At 0730 on 1 May, almost one hundred uniformed Scouts stood outside one of Singapore's busiest shopping malls making the Scout Promise and Law. The Scouts and leaders from all different units across the country were volunteering their time on this public holiday for a very special duty. For many, including myself, this was the first time we had volunteered for this. We were to be Guest Ambassadors at the Istana, the official residence and office of the President of Singapore, who is also our Chief Scout.
The Istana mansion and it's 106 acres estate, which was built over 149 years ago, was once the residence to The British Governors in Colonial Singapore.
For the past few years, the Singapore Scout Association has been active in volunteering as Guest Ambassadors at the Istana. Our duties include assisting and welcoming visitors to the Istana Open House.
Visitors arrived as soon as the gates were open to the public at 0830. Our Scouts were separated into different areas covering the main entrance and the grounds of the Istana.
I was assigned to the main entrance along with nineteen other Scouts. We welcomed the vistors with warm smiles and provided information to them. Visitors from far and wide along with Singaporeans walked in and out of the Istana all day. They were met with greetings and smiles from our Scouts on this very hot day in tropical Singapore. We had the opportunity to converse with the vistors and to take photos with them.
A very special part of the Guest Ambassador role is to assist those with disabilities and to ensure that they are able to enjoy their visit as much as anyone else.
While many would enjoy the Public Holiday resting, going to the beach or even catching up on some well-needed rest, this group of volunteers spent their time carrying out their duties with pride and enthusiasm.
At 1pm, another group of Scouts took over the duty and would stay until 6pm. One last thing had to be done before we completed our morning duty. A group photo in the grounds of the Istana has always been a tradition of the Guest Ambassadors. It was the perfect ending to a memorable morning.