Ever since I left in 2008, my biggest regret or what I would say ,my mistake was not to focus on scouting knowledge and passing down it down to my juniors . When I was appointed as Troop Leader ,my primary goal was very clear which was to better than the previous batch of leaders in the past, in terms of performing better in Annual gatherings/campfires , having more members , and mostly trying to organise the 'best' Combined Training Camp up to date. Everyone wanted to emulate the success of the batch from 1998-2000 if I am not mistaken and it became a benchmark for all future scouts from that year onwards .Everyone was only looking forward to the end year camp because we know there will be 50 over girls attending our camp and having practically 4 months to plan and organise that camp was a complete waste of time.
If we had used that 4 months to teach knowledge to our juniors ,I believed we could have been the sole producers of King Scouts in Penang on a consistent basis .Let me get straight to title , scouting knowledge is GOLD ! Let me list out a few knowledge or skill that every scout should know :
Yes, fire is easy to produce with matches and lighters no doubt .When I left the troop , the knowledge on how to build fire was there and I hope it still exist up to date .Now here comes the tricky part .How do you build one without matches and lighters?
a)Flint and Steel .
b)Friction with wood and bamboo
This is obviously the hardest of them all.This could take forever as a proper technique is required .I would love to go back school one day and experiment this method out .Tell me if you are up for it .
2)Compass & Map reading
Well everyone has an iPhone and other smart phones to navigate us to our locations. So why bother using a compass right? Well navigating using a map and compass requires skills and precision .There is no way I will be able to teach it here .
3) Building gadgets.
No surprise what we are famous for ,Bamboos & Teikkos which made Ah Chun (Probably the sole provider of bamboos in Penang) a millionaire = ) What happened to chopping them down ? Well , I once tried to chop down some along Cheeseman Road and the bamboo weren't as straight or equally as good quality than those being bought .So I hope that explains why this isn't practice anymore .
Well the thought of spending $$$ to buy bamboos yearly doesn't bother me .What bothers me was us spending to beat the other patrols because we were being evaluated by the Exco's to decide the Overall Champion. Building a big gateway or fortress isn't survival ! I remember being asked by Mr.X during a horseshoe
Mr X: Your fencing and gateway isn't strong enough to protect your members from wild animals.
Being a good member, I never like to question my leader because the fear of taking more pumps during horseshoe.
Let's face the facts that if an elephant came charging towards our gadgets ,how could any fencing withstand such pressure?
Therefore, there are no reasons to build such mighty gadgets and sky scrapping towers .Impressing the crowd leads to waste of money and it contradicts with our whole idea of building gadgets for survival in the wild .
How about making a fishing rod made out of bamboo or making a spear and dive in to the sea ( I would never recommend this though) .Fishing was never taught in scouts sadly during my entire time in scouts . Fishing was easy for me cause my dad taught me but it was with professional fishing rods .Any ex-scouts would like to step forward and teach the current scouts?
There are actually so many more knowledge that our scouts don't practice any more such as morse code, climbing ropes , backwoodsman , and the list goes on and on .The fact we replace them with banner competitions , drilling ,miniature ship building ,mascot , spending weeks on dances and sketches , doing logbook , all makes us looks like girlguides when you come to think of it .That isn't scouting . If I could turn back time , would have never involve my members in such waste-of-time-activities .
As for the scout car, I believed it is a tradition but why involve our scouts for so many months to build one when they literally don't even have any of the basics of scouting .If I am not mistaken , there were some classes done last year and my question would be :Where is the scout car in the end? .
Current leaders and members ,I only hope you don't repeat the mistakes of past leaders including mine .Do what you think that is essential to scouting .Only then , I believe more students will join scouts in future .
My conclusion is we need to revive back the lost scouting knowledge and it is never too late .No point involving the troop members in activities which has no purpose in scouting.
Present scouts if you are willing to learn any of the above , I would gladly like to help .
Let me know your thoughts and that includes you too , ex-scouts =)