Sunday, 14 August 2011

World Scout Jamboree Report

Sampson Choo Meng Yew
World Scout Jamboree 2011
Singapore Contingent
Puma Patrol

This has been a very meaningful and unforgettable trip for me.  Many of the valuable experiences were new to me and as I move on from them, they are held close to my heart.  One of the most special experiences was camping in the wild.  While I had camped in Singaporean "jungles" before, camping in the wild in a foreign country with countless scouts from all over the world gathering together made it exhilarating.
I was initially reluctant to go for this trip.  The main reason was because I would be the only person from my troop going and I am not a naturally outgoing person. My Group Scout Leader encouraged me to go, telling me that it was not only a rare occasion, but it would be an eye-opener as I get to see what Scouting is like. He assured me that it would be a very good experience.  As I thought of the third scout law, I decided to give it a shot. I also made a decision to be more sociable.  I was determined to be able to learn something new, and to enjoy myself.
(Day 1)
It was almost a full day of flight. I slept in countless sleeping positions on the rigid, straight seat which caused my neck to ache. We arrived in Finland after 12 hours and hopped on the next flight to Copenhagen.  It took another 2 hours which was followed by a 2 hour bus ride.
(Day 2)
Today, we arrived at the huge campsite in Sweden and met a myriad people from countries all over the world, some I have never heard of before.  We moved quickly to settle down and develop the Singapore campsite.  We setup our campsite - pitched tents, flagpole and perimeter barricade.  We were unfamiliar and had difficulties finding the toilets.  Fortunately everything went on smoothly, despite the unexpected weather change almost every hour. We finally got down to prepared simple meal of sandwiches and orange juice. The sun finally set at about 10:00 pm, a stark contrast with Singapore.
(Day 3)
Woke up at 8:00 am and continued with campsite development.  We built the gateway and erected the flagpole.  It was my patrol's duty to prepare lunch, so in preparation for that, we went for some grocery shopping.  We attempted to cook rice but ended up burning it.  In order not to waste food, we salvaged whatever we could and cooked fried rice with it.  Lunch was a disaster but quite a learning experience.  We had pasta for dinner which was much better than lunch.  As the sun began to set, we proceeded to the Official Opening Ceremony.  The names of all countries present were mentioned.  The ceremony reminded me of the Olympic Games.  There were performances, some singing, dancing and such.  After that, we went back to our campsite to rest.
(Day 4)
We registered and participated in workshops with some people from Belgium and Portugal.  It was a really fun workshop.  It was so easy to connect and talk with them.  Before we know it, the conversations were punctuated with lots of laughter.  We cracked pots and fixed them back together again. I made some very good friends, most of them from Belgium.  As evening dawned, it was our patrol's turn to make dinner again.  Rice was coincidentally bought for our patrol again.  The initial plan was to cook chicken rice, however, our second attempt of cooking the rice failed, again.  This time, we decided not to salvage the burnt rice as we were expecting guests from Finland for dinner.  We quickly switched to noodles and in a short time put together what our Finnish friends actually found great.  

We played some games together, and talked at length about the local delights in our respective countries.  I learnt that Finnish people eat potatoes most of the time and on a daily basis - as their staple food, while ours was rice and noodles.  We had a great time exchanging information about our cultures and learnt some Finnish words such as "kidoshk","alehuva","untaxi","mitang", "moi!".  Darkness fell and we went for a night hike call "Dream".  It was a really tiring experience and I was literally falling asleep, swaying to the left and right while walking. Immediately after the hike, we went back to the campsite and fell asleep instantly.  I could hardly even able to keep my eyes open for a second.

