Speech by Mr Ng Chee Meng at the Singapore International Jamboree Closing Ceremony

Published Date: 22 November 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin, Vice President of Scout Council

Mr Tan Cheng Kiong, Chief Commissioner

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

A very good morning to all of you and a special warm welcome to Singapore to our Scout friends from over 15 countries! I am very sure that all of you had an exciting Jamboree. A large part of your fun must have come from getting to know new friends, learning new languages and cultures and of course being outdoors instead of the classroom.

Many of us live in urban settings. You might have wondered if the Scout’s outdoor programme still helps you to “Be Prepared”. I strongly believe it does. While I was not a Scout in my school days, I did my share of outdoor activities and camps through school programmes.

Being prepared for the future

Being prepared for the future is now more challenging. Globalisation, changing demographics and technological advancements continue to drive rapid change and shape the future. You need to be prepared and equipped with the necessary skills so as to seize the opportunities brought along with these changes. I would like to share three qualities which I feel you should develop to be better prepared.

The first quality is having an open and inquiring mind. Don’t be afraid to ask the “why” about things you observe happening around you. Be curious. I heard about the “Discover Singapore Trail” you took part in during the Jamboree. For our friends from other countries, asking ‘why’ would have come naturally during the trail because you were out of your comfort zone, not in a system you are used to. For the Singapore Scouts, being on this trail must have caused you to see Singapore through new lenses. You probably discovered something new about familiar places. Being curious and open is the first step to heightening your awareness about social issues, taking an interest in various peoples in our community, and finding out how systems work. In this way, we can see cause and effect, make new connections, question assumptions and capitalise quickly on opportunities to make a positive difference.

The second quality is having an innovative mind-set. The exciting possibilities from thinking out-of-the-box could lead you to more beneficial and meaningful solutions. I urge you to approach issues and problems we face with a “why not” mind-set. For example, all of you had to put up Gang Shows for the residents in different parts of Singapore last night. With the limited time and resources, you had to work closely with other Scouts and think of creative ways to showcase the spirit of Scouting to the community. To hype the crowd up for your performance, some of you improvised and made props using the items you brought to the camp. It was definitely not an easy feat putting different ideas together within such a short time. The Gang Show, together with other authentic learning experiences in Scouting, shows that with an innovative mind, you are always prepared to be an active and invaluable contributor in a team setting.

The third quality is being civic-minded. You need to be a responsible citizen and play an active role in bettering the lives of others in the community. This is when action is taken, after asking the “whys” and “why not’s”, to address the social issues you are concerned about. Scouting helps you to develop civic-mindedness by building volunteerism and community service into its core programmes.

At the Jamboree this year, all of you participated in a community engagement project yesterday. 800 of you went to 40 hawker centres island-wide to promote the “Keep Singapore Clean” campaign. You encouraged the public to return their food trays after their meals so as to keep the tables clean for the next user. This simple act of consideration and care will go a long way in promoting a more gracious society. I hope you will continue your efforts in uplifting our communities.

The Singapore Scout Association (SSA) is continuing with your efforts in creating positive impacts on the community. I am pleased to announce that SSA is launching the “One Million Good Acts” programme today. This initiative is part of SSA’s efforts to promote volunteerism. In line with the spirit of Scouting in Community and Values in Action (VIA), SSA will be engaging you to do at least one million good acts collectively for the community by the end of 2016. This is a manifold increase from the One Thousand Good Acts launched last year. I am impressed with the ambition and courage of SSA to use their influence for the good of the community. Nothing is too hard for you when you collectively put your hearts and minds on it. I would like to commend all scouts for their efforts in volunteerism and encourage you to lead others to share your conviction to contribute to this effort.


In closing, I would like to thank SSA for organising this Jamboree, especially the many volunteers who helped out at the event. I understand that there were 400 volunteers and many took their personal leave to be here to support the event. The resounding success of this Jamboree can be attributed to your hard work and dedication.

To our international friends, whom we have had the pleasure of hosting, I’m sure you have made many new friends and I urge you to continue with the friendships which have developed so that we continue to learn from each other. Have a safe journey back home and we look forward to you returning to Singapore to visit us in the future.

Thank you.

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