By Chey Jedd and Sam Li Jie
Recently, our Secondary 1 scouts received their full uniforms for the first time. Such a great honour comes also as a responsibility, sewing the troop logo on their uniforms and becoming part of our 73 year legacy of excellence.
The Scouting uniform was inspired by Robert Baden-Powell’s experiences in Great Britain’s army during his service in the South African Constabulary, where he thought the uniforms that were worn in that division were “comfortable, serviceable, and a good protection against the weather.”
From there he created a set of standardised uniform for all scouts. Each part of the uniform holds value and importance to the scouts and has applications in various survival situations. Although through the years the scouts uniform has undergone changes and reforms, the significance it holds still remains.
The Singapore Scouts uniform:
In Singapore, the scouts uniform consists of the shirt, pants, belt, beret, scarf, woggle, shoes, and socks.
A scout's uniform is a representation of himself and should be worn with pride and dignity. It should be kept neat and tidy at all times. This is an important discipline which all scouts should practice. A dirty, unkempt, and creased uniform reflects poorly on a scout and the troop he comes from.
The uniform of a scout is not just for display. Many of its parts are designed to serve practical functions. For example, the scarf can be used as a triangular bandage while the belt buckle could act as a bottle opener.
The uniform shirt carries the identity of a scout. It contains different badges which show information about a scout, as well as his skills and achievements. Some badges include; proficiency badges, area badge, unit badge as well as progress badges.
The uniform pants are suitable for formal scouting events like flag-raising and even serves as good protection when hiking. The scout belt is used to hold the pants up and the scout emblem can also be seen displayed on the belt buckle.
The national scarf is what makes us identifiable to the public as scouts. It is worn by scouts throughout Singapore at formal events and celebrations like World Scout's Day. The woggle that should be worn with it fits it in place and also bears the scout emblem.
The scout beret is to be worn only during formal scouting events. The beret badge is fitted on it, with the scout emblem, showing our pride to be part of the scouting society.
Within Catholic High Scout Group, certain appointment holders, as well as Venture scouts, have additional nylon lanyards, with SPLs wearing the green lanyard, Ventures wearing blue and ASLs wearing a Yellow and White lanyard laced with blue.
Of the three, the ASLs who serve as both members of the Ventures Unit and assistant leaders in the Scouts Unit, have the most intricate lanyard combining all three troop colours. This is a reminder to them that they are the embodiment of these values and they must hold themselves to the highest moral standards as examples for both Scouts and Ventures to follow.
The Troop scarf consists of a triangular scarf, half white and half yellow with a blue line outline. Similar to the troop badge, the colours of the scarf, blue, white, and yellow, represent our core values 智仁勇 respectively.
The Troop scarf is bestowed to Catholic High scouts on their second year of scouting during the investiture.
It symbolises that they are officially recognised as part of Catholic High Scout Group as they have earned it through their display of loyalty and dedication to the troop.
In fact, during the troop's 70th Anniversary Dinner, similar scarfs were given out to guests as a gift, but these special scarfs did not carry our troop logo on it, precisely because our troop scarfs have to be earned.
The troop scarf is used during scouting events and competitions like National Patrol Challenge and Adiji Chief Scout to represent our troop and show the other troops that we are Catholic High Scout Group, striking respect and awe. The Troop Scarf is our sense of identity and pride, and a Catholic High scout will always be seen in full uniform wearing it.
Badges are the hallmark of any scouts uniform and have been long-implemented in scouting as a means to encourage self-driven learning and achievement. Catholic High Scouts take special pride in their badges and are highly selective about which badges to display, often only choosing those that are most symbolic and meaningful to us.
This is why Catholic High Scouts often choose not to sew on event badges, unless that event is especially significant to the troop. This is also why Catholic High Scouts are so insistent on sewing on the troop anniversary badge, continuing a 23-year tradition in our troop reminding ourselves that we are part of writing our troop's history of success and excellence, as we help complete the 40-year cycle starting since our 50th Anniversary.
The Troop Badge consists of an inverted triangle with a blue outline and a blue cross, the inverted triangle on the left is coloured yellow while the right is coloured white.
The yellow inverted triangle represents Heaven while the white inverted triangle represents the Earth. Together, they represent the significance of mankind. The cross represents God while the person wearing the badge represents humanity. Hence our logo symbolises the relationship of heaven and earth, God and humanity.
The colours blue, white, and yellow also symbolises wisdom, benevolence, and courage which are our Troop's core values. These values are what keep Catholic High Scout Group on the right path to be a strong and undefeatable scout troop and drive us to achieve excellence, not just in strength alone but also in bettering and helping our community and the people around us.
Troop Anniversary Badge
The 5-Year Anniversary Badge was first introduced by our GSL, Andrew Chua in 1998 when Catholic High Scout Group celebrated our 50th Anniversary. It holds a special place on our uniforms and is personally managed by our GSL, Mr Chua.
The current iteration of the Troop Anniversary Badge was meant to commemorate the troop's 70th Anniversary and long-standing history of excellence.
The 70th Anniversary Badge consists of an inverted yellow triangle with black outlines. The inside of the triangle is a totem pole with the number 70 in the middle and the troop symbol at the top. Under the left and right side of the totem's wings are the years when Catholic High Scout Group started and when we celebrated our 70th Anniversary respectively.
Each iteration of the Anniversary Badge would last for five years before a new iteration would be swapped to commemorate another five years of excellence and strength. The next badge after our current one would be the 75th Anniversary Badge in 2023.
Currently, 5 Anniversary badges including the 70th Anniversary Badge have been introduced since 1998 and would form an octagon once the 8th badge has been issued in 2033. The octagon is a shape commonly known for symbolising infinity. Hence, when the 8th Anniversary badge has been issued, it would symbolise both Catholic High Scout Group's longevity and long history of service and excellence in Singapore as well as the bright future ahead of us to reach even greater heights.
Proficiency & Progress Badges
The proficiency and progress badges are awarded to a scout as recognition of his skills and knowledge, earned by completing the requirements needed to obtain the badges. Proficiency badges are usually sewn on the right sleeve while progress badges are sewn on the left sleeve.
Proficiency badges (right) are meant to recognise a scout's effort in learning a particular skill that could benefit the troop. Such skills include astronomy, cooking, and computer skills.
The progress badges (left) are earned by showing the values and lessons a scout has learned through scouting, usually in the form of a report and reflection. The progress badges include; the Scout Badge (Tier 1), Discoverer Award (Tier 2), Explorer Award (Tier 3), and Voyager Award (Tier 4).
Each subsequent badge can only be obtained when the badge before it is obtained. After reaching the Voyager Award, a scout can also try their hands at obtaining the Chief Commissioner's Award.
South Area Badge
Catholic High Scout Group is located in the South Area and wears the South Area badge on our uniforms. The South Area badge is a green pentagon with a surgeon's knot in the middle. The South Area's "One Promise" is in the middle of the knot while "South" is underneath the knot in red with the Singapore Scout Association logo.
To Catholic High Scouts, the Scout Uniform is a sacred object earned through that scout's honour and commitment to our troop. When one wears Catholic High Scout Group's badges and scarf, they carry the legacy of our 73 years of excellence in scouting. Only Catholic High Scouts are deserving of such heavy responsibilities, hence it is upon us to protect and take pride in our uniforms, never neglecting it and never allowing it to fall into the wrong hands.