Scouting

Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, through the Scout Method, that they may play constructive roles in society.

Scout method, a program of informal learning with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports.

OUR MISSION

The Pelican Scouts mission is to provide a safe, fun and exciting programme, based on the Jungle Book, for young children to become responsible and considerate individuals through the Scout Promise and Law.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mawai Eco Camp 12-15 Nov 2009

Day 1
Thursday 12 Nov 2009

By 0800 hrs, Cubs were already lined up in their respective groups. Akela had assigned them their groups during the final briefing for this eco adventure last week.
House-keeping matters took some tiime as the Cubs were all excited about the eco adventure at Mawai Eco Camp. The air was filled with excited chatter, while some parents were busy giving advice to their child before the trip. It seems the parents were more anxious than the children.
The Camp Warden and his instructors were on hand to ensure a smooth start to our adventure, while the Principal, Mr Ng Teng Joo, was also present to send the party off.


Group photo before the trip


Words of advice and encouragement from Mr Ng Teng Joo, Principal HPPS

3 buses stood ready as the Cubs started loading up their luggage and boarded the buses, 3 groups in each bus. At 0900 hrs, the buses promptly rolled out of HPPS, destination Mawai Eco Camp, some 1 1/2 hours away, north of Kota Tinggi.

Almost there!

What promised to be a short ride turned out much longer than anticipated. One bus broke down just at the Senai Toll. As it was approaching lunch, it was decided to pack everyone from the disabled bus onto one bus. The first bus had already gone ahead.. It was terribly cramped, packing in more than 55 passengers.

It was a short walk to the jetty where we would have to cross the muddy Sedeli Besar River to get to the campsite.


A short walk to the jetty



Which way to the jetty???



Wow! A river of mud! The brown waters of the Sedeli Besar River



Waiting for the next boat

A motorised boat came acrosss from the camp jetty to ferry everyone across. With life-vests on, Cubs clambered onto the boat, backpacks weighing down on their movements. Life-vest was compulsory for safety reasons, of course. It would require 3 trips to ferry everyone across.


The boat takes 45 pax maximum


Land Ahoy!


View of the jetty from the boat

The ground was soggy and muddy, and it would get alot worse during our 4 days stay in Mawai Eco Camp. It had been raining and the track was slippery as well.

We gathered at the Multi-purpose Hall, a rickety wooden structure made entirely of recycled wood and jungle spars, with a corrugated zinc canopy, built over fresh-water swamp.


A sign of things to come?


Someone forgot to tile the path. My shoes are ruined!!!


Multi-purpose Hall, where we gather and where adult leaders sleep as well

After everyone had arrived, we proceeded to the dining hall, another wooden structure of recycled wood and spars. Lunch was rice with lamb curry, vegetables and cordial drink. Lamb in various guises was to be a regular feature during our stay!


View of the Water Obstacle Course



Lunch in the Dining Hall


Cubs were assigned their sleeping quarters which was nothing more than a wooden long-house structure made from jungle spars and built on stilts, with a corrugated zinc canopy. There were no walls to keep out the elements, ensuring great ventilation and the coolest of nights!


Cubs had to assemble their own sleeping bunks, which required the help of the bigger boys and adult leaders. This entailed slipping two long wooden spars into the two sides of the canvas and two shorter spars at the head and foot of the canvas. The frame then had to sit securely on raised structures, and tied down to secure.



First, you unfold the canvas sheet...


Secure it tightly or you will fall off the bunk


Now that my bed is ready, it's time for an afternoon nap

It was time for the water obstacle and jungle swamp walk.. One group attempted the water obstacle and had loads of fun falling into the water. They also built a raft using two drums and four plastic tubes. The raft looked promising until it was launched into the water. The buoyancy of the drums very quickly undid all the tying and it was a total mess!
The jungle swamp walk brought the cubs to see animal traps made by the Orang Asli. They also trudged along knee-deep mud while learning about the fauna and flora in the jungle. There were also the occasional leeches to add to the excitement. It was easy enough to dislodge the leech, by simply tickling it or sprayinng it with insect repellent containing citronella.

