Tag Archives: Scouts

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

OBS @ Coney 2

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!

Dragon Scout Group Campfire 2014

This was homecoming for me and my fellow Old Boys and Girls, returning back home to our Alma Mater, the Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group Family, on Saturday 12th April 2014 for the 92nd Anniversary Campfire. The Scouting memories, camaraderie, friendships and to stay connected with the current Dragon Scout Group family. It’s also a time to Pay-It-Forward and Pass-It-On, the knowledge, bonding and experiences to the Dragon Scout Group.

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The Old Boys and Girls came back to celebrate the 92nd Anniversary Campfire, going up to the stage and singing campfire songs, just like our good old Scouting days in the past. Those were beautiful and wonderful memories that the group of Old Boys and Girls from the Dragon Chapter put together and part of the bigger Dragon Scout Group family. Along with the fellow Old Boys and Girls, we were proud of our history, heritage, culture and Scouting family bonding that is keeping the Dragon Scouting fire and spirit, big and bright! Check out the photographs taken during DSG Campfire 2014!

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In the year 2013, I wasn’t really that active and didn’t manage to stay in touch with the activities and happenings. In 2014, I hope to be more active and help out in whatever way that I can. I hope to Pay It Forward and Pass It On, the Dragon Scouting fire and spirit to the younger generation. For the year 2014, I helped out in the Scout proficiency badge – Photographer,  running the badge requirements and being the examiner. During the Saturday afternoon on 12th April 2014, I officially signed off my first Scout proficiency badge certificate for Photographer, with Li Xuan, a secondary 4 scout from Cougar Patrol, becoming my first Scout to pass the Photographer badge!

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My Dragon Scouting journeys taught me many things, life skills, friendships and fun adventures! I hope that my sharing, helping out in whatever ways possible and mentoring will be what I can do to Pay-It-Forward and Pass-It-On to the Dragon Scout Group family! Along with that, I am hoping to add more memories to my Dragon Scouting adventures, check out the collection on Flickr!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

DSG 90th Anniversary Dinner – Home Coming

Founded in the year 1922, she’s 90 years old in the year 2012. The history, heritage, culture and strength of Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group (DSG) stands tall and proud among her peers in the history of Scouting in Singapore because DSG is one of the oldest Scout Groups in Singapore. In the year 2012, Dragon Scout Group celebrated her 90th Anniversary with a grand campfire and a Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program. At the end of the year 2012, the 90th Anniversary celebrations were rounded off with a big bang with a 90th Anniversary Home Coming Dinner back to school, organised by the Dragon Chapter, for the boys and girls of Dragon Scout Group and for the old boys and girls too.

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It was great to see a good turnout from the current boys and girls of the Dragon Scout Group and the old boys and girls of different generations of the Dragon Scout Group family. This was our Dragon Scout Group Extended Family Reunion Dinner and we were honoured by the presence of our Principal, Mrs Carolin Tan, to be the Guest of Honour during our 90th Anniversary Dinner. While the 90th Anniversary Dinner was planned by the old boys, the current leaders, ventures and scouts all helped in one way or another to make this 90th Anniversary Dinner a success.

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A great example of Dragon Scouting unity was the creation of the Dragon Scout Group badge tea lights inside the school hall on the day before the 90th Anniversary Dinner. It was a combined effort by the extended Dragon Scout Group family, with a group of old boys like Wei Liang and myself; teachers Hongliang (my DSG senior) and Ms Lee; Leaders – Choon Lian and Moo Teng; Ventures – Amelia and Kenner; Scouts: Joel. Through our unity and combined efforts, we got the Dragon Scout Group badge tea lights ready for the 90th Anniversary Dinner the following day. Old boys Teck Chong (my DSG senior and my SL when I was a PL) and Ganesh were in school earlier to help with the banners and decorations too!

