I am not going to lie - our Unit was extremely divided in the very beginning. And it was not simply due to the differences in our language proficiencies. The Chinese-speaking and English-speaking members of our Unit are from very different backgrounds - we come from different schools, different Scout Troops, different parts of Hong Kong, and we had never seen each other before. At our very first meeting, though it was unsaid, we all felt an invisible barrier between the people in our Unit.
At the World Scout Jamboree, we began working in small Patrols on programme tasks and campsite duties, slowly building up our confidence to talk to each other and introduce ourselves. We slowly found out more about our common interests and became a much more connected group. We had more conversations, spent more of our free time together, and took on adventures around the Jamboree site with friends that we never imagined we would make.
The defining moment in our group’s experience must have been our joint performance with Unit J at the Ena Subcamp Headquarters. Our friendly Unit was singing some iconic Hong Kong tunes for our international audience to enjoy, but there were technical errors with the microphones and their voices were faint in the large hall. Our Unit did not hesitate to run up and join them in their performance, and we sang together, loud and proud, hand in hand, in one voice of unity. The experience was amazing as it truly connected all of us in the Unit, as we celebrated our collective Hong Kong identities. We became more cooperative than ever in the following days of our Jamboree.
Unit I began as a mismatched group, from all-too-different parts of Hong Kong. Throughout our two weeks spent together, our cliques and small circles converged into one proud Unit, and I believe the bonds that we have created will last a lifetime.
By Timothy Tan,
For the 23rd World Scout Jamboree