The Hongkong Telegraph.
Friday, February 26, 1926.
NEED OF NEW CHINESE NAME.
We have received the following letter for publication:
Sir,- I noticed in your issue of Tuesday a note that "Boy Scouts" from Szechuan are leaving for the Whampoa Military Academy, and have behaved badly to foreigners, while it is suggested that the title for Scouts, which means "Little Soldiers," is unsuitable, as conveying a very wrong impression of the ideals of the Boy Scout movement.
This is a matter that has caused some concern to the leaders in Hongkong, especially as the khaki uniform, which is adopted as being most serviceable and practical, may tend to confirm the impression that the training is of a military nature, and attempts have been made to find a better term.
It should be remembered, however, that even the term "Scout" has no reference to the ideals represented, as it is derived from the French "Ecouter," meaning "to listen," and it has really acquired a new meaning from its use in connection with the moral training of boys.
One Chinese Scoutmaster here thinks that the Chinese term "Little Soldiers" is similarly acquiring, or indeed has acquired, a new and definite meaning as representing the Boy Scout Movement, and that no change is necessary, while it would require many words to convey a true impression of Scouting.
Others think a new word might be coined having no meaning other than that it would represent the objects of the Scout Movement.
Perhaps some one who combines a reputation as a Sinologue with a knowledge of all that Scouting means may solve the problem.
When a boy is seen in Scout uniform it means that he has made a solemn promise of loyalty, service for the good of others, and obedience to the moral code known as the Scout Law.
This is supplementary to ordinary school training and the whole object is to impart useful knowledge and develop moral character by methods that appeal to the boys.
They cannot move about in mobs, however, and it is necessary to understand simple movements in unison,- which are indeed taught in schools, but beyond this there is no attempt at drill or any other military activities.
Some may think that signalling is a military activity, but this is a useful accomplishment that should, it is thought, be taught in every school, as ordinary routine, as the power of communicating over a distance should be understood and used by everyone.
Boy Scouts in Chinese territory are not under the control of the British Association and it is regrettable that they do not, in many cases, work on orthodox lines, but allow the prestige of the movement to be used in political and military connections, which is absolutely forbidden under the British Scout Rules.
It is only fair, however, to state that some Troops in Chinese territory are being managed very well indeed, and one visited Hongkong about four years ago that was run by Chinese Scoutmaster who had grasped the real aims and objects of the movements. In this Troop the boys were remarkable for smartness and efficiency, many having acquired useful accomplishments such as shoe making, carving of wooden blocks for seals etc., and created a very favourable impression.- Yours, etc.
Hongkong, Feb. 26th, 1926.