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Website was down. Resolved and upgraded.

The site was down last night until today as the site was moved to a new and better server (host was not changed). Sorry for not pre-advising as it was sudden and I did not have advance notification either. The server was changed to new hardware that is more energy efficient (about 50% less now) but more powerful (4 times) at the same time. It was an effort by the host to cut down their power utilization by upgrading all their servers by batches, so I volunteered to go first in a bid to do something for the environment.

I also took the chance to upgrade our WordPress to the latest version that was released on 10 Dec 2008.

Everything should be fine now. If not, please drop a comment or PM or email me.

Edit on 14 Dec 2008: See article from webhost on improving energy efficient servers. See Let’s Save Our Environment Harder.

Hari Raya Haji

Today is Hari Raya Haji. Would like to take this chance to wish all muslim scouts, family, friends and vistors a happy Hari Raya Haji.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Hari Raya Haji (or also known as Festival of Sacrifice) is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims and Druze worldwide in commemoration of the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah intervened: instead Allah provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice an animal, as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah. The meat is then shared out with family and friends, as well as the poorer members of the community (Islam names Ishmael as the son who was to be sacrificed, whereas the Judeo-Christian name Isaac).

Also, due to work, I realised I had forgotten to wish our Indian scouts and friends in celebrating their Deepavali on the 27th of October 2008. I apologies for that.

The A-Z of Knots

Knots are a fundamental part of scouting skills. This site has a huge library of various knots and how to tie them most mostly are not comprehensive enough in my opinion. See and decide for yourself!

An illustrated A-Z walkthrough of some of the most common (and not so common) knots. Each knot has a short description and (almost) every one has an illustration demonstrating the knot.

Blood Knot

A multiple Overhand Knot tied in the end of a heaving line. It derives its name from its use in a ropes end which was used as a weapon or for inflicting punishment, when it would often ‘draw blood’. This knot was used by the Incas of Peru in ‘Quipus’ or knot records.

Sheepshank

A knot tied in the bight for shortening a rope or taking up the slack, without cutting it. It can also be used to protect a weak, damaged or frayed section of the rope. See also Tom Fool Knot.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation

Click here for the full article at Scouting Resources

Aerial Runway

Found a thorough document on aerial runway at Pioneering Made Easy (although document is hosted at ScoutBase UK). Take a look at it before your next aerial runway pioneering project.

Aerial runways are potentially dangerous and remain so, even when all reasonable precautions, both in their construction and use, have been taken. Indeed, without some apparent element of hazard, much of their appeal and training value would be lost. The aim should be, therefore, to eliminate all avoidable risk and thereafter to exercise the highest degree of responsibility in the use of the aerial runway without destroying the challenge and excitement generated by the activity.

Click here for the full article at ScoutBase UK (PDF)

Camping Platform

I remembered during my Venture days, we wanted to build an elevated camping site during Group Camp. Due to the “massive” idea plus the lack of time, we shelved that idea. Now as I was surfing this site called Pioneering Made Easy, I realised we were not the only crazy people thinking of this idea. In fact, they have conceptualized a down-sized version of our initial idea.

Camping Platform

In the 1970s there were a large number of Groups taking up a challenge by John Sweet to build multi-storey camping platforms. This is a basic design which could be adapted and extended to suit the available materials.

Equipment

  • 17 x 6m (18ft) spars
  • 9 x 4m (12ft) spars
  • 2 x 3m (10ft) spars
  • 10 x 2.5m (8ft) spars
  • 2 x 2m (6ft) spars
  • 10 x 1.2m (4ft) spars
  • 2 x 1m stakes
  • 4 long ropes for guys
  • 51 lashing lengths
  • 4 tent pegs
  • mallet

Click here for the full article at Pioneering Made Easy

Pioneering – Kitchen Gadgets

I like the dustbin (or addressed as filter bin in this article) mentioned in this article, especially the concept of separating wet and dry waste. Try it just you feel it is workable!

