Scout movement loses lustre

THE Scout movement has lost its lustre and many students are now signing up for other uniformed units, said Kelantan Scout Deputy Commissioner Rafie Mohamad.

“The Scout’s popularity has waned and there are many uniformed units for students to choose from nowadays.

“Police and army cadets, which are supported by the Government, have an advan- tage over the Scout movement — they are part of the school co-curriculum,” he added recently.

Rafie said the Scouts movement, which was introduced in Malaysia in 1908, was being run by volunteers and steps were being taken to promote the movement to schools.

Recently, 60 Scouts made up of 27 boys and 33 girls from all over Kelantan attended an expedition where they canoed 50km from Sungai Kelantan to Pulau Melaka.

Kelantan Education Director Ghazali Abdul Rahman, who flagged off the expedition, said it was the first time that such an event was organised by the Kelantan Scouts.

“We hope that the students will gain the self-confidence required to accept challenges of the future,” he said.

One of the participants, Muhamad Hakim, 17, said he was thrilled with the expedition, adding that he felt good after finishing the ti-ring journey.

“If I had the chance, I would love to do it all over again,” he added.

Salimah Ahmad, 17, from Tumpat, said she nearly gave up half way but she had lots of encouragement from her peers who encou-raged her to finish the gruelling trip.

Keep the spirit alive


MORE than 2,500 Girl Guides, Rangers and Brownies from schools in Penang observed the movements’ World Thinking Day this year with a very special “line-up”.

They lined the 8km route of a jeep ride which took Girl Guides Association of Malaysia president Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah from Convent Green Lane (CGL) to St Xavier’s Institution (SXI) during the Penang state-level celebration of the event last Saturday.

The Prime Minister’s wife, who was the guest-of-honour at the Penang celebration, was accompanied by the association’s chief commissioner Datin Zalillah Mohd Taib and Penang Girl Guides Association (PGGA) president Datin Seri Su Hashim on the ride. Jeanne had earlier opened the celebration at CGL.

There were also 20 Girl Guides on bicycles and 15 PGGA leaders on trishaws accompanying the jeep to meet the girls who formed the line in batches.

jeanne Jeanne lighting up the Guiding Light torch to start off the event.

The association is attempting to enter the Malaysian Book of Records for the longest human chain through the line-up which stretched along Jalan Mesjid Negeri, Scotland Road, Macalister Road, Peel Avenue, Pangkor Road, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah and Farquhar Street.

At the closing ceremony of the celebration at the SXI field, Jeanne handed over RM3,000 collected by the PGGA through a walkathon to two welfare organisations – Pure Lotus Hospice of Compassion and the Handicapped Children’s Association in Bukit Mertajam.

She also handed over a donation of alumminium can ring tabs collected by the PGGA to the Prostheses Foundation of H.R.H. The Princess Mother of Thailand which uses the tabs to make artificial limbs. The donation was received by the foundation’s secretary-general Dr Therdchai Jivacate.

Zalillah, in her speech, congratulated the PGGA for its fine work in organising the huge celebration.

“We hope to see the association continue to develop into a more excellent and dynamic organisation and do its part to train young women to be sincere and pure in speech and action,” she said.

The annual World Thinking Day, which falls on Feb 22, is celebrated globally for Girl Guides to think and give thanks to each other.

It is themed Guides Worldwide Say: “Stop the Spread of Aids, Malaria and other Diseases” this year.

The celebration also commemorates the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell who founded the Boy Scout Movement, and his wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell who was World Chief Guide.

Fun, frolic and 300 students mark World Scout Day


MORE than 300 students in the scouting district of Bayan Lepas, Penang, gathered at SMK Hamid Khan recently for activities organised in conjunction with World Scout Day.

The students, comprising girl and boy scouts and some girl guides, were from 14 primary and secondary schools in the district.

After a formal assembly, the students separated into groups for some fun with Kim’s Games (memory and observation games named after the hero of Rudyard Kipling’s novel ‘Kim’).

The games involved the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

For example, in the game of touch, blindfolded students were asked if they preferred to dip their hands into a pail of clean or dirty water to feel for and identify several items such as a comb, a brush, a pen, string, a screwdriver, and even a mobile phone dummy.

Those who preferred clean water were then led to a pail of water mixed with some mud, sand and grass while those who chose dirty water were led to a pail of not-so-dirty water.

Then in a test of memory, they had to list down all the items they found in the pail.

Students waiting for their turn to play did not just stand around idly but had fun with tongue twisters in English, Bahasa Malaysia and even Hokkien.

The primary school students played five similar but simpler games that required them to identify a fewer number of items.

Among the pupils were Muhd Aizat Shamsudin, 11, and Mohd Khairul Ikhwan Mohd Kamil, 12, of SK Sungai Ara who said they were glad they took part in the event as they were enjoying themselves very much.

Teacher, scout, crusader

Review by LIM WEY WEN



By: Dr Chew Nee Kong

Publisher: Negeri Sembilan Parkinson’s Society, Malaysia

ISBN: 978-9834398903

IF a man’s worth can be judged by the weight of his biography, you know you are going to read about someone important when you hold this book in your hands.

