The Singapore Scout Association (SSA)


The Singapore Scout Association (SSA) was originally established as the Boy Scouts Association of Singapore on 2 July 1910, two years after the launch of the Scout Movement in Great Britain by Robert Baden-Powell.[1] [2] The idea of starting a local branch of the movement was first championed by Percy Gold, a broker from Evatt & Co.[3] While the association has evolved over the years, it continues to promote the Scouting mission of educating young people based on the values of the Scout Promise and Law. The goal is to develop them into self-fulfilled individuals who will contribute back to society.[4]

Establishment
Without a properly established local Boy Scouts Association, the Scouts Headquarters in the United Kingdom could not officially recognise the Scout Movement in Singapore. Thus, a meeting was held at Raffles Institution on 2 July 1910 to incorporate such a local association with the relevant rules and regulations.[5]


Major Ernest William Rokeby Stephenson, who had chaired the meeting, became the association’s first president. The 41-year-old British officer had been stationed in Singapore since 1908 as commander of the Middlesex Regiment. The association’s first secretary, John Duncan Pierrepont, was a telephone engineer and assistant manager at the Oriental Telephone and Electric Company. Governor Sir John Anderson and Chief Justice Sir William Hyndman-Jones were proposed as the association’s patrons at the meeting. However, it was only in 1913 that the association welcomed its first patron, Governor Sir Arthur Henderson Young.[6]

Early years: 1910–1912
As a start, the association raised the sum of $574.29 from well-wishers such as Governor Sir John Anderson, Sir William Hyndman-Jones and Frank Cooper Sands (who would later become a prominent scout leader). This sum was, however, not sufficient to pay for premises for its headquarters. The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) thus stepped in to offer the newly formed association, then consisting of a single troop of 30 scouts, one of its rooms in its new headquarters along Orchard Road.[7]

Apart from mentions of a number of early scoutmasters, there is little documentation of the association’s early activities. For example, T. C. Hay was appointed Assistant Scoutmaster on 24 August 1910 and subsequently Scoutmaster on 13 December that same year. However, it was K. M. Mauleffinch who held “probably the most senior scout leader [position] in Singapore and Malaya” when he became District Scoutmaster on 1 September 1910.[8]

First scout troop
Before the formation of the association, there were sporadic reports of scouting activities in Singapore. One report in The Straits Times newspaper dated 15 August 1908 noted that Mauleffinch was planning to organise “a Singapore Boys Scouting Corps, under the rules and regulations of the Baden-Powell Corps”.[9] Specifically, his plan was to organise a scout troop comprising “seven patrols of seven boys each”, aged between nine and sixteen.[10]


By February 1909, Mauleffinch had 30 scouts camping at Telok Kurau. The camp was to be the first of his many scouting activities that were organised throughout 1909. The tents and camping supplies used by these early scouts were provided by the British government. In addition, early donors such as Syed Omar Alsagoff, E. Nathan, W. Evans and Robinson & Co. gave funds and a cricket bat to the Athletic and Debating Club, which was a part of Mauleffinch’s Scouting Corps.[11] [12]

Frank Cooper Sands: Father of Malayan Scouting
The key personality in the growth of the association was Scoutmaster Frank Cooper Sands, who was originally from Nottingham, England.[13] [14] Under Sands, three scout troops with a total strength of 80 scouts were formed by 1912.[15] Sands, who later became known as the “Father of Malayan Scouting”, had started out as the Captain of the First Singapore Troop. He went on to become the Scout Commissioner for Malaya and Singapore in 1920, and remained in that position for 28 years.[16]


Scouting milestones
In 1911, the association was recognised officially by the Straits Settlements government and gained exemption from registration under the Societies Ordinance of 1909. This ordinance required every society or civil group to register with the Registrar of Societies and was aimed at controlling secret societies. Exempting the association from registration showed that the government did not see the scouts as a social security threat in Singapore.[17] The association’s status was further reaffirmed on 4 January 1912 when it was incorporated by Royal Charter as “a body corporate and politic”.[18] [19]

During the 1915 Singapore Mutiny, many Boy Scouts assisted the authorities by serving in various roles such as messengers, telephone operators, despatch riders and clerks.[20] Other milestones included: the formation of the Wolf Clubs for younger boys in 1916; the formation of the first Malay scout troop in 1919; school-based scout troops in 1922; Rover Scouting in 1927; and Sea Scouts in 1938.[21] [22]

In 2010, the Singapore Scout Association (SSA) celebrated its centenary with a book entitled 100 Years of Adventure.[23] One of the oldest youth movements in Singapore, SSA remains “dedicated to the development and enablement of young people in Singapore”.[24]



References
1. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 13. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
2. General Baden-Powell and the rising generation. (1908, October 1). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 14. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
4. Singapore Scout Association. (2011). Mission & vision. Retrieved from http://www.scout.sg/about/what-is-scouting/mission/
5. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 14. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
6. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910-2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 14. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
7. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
8. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 13. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
9. Singapore Boys' Scouting Corps. (1908, August 15). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Singapore Boys' Scouting Corps. (1908, August 15). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 13. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
12. Singapore Boy Scouts Corps. (1909, March 2). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Singapore Scout Association. (2011). History of Scouting in Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.scout.sg/about/history/singapore/
14. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 15. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
15. Boy Scouts Association. (1912, July 31). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Father of pan-Malayan scouting dies at 76. (1961, August 12). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Tan, K. Y. L., & Wan, M. H. (2002). Scouting in Singapore 1910–2000. Singapore: Singapore Scout Association & National Archives of Singapore, p. 17. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 TAN)
18. Singapore Scout Association. (2011). About. Retrieved from http://www.scout.sg/about/
19. [Untitled]. (1912, February 16). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Singapore Scout Association. (2011). History of Scouting in Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.scout.sg/about/history/singapore/
21. Singapore Scout Association. (2011). History of Scouting in Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.scout.sg/about/history/singapore/
22. Koh, T. T. B., et al. (Eds.). (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet in association with the National Heritage Board, p. 460. (Call No.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS])
23. Singapore Scout Association. (2010). 100 years of adventure, 1910–2010. Singapore: Author. (Call No.: RSING 369.43095957 ONE)
24. Singapore Scout Association. (2011). Mission & vision. Retrieved from http://www.scout.sg/about/what-is-scouting/mission/


Further resources
Boy Scouts. (1909, October 1) The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Boy Scouts. (1909, September 7). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

The Boy Scouts movement. (1922, April 20). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Sands, F. C. (1930). Twenty years of scouting in Malaya[Microfilm: NL 9716]. Singapore: Malaya Pub. House.
(Call No.: RRARE 369.4309595 SAN 1978)

Singapore Boys' Scouting Corps. (1908, August 15). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

T. F. Hwang takes you down memory lane. (1974, June 8). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

[Untitled]. (1918, July 19). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 3 October 2013 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Clans and associations
Boy scouts
Organisations
Community and Social Services

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