Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Learning Journey to the Zoo: "Oops Its Poop!"

In celebration of Children's Day and in view of the early dismissal of our Muslim brothers, our usual CCA meeting was moved to the Singapore Zoo. Its an optional programme limited only to the first 30 Cub Scouts who submitted their response slips.

The programme was called "Oops Its Poop!" with Dr Ooz, and it was all about... you got it, animal faeces (more affectionally known as Sh*t)!

Dr Ooz shared with the Cubs about the usefulness of animal wastes beyond our wildest imagination. Did you know that in the past, people used to keep Stick Insects because it was believed that their waste could be consumed by humans to cure stomach upsets? So people used to keep stick insects so that they could get "free" medication! More on Stick Insects here.

Another strange example of the use animal waste is the Dung Beetle, which takes pride in owning a large ball of dung which it will roll, and call it its home. It is also a means of attracting a mate so the larger the dung ball, the more likely chance of finding a mate. In this case, the impressed female will mate with the male Dung Beetle and later lay its eggs inside the brooding dung ball as a means of mass provision for its offspring. More information on Dung Beetles here.As she talked about digestive systems, she mentioned that camels in the Singapore Zoo are fed Blue Grass (which is green) and Alfafa Hay. This diet cannot be eaten by humans, but is suitable for Camels, since their stomachs have three special sections which will break down and digest their vegetarian diet completely! But the camel will have to return the partially digested food in its stomach back to its mouth, so it can re-chew it over and over, moving the food to the next section after hours of chewing, until it reaches the end. Cows and Giraffes do the same, and this particular behaviour are peculiar to ruminants. More information about ruminants here.When Dr Ooz brought "Bit-bit", her cute little rabbit out, all the Cubs got really excited and wanted to touch it. Dr Ooz later explained that rabbit and guinea pig waste is soft at first (the grape-like bunch on the left), but they will then consume their own waste (Yuks!) and re-digest it a few times until the waste balls become hardened (the waste balls on the right). The rabbit or guinea pig redigests the waste in a special part of their digestive system, called the caecum. The process is called caecotrophy. Fortunately for us, this usually happens at night so we don't see it. The rabbit redigests the little pellets of wastes, cecotrophes, to receive even more nutrients from them. It is a very important part of the digestive process without which the rabbit will not be healthy!

Then she moved on to Rhino waste. The Rhino waste is a good home to the Rhino Beetle Larvae. Adult Rhino Beetles eat rotting fruit and sap; in spite of their size, they don't eat very much. The larvae, on the other hand, eat a great deal of rotting wood or the compost in which they live. Keepers at the Singapore Zoo have found that Rhino waste is the perfect home and diet for the Rhino Beetle larvae which are comfortable living in them for years before they progress to the pupal stage. More on Rhino Beetles here.

Next up was Elephant waste! The largest, heaviest and scentless waste! Cubs not only got a chance to see it, they got to smell and touch it! Elephant waste is mainly fibre from plants and is very commonly made into paper used in notebooks.

Finally to end off the session, Dr Ooz moved on to wastes of carnivorous animals. While herbivorous animal wastes are virtually scentless, the wastes of carnivorous animals are wickedly foul smelled. As the Cubs examined the Python and King Snake waste, they had to bear with the smell, and they also noticed bits of bone and fur attached to the waste pellets. These are the undigested parts of their prey which are usually swallowed whole.

The day ended with the Cubs exploring the Zoo for about 20 minutes after being treated to "Dung" Ice-Cream from Ben & Jerry's! Actually its just Chocolate Brownie, but it sure looked like Dung to me!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Happy Children's Day 2008

Its Children's Day again, and there's a special present waiting for you... actually, not just one present but two for each of you. To add to your clear folder from last year, you should have received your A4 Document Bags from SeaKing, and Pilot 2020 Shaker Pencils, available in 5 Colours while stocks lasts.

If for some reason, you haven't received your present, do collect it from your leaders at the next Cub Scout Meeting. ;)

On behalf of GSL Fiery Serpent, AGSL Akita, CSL Raging Bull and Miss Noordiana, here's wishing you all:
Happy Children's Day!!!

Eagle, out!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Safe For Consumption!

Many of us have been supportive of our sister Brownies, and bought many tins of cookies in their recent cookie sale. At the same time, alarm bells have been triggered off once again by China and their food safety standards, namely of Melamine in Chinese Milk products.