Tipping the scales at 1.5kg, Selfless Warrior even outweighed the heaviest book in my collection by 0.5kg – which happens to be my trusty paperback version of Oxford’s Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

But that kind of weight, translated in almost 450 pages of pictures, memorabilia and testimonials, is hardly enough to encapsulate the life of the late Lloyd Tan Pao Chan, a mighty soul of seemingly common but precious qualities.

Tan was the founder of the Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association (MPDA) which was formed in 1994. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s 15 years before he eventually succumbed to pneumonia at age 71, Tan is truly a rare breed.

As a child, he was jovial, talkative and a model student. Although schooling started at age ten for him after the Japanese occupation in 1945, he went on to excel in his studies until he graduated from the Malayan Teacher’s College.

As a teacher, his selflessness and devotion to teaching motivated and encouraged countless students under his tutelage, some of which visited him frequently even when he was no longer their teacher. His friendly style and understanding nature brought him close to his students as he could always empathise with their teenage concerns.

Despite the gratitude expressed by his students, Tan remained humble and continued to serve without expecting anything in return.

The highlight of Tan’s teaching career, though, was his involvement in the propagation of Scouting in the schools he served. As poverty had denied him a chance of joining the Scout Movement when he was young, he actively pursued this dream when he became a teacher. He later became a Scout Master who led and inspired numerous young boys.

He used to go out of his way to help students and colleagues, and his skills in massage had his friends running to him when they have aches and pains.

A caring husband and father, he always made time for his family despite his busy schedule. Among Tan’s virtues, the one that stands out the most was his inherent ability to see the silver lining in every cloud.

When he could not afford to go to a medical school, he chose education instead. When he knew he had Parkinson’s disease, he went to the United States to understand his disease and find a way to deal with it.

To help society understand more about Parkinson’s disease, Tan was ever willing to take part in medical trainings at hospitals or media interviews about the disease.

Even in his speeches and letters to the Parkinson’s community, he light heartedly called himself a “Parkie” and continuously gave words of encouragement to other patients.

As a tribute to Tan’s dedication in creating awareness about Parkinson’s disease, Dr Chew also dedicates a chapter of the book to explain the disease in comprehensive, layman terms.

Like plots of a movie, most writers will agree that a good story will compensate for some “packaging” flaws. So is the case with Tan’s story. Amidst some blurry photos and size 14 Times New Roman fonts, the spirit of this man leaps out of every page, inspiring readers with his patience, love and sincerity.

Fun for Special Scouts


THE Penang Water Sports Recreation Centre was abuzz with laughter and cheer when a group of Special Scouts embarked on an unforgettable adventure there recently.

Organised by the Penang Cheshire Home, the Special Scouts Carnival held in conjunction with 100 years of Scouting in Malaysia, saw the special children doing everything their able-bodied counterparts normally did at such events.

scout 1 Special scouts learning flower arranging skills at the carnival.

The children spent the day canoeing, communicating via ham radio, playing station games, learning flower arrangements, acquiring firefighting skills, making sandwiches and even trying their hand at paintballing!

Thirteen-year-old Ng Phooi Ling said she had “a lot of fun” at the beach.

“I love the water. My favourites were canoeing and the paintball session where I got to shoot with a gun.

scout3 Special scouts, aided by volunteers and a fire department personnel learning how to put out fire during the carnival.

“I hope they will have more carnivals for us,” she said, adding that all her friends had a good time too.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Koay Teng Hai, who was present to launch the event, praised the participants for showing the “Scouting spirit”.

“Remember, you are all part of a worldwide movement with 28 million members in more than 150 countries,” he said, drawing a loud applause from the crowd.

scout2 Ready, aim, fire: Special Scouts learning how to shoot paintballs.

In his speech, the home’s chairman Datuk Seri Khoo Keat Siew said the Scout Movement was for all young people, irrespective of creed, race and physical ability.

“As far back as 1920, the movement’s founder Lord Baden Powel had emphasised that Scouting is not only for the physically strong but also for the weak so that they can gain their strength and hope.

“The home started its Scout Movement in 2001 and recently organised the first Penang Cheshire Special Troop Camp in Cameron Highlands.

“Today’s event is a follow-up to that because the kids requested another outing that included canoeing as part of the activities,” he said.

The home’s Scouts coordinator Veronica Pau urged parents of children with special needs to allow them to participate in “normal activities”.

“Give them a chance to join society. These special children can be like everyone else if they receive proper training and guidance.

“Some of the activities may have to be improvised and adapted to their capabilities but other than that, disability should not be a hindrance to them.

“No one is perfect and every-one needs a little help. Each and everyone of us has some form of disability. For instance, those who wear spectacles need help with their vision too,” she said.

A total of 36 participants from the home and Penang Cerebral Palsy (Spastic) Children’s Association attended the event.