A filter bin is another gadget that I would consider essential for the camp kitchen. Waste disposal is very important to handle correctly at camp, hygiene in camp is very important to control for everyone’s good health. You will need to build at least two types of bins, one for dry refuse (e.g. empty packets, tins, sweet wrappers) and one for those with a ‘wet’ content (food slops, dirty washing up water etc.).

Simply construct two ‘box’ frames formed from uprights driven into the ground lashed together. It would be good idea to site the bins in the same place, within the same frame. Attach a strong plastic bag within each box securing it firmly at the corners at least. Both of the bags should have perforated bottoms (use a fork to make plenty of small holes). The dry bin can be now left as is. The wet bin will now require lining with some material to absorb the waste. A sensible technique would be bracken on the bottom weighed down with small stones. A layer of charcoal and then sand/gravel should go on top of this, finished off with a layer of bracken. This will have all the properties to absorb all types of waste, water/grease etc. If you want to finish this off you could construct a lid to cover the bins (if you think the local wildlife will be inspecting the left-overs when you turn in for the night) although I would leave the lid off during the day for ease of use and to remind everyone exactly where they should be putting their rubbish!

Click here for the full article at Scouting Resources

Forums upgraded

The forums was upgraded on Thursday night. Was in a rush so didn’t had the time to post about it. Please let me know if you are facing issues with the forums after the upgrade.

Scout of the World Award – Discovery Workshop (Environment)

Ventures and Rovers, please note the email that was circulated to you via the mailing list. Attachment mentioned can be found in the email.

Date: 12th to 14th December 2008

Venue: Sarimbun Scout Camp, Singapore

Participants Eligibility: Ventures and Rovers (17 to 26 years old)

Registration Fees: SGD 70.00 (includes accommodation, meals, materials, field trips and transport). For those interested but with financial difficulties, please kindly indicate so that something can be worked out.

Things to Bring: Clothing, toiletries, personal medication, torchlight or headlamp, sleeping bag, booties (diving boots or any tight-fitting shoes or shoes with lace – for field trip purpose and will get dirty), writing materials, notebook/laptop (optional) and any other necessities.

Submission of Application: All applications must be submitted to the Singapore Scout Association (SSA) HQ not later than 5pm on 29th November 2008, accompanied with the registration form and fees. Limited vacancies.

Attachment enclosed for your reference.

We are looking forward to your active participation in this workshop!
Should there be any enquiry, please contact Peter Goh / Tan SiJie, Programme Executive / Organising Committee at 62592858.

Yours in Scouting,

Peter Goh
Executive (Programme & Events)
Tel: 62592858 Ext. 108

15 Essential Scouting Skills

Happened to read some useful “essential” scouting skills in the Scouting Magazine Online. I thought some of them are quite true and worth highlighting so here it is.

9. Know the safe way to go night hiking

It’s easy to lose sight of each other, so it’s vital that the group stays together and goes at the pace of the slowest member. Listen out for hazards and make regular voice contact with each other. Use the pavement if there is one or walk on the right-hand side of the road. Approach right-hand bends with caution and walk no more than two abreast single file when there is an oncoming vehicle. Let the driver know you are there; your group should have two torches one at the front and one at the back but be careful not to aim the beam directly at the driver. Finally, wear light reflective clothing; ideally a jacket for the people at the front and back, with a reflective arm-band for each member of the party.

Click here for the link to the full article OR the PDF archive that I have saved.

Note: The article is written under UK context, so some points might not be relevant in Singapore. Also, I have saved a PDF archive as I don’t trust links that are using IP address (87.127.227.195 in this case) as you never know when the link will be broken.

Compass

A compass is an important tool during outdoor hiking. Read up on what you should know about compasses.

The compass is a useful tool, especially when combined with the use of a map. Once you are used to them they are easy to use and in poor weather conditions or unfamiliar country they are a welcome addition to anyone’s personal equipment.

The most common type of compass simply uses a magnetic strip, carefully balanced and isolated, that will simply point to (Magnetic) North.

Click here for the full article at Scouting Resources

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