You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

4th Brunei National Jamboree

This jamboree has been a memorable and enriching experience for me. While it had its ups and downs, I feel that, on the whole, the pros outweigh the cons.

Out of the things that went well, I feel that three of them stand out in particular. Firstly, it was admirable that the Bruneians put a lot of effort into our sleeping arrangements. We were given an airy tent with a solid wooden ground. This made sleeping more pleasant for us. As an added bonus, we were also provided with proper lighting and a constant flow of electricity for charging our handphones and cameras.

I also feel that the newsletters provided for us gave us much insight into what was happening at the other parts of camp. Previous jamborees I have been to have not done this and thus this felt rather novel and interesting for me. It was especially humorous when people whom we knew had an unglamourous shot of their face printed in the newsletter.

Also, the organisers all had an amiable demeanour. They answered all our queries warmly and never failed to lend a helping hand when needed. This extended to them going out of their way to help us. For example, they always offered us directions when we needed help which made navigation a lot easier.

However, there were also some areas which I feel could be improved. Firstly, the food arrangements were such that there was one meat dish per meal. However, due to my religious beliefs, I was unable to eat the beef on some days, leaving me with only vegetables and rice which at times made me still feel rather hungry. Perhaps we could have a different set of food catered for those with dietary requirements.

Next, time management was an issue as well. We often had to wait for long periods of time due to admin issues. Many activities were, as a result, removed or changed. Perhaps this could be improved by either having some buffer-time activities or having dry runs to gauge the timing more reliably.

Thirdly, there was also a shortage of water at many times. This led to long queues at the toilets, especially during bathing times. This could perhaps be attributed to planning issues as well, as the girls’ restrooms had a constant water supply while the boys’ one did not. We could improve this by redirecting the water flow, or as an impromptu measure, allow the boys to use the female restrooms at designated timeslots.

As with any other jamboree, I have many takeaways which molded me to become a better person. Firstly, as one of the two designated Patrol Leaders, I was given the opportunity to hone my leadership skills. This was a heavy but valuable responsibility. Leading 13 other scouts was certainly no mean feat. However, it was calming to have the guidance of our scout leaders in light of this. By learning from them, I feel I have ultimately become a better leader by adopting a firm but friendly attitude.

I have also learnt how better to lead unfamiliar people. I was initially unsure as to whether the scouting in other schools would be similar to that of my own. However, through this camp, I have realised that while the scouting may differ slightly in terms of group emblems and cheers, the people on the whole are still the same amicable bunch which I have grown close to. It was heartening to see them take to the leadership of a senior from another school so well.

Additionally, I have also learnt that what we take for granted in Singapore is what some from other countries hope to have. For example, through my interactions with several Bruneians, I have realised that many truly admire aspects of Singapore like the architecture, environment and culinary delights among many other things. I have also observed this for myself through our city tours. I found out that Brunei only has one shopping mall, which would be appalling to many Singaporeans. Land is also often undeveloped unlike our bustling city where space is extremely scarce.

There were namely three things which appealed the most to me. Firstly, the camaraderie among scouts from all walks of life was my favourite. We seldom get the chance to interact with such a wide pool of nationalities. Understanding their culture and making new friends was the biggest plus point in my opinion.

Also, in terms of activities, my favourite one had to be the flying fox. It was exhilarating to speed down the zip line suspended only by a thin cord and your grip strength. However, it was still comforting to know that safety was well-taken into account while crafting many of the activities.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the wide spread of local snacks during tea times. Many of the snacks were not found in Singapore and this gave it an especially exotic appeal. This not only provided us with tidbits to delight our taste buds, but also “bonding food” where we could chit-chat among ourselves.

All in all, while the time I have spent here at this jamboree may be limited, the experiences and the friends which I have obtained with stay with me for a lifetime.