Group Camp back home in Singapore. After the Flag Break ceremony, they proceed to the dining hall and would collect their breakfast together, each patrol waiting patiently for their turn and for their whole group to collect their breakfast ready to eat together, a trademark of Dragon Scouting, a sense of community bonding and closely knitted family.

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After breakfast was over, the washing up was done by the duty patrol. The group prepared their water bottles, cameras and personal stuff. Dividing the group into 2 mini-vans and 2 cars, we were soon on our way to visit Pearl Harbour. The weather was simply superb, the clear blue skies, the gorgeous white silky clouds and wavy formations. The Pearl Harbour is a must visit location in Hawaii, world famous for her history, heritage and Pearl Harbour is gazetted as a National Park too. DSG had some time before the movie screening inside Pearl Harbour and we walked around the historic sites, taking many photographs, visiting gift shops and exploring museum exhibits around the historic site. Soon, it was time for our movie screening to learn more about Pearl Harbour hosted by US Park Service.   During our visit to Pearl Harbour, DSG had the privilege of a volunteer guide, a friend of our Hawaiian host Wayson. He accompanied us throughout our visit from the movie screening, helping us to move around easier since we were in a group. His friendliness and willingness to share his stories was appreciated by the boys and girls from DSG.

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After the movie screening, we boarded a boat to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, it was a solemn and beautiful place in bay waters of Pearl Harbour. Beneath the floating memorial under the sea, lies USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the ship’s 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. There was a shrine room at the end of the 184-foot-long Memorial structure, whereby the names of those killed on the Arizona were engraved on the marble wall. At the side of the shrine room, there was a marble slab that engraved the names of the survivors from USS Arizona who chose to be interred with their shipmates. While we were at the Memorial structure, the oil spill from USS Arizona can still be spotted on the surface above USS Arizona. This visit was a great lesson for all, to learn about history, heritage, culture, loyalty and remembrance.

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When we left USS Arizona Memorial and returned to shore, DSG group continued their sightseeing, visiting exhibits and gift shops. Due to time and schedule constraints, we didn’t get to visit some of the museums inside Pearl Harbour. Soon after, we left Pearl Harbour, took a group photograph at the signboard outside the entrance and headed for lunch at McDonalds nearby. A fast food lunch was interesting since they have more burgers varieties, their soda drinks are 1 size bigger (Large drink in US is our Extra Large drink in SG) and free refill while you are there. After a hearty big McDonalds lunch, we headed to nearby Aloha Stadium for their Swap Meet, it’s like a flea market and it was shopping time to get gifts and souvenirs!

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Returning back to DAV campsite after a very eventful morning visit to Pearl Harbour and Swap Meet. Preparing for dinner, resting and Flag Lowering. After dinner, it was a time for the group debrief, passing down the gifts showered by Sterling to the boys and girls, followed by instructions for the upcoming Day 3 activities, schedule and timings. This was followed by rest and washing up before lights out, for them to rest and recover from jet lag and fatigue, in order for them to be fresh for a full Day 3 of activities.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange 2012 Day 1 – ALOHA Hawaii !

The Korean Air flight from Incheon International Airport to Honolulu took approximately 8hrs 20mins, after flying from Singapore to Seoul and spending a 12hrs transit at Incheon International Airport. The 8hrs 20mins flight was filled with a number of turbulences, (constantly rocking on the journey to our destination Honolulu) since the plane was flying over the vast and open Pacific Ocean. Arriving at around 1015am Hawaii local time, we touched down at Honolulu International Airport and it’s ALOHA Hawaii !!

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It’s Day 1 in Hawaii, we were all happy to be on the ground after 8hrs in the air. Clearing immigrations and customs check, the boys and girls changed into their Scout uniforms, collected their backpacks and getting ready to move out together. As for me, since I am no longer wearing a Scout uniform, I made arrangements to exit first and linked up with our Hawaiian Scoutmasters who were waiting for us outside. This would also allow me to prepare my camera and start taking photos when the DSG contingent exit from the airport. When I reached the Group Arrival Entrance, I managed to spot Wayson and Edwina! I received a warm Hawaiian welcome from them, chatting with them while waiting for the boys and girls to come out from the airport. Sterling soon appeared and it was great to see him again and in Hawaii!