Ham radio a hit among Scouts and Guides

jota Seeking new friends: Penang Scouts Commissioner Zulkafli Kamaruddin trying to communicate with foreign Scouts via amateur radio after the opening of Jota-Joti at Wisma Pengakap.

COMMUNICATION over amateur radio (ham radio) frequencies is still a hit among Scouts and Guides at Wisma Pengakap at Penang’s 51th Jamboree-On-The-Air (JOTA) despite the Internet.

Organising committee secretary Tan Thean Wooi said many participants found it exciting using the traditional way to communicate as they could hear the voice of their counterparts.

“It is fun talking to them over the radio instead of using the Internet where we only see written words.

“It is also an opportunity for us to build friendships with our counterparts from all over the world,” he said.

Tan was among some 350 Scouts, Girl Guides and cub Scouts from various schools on the island who gathered at the site for the JOTA and Jamboree-On-The-Internet (JOTI).

They were so determined to have fun that even the scorching heat failed to dampen their spirits.

All they had in mind during the one-day event was to complete the various activities and take home the Challenge Badge.

State Scouts Commissioner Zulkafli Kamaruddin, who launched the event, said participants should take advantage of the event to exchange ideas and experiences with their counterparts from all over the world.

“Participation in JOTI, especially will enhance their knowledge in information technology which is growing at a fast pace,” he said in his speech.

joti Global contact: Scouts trying to communicate with their foreign counterparts via the Internet after the opening of the Jota-Joti.

JOTI is an international scout meeting on the Internet and is an official event of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement.

It is held in October when thousands of Scouts from all over the world would meet and communicate with each other over the Internet.

JOTI is combined with the JOTA, an event where Scouts can communicate with each other over amateur radio (ham radio) frequencies.

Hampered by lack of a proper campsite


PENANG is the only state in the country that does not have a scout campsite, Scouts Association of Malaysia Penang state commissioner Zulkafli Kamaruddin said.

He said this was a predicament the state association was facing as its previous campsite at Coronation Camp had been turned into a Japanese Garden.

“Our activities are limited now without a proper campsite,” he said.

scout Scouts preparing food during the backwoodsman cooking activity.

Zulkafli said the association acquired a piece of land in Teluk Bahang 10 years ago for a campsite but the place had been gazetted as part of the Penang National Park which resulted in the Scouts having difficulty carrying out their activities there.

“Only limited people are allowed to enter the area and we have to obtain permission from the National Park authority to camp on our own land,” he said when attending the 100th National Scouts Day celebration at SMK Haji Zainul Abidin at Hamilton Road in Penang on Sunday.

The Malaysia Scouts Day gathering was held in conjunction with the celebration with participation from about 500 students from 13 schools in Kedah, Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan.

scout2 Scouts in a camping activity during the gathering.

Zulkafli said that since most scout activities in Penang were carried out on school grounds now, he hoped the state government would provide a proper campsite for them soon.

Association publicity officer Neoh Dian Bin said parents should encourage their children to take part in more healthy outdoor activities rather than keeping them indoors.

“Parents are more concerned about their children’s studies and safety nowadays that they have neglected the importance of outdoor activities.

“Outdoor activities such as scouting and other uniformed activities can promote a healthy lifestyle and help build better interaction among their peers,” he said.

scout3 MARTS treasurer Khoo Beng Huat demonstrating the use of amateur radio.

SK Bukit Gelugor students Muhamed Nur Aiman, 12, and Syabil Ahmad Munahir, Muhamed Zulfahmi Mohamed Daud and Muhamed Ariff Akmal Rosmin, all aged 10, said they liked scouting as they could play with friends and enjoy activities they do not get to do at home.

Activities carried out at the two-day event over the weekend were backwoodsman cooking, football matches, photography competition, radio scouting by the Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitters’ Society (MARTS) and an exhibition.

School uniforms a must Rapid Penang: No discount for students in school T-shirts


Rapid Penang chief executive officer Azhar Ahmad said that those wearing school club or sports T-shirts would not be given the discount, even though they had student cards to show their student status.

“We want the students to be in full formal uniforms. School T-shirts are not considered formal uniforms.

“If we give those wearing school T-shirts discounts, some may try to take advantage of the students’ reduced bus fare,” he said.

However, Azhar said that students wearing Scout, Girl Guide, Cadet and other uniformed unit attire would still be eligible for the reduced student rate.

Azhar was responding to a complaint letter published in StarMetro last Saturday about a student being told to pay the full RM2 bus fare as he was not wearing his full school uniform, even after he had shown the driver his student card.

He also advised the public to take down Rapid Penang drivers’ particulars and bus numbers if they had complaints.

“The public can e-mail us at,” he said in an interview.

On last month’s incident in which a Rapid Penang bus emergency exit door suddenly flung open,causing the death of a passenger, Azhar said that investigations were still underway.

“We wrote to Puspakom and the police three weeks ago to enquire about developments. Puspakom has checked the bus and found no problems with it

“According to the George Town police headquarters, they are still looking into the incident and we will know the results by end of this month,” he said.

Azhar added that the investigation report would be sent to the Deputy Public Prosecutor.