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On the day of 90th Anniversary Dinner, it was great to see many old boys and girls back. My fellow batch were back in force, almost occupying a full table, Nicholas, Jinguang, Zhigang, Zhenhao, Junjie, Alfred and Quanjun. I wasn’t able to catch up with them as much since I was the photographer and had to run around the dinner event. We had a group photo taking in the school hall, in front of the Dragon Scout Group badge tea lights. This was a great family reunion photo!

There were lucky draws, games and videos (of recent Dragon Scouting and Hawaii overseas exchange trip) were shown during the 90th Anniversary Dinner. When the dinner was officially over, we had our own patrol photograph taking, the old and new all coming together for their combined patrol photograph that would go down into our Dragon Scouting history and heritage. I had been documenting and photographing Dragon Scouting for the past few years, do check out my photos inside my Flickr collection! Looking back, I was glad to play a part here in the organising of the 90th Anniversary Dinner with fellow old boys, Wei Liang, Thye San, Teck Chong, Say Chionh, Ganesh and Wei Yang. A proud moment for all of us were the old boys lighting up the tea lights of the Dragon Scout Group badge at the end of the dinner. The Dragon Scout badge stood out remarkably, like a bright Scouting light that led and bind us all together in the Dragon Scouting family.

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The home coming DSG 90th Anniversary Dinner was great, significant and heartwarming. This is something that I am able to Pay-It-Forward and Pass-It-On, contributing and giving back my gratitude to the Dragon Scouting movement that I learned and honed many skills and life-long brotherhood friends. Happy 90th Anniversary to Dragon Scout Group and Onward !


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange Day 10 – Mahalo & Farewell Hawaii

The final day of Dragon Scout Group Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program 2012, it’s Day 10 of our adventure in Hawaii. Waking up early in the morning, we checked out from our hotel. Our Hawaiian Hosts, Wayson and Edwina were there to bid farewell to us. While we were feeling a bit sad that we would be leaving after 10 wonderful days in Hawaii, we were also looking forward to returning back home to Singapore. We would like to say Mahalo (Thank You in Hawaiian language) and farewell to Hawaii! A school bus was booked to ferry us from the hotel to Honolulu International Airport, it was an interesting experience to ride inside the yellow coloured school bus in the United States.

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When we arrived and checked in at Honolulu International Airport, we received news that our flight was delayed from 1155hrs to 1630hrs Hawaiian time due to severe weather conditions at Incheon International Airport, that caused many flights in and out of Incheon International Airport to be delayed. Due to the circumstances, we adapted to the situation and checked in and entered the airport area waiting for our delayed flight to Incheon International Airport. During that time, we were facing the possibility that our connecting flight at Incheon International Airport would be missed completely. The teachers and myself were discussing on the scenarios on what could happen if we missed our connecting flight. With the weather conditions affecting the flights and out of our control, we just relaxed and rested, having lunch and shopping inside the airport.

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Our flight from Honolulu International Airport to Incheon International Airport took off at 1630hrs Hawaiian time, it was a long 10hrs 40mins of flight, heavy turbulence and a bit of air pockets along the whole journey. With such a bumpy ride for most of the flight journey, I couldn’t really sleep on the plane and decided to watch movies instead. We arrived at Incheon International Airport at about 2315pm Korean time and we saw Incheon International Airport ground being covered in thick snow that were cleared to the sides, that explained why our flights were delayed due to the severe weather storm in Incheon. We asked for assistance at the Transit Desk on our missed connecting flight from Incheon to Singapore. We found out that our connecting flight that we supposed to board was also delayed from 1835hrs to 0015hrs and we were able to get into this flight. It was a bit of a rush with the administrative work to change our boarding passes. Soon we were reissued with our new boarding passess and we rushed to our departure gate for boarding.

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The boys and girls quickly called back to their family and informed them of their new arrival timing at Changi International Airport. The flight back from Incheon International Airport to Changi International Airport was smooth and we arrived safely back home in Singapore, touching down around 0700hrs Singapore time. It was great to be back home in Singapore, we collected our backpacks and stuff, gathered for one last group photo before the DSG boys and girls were officially dismissed, signifying the official end of the DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program 2012.

