Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

As we close an eventful 2008, we'd like you to see a simple video we put together. In all honesty, we didn't know how much we had done and accomplished this year until we did this. We in SE have been very blessed this year, so sit back, enjoy and share our joys with us:
As we prepare to begin another exciting year, we have a little gift for you.Its a pocket calendar which features a cool pic taken from our Family Day 2008 album. Here's wishing you Happy & Blessed New Year! May 2009 bring you more peace, more love and more joy!

Monday, 29 December 2008

First Hike For New Kids On The Block

We started out the day reporting at the Scout Den in half-U, using the new unit T-shirt. We smelled a rat. At 0900 hrs, our SL, Cheetah confirmed our suspicions. He told us that we were going to do a hike. Since the Sec 1s had just come in, he decided on a progressive training to help them ease into the hikes. Today, we'll cover a short distance of only 8 km. They wondered if it was still quite a long distance but we assured them that it could be done.

Hathi did a quick recap on things to look out for such as landmarks which we did easily. He moved on to teach us about common road signs and we found out that nearly all of them described the meanings literally. We were dismissed for lunch at 1100 hrs and were told to report at Marsiling MRT Station with an energy bar each. That would be where we would then plan out the hike route with the given MGRs.

The 5 checkpoints (including our starting point) was announced and both patrols managed to find the first 4 checkpoints but as usual, Swift patrol had problems with the last one. They eventually managed to find with some guidance.

Eagle set off first and had a leading advantage, however Swift swiftly caught up at the first traffic light. We walked together towards the first checkpoint with much ease, as we were still packed with energy from our lunch.Upon arriving at the first checkpoint, we were told to top up our waterbottles and go to the toilet. Before we knew it, we had arrived at the third checkpoint which was a flyover. We had a quick break and proceeded to the forth. We felt quite tired and we were distracted along the way by an encounter with a large spider.We arrived at our end point, The Singapore Zoo where we rendezvoused with our GSL at about 1500 hrs. We completed a quick reflection, were briefed about the Safari Zoo Run and other upcoming activities before being dismissed at about 1600 hrs.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

SE Christmas Gathering 2008

We gathered yesterday for our annual gathering to celebrate the season of giving, Christmas. This year our attempts to book a function room outside of WRPS failed so we had no choice but to resort to having our celebration in Den 40. In spite of this, we had a lot of fun with the usual Wii and Xbox gaming session and for dinner, we had steamboat and chocolate fondue. Treats by Serpent and Akita respectively. There was so much food especially the hot favourite, Shabu Shabu, we had trouble finishing them...After dinner, we had a round of "Evil Santa", our very own version of the gift exchange and the "popping" of "champagne" in the form of non-alcoholic grape juice. We're glad to be ending the year on a high note with lots of laughter.More photos on Facebook.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Wishes Do Come True

We have been looking forward to this day. Several weeks back, Serpent told us that a charitable organisation called Family Life Centre had contacted him with the good news that a hotel, Amara Sanctuary Resort in Sentosa would like to sponsor some Christmas presents for Cub Scouts from low-income families. We were asked to pen our wishes on a gift card and return it the next day. I had wished for a remote controlled car.

Today, 8 of us we met Serpent in school at about noon and were soon on our way to Sentosa for a Christmas party and to receive our presents. 5 Cubs were not able to come either because they were sick or because of the change of date. We were all excited despite Serpent telling us he wasn't sure we would all get what we wished for, because he thinks that many of our wishes were valued at above the maximum of $30. Some of the gifts we had wished for included a remote controlled car, a remote controlled helicopter, a watch and wallet, a table soccer set as well as a skateboard.When we got to the hotel, we were awed at how beautiful it was. We've never been into such a posh hotel. We were asked to gather to sing two Christmas carols, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and "Jingle Bells". After that, we were led to a ballroom where we played games, ate good food and sang more songs. Liang Chuan managed to get to the final two players playing the superhero game and got an extra present! As we sang "Here Comes Santa Claus", a man dressed as Santa appeared through the front doors and we all made so much noise it was deafening. I was afraid to shake hands with him at first because he looked so real!Santa gave out our presents and we were very, very happy and very surprised... we all got exactly what we had wished for! (Yes that thing which looks like a giraffe that Irfan is holding, is a full-sized skateboard.) Indeed our wishes did come true. Thank you, Family Life Centre and THANK YOU AMARA SANCTUARY RESORT!More photos on Facebook.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Soaring Eagles Family Day 2008