Animal traps made by the Orang Asli


New dance by the Wonder Girls





Taking the plunge


Soaking in a hot spring ONSEN???





The Raft Brigade


Launching the raft


Clinging on for dear life


Official crash site


Hah! We made it!!!


One for all and all for fun


Silver Surfer in action

By the time Cubs returned from the swamp walk, the light was already fading. Toilets were not well lit, with only a hurricane lamp to illuminate. It was a challenge to bathe and change in such lighting conditions, and the water was icily cold!

When Cubs were ready for dinner, it was past 8 pm. After dinner, we went on a river boat ride to see fireflies along the Sedeli Besar River. They would be near the water so that the females would appear brighter. The males were larger and brighter. We also saw bunkers made by the British during WWII. During the Japanese invasion of Malaya, a regiment of Australian soldiers manned the area, and a fierce battle took place, wiping out the Australian soldiers. Is is said that one of the bunkers is haunted, and soldiers on sentry duty can be seen patrolling one of the bunkers.

Waiting for the boat to see fireflies

Supper was biscuits and milo. After a quick briefing for the next day’s ascent up Gunung Arong, everyone retired for the night, accompanied by the cacophony of tree frogs and cicadas. The jungle was not quiet as one would expect.

Day 2
Friday 13 Nov 2009

The sound of the jungle was broken by the excited chatter of voices, not bandalocks. It was 0430 hrs. Horrors! Breakfast would not be ready till 0700 hrs. Some Cubs were obviously too excited to sleep, and decided it was time to get ready for the day’s challenge. The sky started to open up and it rained.

After wolfing down their breakfast of mee goreng, Cubs headed for the jetty for the boat crossing to board the waiting buses, but not before stopping by the merchandise hut to get the life vests. It was still raining, and everyone had their poncho on. With their backpacks and poncho, it was not easy to board the boat from the slippery jetty, but everyone made it without any mishaps.

A breakfast scene at the Dining Hall



It was a 2 hr ride to Mersing and on to Kg. Resang where we would begin our ascent up Gunung Arong. Thank goodness the rain had stopped. Life vests were distributed to the Adult Leaders in preparation for the river crossing at the end of the descent from Gunung Arong. It was quite comical to climb a mountain wearing life vests! Led by Raymond, one of the camp instructors, we started the hike in high spirits. That was soon to change!

Water buffaloes at Kg. Resang


Final briefing before the assault on Gunung Arong


Cubs trooping towards Gunung Arong


Bringing up the rear, Group3 and Baloo

Although Gunung Arong was only 300 m above sea level, the slope was rather steep, with several difficult inclines. This slowed the rest down considerably. The younger Cubs were very brave and trekked along without complaints. Well done!!!

Arriving at the summit after 2 hrs, it was a small clearing, allowing a limited view of the coastline and the distant island of Pulau Tioman. A quick lunch of fried rice and hard boiled eggs, and it was time for a group photo. As the summit was rather small, it was impossible to have everyone in a group photo. We took photos of 3 groups together.
View from the summit of Gunung Arong

The descent was more difficult, and at times extremely challenging. Cubs braved the obstacles and made their descent. One Cub from ACS had to miss home on the slopes!

It took almost 3 ½ hours for the descent, and the first group finally reached the beach. While waiting for the last group to arrive, Cubs had a short rest, and had their snacks.

Once the last group arrived, it was time to leave for the short river crossing and on to our waiting buses. It was getting late; we were 2 hours behind already.

The river crossing was an anti-climax, with only knee-deep water and a short walk across to the other side.
















Hooray! We survived Gunung Arong




We stopped by a house for tea; keropok kesang and goreng pisang. Keropok Kesang was their specialty, much like deep fried crispy fish cake. The Cubs enjoyed this little snack, and washed it down with iced cordial drinks.