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It’s Day 11 when we arrived in Singapore due to the time zone differences. Overall, 10 days of awesome exciting Scouting exchange and adventure in Hawaii (and approximately 2 days of flying and transit time). This would not be possible without the planning, hospitality and warmth of our Hawaiian Hosts that made our Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program 2012 successful and fun. Mahalo to our Hawaiian Hosts, Sterling, Wayson, Edwina, Betsy, Nancy and  Thomas.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange Day 8 – Big Island Day 2

Day 8 of Dragon Scout Group (DSG) Hawaii Overseas Exchange Program, Day 2 on Big Island, Hawaii. After an exciting Day 1 on Big Island, the boys and girls woke up in the chilly morning for a morning PT, running from the Kilauea Military Camp (KMC) towards nearby areas in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I didn’t join them and stayed back taking photographs of the KMC, the surroundings, enjoying the morning breeze walk with Wayson and Sterling. I had a nice hot coffee with Wayson and Sterling, chatted at the staircase leading up to our accommodation. Thereafter, Wayson, Sterling and myself picked up breakfast and lunch packages from KMC admission office for the boys and girls later to have their breakfast.

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After the DSG boys and girls were back from the morning PT, it was rest time and breakfast time. We all had packed our daypacks, cleared our things from the bunks and got ready for our Big Island Day 2 adventure. Soon, we were on a road trip along Crater Rim Drive, heading towards the coastal area, the Chain of Craters Road. The Chain of Craters Road is a 38mile (62km) round trip that descends from 3700 feet (1128m) to the coast. Driving downhill towards the coast, what we saw were vast giant land of lava flow that were hardened/solidified since 1986. The road trip was very quiet and peaceful outside because there weren’t much traffic at all. However, during the road trip, my rental van was singing in the van while it was heading towards the end of Chain of Craters Road. We had our first stop at Kealakomo Overlook and Picnic Area (if I get my facts correctly). The view was special, vast open flat lava land, it never seemed to be ending anywhere that our eyes can view. I simply had to take a group photo of DSG here, we were going to leave our Dragon Scouting footprints here!

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Continuing our road trip downhill, the coastal and shoreline became more visible. Being a landscape and travel photographer myself, I just took photographs from our van tinted windows, the views were simply breathe-taking beyond words of description and composition here. The photographs that I took simply spoke for itself the beauty and aura of Mother Nature’s gorgeous natural artworks. Driving downwards and reaching the flat coastal plains, we soon reached the end of Chain of Craters Road because the road was closed and no longer accessible by vehicles due to the young 2003 lava flows. We disembarked after parking our vans and started trekking along the road. Passing by the huts and restrooms and barricade, we just trekked on the road, unable to really see what was ahead, the scene seemed never-ending. However, straight ahead, we saw something sticking out of the road, black and totally sealing the road off. This was the young 2003 lava flows, the youngest land on Earth being rewritten into the history books. Trekking on the uneven lava land, the adventurers from DSG continued their exploration, soon, we found a signboard that was placed there “Road Closed”, that suited the location perfectly 100%.

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After many photo taking by the boys and girls from DSG, we took a Group Photo there with the “Road Closed” signboard. It’s simply can’t be missed and I loved it how DSG had been leaving many Dragon Scouting footprints in Hawaii. We then begun to trek towards the coast line, where we can watch and enjoy the beautiful ocean waves and breeze. The views were simply gorgeous, yet it could be dangerous since there weren’t any barricades around the edge of the cliff and it was a vertical straight drop. Therefore, the teachers, along with Wayson and myself, being adults, had to ensure that the DSG boys and girls were kept a safety distance and being looked after carefully at all times while they were looking and enjoying the ocean breeze and waves splashing against the cliff. Although our plan to view the lava flow around this area wasn’t available, we still enjoyed ourselves a lot trekking and exploring the End of Craters Road.

