The China Mail.
Hongkong, Thursday, December 16, 1926.
THE BOY SCOUTS.
(To the Editor of the "China Mail.")
Sir,- Your tribute to the Boy Scout Movement and support of the appeal made by His Excellency the Governor and other speakers at yesterday's meeting, will, I venture to think, be generally welcomed.
I write, not as one actually associated with the Movement in any way, but as one who has taken, during the past few years, something more than a passing interest in what, I believe, is one of the greatest forces at work in the world today.
To many, perhaps to most, before the Great War, scouting may have appeared something like playing at soldiers, whereas there was really nothing military in the organisation from top to bottom. Such elementary drill as the boys practised was merely similar in character and purpose to that which children were taught at school to enable them to move in numbers when necessary without confusion or delay, and the idea of compulsory discipline, without which even the German army itself would have been a helpless mob, was so foreign as to be almost antagonistic to the first principles of Scouting. In none of the ten laws' which held 250,000 Scouts together at the outbreak of War as an active association in full working order was there a single "must" or "shall." Indeed, even to call them laws was almost a misuse of the word, for each was a mere statement of what a Scout is or what a Scout does, with no mention of anything which a Scout was obliged to do or even was expected to do. Law 3, "A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others," comes nearer than any other to an ordinance; but Law 8," A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties," is the sheet anchor of the movement. The title of "Scouts" is but one layer of the sugar coating on the wholesome pill of moral training, others being the picturesque uniform, the numerous badges and self government.
I too, Sir, would like to see the residents of Hong Kong take something more than an academic interest in the Boy Scout Movement. There are many who will turn out on Empire Day and admire the boys on parade, but surely the Movement is worthy of something more? Why then do so many people look on? If the Movement lacked the support of the authorities it would be a different matter. As it is, we find the King, the Duke of Connaught and the Prince of Wales keenly interested in its work, whilst in our own small community here, we find His Excellency the Governor and some of our most prominent local residents actively interested in every aspect of the Movement. Surely it is time that some of the more leisured should "sit up and take notice?"
I am, Sir,
Hong Kong, Dec. 15, 1926.
(To the Editor of the "China Mall.")
Sir,- Your timely reference to the Boy Scouts will, I think, meet with widespread approval.
No one can question the wisdom of Governments that view the boys efforts with sympathy, or of kings who allow their sons to wear the levelling uniform of the Scouts; for assuredly to what exalted class the boy may be privileged to belong, the Scout Promise and Law, faithfully observed, levels him up, not down. That great statesman, Lord Rosebery once said:-
"If I were to form the highest deal for my country, it would be this: that it should be a nation of which the manhood was exclusively composed of men who had been, or were, Boy Scouts and were trained in the Boy Scout theory. Such a nation would be the honour of mankind. It would be the greatest moral force the world has ever known."
As you so aptly remark, Sir, it is to be hoped that His Excellency's words will not fall on deaf ears. In supporting the Boy Scout Movement, you are, indeed, rendering a public service.
I am, Sir,
Hong Kong, Dec. 15, 1926.