The China Mail.
Hongkong, Thursday, July 11, 1929.
VALUED WORK FOR THE BOY SCOUTS
The following is taken from the "Silver Wolf," the popular journal for Scouts and Guides:
If ever any of the younger generation of Hong Kong residents have a chance of getting a really "old hand" to yarn about the earlier days in this Colony, we strongly advise them to do so. Such opportunities are getting increasingly rare, and one such opportunity was taken from us when the "Naldera" bore from the Colony Mr. C.H.Blason, or more familiarly speaking, as he was known to his friends, "Charles." When the yarn is enriched by the personal experiences of one who was not afraid to venture, and who always remained a boy at heart, then the enjoyment of the listener is more than doubled.
Pioneer Resident of Shek O
To have heard of how "Charles" with a few friends managed to get the late Sir Paul Chater to let them have at a very nominal rent a bungalow in Pokfulam, then considered almost the uttermost part of the world, a bungalow with a lusty tree growing through the drawing room floor and out through the roof, how he laid the ghost of a Chinese suicide in the garden with a length of magnesium tape on a dark night, how after a hard day's work, and within sight of home, his pony was scared by the first motor car in the Colony and bolted in three "flights" (or should we write "frights") back to Kennedy Town, how he and a friend or two bought an old sampan and made an adventurous voyage in the direction of Tsun Wan, from which they returned with difficulty the next day badly late for work, was enough to show that the men of former days with far fewer conveniences made life really amusing and even exciting at small cost and in a simple "family" way. Or take Charles on holiday in Australia, starting out alone on horseback to see something of the interior for himself, and forgetting that compasses work the opposite way down there, finding himself miles away from his intended destination in the exactly opposite direction. It was this spirit of adventure which made him the Pioneer resident of Shek O, and which sent him to Gilwell Park in England to recapture, as if he needed to do so, the spirit of boyhood.
And What Not!
Add to this spirit of adventure great versatility, for he was artist, photographer, musician, reciter, wireless experimenter, and what not, and one of the most generous and warm hearted natures that man could desire, with moreover extreme modesty, and you have but a very faint idea of "Charles."
He joined the local branch of the Scout Movement in 1922, in time to be of very great assistance at the Jamboree in 1923, having accepted the office of Hon. Treasurer to the Association. He at once threw himself into all our activities, examining, instructing, advising and suggesting, and when on leave in 1924 made the most of his opportunities in the way of Scouting by going through a Training Course at Gilwell and immediately afterwards helping to represent Hong Kong Scouts through the whole nine days of the great Jamboree at Wembley. He also saw as much as possible of the Scouts in his home district, Southampton, and returned to Hong Kong keener than ever.
Great Inspiration to Local Scouts
Shek O immediately became a centre of Scouting, for he began to prepare sites for camps, both standing and hike, and "Stoneyhurst" was more than once a haven of refuge to campers washed out of their tents by sudden torrential downpours. Car No. 1603 was at times a regular camp transport, and many and varied were the errands that he fulfilled for scouts who had done that unscoutlike thing, forgotten some necessary item of scout gear or food.
Those who visited his bungalow, will remember that the spare bedroom was also his wireless room, and that his receiving set stood near the bathroom door. Two small scouts once spent an evening listening in, but also kept their eyes open, and hours after they had gone back to their tent and were presumed to be asleep they presented themselves with the request that they were very hot and wanted a bath, could they have one? We need hardly say that the appeal did not fall on deaf ears. Only a small incident, but it was just that willingness to put himself to inconvenience for the good of others, and the immense pains which he took to see that things were done properly that made all the difference. He always thought well ahead, generally for the benefit of others, and certainly never with himself foremost in his thoughts.
A Good "Shove off"
Before he handed over the Treasurer's Books, and the Editorship of the "Silver Wolf" to his successors, he saw to it that they should enter on their new duties with a good "shove off." Thus photos and blocks for illustrations, odd articles and notes which might be of use, an address book right up to date, and full directions and hints formed his bequest to the editor to be, and among those papers handed on was ample evidence of the fact that he was continually keeping his eyes open for material likely to be of use and interest to Scouts.
We were sincerely sorry that when we met to give him a farewell dinner and singsong, or rather "camp fire," many of the party had to leave early in order to attend to their duties at the Theatre, but Mr. Blason's leaving message to us was an inspiration to all who heard it and made us all the more deeply sad that inexorable Father Time was taking him away from us. May he long enjoy his retirement in the Old Country, where he will for certain find more than enough to fill his time in the Scout work he so loves.- G.T.WALDEGRAVE