Uniform groups like the boys’ scouts and girls’ guides were mainly Chinese youngsters from English educated schools, Malays, Ibans or other natives. They were looked upon as government running dogs. When Charles joined up in 1965 as a thirteen year old, Father was dead against him joining. Charles was adamant; eventually he won their hearts over and relented saying he would learn survival skills.
Charles went camping a lot. Father was dead against it as the country side was looming with Communists and soldiers. In 1967, he had told Father and Mother that he was camping in school. His Form 3 years were out, and he got a grade one. Father was so happy, Charles was the first in the clan to get a grade one. Father told Elizabeth and I to ride our bicycles to school and tell him.
Elizabeth knew Charles had actually gone to the bush, but we didn't dare defy Father. The two of us cycle miles and miles into the bush. How we managed was beyond me. We were scared of the communists. When we found Charles, he wasn't elated about his results. His badge was more important. He told us to go home.
When he came home, he said when ever he went to the bush, he had a partner. There were times when the villagers would chase them away shouting they were running dogs.
Photo from Kong Tong Kiong, Charles old scouting buddy. He kindly sent it to me.