Do rest assured that the Singapore Girl Guides, Khong Guan and Dairy Australia have stepped forward to issue statements claiming that the cookies are SAFE for consumption. The dairy ingredients used in the cookies are not of Chinese Origin.Enjoy your cookies!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Intergenerational Bonding Excursion

The Seniors in Scouting were up to their tricks again, this time with organising a fun-filled day at Labrador Nature Reserve. Our bus came late today (AGAIN!!!), but we managed to get to our starting destination with just a few minutes to spare for breakfast. This was gobbled down quickly as Mr Caleb Cheah introduced our GSL, Serpent, as the MC of the day. That announcement took most of us by surprise, but it was also comforting, since we were used to his jokes and way of handling things.
He soon introduced us to the Seniors in Scouting who were in charge of our group for the first part of the programme, Uncle Ronald, Uncle Albert, Uncle Francis and Auntie Helen. They took us on a guided tour round the Labrador park and we ended up at the World War II Tunnels built by the British as part of their defense of Keppel Harbour. Pasir Panjang Fort was one of the Twin Fortresses, along with Fort Siloso on Pulau Blakang Mati (the present day Sentosa).

Serpent also told us about Dragon's Teeth Gate, which was actually blown up by the British to widen the entrance to Keppel Harbour. According to what he had read, the rumours about the "Secret Tunnels" linking Pasir Panjang Fort to Fort Siloso in Sentosa started as a result of British divers in the vicinity who laid underwater submarine mines to guard Keppel Harbour against pirates and enemy submarines.

After the morning walk about, we had lunch and a discussion about how we can improve our relationship with our grandparents and use that to improve our relationship with our parents, siblings, teachers and school-mates. We also learnt how grandparents can share their life experiences and wisdom with us and help us solve our problems, which we think no one can help us with.

Finally the day ended with several really fun games, such as Alphabet Treasure Hunt, Crow and Tortise, Squirrel, Tree & Earthquake, and Dog & Bone.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

National Cub Scout Challenge 2008

After just a week of training, we were dawned with the challenge of meeting the other packs. We went in to defend the Silver Awards for Sourgrapes and Roman Cannon from the National Scoutcraft and Pioneering Competition in 2007.

By about 1300 hrs, over 700 Cub Scouts from 30 schools had gathered at Catholic High School for what seems to be an unending barrage of events beginning with Soccer. I was part of the Soccer team and was very excited about the match. We went for the match confidently and did our best, unfortunately we were eventually defeated by Pei Chun Eagles 3-0. The team felt very disappointed, but whats important was that we did our best and we had fun.

Our Captain's Ball team were also soon knocked out and both teams only managed the Bronze Award.

We did better in other events, for instance the Sourgrapes and Chariot teams managed to clinch the Silver Award. Best of all was our Roman Cannon Team which clinched the sole Gold Award. That came not only as a surprise, it was certainly good news for all of us.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

SE Winter Collection 2008

We have been very hard at work in front of our computer screens, and are now very excited! So just to give us all a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released SE Winter Collection 2008:

SE-Chong Fu-Canberra Combined Cubs Camp Shirt 2008
SE Unit Shirt 2008SE Japan Camporee Shirt

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Basic First Aid

Today the final testing for the Basic First Aid Course was completed and the report card is out!12 Cubs who had previously attended a day's theory lessons on:
  1. How to pack and what to include in a First Aid Kit,
  2. Knowing the limits of First Aid and the importance of enlisting help,
  3. Knowing how to control bleeding by direct pressure,
  4. Knowing the importance of cleanliness and how to dress minor wounds with gauze and a roller bandage,
  5. Demonstrating how to use a triangular bandage other than for arm slings,
  6. Knowing how to treat burns and scalds,
  7. Knowing how to treat insect stings and removing splinters,
  8. 1-person CPR (DRABC)
  9. How to make a casualty comfortable (Recovery Position)
passed the tests, which included a practical demonstration of CPR, setting the casualty in recovery position and a written test which consisted of 20 MCQs. They were awarded the First Aid Proficiency Badge today.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Bukit Panjang Eagles Scout Group 50th Anniversary Campfire

It was a pirate themed night of fun at a cosy, small gathering of friends at Bukit Panjang Government High School. We were glad to be among friends like Unity Unicorn, CCK Condors and BP Eagles.The enchanting night of song and games set against a Pirate named Jack who was in search of treasure, was eventually betrayed by one of his crew. However, Jack outwitted and outlasted him, and eventually saw everyone for who they were. Well, at least that's what we think what the story was. Heh.