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After many photographs were taken, we returned back to our rental vans and started our return journey uphill towards Kilauea Visitor Centre. We stopped by the Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku) and this was a very popular tourist attraction with coaches, rental vans and private cars parking nearby and hordes of people walking towards the Lava Tube. Therefore, there was a bit of queuing up to enter the Lava Tube cave. This was a pretty short trek because the other half of the Lava Tube cave was closed to the public. This was an eye-opener on how lava once flowed this tube (given the size and height of the tube/cave). After finished trekking and exploring Lava Tube, we departed Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, had our quick lunch nearby from Volcano Village. We drove back to Hilo, whereby the rental vans would be returned and getting ready to board our domestic flight from Big Island to Oahu. Before that, we visited Rainbow Falls Lookout, that had a nice pool of water below yet no waterfall due to the dry weather that day. We then drove toward Big Island Candies for shopping and rest, some of them bought cookies while I just bought ice cream and rested. Sterling and Wayson went to refuel the rental vans that were due to be returned.

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In the late afternoon, we reached Hilo Airport, the boys and girls rested, did their reflections and wrote down their thoughts and stories on their second day in Big Island while Wayson and Sterling returned the rental vans. Once they were back, we entered the immigration area, waited for our flight and returned back to Oahu. Our hosts were there to pick us up from Honolulu Airport and we were now headed for Waikiki, our hotel was the Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel, located at 444 Kanekapole Street, Honolulu, HI  96815. We collected our backpacks that were brought to us by our Hawaiian friends from their home, waited at the hotel lobby. Once rooms were assigned, we went to our rooms, dropped our bags and quickly went for dinner in their respective groups. I had a quick dinner at the nearby International Market Place and went back to my hotel room for a good sleep and rest after helping Janice and Guan Ying to prepare for the farewell dinner video. It had been an awesome 8 days in Hawaii and tomorrow would be our last night in Hawaii!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

DSG Hawaii Overseas Exchange Day 7 – Big Island

On the 3rd December 2012 (Hawaii Time), the day that we had been looking forward to in our Dragon Scout Group (DSG) Hawaii Overseas Exchange itinerary, it’s Day 7 and we would be flying over to Big Island from Oahu for a 2D1N adventure. Waking up early in the morning, leaving the DAV campsite and heading for Honolulu Airport, we checked in and waited for our domestic flight to Hilo, Big Island. It was a short flight around 45mins to 1hour and with the beautiful weather in the sky, we saw beautiful white clouds and saw the islands of Moloka’i and Maui below us.

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Soon we arrived at our destination, Hilo Airport. Sterling and Wayson went off first to pick up the 2 rental vans nearby Hilo Airport. Once they were back, we started our adventure in Big Island. First up, it was lunch at a nearby eatery, always fun to taste local food, their portion is always upsized according to our standards. I ordered a large meal and shared around. When we finished our lunch, we continued our journey and our first stop was the famous Mauna Loa Macdamia Nuts plantation and factory. It was shopping time for Macdamia Nuts, souvenirs, looking at the production/packing line of Macadmia Nuts factory from the glass windows. We didn’t take up too much time there and soon we were on our way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, something I was eagerly looking forward to during this whole trip! Do follow Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Facebook!

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As our rental vans traveled uphill towards Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the weather got cooler and we knew we were reaching soon. We reached the entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where the ticketing booths were located, continued driving in and we reached Kilauea Visitor Centre. At the Kilauea Visitor Centre, we learned about the geographical landscape on how Hawaii was formed, the flora and fauna on the islands of Hawaii. We watched a video presentation at the Kilauea Visitor Centre before starting our exploration around the Kilauea Visitor Centre area. Our first location was Volcano House, a short walk from Kilauea Visitor Centre, that was the start of our eye-opener adventure in Big Island. The vast open volcano land view was simply breathe-taking beyond words, it shows the beauty of Mother Nature and her creations. This was just a part of the viewing locations for the Kilauea Caldera, it’s really really big and vast!