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Soon the DSG Hawaiian Overseas Exchange Program 2012 contingent were led out by Mr Kevin Kung, one of the teachers-in-charge and coordinator for this exchange program. The 25 boys and girls followed suit behind with their backpacks and daypacks on the trolleys. The DSG group gathered around the side and each of them was presented with a nice Hawaiian Kukui Nut Necklace by our lovely host Edwina, just like a Mummy to the little boys and girls. After the welcome and presentation was completed, we started making our way to the other end of the airport, where the postal services compound was located. We started to load up our bags and our hosts/Hawaiian friends started to ferry all of us to our campsite, DAV campsite beside Keehi Lagoon Park that was not too far away from the airport.

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The schedule for Day 1 wasn’t too packed for the boys and girls. After settling down with their bags, we took a group photo with our Hawaiian hosts/friends to mark our arrival at Hawaii and the start of DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange 2012! Lunch was first on the list, hosted and prepared by our Hawaiian hosts/friends, this was also a chance for the boys and girls to rest and interact with our Hawaiian hosts/friends too. After lunch, it was camp development time, pitching up the tents, getting the bags into the tents. Once that was done, DSG had their first Flag Break ceremony in Hawaii. Since the schedule wasn’t too packed, I was able to explore around the campsite, walked to the bay area and captured a very beautiful Hawaiian sunset!

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As time goes by for Day 1, it was dinner time, a continuation of rest and interaction with our Hawaiian hosts/friends. The Day 1 program was planned to be relaxing, as our kind and warm Hawaiian hosts considered jet lag and having to adjust our body clock to local day/time conditions. During Day 1 dinner time, we had old Hawaiian Scout Troop 42 friends and other Hawaiian Scoutmasters dropping by to visit us and catching up.

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During the night, there was a group debrief, that was a common feature for this whole exchange program and also a briefing for Day 2 activities, schedule, timings and instructions to be carried out e.g. Duty Group (Patrol) for Flag Break/Lowering Ceremony and Duty Group for Breakfast/Dinner cooking. Thereafter, it was lights out, sweet dreams and this signals the end of Day 1 for DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program 2012.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Dragon Scout Group Investiture 2012

90 years old and they are one of the oldest Scout Groups in Singapore Scouting history, this is my alumni mata, the Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group, of strong and rich history and traditions, constantly and consistently growing and maintaining strong in the richness of Scouting.

Returning back after a period of absence (from work/business commitments) to watch their Investiture Ceremony 2012, welcoming the new boys and girls to the Dragon Scout Group family. It was the day for Group photography taking, from the extended Big Family to the various patrols, Ventures, Rovers, Leaders and Teachers-in-Charge. This was also the day for me to catch up with my juniors and I realised that I still have a lot to catch up with them and would like to mentor them there is an opportunity since I am busy with my business/work commitments.

Looking forward to the Dragon Scout Group activities for the Year 2012, I hope to be more active and come back a bit more often, let’s hope that fellow Old Boys a.k.a Dragon Chapter would be back too in more numbers and strength too. Do check out some photographs taken on Facebook here, our Facebook Group for Dragon Scout Group and Dragon Chapter. Here’s some other photographs taken during Dragon Scout Group Investiture 2012 on Flickr.

Wishing Dragon Scout Group all the best in 2012 !! Onward Dragon Scout Group !! 


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Jamboree 100 & 3rd ASEAN Jamboree Open House

The Singapore Scout Association is celebrating 100 years of Scouting in Singapore, 1910 to 2010 and there were many major scouting events lined up for this year. One of the major events was the Jamboree 100 and 3rd ASEAN Jamboree currently being held from 4th December to 9th December 2010 at Sarimbun Scout Camp.

The Open House was held on Sunday 5th December 2010, whereby the Chief Scout of Singapore, His Excellency, President SR Nathan, officially declared Open the Jamboree 100 & 3rd ASEAN Jamboree. I was there to help out for a while with the Opening Ceremony with my Dragon scouting seniors from the Dragon Chapter and Ventures from the Dragon Scout Group, my alumni mata.

After the Opening Ceremony was over, we the bunch of old boys and ventures went around the Jamboree compounds, met with the boys and girls of Dragon Scout Group, chatted with our Hawaiian Scout Troop 42 leaders who were here in Singapore to visit the Jamboree 100 Open House.

