The China Mail.
Hongkong, Wednesday, December 15, 1926.
Governor on Local Association.
Distinguished Patrons Present At Meeting.
A meeting of the Boy Scouts' Association of Hong Kong, called "in order that the Association might be put on a firmer and permanent footing" was held at St. John's Cathedral Hall yesterday afternoon, H.E. the Governor, who is Chief Scout in Hong Kong, presiding. Others present were H.E. the Officer Commanding, Major General C.C.Luard, C.B., C.M.G., H.E. Vice Admiral Sir Edwyn Alexander Sinclair, Sir Henry Pollock, K.C., Sir H.C.Gollan, Mrs. W.T.Southorn, the Hon. Dr. R.H.Kotewall (President of the Association), the Rev. G.T.Waldegrave (Commissioner), Colonel T.A.Robertson (Assistant Commissioner), Mr. C.H.Blason (Honorary Treasurer), Mr. A.White (Honorary Secretary), also a distinguished gathering in the general body of the audience, including Sir Shou-son Chow, Mr. W.W.Hornell, C.E., the Hon. Mr. H.T.Creasy, the Hon. Mr. H.W.Bird, Col. L.G. Bird, Mr. T.G.Weah, Capt. H.B.L.Dowbiggin, Rev. J.Kirk Maconachie, Professor L.Ferster, Mr. J.A.Fraser, Mr. E.Ralphs, Mr. Wong Kwong-tin and Dr. S.W.Tso.
On arrival, Sir Cecil Clementi, who was accompanied by Capt. C.D.Steele, M.C., inspected a Boy Scout guard of honour.
The meeting opened with the reading by the Honorary Secretary of the following report on the Scout year, October 1, 1925 - Sept. 30, 1926:-
It is satisfactory to be able to record that in spite of the troubles through which this part of the Far East is now passing, and occasional setbacks - the lot of my organisation - Scouting in Hong Kong has continued to make an advance. The number of Scouts of all ranks, as shown by the census taken at the end of September, has increased, and two new Troops have been formed.
Our late Chief Scout Sir R.E.Stubbs, K.C.M.G., relinquished the post on leaving the Colony. We gratefully acknowledge much valuable help which he rendered the Association. At the invitation and request of Imperial Headquarters, His Excellency Sir Cecil Clementi, K.C.M.G., on his appointment as Governor of Hong Kong, accepted the office of Chief Scout, bringing with him first hand knowledge of the needs and aims of the Movement gained by close contact with it as President of the Ceylon Branch of the Association. His presence in the chair today is ample evidence, were any needed, of his continued interest and support.
We record with deep regret and sincere sympathy with his relatives the loss sustained by the Association by the death of our first President, the Hon. Mr. P.H.Holyoak. Notwithstanding the ill health from which he suffered and the worries which beset him, he always managed to find time to attend our various functions, and in fact only a few days before leaving the Colony he came to one of our Camp Fires, and at that most intimate of Scout assembles gave us a message of encouragement and advice. We therefore consider ourselves very fortunate when His Excellency persuaded the Hon. Dr. R.H.Kotewall to succeed Mr. Holyoak as President. We take this opportunity formally to welcome him as such, while bearing witness of the wholehearted way in which, since his acceptance of the post, he has thrown himself into the necessary work entailed by this important and responsible position.
Many projects which we have long had in view have perforce been delayed for various reasons, in the main owing to the general unrest in China and its effect on the Colony, particularly financial. The most important of these, the formation of a Council, is being taken in hand today, and the next in importance, the organisation of a Training Camp for Officers, only awaits a favourable opportunity for completion, while the necessary steps for the Incorporation of the Association locally and the passing of a Protection Ordinance, both of which actions have been under discussion for over a year, are being taken under the guidance of those most qualified to advise us.
The Association Headquarters is now a going concern, with a special department for the sale of equipment. The value of this Department has been already proved by the way in which it is patronised both by troops and individual scouts. We are extremely grateful to His Excellency and the Colonial Government for putting so suitable a place at our disposal.
The Association Magazine, the "Silver Wolf" is being published as a quarterly paper under the able editorship of Mr. C.H.Blason, our Honorary Treasurer. We report with genuine satisfaction that the Girl Guides' Association has recently arranged to share this paper with the Scouts, and in future Girl Guide news and articles will have a place in its pages. This is but one way in which the two Associations are cooperating to our mutual benefit, and we wish all success to the present effort being made by the Girls Guides to extend in the Colony.
Financially we need more what may be termed regular revenue. We have practically no other source of income than subscriptions, and money earned by concerts and other similar displays. While each Troop is largely responsible for raising its own funds, the Association has frequently to make grants to new or necessitous Troops, to enable them to keep going on to help them to start. Association expenses are also heavy and likely to increase, especially when the Officers Training Courses commence as a regular part of the year's work. The Colonial Government has made us in the past a valuable grant for both these purposes, but even so this does not cover all outgoing, and we desire keenly to relieve our officers of much private expenditure which at present comes upon them.
