August 4, 2010

Land of the Silver Birch

Mr and Mrs. Temple and their lovely children on the wooden stair case of the Sibu Girl Guide Hut.

When we were in the Girl Guides in the 60's we used to sing many songs from different nations. This was a very early awareness of globalisation in those days. We celebrated Thinking Day on 22nd Feb each year....thinking of girls all over the world. Our Captain was Mrs.Lora Temple who has a great impact on the girls that she groomed. She was instrumental in introducing songs from different nations to be sung by us.

It was really good to be in the Girl Guides. Amongst the numerous activities I learned to cook an egg and light a fire with only one match. I passed the test. I believe I did very well in mending a bicycle tyre too as that was part of our Girl Guides' tests.

Then we often cooked out - and that developed my love for outdoor living. Camping was curtailed by the curfews and the insurgencies. When I became a Guider I had a challenging time .It was a sad time when the Girl Guide Movement slowed down because academic pursuits became very important amongst the younger generation's life. Parents wanted to send their girls to other clubs instead. Very much later uniformed groups became compulsory and more girls joined Pandu Puteri (a change of name) and they even had a change of uniform.

But it was really through the Girl Guides that I caught the bug for loving nature....and campaign for global understanding and tolerance.

The Girl Guide Hut in Sibu is still at Race Course Road. The photo below shows a very old uniform of the Girl Guides. I used to wear that tie (made from a yellow triangular scarf which could double up as a bandage - it was so practical!!) I really proud of my uniform. We wore the short sleeved version.

Girl Guiding was so important in those long ago days that we even had a special Guide Trainer who came all the way from England! She was stationed in Kuching. And we used to have an annual state camp (training too) which we looked forward every year.

This song came from those long ago days....and thank you Ann ( for rekindling my thoughts of my Girl Guiding days....This song brings to our world a special message. It also makes me think of Mr. Edwin Temple who passed away last year not so long after he came back to Sibu for a visit. He was a very good singer.

My sympathies to Barry's family and friends...Stay strong!

This Land of the Silver Birch, the unofficial national anthem of Canada.

Land of the Silver Birch
Land of the Silver Birch,
Home of the beaver,
Where stands the mighty moose,
Wanders at will,

Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more,
Boom didi ah da,
Boom didi ah da,
Boom didi ah da,

My heart is sick for thee,
Here in the low lands,
I will return to you,
Hills of the north.


Swift as a silver fish,
Canoe of birch bark,
Thy mighty waterways,
Carry me forth.


Here where the blue lake lies,
I’ll set my wigwam,
Close to the water’s edge,
Silent and still.



Ann said...

hehhehe, the guides building you call a hut is such a big building on stilts.

I think my house at Padang road was 200 meters away.

While you and your fellow guides were singing DIP DIP and swing, and dragging the mattresses to sun for a token 2 minutes, my sister Margret and I were peeping in the window at the balcony.

Somehow, the guide leader never shoo us away. May be she was hoping we could be potential recruits. LOL

My Mum won't let me join, too dangerous she said, guides go to the jungle, and the communists could shoot these uniform groups for being running dogs.

I am glad I brought you back such good memories.

Ann said...

I retrieved my post to Ngao re: OWLS.

This is not Pandan, but for a laugh. Things that aspiring writers write about.

Ngao still wants to be an owl. I told him, owls are harbinger of bad luck, I think even among the Malays. When Ngao becomes an owl, he got no friends, not even blogger ones.

The next door apartment when I was in NTU, was empty for a long time. in fact it was allocated to me. i told my husband, can see the cemetery from the balcony. i don't want kids to come to my house and see the graves. So we asked to change.

So it was empty, it was also very near to a big tree. Lots of leaves on the balcony, so it is very dirty. One day, an Ang Mo couple went to view the apartment, an owl flew out. They read about harbingers of evil. So they didn't take, they tell this to everybody, I also tell this to everybody.

Me, was a selfish motive. Nobody next door, I got privacy. LOL

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