(Day 5)
Today we had a special breakfast prepared by our leaders. This was followed by our free time.  We went to the Jamboree Shop to have a look.  I bought some souvenirs.  A jamboree shirt caught my eyes and I wanted to buy it but my size was out of stock.  I was asked to wait a few days more for the new stocks.  We explored other parts of the campsite and did some badge trading.  Later in the day, I felt sick and went back to my tent to sleep.  I slept for 5 hours!!  By the time I woke up, the sky was dark again.  I had slept though lunch and dinner.  I took my first shower in five days before going back to sleep again comfortably, feeling fresh and clean.
(Day 6)
Today was spent attending the Earth Module.  I met some Czechs while attending the module, talking and taking some photos together.  I learnt a new Czech word from them "zdayak sephriur" (if I'm not wrong).  I spent the rest of the day trading badges while sight-seeing yet another part of the campsite. We never seem to be able to finish exploring the campsite!

(Day 7)
We attended Quest Module today.  Somehow it felt like PT to me.  The obstacle course was tedious, involving physical crawling, climbing, balancing, jumping, running, sliding and such.  I enjoyed it so much, and had so much fun that I went through it twice!  It was hilarious to see other's tired face. After that, we played some mini-games like tossing of mallet for accuracy, throwing of horseshoes into a square, blindfolded having only friends to guide how to toss, and such.  After that, I went elsewhere for some fun balancing.  This place involved a tricycle, a wooden board with a cylindrical object below having to be able to balance on top of the wooden platform.  I went back to the quest area again for the closing.  I spent the rest of the day doing badge trading again and eating some super nice and delicious ice-cream.

(Day 8)
We woke up early today, packed our bags and set off to Camp-in-Camp.  It started with canoeing in the lake to the open and settled down at a rest point before swimming!  It was really fun as we ran along a jetty-like structure and jumped off the end into the freezing cold water.  Today we met some Saudi Arabians and Swedes.  We started to wrestle and play around, trying to pushed each other into the water.  I lost most of the time, it's far too slippery!  I fell down and knocked myself onto the edge of the wooden jetty which resulted in a bruise.  A while later we set off back to the campsite by canoeing again. Played frisbee with the Saudi Arabians and the Swedes.  Our Swedish hosts, then taught us a game called Chaos.  The game us having to form teams with people of different nationalities.  Then we had to roll the dice, and search for the number on a card in the woods.  The card will have some instructions on how to finish of the first stage, followed by the second, third and so on. Some of the cards have forfeits like make a human wheelbarrow, make a human stretcher with someone lying on that person walking a distance and such.  It was pretty cool.  My team was the "Ah-noose" team, so whenever anyone found the card with the correct number on it, we will shout "Ah-noose!!" as a signal for all our group members to gather to see what we were supposed to do. 

After the game, we by played Monopoly Deal.  After a while the sun starts setting and time for bed.  It was then that I realised that my foot was hurting. It was swollen probably due to the impact on the edge of the jetty.  My caring leader rubbed some ointment for me as I screamed out in pain! Ended of the day with a good sleep, such bonding with others can hardly be found back at our own campsite.

(Day 9)
The weather was great today.  Everyone overslept so we could not prepare our own breakfast.  Thankfully the kind Swedish hosts, served us breakfast instead.  Went on to handicraft, using recycled materials like unwanted bicycle tyres and beads.  Made a fine necklace and gave it to one of my friends, he actually liked it so much, he wore it throughout the Jamboree.  After a while we set off back to our own campsite.  This has been the most memorable part of the Jamboree for me.  Back at the main campsite, I went to do badge trading again along with ice-cream hunting too.

(Day 10)
It was Cultural Festival Day!  Everyone dressed in their traditional costume and prepared some Singapore traditional food.  We played "chap-teh" together, some of the people from other countries joined us.  After a while, I went around trying different countries' traditional food.  It was so delicious!! The Saudi Arabians persuaded me relentlessly to go and try their food.  This was when I found out that Saudi Arabians have a very weird tradition - eating with no utensils.  I had to use my hand and they splat a scoopful of beef stew on my hand.  It was a nasty feeling on my palm but the taste was really good. After that, I played chess at a cafe before going badge trading again. It was really a great day.