Cub Scouts, Scouts, Leaders and their family members streamed in through the school gates early this morning. We had gathered for the 3rd Annual Family Day, and although some were late as usual, we were soon in the bus and on our way to East Coast Park.The weather was great and when we reached East Coast, Serpent gave the opening address and introduced the Scouts to the families of the Cub Scouts. Surprisingly Serpent's speech was short and sweet, and before long, the group was divided and the team games were underway. The first game required the teams to have work together to keep the beach ball in the air by passing it to each other.With much laughter, The Rings won the first game! It was a very heartwarming sight to see both Cubs and family members interacting. We were also very relieved that the family members were very sporting!The second game also required teamwork and communication as they put together a series of four jig-saw puzzles. Through sheer determination, The Power Rangers won the second game but went on to encourage the other teams who finished soon after too. Finally the teams had fun in "Catch-Run-Fill" during which the Cubs and their family members to have balance and area awareness. The Power Rangers also won this round to become the Champions of the team games round. We then had a break with light refreshments. Some of the Cubs and their family members started to play or stroll along the beach.The highlight of the day was the Sand Castle building. $19.90 a.k.a The Rings II attained the 1st Runner Up while Power Rangers I won the Best Sand Castle Award!By noon, we were exhausted and after water parade and the prize giving ceremony, we were on the bus back to school. It was a fun and enjoyable day for the Cubs and their family members. We know because we received many compliments and thanks. We were glad to have been a part of the day.More photos on Facebook.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

SE (Tokyo) Extension Day 5

飯田橋駅 Iidabashi, Tokyo, we decide to have fun at 東京ディズニーシー Tokyo DisneySea which was located next to Disneyland. We took the subway to 舞浜駅 Maihama Station where we transferred to the ディズニーリゾートライン線 Disney Resort Line to our destination. Not much can be said by words so here are some photos for you!Personally, The Tower of Terror was the best ride in DisneySea and I must admit that DisneySea was more fun than Disneyland but it cannot be compared to USJ. The food here was excellent too. We had North Indian food at the foodcourt inside "Arabian Coast". We had curry and naan and great desserts! We also ate more popcorn and Spanish Churros! Guess what flavours this time? Black Pepper popcorn which is our all-time favourite amongst all flavours, and Black Seasame Churros which was Otter and Serpent's favourite.Although it started to rain halfway while we queued up to participate in "The Leonardo Challenge" which required us to follow the clues on a map to complete our mission. The staff of Disney informed us that the map and clues are given in Japanese and would be too difficult for foreigners like ourselves to complete but we pressed on ahead and completed it! It was not easy so you can understand why we were quite proud of ourselves.We did enjoy ourselves and hope to come back again. Oh and here's a secret. We nearly lost Akita at the end when we were about to go off so we reported her missing at the lost and found counter. XD

After that, we headed to 新宿区 Shinjuku for our dinner. We stumbled into a restaurant, 鳥元 Torigen. The lighting was dim and the ambience was relaxing. Torigen is a local 焼き鳥 やきとり yakitoriya, an eatery specializing in chicken. From raw chicken sashimi to grilled chicken sausages. You can order almost any part of the bird! We stuck to the safer and more familiar options. After stuffing our tummies with yummy food, we walked around the area a bit while it was still RAINING!Needless to say, we were soaked to the skin as we headed back to the hostel.

Monday, 8 December 2008

SE (Hokkaido) Extension Day 4

We had a big buffet breakfast at Q Kamura. The buffet spread of both American and Japanese conquered our belly that morning, there were fermented sticky beans or 納豆 natto, うどん udon, みそ汁 miso soup, soft toasted bread, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, etc. As we ate our breakfast, we watched the snow falling onto the open space, which looked like a cotton field to me. After breakfast, we were given ハシカプ hascup flavoured ice cream. Hascup is actually Japanese ケヨノミ Honeysuckle. The hotel receptionist said it's a welcome dessert but the irony was that we were about to leave that morning.Despite the freezing cold, we took a short walk towards the viewpoint to take a look at Lake Shikot-su, the scenary was misty so we could not really see much so we started throwing snow balls at each other. We laughed and had a lot of fun. After a while, we headed back to our hotel and there, we decided to play with the snow again before setting off. Otter started rolling the snow into a huge ball and the snow ball kept getting bigger and bigger, Serpent, Snowden and Linda also started to do so. Next thing we realised we tried to join the 3 big snow ball to make into a snowman but were unsuccessful. We really had fun that day and were like kids again.We left Q Kamura and as we looked back at the hotel, the hotel receptionist kept waving her hands at the mini-bus we were in until we could not see her anymore. The way she kept waving her hands in the cold left a deep impression in me. I thought about quality service that day and wondered why the hotel staff in Singapore do not do that. We have much to learn from the Japanese.