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Continuing on, we trekked back to Kilauea Visitor Centre, hopped back into our rental vans and began our Crater Rim Drive adventure. We soon reached the Steam Vents (Wahinekapu) and spent some time there, exploring the steam vents. It’s really strong and hot, like a hot sauna into your face! I asked the DSG boys and girls to take a group photograph there in front of the steam vents and they had a “hot” time while we were photographing away! The Sulphur Banks (Ha’akulamanu) was nearby too and we started trekking towards there from the Steam Vents. The flora and fauna were unique, there were lush greenery with beautiful flowers from the road walking inwards towards the Sulphur Banks. However before moving closer towards the Sulphur Banks, it became dry and barren with strong sulphuric activities and smell. After photo taking and exploring around the Sulphur Banks area, the DSG boys and girls trekked back towards the rental vans and we drove towards Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

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I didn’t know much about this region at all, it’s very beautiful and I was mesmerised by the beautiful creations of Mother Nature, the vast land size, the geographical and geological nature of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It’s a hidden gem! From Hawaii Volcano Observatory, the views were so gorgeous and amazing. All the DSG boys and girls cameras went into overdrive mode and started photographing the sceneries, themselves and with their friends of this beautiful place. I also went a bit overdrive too, however, there were times I just paused, sitted down there, just silently viewed the entire Kilauea Caldera from left to right, like a panoramic eye. I haven’t had such an opportunity to sit down, relaxed and enjoy the gorgeous artworks of Mother Nature. The time there was very Zen, tranquil and peaceful for me, this was something very special inside my heart and soul (the Boy Scouting / Outdoor Adventurer / Traveler spirit) that had been missing from my life for quite a long time.

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Our DSG boys and girls visited Jagger Museum and learned more about the Kilauea Caldera, looked at the volcanic rocks and the history of this area. Wayson and Sterling spoke to the Park Rangers Office and one of their Park Rangers kindly brought DSG for a short tour/presentation of Kilauea Caldera. Our boys and girls were grateful, they were attentive when the Park Ranger was sharing his knowledge and stories of this area. His talk was very interesting, captivating our DSG boys and girls, listening attentively. Our Park Ranger host was so great that tourists also flocked behind our DSG boys and girls, and listened to his sharing together too! When he finished his sharing, we all had to take a photograph with our lovely Park Ranger host!

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It was dinner time and we left Hawaii Volcano Observatory for Kilauea Military Camp (KMC) for our dinner and accommodation. They are a pretty good place to stay while visiting Big Island especially for group tours and it’s definitely worth considering! Do check out their KMC website for more information! After dinner, we drove back towards Hawaii Volcano Observatory for another different view of Kilauea Caldera. It was pitch black darkness, except for 2 main things, the glowing fume from Kilauea Caldera and the many many beautiful star trails above the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. While we weren’t able to view a real life lava flow, we were quite close to the volcanic activities and right in the heart of volcanic land.  This time again, I was brought back to my heart and soul again, like it was earlier in the day. Taking photographs, enjoying the night Hawaii Volcanoes National Park sceneries, sitting down and relaxing, I wished I was able to spend more time there at night, photograph the star trails and concentrate on photographing the glowing fume. However, time was not on my side and I didn’t have my tripod, telephoto lens and remote control. Therefore, I want to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park again with my full gear of camera equipment.

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Due to time constraints, I couldn’t spend more time there during the night at Hawaii Volcano Observatory. We needed to head back to KMC for washing up, rest and recovery. The place was warm and cosy, nice beds with thick blankets. The dormitory was just like going back to Army Days for me except it was more relaxing! After a group debrief and personal reflection time for the boys and girls, we all had a good night’s rest before continuing with Day 8 adventure on Big Island, Hawaii.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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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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.


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