(Day 11)
Today, we did the People Module. Followed by last minute shopping at the Jamboree Shop.  Unfortunately, the Jamboree shirt I wanted was still out of stock, no size for me.  We had our lunch back at our campsite before going for some top quality ice-cream again!!  So delicious, and I just can't get enough.  Today's trading time is special because I did it at the trading market.  I also played the horse racing game at the other side.  It was quite challenging yet so fun. For dinner, my patrol went over to the German campsite for some dinner. They served pasta, it was delicious but a tad too sour for me. They laughed saying that they had added too much vinegar.  After that we did a few activities together before going for some soccer.  As the night falls, we went back our campsite.  Time has really flown by so quickly.  Today was the last day of activities, and the closing ceremony will take place tomorrow.

(Day 12)
We struck camp this morning - the gateway, flagpole, kitchen tent and sleeping tents. After doing so, I went for the last badge trading session. Came back and carried on with packing.  After hours of doing so, we proceeded to the closing ceremony.  It was lovely.  The ceremony was mostly singing by the different artistes of Sweden. The King and Queen of Sweden were present at the ceremony too. I favourite part of the ceremony was the end, because it was the fireworks!!! It was beautiful, even though it was raining, it didn't stop us from continuing the ceremony and fireworks.

(Day 13)
Woke up earlier than usual to do our final pack up and getting ready to leave the campsite, and journey on to Copenhagen, Denmark.  The freezing raindrops landing on us as we proceeded to the bus area.  Seeing everything taken down, makes me feel really upset, cannot bear to leave the place. It was quite a long walk, dragging our heavy luggages and rushing so as not to miss the bus.  When we arrived at the bus bay, we found that the buses had been delayed because of the rain. We had to waited in the freezing rain for almost an hour. I seized the opportunity to finish my unused credits in my cash card by buying chips for the long ride in the bus.  Quickly, we all moved along into the bus and carried on with our trip.  Eating chips, while playing cards were quite a time killer.  After a while, we all fell asleep until we arrive at our destination at Danhostel in Copenhagen City. As we attempted to check in, we found out again that our rooms had been delayed for 2 hours. 

When we finally settled our belongings, we went for lunch at Hiko's Pizza Cafe nearby.  We crossing a river that looked like Singapore River except wider.  The scenery and cool breeze there is just breathtaking.  Thinking about how hot Singapore was right then.  They actually use a small part of the river for recreational activity like swimming.  Some of the Scouts volunteered to be taught by a dancer to dance.  Watching them dance was hilarious!!  After that we went back to our hostel and into our respective rooms.  The scene from my room was beautiful!  We went for our free time to do some window shopping!!  Most of the shops were closed except some cafes and restaurants.  We heard that the shops there don't stay open for long so around 4-5pm onwards, they will start closing. Bought a heavenly ice-cream over there again. After long walk round a bouts. We went for a dinner at macdonalds, it's all beef. I'm starting to not like it. Everywhere I go I see beef!! Settled down with a quarter pounder and went back after that long day. Easily, I fell into a deep sleep.

(Day 14)
Woke up, did some wash ups and went on for hunting! Hunting for a place to have breakfast, found a cafe recommended by the staff of the danhostel. Settled down and had huge plate of food. We ran back to the meeting point late as the cafe we had breakfast at was pretty far. After which, we proceeded to the tivoli theme park! Had so much fun there, the rides, ups, downs, left and rights makes me feel nausea. Went for the spinning top and unfortunately it rained, we were freezing cold up in the air. Wanting to enjoy the great view from on top but the heavy and cold rain kept my eyes tightly closed and shivering all over. Until then the sky starts turning dark, went on to the restaurant "great china" to have dinner. The rain starts getting smaller, went for a short window shopping and went back to rest afterwards. Awaiting the next day.