Scout Activities during the past you have been along the usual lines, Competition Rallies, Swimming Sports, and the Display in the early summer. Most troops have spent periods of varying lengths under canvas. On the whole camps when visited have shown marked improvement in Scoutcraft, but nevertheless the need of a properly organised Training Camp for Officers is keenly felt, and this is one of our plans which has perforce been delayed.
The Prince of Wales' Banner awarded for general efficiency, has been won by the youngest troop but one, the 20th., thus proving that the conditions of the deciding competition are such as to give even a young troop a fair chance of putting up a good show in comparison with older scouts. The Swimming Sports recently held do not come within the period under review, but we should like to take this opportunity of expressing our sincere thanks to the Hon. Mr. H.W.Bird and to our President for the gift of two Challenge Cups for the winners and runners up respectively, for annual competition.
A Display was given by the Troops in the early Summer. The fact that heavy rain just before the proceedings were due to begin made it necessary to alter our plans almost at the last moment, did not prevent the boys from showing our friends the wide scope of Scout Training. On that occasion His Excellency the Chief Scout presented a Silver Cross for Gallantry to one of the Scoutmasters and Letters of Commendation to some Scouts for public service rendered. Two others also received special mention for the same reason.
Help From Outside.
We conclude this Report by expressing our grateful thanks to all those friends and supporters who have so willingly and generously given assistance to the Movement. Our aim is to decentralise the work as far as possible, in order to leave the Scoutmasters free to devote all their energies to the important task of training the boys, with the principal object of Character Development. This cannot be done without considerable help from outside, and it is for this help we are calling. But most of all we need Scoutmasters able and willing to give up the time required for running Troops - men who have grasped the spirit of Scouting, not only in its individual and local aspect, with the tremendous possibilities which this Colony presents, but also, and this is very important, in its aspect as a great Worldwide Brotherhood, an International Fellowship which can do much to render war an evil of the past.
The approximate number of Scouts of all ranks in the Association is 420; number of Troops, 20; number of Wolf Cub Packs, 2; number of Rover Scout Patrols, 2 and number of Instructors and Examiners, not including Scouters, 42.
The report having been adopted, H.E. the Governor addressed the meeting as Chief Scout.
The meeting had been called, he said, in order that the Association might be put on a firmer and, as they hoped, permanent footing. The Scout movement, as they all knew began as a great game for boys and aimed at teaching them the great Game of life. It was also a brotherhood and should end as a brotherhood for men of all creeds and races.
If the movement was to succeed here in Hong Kong it must have the goodwill and support of the Chinese who formed by far the largest part of the Association. It was therefore with very great pleasure that he welcomed to that meeting as President his old friend Dr. Kotewall who enjoyed in the very highest degree the respect of the Chinese community whose interests he so worthily represented on the Legislative Council and who was also held in very high regard by all residents in the Colony.
His Excellency then read the letter from the Chief Scout, Sir Robert Baden Powell, appointing Dr. Kotewall as President.
A Scout Council.
The intention of the meeting, said His Excellency, was also to constitute a Scout Council for Hong Kong and he was very glad to inform the meeting that H.E. the Naval Commander in Chief and H.E. the Officer Commanding the troops had accepted seats, also the Chief Justice who had written most encouragingly in accepting.
One of the first steps was the preparing of an Ordinance for the incorporation of a Scout Association in Hong Kong. The Scout Association of the United Kingdom was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1912 and, hitherto, the Hong Kong Association had been affiliated to the parent Association. It was desirable now that it should be incorporated and stand on its own feet with power to possess property, sue and be sued, and generally to take a permanent place among the institutions of the Colony.
The Commissioner then addressed the meeting and spoke of the need for "reforming" the Council. Its status ranked equally with that of County Associations in England. The speaker also referred to many ways in which the added scope made possible by such a change would result in greater cooperation and the elimination of overlapping.
The protection which it was proposed to afford the uniform and badges of the Association was also referred to by the Commissioner who gave instances which had occurred locally where there had been abuses.
The President of the Association received an ovation on rising to speak. He thanked the meeting for its cordial welcome and His Excellency for the generous reference to his appointment. Mr. Kotewall referred to the great interest his predecessor, the late Hon. Mr. P.H.Holyoak, had taken in the movement locally and also to the hard work of the Commissioner.
Mr. Kotewall, referred to the growth of the movement here in Hong Kong and throughout the world and the work it was doing in training lads to become good citizens, men of character, self reliance, resourceful and with a true appreciation of the value of discipline, men who could be and were of service to their neighbours. Scouting constituted a bulwark against Bolshevism and Communism, two of the forces which threatened to submerge law and order. (Applause).
Sir Henry Pollock also spoke with reference to the significance of the Protection Ordinance for the Association's uniform and badges.
The meeting closed with a vote of thanks (proposed by Mr. C.H.Blason) to the Chairman and to His Excellency the Governor for the interest they had taken in the movement locally.