Singapore Youth Group Uniforms

Figure 1.--When Singapore's British colonial past, Scouting has been the most important youth group. Boy Scouting began in Singapore in 1910, only a few years after the program was founded by Baden Powell in England. The first troop had 30 boys, but the movement in 2002 had nearly 10,000 boys. These Singapore Scouts were photograohed in 1987.

There are eight uniformed youth groups in Singapore. All these uniform groups are left behind as a relic of the British colonial rule, from which the county gained independence in 1965. The largest groups are the Ntional Police Cadets and the National Cadets. This is unlike many other countries, especially countries with British colonial backgrounds. There are both coed and single gender groups and there are groups with both primary and secondary school age membership and other that are restricted to secondary school members.

Boys Brigade (1930- )

The Boys' Brigade is one of the better known uniformed Singapore youth groups. The Boys' Brigade is the oldest of all the uniformed youth groups, but was not founded in Singapore until the 1930s. The first Singapore Boys' Brigade company was founded in 1930. There were about 5,300 Singapore boys envolved in the Boys' Brigade in 2002, including both primary and secondary school age boys. TheBrigade has a strong religious focus, explaining "The Brigade aims to advance Christ's Kingdom among boys and to promote the habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness. The Brigade program includes educational, physical, social and spiritual activities which include citizenship and personal enrichment courses, drill, adventure training, civil defence training and community service and the inculcation of Christian moral values.

Girls' Brigade (1927- )

The Boys' Brigade in the United Kingdom was formed was of course initially formed as a boys group. It was slower than the Baden Powell's Scouts to develop an interntional movement. The Girls' Brigade in Singapore was organized a few years before the Boys' Brigade--1927. The Brigade had about 3,300 members in 2002, including both primary and secindary school age girls. The Girls' Brigade like th Boys' Brigade has a strong religious focus. Thy seek to assist girls accept the Lord Jesus Christ and through self control, reverence and a sense of responsibility to find enrichment in life. The weekly activities are based on a four fold programme designed to develop the whole girl and are aimed at helping girls grow spiritually, physically, educationally and socially, to become responsible and useful citizens. The Brigade has a wide range of activities including training courses, community service and fund raising projects.

Girl Guide Movement (1917- )

The Singapore Girl Guides Movement was founded in 1917. There was a membership of about 11,900 girls in 2002, a larger membership than the Boy Scouts. Guiding is the Scouting program for girls with a somewhat differnt fovcus. The program is designed to provide girls with the opportunity for self-training in the development of character, responsible citizenship and service to the community. Guiding has an international view which encourages international goodwill and understanding by establishing friendly relations with girls of other nations. Activities are designed to fulfil the aims of guiding are centred on home and community service, outdoor activities, international activities, health, poise and personality and creative abilities.

National Cadet Corps (1901- )

The National Cadet Corps is the oldest Singapore youth group. It is a military cadet training program. It was founded in 1901. The first Army Cadet Unit in Singapore was formed in Raffles Institution. The Corps in 2002 had nearly 16,000 cadets and over 400 officers. The program is for secondary schools students. Unlike many other Singapor youth goyps, the National Cadet Corps is a coed program for both boys and girls. The Corps seeks to maximize the physical and mental capabilities of cadets and to develop resourceful, resilient and loyal young men and women capable of serving the Republic as responsible adult citizens and to groom leaders. Training is conducted under the three elements of Land, Sea and Air. The Corps training program emphasizes adventurous and challenging activities, including many Scouting activities such as camping, hiking, orienteering, canoeing, shooting, flying, land and sea expeditions, outward bound courses, flying, airborne and scuba diving courses.

National Police Cadet Corps (1959- )

This is a uniform group with which HBU has very limited information. The Singapore National Police Cadet Corps was formed in 1959 with 30 cadets at the Bartley Secondary School. The Corps in 2002 was a substantial group with about 19,400 cadets and 530 officers. This is the only country we know of where the National Police Cadets are a major uniformned youth program. The program is only open to secondary school students. The Corps has a comprehensive training program which includes lectures on law enfocement related issues, visits and attachments to police establishments. Cadets also participate in vrious challenging outdoor activities similar to Scouting like adventure training camps. These different activities are designed to promote self reliance, responsibility, discipline, civic consciousness and respect for law and order, will thus help to develop well-balanced, responsible and caring citizens.

Red Cross Society (1949- )

The Singapore Red Cross Society was founded in 1949 and is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Society has a youth membership of 5,400 in primary and secondary schools. The goals of Singapore Red Cross Youth are to promote and encourage the participation of youth in the work of Red Cross, develop healthy habits of living and develop a sense of social responsibility existing between Red Cross Youth members around the world. Besides performing first aid duties, members participation welfare service projects, home nursing services, fund raising activities, international exchange programmes and a wide range of training programmes.

St. John's Abulance Brigad e(1935- )

A Singpore reader tells us that he belongs to th St. John's Abulance which like te other grous has a British style uniform. The Singapore branch of the St. John's Abulance Brigade was founded in 1935. Tere were about 6,700 member in 2002. Children in both primary and secondary schools participate. Each when he or she joins the St. John's Abulance Brigade makes a solemn promise to be loyal to his country, true to his honour and be faithful to the Order and publicly affirms the Cadet Code of Chivalry. The Brigade as the name sugget is strongly focused on first aid and energncy health care. The Brigade provides opportunities for members to learn and practice first aid, provide first aid, nursing and ancillary services for the injured and sick and prepare permanent structures during times of peace which may be instantly activated in times of war. Members participate in training camps to update First Aid Knowledge, charitable activities such as blood donation campaigns and courses on leadership, character building and responsible citizenship.

Scouting (1910- )

Boy Scouting began in Singapore in 1910, only a few years after the program was founded by Baden Powell in England. The first troop had 30 boys, but the movement in 2002 had nearly 10,000 boys. The Singapore Scout movement is still an all boy organization even though many other Scout organizations have merged with girls Scout and Guide programs. Unlike many other countries, the Scouts in Singapore are not the most important uniformed youth group. The aim of Scout movement is to develop good citizenship among boys and youths through character training activities. Scouting inculcates national loyalty, leadership skills, initiative, self reliance, moral education, community and teamwork and also promotes physical, mental and spiritual development. Challenging activities in the training progarmme include pioneering, hiking, camping, expeditions and campfires. Singapore Scouts are a small part of a very large international movement. There are over 25 million Scouts in 216 countries and territories. In the Asia Pacific region alone, there are 17.5 million Scouts


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Created: May 16, 2003
Last updated: December 2, 2003