Looking at the numbers, from different countries and nationalities, it was a great and fun time for them. These brought back many memories of Scouting for me too and relieving the good old days when I was a young boy scout and enjoying the fun and outdoors without too much worries. Looking at the Dragon Scout Group, I am pretty sure they would be having a good time there too! Making new scouting friends from different parts of the world ! Do check out my other photos here on Flickr !

Happy 88th Anniversary ! Dragon Scout Group !

88 and still kicking …

That is the theme of the 88th Anniversary Celebrations of Gan Eng Seng School Dragon Scout Group (DSG), a family that I had been with for many years since my Secondary One school days , spanning 20 years and still going strong. With such a rich, long and strong tradition and family roots in both Gan Eng Seng School (founded 1885) and Dragon Scout Group (founded 1922), not many schools or scout groups in Singapore can stand up, tall and proud of such a rich and long heritage !

Coming back for the 88th Anniversary Celebrations Dinner, it was a homecoming for me, having been out of touch with the Dragon Scout Group due to my freakish accident 9 months ago and wasn’t able to keep in touch with their activities and events. A simple buffet dinner for the young boys and girls, ventures, rovers, leaders, teachers and old boys (a.k.a Dragon Chapter) coming back together, for the gathering, catch up and connecting many generations of the Dragon Scout Group family.

Dedicating to all the young Dragon Scout Group boys and girls, continue to keep the  Dragon Scout Group fire burning bright and big, always glowing and shining, a beacon of light to all the past, present and future family members of Dragon Scout Group, remember our school anthem –

” … A dragon for fire of leadership
And ship for seeking and making progress
In word and deed we vow forever more”

Onward Dragon Scouts !



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Combined Scout Groups Pulau Ubin Hike on 22nd Aug 2009

It had been quite some time since I went hiking, a few days ago, Dave Koh called me and asked if I would be keen to join in with his 23  Eagles Scout Group combined hike at Pulau Ubin on Saturday 22nd August, along with Henry Park Primary School cub scouts and help to capture scouting moments. After checking my schedule, I was able to join Dave Koh for this combined scout group hike !

The schools involved in the hike were

(1) Bukit Merah Secondary School

(2) New Town Secondary School

(3) NUS High School

(4) Henry Park Primary School

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I woke up early in the morning, around 0600 hrs, washed up and made my way to Bukit Merah Secondary to meet Dave and a group of scouts around 0715hrs, took the bus and joined up with the rest of the other schools at Changi Village Ferry Terminal to catch the bumboat across to Pulau Ubin. For my readers who haven’t heard of Pulau Ubin before, Pulau Ubin is an island situated off the Northeastern coast of Singapore, a laid back area, like Singapore in the 1960s, more information can be obtained from National Parks website and Wild Singapore website and it’s quite a popular destination with tourists and locals too !

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Once the entire contingent were across, they would began their hike before stopping for outdoor cooking lunch at Kampung Noordin, the Henry Park Cub Scouts were split into their patrols, led by Ventures of 23 Eagles Scout Group attached to each patrol and strongly supported by volunteer adult leaders from Henry Park Primary School. The fun began and we hiked from the Southern area to the Northern area of Pulau Ubin. Along the way, there were checkpoints for the patrols and fun activities, along with history and science lessons from their adult volunteer leaders especially on the old wooden houses and wild fruit trees.

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At Kampung Noordin, the contingent rest and relax, preparing to try out outdoor cooking, with their mess tins, solid fuel, instant noodles and can of hot dogs. Looking at them, the young primary school children, trying out their hands on outdoor cooking, it brought back a lot of wonderful memories when I was a young Boy Scout in Dragon Scout Group, learning how to do Outdoor Cooking ! The feelings were great, happy and it was always a family feeling whenever I am back and involved in Scouting, especially with my alumni mata, Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group, and being involved today with other fellow Scout Groups and friends, we belonged to a worldwide movement – A Brotherhood of Scouting around the world. More photos of today’s combined hike can be found in my Flickr !

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Soon, it was time to call it a day and returned back to mainland Singapore. Weather was great except it was quite hot and arms were slightly burned. On the bumboat mainland bound, stood on the back and watching Pulau Ubin behind us, the waves and ripples of the sea.

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Happy Scouting folks !