(Day 15)
Woke up late today, did a quick wash up and headed down to a bakery shop for breakfast.  Afterwards, we headed to the Scout Shop under the freezing, heavy rain. Went there to see what a Scout Shop in Denmark looked like. It had two levels with many outdoor adventure equipment, so much more compared to the one in Singapore. Went on to walk around town in search for a place to have lunch.  We finally settled at an Irish restaurant.  It was huge and the food was delicious. After that, we gathered back at the hostel and took a hike to the Scout centre where we celebrated Singapore's National Day.  Embarassingly, we got lost half way enroute to the Scout centre. By the time we arrived, we were served local-Vietnamese food for dinner.  There were Scouts from Costa Rica and had so much fun interacting with them. We had wanted to have a small campfire, unfortunately, it rained halfway through so we went indoors and did some singing and games.  We took a group photo together before heading back to the hostel.  The day passed by so quickly, I was looking forward for the next.

(Day 16)
We had to skipped breakfast as we had to wake up early but ended up waking late.  Headed off to Legoland!!  We arrived after a long bus ride.  Took some pictures around while waiting for the tickets to be ready.  I was so excited as I entered but it was a little anti-climax because the rides were not as thrilling as I had imagined.  It was more suitable for younger children.  We went on for some rides and shopping.  I bought some souvenirs and a slush bottle.  Awhile later, we got bored and went to have lunch at the buffet restaurant.  We finished the day off and head back to the hostel by bus. Pack up in preparation for the next day.

(Day 17)
It was our last day here in Denmark, packed up and brought our belongings down. Settled the luggages in a room before going off to the shopping mall to do the final shopping.  We ate something simple, bought chocolates, and some clothings from H&M.  It was time to leave.  Sadly we made our way to the airport for our flight to Finland.  When we arrived in Finland, we received news that our flight to Singapore had been delayed by 2 hours!!  It was somewhat a good thing, as we got to stay together a little while longer. We chatted and reflected on how much we did the last 2 weeks.  As I looked back, time had really flown by very quickly.  How I wish it could be stopped at the happy moments.

This trip has given me a very good exposure to people from all over the world.  I've learnt how to save the Earth in many ways like recycling and such, and have learnt how people like us pollute the world, putting ourselves in whole lot of danger in future.  The activities helped me understand what our world is like, currently, compared to years ago.  Our climate is changing and becoming warmer, an example is Singapore, and even cold climate countries are getting warmer. 

Through the Jamboree, made many friends.  I am glad to report that Istill keep in contact with one from Belgium. This trip had also taught me alot about the many other cultures of people I had met from other countries.

This trip had also somehow changed my perspective of Scouting.  It is not simply about aiming to get achievements and awards, instead the aiming was simply to have fun.  I can say with confidence that if I had only one word to describe Scouting, it can only be described as FUN.  I must thank my GSL for believing in me the last few years.  Without him and his passion in guiding me through the years of Scouting, I wouldn't be who I am today.  Scouting in Soaring Eagles has moulded me to become a more responsible and disciplined person.  I am appreciated for who I am and my strengths.  I do not need to focus only on academic skills such as writing reports or doing math.  I can excel in outdoor skills and having fun.  I am also thankful because without his encouragement I would not have gone to the WSJ.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the many people who made our trip possible.  To Chief Scout, Mr SR Nathan for his kind contribution and sponsorship without which, this experience would never be possible at all.  I thank the WSJ Contingent Leaders for their hard work, sacrifices and sleepless nights - taking care of us and coordinating this was such a huge endeavour.  Words can never be enough to express my heartfelt gratitude.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

August Cohesion

We have not had cohesion for some time.  Morale is starting to return after GSL's "Pest Control" pep talk.  We gathered at the Den in EDP at 1700 hrs for a floorball match.  We had a lot of fun even though many of us were fasting.  The ventures joined in the teams and we battled each other until one of the teams won.
We also played another game called "Ali Bom".  The objectives of this game is that "Ali" has to seek out the other players who are hiding.  When he sees them, he boms them by shouting the name and quickly running back to tap the ball he is protecting.  He does this to capture each player till all players are caught.
When it was time to break fast, we started our barbecue.  The food was cooked with both an electrical grill as well as a charcoal barbecue pit.  The food was good.  We were joined by Ms Wendy Lee as well as Mr and Mrs Chay who told us true ghost stories of Singapore.

Hope to have the next cohesion soon!