The Hongkong Telegraph.
Friday, April 24, 1914.
Hongkong Troop's Rally on St. George's Day
Sir Robert Baden Powell, having expressed the desire that Boy Scouts all over the world should observe Saint George's Day by a special celebration, a "rally" of the Saint Joseph's College Troop was held yesterday in the College Square.
Sir Robert Baden Powell had given instructions that the form the celebration should take was to be left to the discretion of the various local associations, advising that it should take the form of either a Church Parade, or a simple "rally." In either event a discourse on Saint George, the Boy Scout Patron Saint, was to be delivered.
In the case of Saint Joseph's Troop it was decided that a rally should be held instead of a church parade. Although the College is a Roman Catholic one, it educates many non-Catholic, and even non-Christian boys. None of these are debarred from becoming scouts of the College Troop. The authorities have always recognized that the Boy Scout movement is of a nonsectarian character. It is not a religious, but a patriotic and humanitarian, movement, though it has always given to religion - which it widely recognizes as the greatest educator in the world - the deference and respect that is its due.
In England Cardinal Bourne has, under certain safeguards, welcomed the formation of the Catholic "troops." He has issued certain regulations regarding them, and these regulations His Lordship Bishop Pozzoni has applied to the Catholic Boy Scouts of Hongkong. But all the boys of the College, whatever their creed or race, are welcomed to the troop, if they are morally and physically fit. It is of interest to observe that a non-Catholic, Bunje, was one of the two first boys to merit promotion to the post of assistant Scout Master.
At 6 p.m. the boys fell in on the square in front of the imposing College buildings - the Bodyguard, composed of the more junior past students on the right, the Scouts proper on the left. Very smart they looked in their neat khaki uniforms, so well adapted to the climate of Hongkong, with the Union Jack in the centre. The Brother Director, accompanied by the Chief Scout, Major Bowen, and Scout Master Roylance inspected the troops, after which a simple march past was performed and the flag saluted.
Discourse on Saint George.
After the parade the boys formed a square, when Major Bowen carried out the instructions of Sir Robert Baden-Powell by giving a brief discurso on Saint George.
It was with great pleasure, he said, that he was there to talk to them that day. Little was known of the celebrated Saint whose least they were keeping, but his story or legend was too beautiful, too inspiriting, ever to lose its charm. Like many another ancient Saint whose story has come down to us in song or art, the details of his life had been lost in the mist of ages. None the less there could be no doubt that the personality of the young Christan soldier of the East must have been of a particularly fascinating character, so have left so deep an impression on the imagination of Christendom. There was but little doubt that Saint George was a Roman soldier who suffered martyrdom in the violent persecution of Diocletian. This alone entitled him to the veneration of all earnest men, who perceive in him a hero true to his faith even to death.
The Familiar Story.
The familiar story that captivated the imagination of the Middle Ages of Saint George and the dragon may be briefly told. Near an Eastern city a fearful dragon is said to have taken up its abode and demanded toll from the terrified inhabitants in the shape of human flesh. To satisfy the beast the daughter of the reigning king was delivered up to it but as the doomed princess went forth to offer herself as a victim to the monster's greed, the youthful warrior George appeared upon the scene. Ascertaining the cause of the people's lamentations, and regardless of his own personal safety, he went forth boldly on his white charger to meet the dragon, which after a terrible fight he succeeded in slaying. The story of the knight and the dragon has come down to us in many forms, for it was always a popular theme. Besides Saint George we have the story of the Knight of Malta - related by Schiller - and again that of Una and the Red Cross Knight sung by one of the greatest of the English Poets, Spenser, in his "Fairie Queen."
The reason is not far to seek for the lesson it enshrines is obvious. Saint George on his snow white charger is the emblem of purity. Going forth to slay the dragon, is plainly the type of the young Christian here who has to go forth to slay the dragon of unrighteousness. His purity of heart strengthened his arm and made him victorious. As Tennyson song of another mediaeval here:
"My strength is as the strength of ten
Because my heart is pure."
The selfish disloyal inhabitants of the city were held in thrall by the dragon, from which bravery, loyalty and manly generosity alone could rescue them. Saint George went forth without fear to rescue the beautiful princess because he was the type of the perfect knight of chivalry, sworn to defend the needy, the weak and the fair. Purity, generosity, chivalry, loyalty, these are virtues the Scouts' law specially.
Major Bowen then proceeded to state that he had despatched greetings by telegram to Sir Robert Baden Powell Bro. Adrian, and the Scouts of Shanghai and Canton on behalf of Saint Josephs College Troop. It gave him great pleasure to read the telegrams, which were as follows:-
Baden-Powell, Scouts London:- Josephs assembled 23rd. Salute Chief and Scouts -Bowen.
Director, Saint Paul's Institution, Seremban:- Greetings from Scouts assembled St. George's Day -Bowen.
Chiefscout, Shanghai:- Scouts Hongkong assembled St. George's Day. Salute Brother Scouts -Bowen.
The Scouts then reformed into line, when the "rally" terminated with three hearty cheers for His Majesty the King.