Well done on a very, very enjoyable campfire. It ended in good time too at about 2100 hrs just before it started to pour. Happy Birthday BP Eagles! Thank you for one of the most special souvenirs we've ever received... a pirate teddy! Aye!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Donation Draw 2008 Results

Living In The Ocean Camp

It had been something we've all been looking forward to for the last month. It was our camp at the Underwater World from 4-5 September 2008. The reporting time in school was 4pm, but by 3pm there were many other Scouts already in school. Although the bus was late, we made it to Underwater World on time and were quickly introduced to Nicholas and Noraini, our Camp Instructors. Both of them are trained Marine Conservationists. They quickly settled us down in the Seminar Room and started a very interesting presentation on sharks.

We learnt a lot about sharks and how they have seven senses and that even though they are fish, their pectoral fins are positioned horizontally, and they do not have swim bladders. So sharks cannot stop swimming or they would start sinking. Their constant swimming also helps to drive water into their mouths so they can breathe.

Surprisingly, the sharks' greatest enemy is humans! That's because humans love Shark's Fin Soup! Most fins for soup are obtained by a brutal “finning” whereby sharks are caught and hauled out of the water. Their fins are sliced off, and the sharks are thrown back into the ocean, still alive. Since they cannot swim without fins, so they helplessly sink into the water to the ocean bottom, to die slowly or be eaten by predators. It is estimated that 73 million sharks are killed each year in this fashion.We broke fast at about 7:08pm tonight and after dinner, we watched a documentary on Keiko, the Orca star of "Free Willy" movie. That documentary was very touching, and we learnt that even as children, if many of us cooperate and write in to authorities, they will listen. Keiko was freed as a result of many children's plea to free him.

Unfortunately, since Keiko was so used to his trainers, Keiko didn't last very long in the wild. Nick told us that its important too, that when we get to keep a pet, we must be responsible and take care of it for life.

When Underwater World was closed to the public at 9pm, we were set loose into the Oceanarium and Touch Pools. I felt happy to have had a chance to touch Starfish, Stingrays, baby Sharks and even the famous Pink Dolphins! Too bad we cannot touch Jellyfish without getting injured. They look so nice to touch!

The next day, the Muslim boys woke up at 4:45am to wash up and have breakfast. It started raining heavily at about 5:30am, so we went back to sleep. The rain continued till about 9am and stopped only after the Chinese boys had breakfast and sang "Rain, Rain Go Away!". It was a miracle that the song actually worked! If not, we wouldn't be able to go to the Dolphin Lagoon.

There we saw how intelligent the Dolphins were. Dolphins are mammals and can be identified as mammals from their tails which flap up and down (instead of side to side) and from their blow holes through which they breathe. They do not have gills like fish.

The chance to sleep in the tunnel of the Underwater World is once in a lifetime experience that not many people get and I am very privileged to have done that! The most important thing I learnt is that we should not eat Shark's Fin because "when the buying stops, the cruel act of killing will stop too."

At the end of the camp, we also got a certificate and a nice bookmark from Underwater World. I am glad we went for the camp!

Keep Up The Good Work!

As a token of our appreciation, and to spur the others from putting in a greater effort in 2009, we presented a special "Uniformed Groups" stamp set to the top fund raisers of Job Week and Donation Draw from each level.The "winners" for Job Week are:
  • Gino Yong (4G),
  • Md Syahin (5O) and
  • Zia Syahmin Khan (6L), who is also the top of the Pack;
  • Curious Hummingbird (S1), who is also the top of the Scouts/Ventures Section;
  • Vivacious Otter (S2),
  • Spirited Scorpion (S3) and
  • Steadfast Beaver (V).
The "winners" for Donation Draw are:
  • Dylan Ang (3T) and
  • Dennis Ng (4S),
who are both not only top sellers of their level, but also overall top of the Pack!
  • Shawn Toh (5S),
  • Terry Lam (6T) and Zia Syahmin (6L)
  • Curious Hummingbird (S1), who is also top of the Scouts/Ventures Section;
  • Vivacious Otter (S2)
  • Hathi (S3)
  • Humourous Coyote (V)
The overall top fund raiser of the Cub Scouts and Scouts/Ventures Sections for each fund raising activity also received a special IMF Stamp Set which is worth over $12! Curious Hummingbird who was the overall top of the Scouts/Ventures Section for both Job Week and Donation Draw received a "Secret Magic Case" worth over $35.

Well done, everyone and keep up the great job! For those who didn't get anything this year, try harder next year and who knows what will be in store for you then?