We headed for 新千歳空港 New Chitose Airport by JR and were also soon on our way to Tokyo. As we arrived, we quickly took the Friendly Airport Limousine to Shinjuku where we transferred to the 都営地下鉄大江戸線 subway's Toei Ōedo Line, to 飯田橋駅 Iidabashi station. There, we make a wrong exit and had to go to a police station who pointed us in the right direction, with much difficulty, to Central Plaza. They had trouble with not being able to speak English.After struggling with our heavy luggages along a long walk to Central plaze, we were glad to meet a kind obasan who led us to the lift lobby. Finally we reached our accommodation at Tokyo International Hostel. After checking in, we were treated to a spectacular sunset view from our room before we went for dinner.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

SE (Hokkaido) Extension Day 3

We had Japanese instant noodles for breakfast and had some fun with the snow outside the Sapporo International Youth Hostel before leaving for our next destination. Struggling with our luggages, we rushed to 千歳駅 Chitose Station and lightened our load at the coin lockers before going for lunch at the shopping mall next to the bus terminal. After lunch, we took the bus at Berth 3 to Lake 支笏 Shikot-Su for our next accommodation, a hotel called 休暇村 Q Kamura. Since it was a hotel, the room was of decent standard and was extra comfortable. The sliding doors here reminded me of Japanese ghost movies and games. It was also the first time we got to use a sauna over and above our usual onsen soaking routine. The onsen here was a little different. We could see the whole open garden area from the bath house. It felt really strange as we stood naked there looking out through the full glass panel windows. The onsen was also filled with real hot spring water. Also not right was the 馬油 Horse Oil shampoo, soap and conditioner.

Dinner was 蟹鍋 Kaninabe (Crab Hot-Pot); some lily flower cake; broiled egg; 北海道 Hokkaido Coke, which we suspected were Huskap flavoured cause it tasted like blueberry coke; and fish; 梅 Ume and vegetables.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

SE (Hokkaido) Extension Day 2

We woke up at about 0900 hrs. Even though it is considered early in Singapore, the winter sun was already high up in the sky as if it were midday. Perhaps the long Camporee before and the lack of rest together with the fact the it was already late agitated us that morning. We had planned to go to the 二条市場 Nijo Fish market but we woke up a tad too late for that. We had initially planned to wake up at 0600 hrs and get to the market at the peak of the day's operation. But it was not to be.

Change of plans. We took the subway to 大森台 Omori Dai Train Station. We walked down the street and ate a hearty breakfast at McDonald. It was good! Otter put lemon syrup into his milk tea and that caused a chemical reaction... precipitation? Apparently milk proteins clumped together and it made the tea look disgusting! We tasted the protein clumps and it tasted like lemon with a gritty feeling.

Moving on, we went to ダイソ Daiso further down the street where we shoppped till our legs were tired. We also went to the supermarket at a big shopping centre had our "lunch" by trying the meats and Hokkaido King Crabs! So Singaporean eh? But the embarrassing deed was worth it, the food, especially the crab, was so good!! It was so good, we decided to buy some marinated meat and cook it for our dinner with the instant noodles that we bought earlier.Next up was the ようこと Ishiya Chocolate Factory! It makes the most famous chocolate in Hokkaido known as the 白い恋人 Shiroyi Kohibito (White Lover). The factory was also a museum which houses the world's largest collection of tea cups and toys! Brought back memories of being at the MINT Museum of Toys back home. We saw the history of Cocoa, Chocolate production and finally the White Lover's main production line.We ended our visit there with a chillax session at the cafe where we had... hot chocolate and fondue. We were impressed that the people at Ishiya tried to make the visit to the factory both interesting and visually stimulating, and educational all at the same time.As the sun set at about 1700 hrs, we decided to go back to our hostel. We stopped by another supermarket and started shopping again! Mid way, we discovered it had started snowing and decided to go out into the snow! It was intriguiging and exciting all at the same time...Soon after we arrived back at the hostel, a delicious meal was cooked and we were enjoying our meal with plates and bowls from the hostel kitchen. We gulped down our dinner, did the dishes and Roslinda, Otter and I went outside to play with the snow. As the snow layer was still very thin, we soon used up all the snow we could gather and made snowballs and threw them at targets and competed with each other. After we had tired ourselves out, we finally went back to our rooms and prepared for the next day.