On our way back to camp, it started to rain heavily. The Camp Warden, Sutari mentioned the evening’s programme, fried chicken cooked outdoors. It would be dark by the time we got back to camp, around 8 pm, and it was raining! Outdoor cooking in the rain??????? Hmmm… something is amiss here! Akela spoke to Sutari about axing the outdoor cooking and have the cook, Anna, fry the chicken for us instead. Alas! the cook had gone home!

Dinner was obviously insufficient as fried chicken was conspicuously missing from the menu. But everyone didn’t complain except the Adult Leaders who were not pleased that the children had to make do with the food available.

It was still raining when everyone retired for the night, accompanied by the symphony of jungle creatures, accentuated by the pitter patter of raindrops on the zinc roof.


Day 3
Saturday 14 Nov 2009

Breakfast was beehoon soto, and it was off to Kota Tinggi for a joint meeting with the SMK Laksamana Kota Tinggi Scouts.

The Dining Hall


Resident macaque

We want food! We want food!











There was a light rain as the buses made their way to Kota Tinggi waterfall, some 45 mins away. Fotunately, the rain stopped by the time we reached Kota Tinggi, where the Malaysian Scouts were waiting.



Baloo conducted a sing-along to break the ice. We also learned some songs from the Malaysian Scouts. The sun was now blazing down and it was an opportune time to cook chicken in a tin. It was quite a novel way to cook. A stick was driven into the ground and a marinated chicken was placed on the stick. A large tin was then used to cover the chicken, and the base properly sealed with soil. Using old tyres around the tin, a fire was started. The heat from the burning rubber would cook the chicken in 15 to 20 minutes.
















As it turned out, the chicken skin was burnt to a crisp due to the intense heat, but the chicken was quite tasty. Just as luck would have it, it started to rain again.

Lunch was a buffet at the waterfall restaurant. Cubs were asked to mingle with the Malaysian Scouts, and were assigned to obtain as many names as possible. Tse Hao followed the Malay custom of eating with his bare hands, and even taught the girls our Tik Tok song. Well done, Tse Hao. He makes a good ambassador.
After lunch, Cubs were allowed to swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall, under the watchful eyes of the Adult Leaders. The water was icy cold, but that did not deter the determined ones from plunging into the pool.









We returned to camp for the second installment of the water obstacle course and the jungle swamp walk, instead of shopping at Kota Tinggi. This would be done the next day.

Franklin had a leech on his behind!

After dinner, everyone gathered at the Multi-purpose hall for a campfire. It was still raining. Using lanterns and torch-lights as campfire, each group had to lead 3 songs, with Baloo overseeing the singing. It was an enjoyable night, with Cubs singing quite well. Akela was impressed. Even Baloo!


Edible plants in the jungle
Jungle swamp walk


Campfire around LED torchlights
Bathrobe and umbrella, all the comforts of home

Day 4
Sunday 15 Nov 2009


It was time to break camp. After breakfast, Cubs busied themselves dismantling the jungle camp beds, and tidying up their sleeping area. Akela was not satisfied with the cleanliness and sent the Cubs back to clean up the mess.
Akela conducted some games with the Cubs at the multi-purpose hall, while waiting for lunch to be ready.

Lunch was nasi lemak. After lunch, it was time to say goodbye. Prizes were given out to recognise positive character values observed during the camp. There was the 'Most Inspiring' award, "Most Prepared' award, 'Congeniality' award, 'Most Attentive' award and 'Best Six' award, to name a few.

Our older Scouts were a tremendous help in moving the luggage onto the boat and onto the waiting buses.
'Most Inspiring'
Best Six
Best Six and Most Congenial
Group photo before departing Mawai Eco Camp
We stopped at Tebrau Shopping Mall, the largest shopping mall in Johor, and the Cubs had a field day shopping

Collecting money before going wild at Tebrau Shopping Mall

We arrived at HPPS at 1710 hrs, almost 1 hour ahead of plan. Some parents were already waiting for their children while most came on time at 1800 hrs.