What Outdoor Education Done for Me

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Submitted By akahlid
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What Outdoor Education done for me….by Abdul Kahlid, 25 May 2010

As I ponder on the question that stares into me, I sit writing this piece of reflection with the knowledge that I benefitted from an institution which the late Dr Goh Keng Swee created – Outward Bound School of Singapore – in 1967, as a form of holy order that all young Singapore pre-National Servicemen had to undergo as a preparation before the actual military service. He was certainly ahead of his time and who would have thought the institution he created in 1967 is now one of the leading institutions that shape character and leadership for people of all walks of life and age.

My early experiences and exposure of the outdoors was through Boy Scouts. I was conscripted into the boy scouts unit when I was in secondary 2, though there was no scout unit in my secondary school. This was to be made possible as I joined an Open unit, which was open to students of secondary school who had no scout unit in its premises. My very simple reason for wanting to join the Boy Scouts unit were to have a chance to experience the outdoors, get close to nature, be skilled in craftsmanship (I learnt that I would learn to tie knots, pitch tents, use a stove, operate kerosene lamps, learn some survival skills and many more), as well as forge friendship and brotherhood with others. I was curious about expeditions, mountain climbing trips and wondered what it would be like to trek through one. My years in Scouts opened my eyes and ears and introduced to me a world I had only read in books and seen on television. I recall my experiences at Mt Ophir and Gunung Tahan with a lot of fond memory. I also recall our trips to Pulau Tekong when it was still open to civilians before it was gazetted by the government for military training. I recall bathing by the well waters and walking past hot springs at Pulau Tekong, and…...

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