Scouts and Guides from 10 countries meet for fellowship

Delegates from various countries during the opening of the 16th ISGF Asia Pacific Regional Gathering in Penang. – Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

PEOPLE can be highly effective agents for change when they are organised and empowered.

State youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said this, adding that “one person deciding to do something is all it takes to spark larger and more effective action.”

He was addressing delegates from 10 countries at the launch of the 16th International Scout and Guide Fellowship (ISGF) Asia Pacific Regional Gathering in Penang.

“Mankind can never live without the cooperation of fellow beings. Imagine what we can achieve if we work jointly towards a common goal,” he added.Besides Malaysia, there were also members from Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Tunisia in attendance.

The five-day gathering saw delegates exploring George Town on trishaw and partaking in cultural activities. There was also a campfire, a visit to the Penang National Park and several stops to sample the island’s famous street food.

Soon said such fellowships and bodies were important as they strengthened civic participation while providing a platform for dialogue through community-oriented projects.

“The ISGF’s principles of encouraging respect for life and human rights, to work for justice and peace, to create a better world and to enhance international understanding, is something that we should hold onto closely.

“Kindness is the answer to world peace and harmony. It does not cost anything to be nice and courteous,” he added.

Event organising chairman G. Nanda Goban echoed those sentiments. He said if people around the world united like this more often, there would be fewer conflicts.

“The ISGF experience transcends race, religion and nationality. Its essence is fun, friendship and fellowship,” Nanda Goban said.

The fellowship’s past president Zallilah Mohd Taib said they were grateful to be able to gather in person again following the challenging pandemic years.

The previous edition was held in Sri Lanka in 2018, before Covid-19 forced all other activities and meetings to be held virtually for two years.

She said delegates could look forward to the 30th ISGF World Conference in Granada, Spain, in September 2024.

Also present at the ceremony, in a hotel in the city, were Malaysia deputy chief scouts commissioner Dr Mohammed Mukhyuddin Sarwani, Penang Girl Guides Association chief branch commissioner Lim Yen Lee and Penang state chief scouts commissioner Datuk Zulkafli Kamarudin.

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